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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.

San Francisco

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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.


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I am traveling to Kabini over the weekend with a bunch of friends. Will be staying at the Jungle Lodges and Resorts. I am told that there will be one organized trek / safari by them and we are free for the rest of the time. Wanted to check if anyone has any ideas on activities / things to do there?

At Sunnyvale

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I am here in Sunnyvale for three weeks. Lot of folks from Bangalore are here for a conference. Landed in this Sunday by Singapore Airlines. SG flights are much better than CX but the quantity of food they serve is very little. I had to get some bread to fill. Also, it is so lame that they don't carry extra pillows. I asked for one on both the legs and I was told since the flight was full, they don't have any left. :-( The paranoia of air travel has gone overboard. When you board at Bangalore, there is a security check and scan your baggages. At Singapore, you don't go out of the airport but still there is another scan. Does this mean, there might be items that can be bought in the airport which might have security concerns? Similar thing at Inchon airport. They spent a lot of time checking the boarding cards and issuing a transfer card / scan for a 50 minutes stopover.

When I reached SFO, Charan was there to pick me up. Checked into the hotel and the first thing I did was to go to Chipotle for lunch. Manoj was around and we went to a bunch of places. And then he lent me his wii. Since then, I have been having so much fun. I spend about 2-3 hours a day playing on it. Boxing and Tennis are my favourite games. If ever I make up my mind to buy a TV, I am going to get a wii the next day.

On Monday, visited my next favourite place, Murphy's Law in Sunnyvale downtown. Nula's is next. Sunnyvale feels home away from home.

PS: Krisworld, the entertainment system on SG, runs on RedHat. They had some issue with the system during the flight and they had to reset the system and it showed the familiar bootup screen. :-)

Long Weekend

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This is one of the classic examples of my planning ahead for a weekend going haywire. The plan was to go and spend the long weekend in Pondicherry. Rishi was planning to go there as well and I had decided to tag along. Meanwhile, my sister said she had been planning to go there and she will meet us around Friday noon.

Till about 2pm when I left office, I was thinking that I was leaving for Pondicherry, but suddenly had to change my plans since I was needed in Coimbatore. So I asked Rishi to drop me at Krishnagiri and I took a bus to Salem and from there another bus to Coimbatore. Landed home around 3 in the morning. Rishi seems to have had an ordeal in reaching Pondicherry. And my sister until yesterday noon was saying she did not plan to go anywhere due to the rain, calls up in the night saying she is in Pondicherry. :-)

This is one of the reasons why I think a lot before I plan ahead with a group of people. My plans are always flexible and I decide what to do at the spur of the moment. If I plan ahead, something external changes my plans and this ends up in disappointment.

And doing the usual things when I am in Coimbatore. Eating, Watching TV and Sleeping. Am most probably going to Trichy tonight to attend a friends marriage and then back in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Happy Holi. Interestingly I have seen lot of people celebrating Holi in Podanur and I see colours splashed around this place. This is a change that must have happened in the last 5-6 years. When I used to study about 10 years back, I had never heard of Holi being celebrated this side. The world is shrinking. :-)


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I am in Cochin this weekend to do interviews for Yahoo!. I have been planning to visit Cochin for a long time and this trip just happened. Yesterday morning, Jemshad and I took a stroll on the Marine Drive. In the evening a bunch of us went out visiting Bologatty Palace, an ancient church and finally the M.G.Road. This evening Jemshad and I are going to Model Engineering College for an orientation and I plan to spend some more time around the city.

South Canara Trip

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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.

Completely covered by clouds
This is one of the most scenic walks I have ever done. There were clouds hanging low playing hide and seek. Though we were very close to the peak, it was completely covered by the clouds. Soon, we walked through the clouds and it was an amazing experience. After another hour, we reached the peak. The peak has a small temple called Sarvajna Peetha, which is the shrine of Adi Shankaracharya. He is believed to have meditated here.

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.


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I am back from a three day trip to Thirunelveli / Kovil Patti. On Saturday and Sunday, I spent most of the time bathing to my hearts content at the various waterfalls in Coutrallam. I have never had so much fun in water. Travelling along with a local friend helped a lot. I also had a chance to visit places like the Papanasam Sivan Temple, Agasthiyar Falls, Kalyana Theertham and some places where the crowd was very less and enjoy some scenic beauty. Also met around 10 collegemates, 4 of them after almost 10 years in a friends marriage at Kovilpatti. It was good to talk about the golden times in college. I have had one heck of a time over the weekend. I am vacationing the rest of this week as well, catching up on sleep and travelling to Chennai tomorrow for another marriage. Also, travelling to Sunnyvale next weekend for an Expo and may be to Mumbai later next month. So more travel around the corner. I cannot ask for more :-)

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