June 25, 2006

Trek to Tadiandamol

Starring : Myself, BLD, Harshad, X & Y.
Start Time : 9:45 pm , Friday 23rd June , 2006
End Time : 6:30 am , Sunday 24rd June , 2006
Total trek : 15 kms (approx)

Background :
Tadiandamol happens to be the highest peak in Kodugo (Coorg) District. It reaches an elevation of 5729 feet(1748 m).The Nalaknad palace at the foothills is an important historical landmark. The peak has some beautiful Shola Forests that are characteritic of Southern Western Ghats.

The idea was to reach the summit of Tadiandamol by noon on Saturday and start for Soma-male from there and finish the trek by Sunday evening.

Description:

Harshad came down to my place and we started from Koramangala at 9:45pm on Friday 23rd June, 2006. Before his arrival, i had tried my hands unpacking the tent and found that it was rather cumbersome to fold and place it back into the bag.We had a quick dinner and took an auto and reached Majestic at around 10:10pm. BLD and her pals X and Y also arrived in another 15-20 minutes.The bus to Napoklu was full and hence we had to take a bus to Virajpet; the same bus was later extended till Madikkeri. We got down at Madikkeri.

X and Y decided to drop out of the trek. Myself, BLD and Harshad continued. We had a quick breakfast in a hotel at the Madikkeri bus stand and took a bus to Napoklu. We again took one more bus to reach Kakkabbe. The trek was 'officially' started at 9:30 am, June 24th 2006. We took occasional breaks and kept enquiring the localites whether we were on the right track to Tadiandamol.There is a tar road for around 5-6 kms after which there is a jeep trail for around 1-2km and the rest of the trail (till the summit) has a foot-trail.

There were leeches all around. Every 5-10 minutes we had to check our socks and shoes for leeches(these slimy things.....phewwwww!!!).

At around 12:45 we decided to have lunch and took a particular trail that led us to a small waterfall. I ran towards the waterfall, as it was looking beautiful and thought that this will be the ideal place to break for lunch. But, as we were standing on one of the rocks near the waterfall, we saw that our shoes were covered with leeches - almost 5-6 leeches on each of our legs. We ran out of that place and had to remove all the leeches using the snuff powder. We had to look out for a 'safer-haven' for lunch.There was a big rock on the way, on top of which there were some trekkers who had also come for Tadiandamol. We also had to decide on the future course of the journey;as, we had plans of going to Soma-male, we had to take a call & decide fast as the visibility was dropping. Harshad opined that it was worthless going to the summit, as its going to be only mist (whiteness everywhere) and we cannot have a view from the top; we concurred.

We had 3 options in front of us:
(1) Go back to Bangalore
(2) Finish Tadiandamol and start for Soma-male
(3) Try some tourist spot in Coorg

(2) was not feasible due to monsoon, leeches and poor visibility. (3) was not feasible due to the money factor and also due to the luggage that we were carrying ( and BLD did not have any clothes to change ). Hence (1) was the solution.

After initial scepticisms, we decided to pitch our tent near the rock. It was a fun-time pitching the tent - almost took 45mins , after lots of acrobatics. I must say that pitiching a tent in such a rainy and windy whether was a great team-activity and needs equally great co-ordination among the members. We had our lunch inside the tent. Menu included Bread, Palak Paneer , and Bhindi masala. After lunch, we tried to pack the tent back into the bag - this was another helluva acitivity. The tent had become double heavy (due to water) ; we had to carry this all the way back home. I carried this 20kg tent almost till the base of Tadiandamol and Harshad was kind enough to carry it from there.[ BLD obliged us by not carrying the tent :-) ]

We continues our descent and reached the base. We had a break for around 30mins here; had some biscuits and chocolates and dried our socks and jerkins. We continued from there and reach Nalknad Palace. This was a small 2 storyed house that had no impressions of a Palace - but was good to look at. The door was locked , but Harshad and BLD managed to opened it. We went in and took a stroll. The 'inner' doors of the palace were locked and hence we couldnt go in.

We continued towards the road that would lead us to a bus-stand from where we could catch a bus back home. After halting in a bus-stand for around 15 minutes, we decided that we would go towards Kakkebbe and catch a bus to Virajpet from there. But luckily, we got a bus to Virajpet on the way and we reached there by around 7:30pm. We had dinner at a hotel nearby. Menu included steaming ghee rice, parotta and chappatti along with lemon tea.On reaching the bus stand, we came to know the that the next bus to Blore was only at 10:30 and had to wait till then. The bus finally came in at around 10pm and we all boarded the same and reached Blore at 4:45am.Myself and Harshad bid adieu to BLD and returned back to Koramangala.

I would rate this trek as a typical monsoon trek (2 out of 5) ; a pretty easy one and not quite amusing and would in no way will have lasting memories(except for the leech attack and the tent experience)

Probably, its the leeches that make Monsoon treks what they are. Mist laden mountains and dense forests with constant downpour make the trek interesting.But sometimes, the whiteness of the mists is too boring and can bother any anxious traveller who is constantly on the lookout for something interesting happening around and to find out some beautiful valleys and ridges.

[ No Photos available from this trek; 2 reasons : (i) Constant downpour that would in no way allow us to take our camera out and take snaps and (ii) No camera-
batteries]

Travel Expenses :
Bangalore to Virajpet - 173INR
Virajpet to Madikkeri - 22 INR
Madikkeri to Napoklu - 15 INR
Napoklu to Kakkabbe- 15 INR
Kakkabbeto Virajpet - 15 INR

June 17, 2006

Dilbert - Master of Office Affairs/Management

June 09, 2006

WTF - " I Love You" Day!

We do get lots of attention seeking mails (spam) , but this particular mail really got on my nerves.

"Attention Yaar
~*~*~*~*
Tomorrow is national I LOVE U DAY if u get this that means u are loved. Send this to 10 people in the next 143 min and tomorrow will be your best day ever.

Tonight at midnight your true love will realize that they love u. something good will happen to u at 1-4 pm tomorrow, it could be anywhere. Get ready for the biggest shock of ur life, if u break this chain u will be cursed w/ relationship problems for the next 10 years. If u get it back ur loved if u have a lot of love for someone...

copy and send this to your whole list... in five min. ur true love will call or message you 12:59 AM"

Leave aside the joblessness of the guy who got this idea and the person who forwarded the mail to me - though i dont know about the guy who got this idea, atleast the latter is a highly-educated guy!

Comments:

- increases Network traffic
- unnecessary information
- Spamming
- can lead to more spamming as the mails get forwarded
- etc...etc.... you know it all :-)

June 08, 2006

The Red Pill taker



The cliche goes :
" There are 2 kinds of people :
( i ) who look at things and ask '- Whats the cause for these to be in the present state? and
( ii ) those who look at things and ask - Why cant these be like this?
"

It is the Choice that matters the most. One who is able to understand the rudimentary problem and is able to make an effective decision considering all the constraints and the goal in mind will be 'The One'. The 'One' doesnt refer to a supra-human who can lift buses/trains and can fly in the air ; it refers to the thought process that a person posses by virtue of which he/she can conquer any problem at hand.This in turn reflects on the confidence levels and associated risk-taking abilities that one might have.

Understanding the case,constraints, possible solutions and framing a feasible course of action with the minimal risk factor can be said to resemble ANOVA(Analysis of Variance). A matrix of the constraints available and solutions would help us in doing a thorough analysis. It also helps us in framing the risk associated with each and every move.Decision Trees are a quick way of framing strategies with associated probability of success and risk.

Everyone is aware of these managerial tools; but it is the 'One' who can truly apply these tools in real-world problems and emerge with a most feasible and succesul solution. We all have been blessed with almost similar skills ; but the ability to understand the intricacies and making(and not chosing) the decision is what that counts.

I cannot restrain from quoting Lee Iacoca - "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

June 05, 2006

Monsoon Forest Trek - Sakleshpur to Hongadahalla et al.







Introducing :
Your Truly and Manish
Starring : Harshad, Ganesh, Vishnu, Laksmhi, Meeliya, Vathsan, Rahul
Start Time : June 3rd , 2006, 10:00 p.m
End Time : June 5rd , 2006, 2:30 a.m

Day 1: 15-17 Kms
Day 2: 7-9 Kms

The starcast was asked to assemble at Platform#3,KSRTC Bus Stand,Majestic at 10pm on June 3. We boarded a bus to Sakleshpur at 11:00pm.The bus was pretty decent and almost everyone was asleep by around 1am. We reached Sakleshpur by 4:30am and were told that there were no direct buses to Bisle and would have to go to Kodu-Raste and continue to look out for options from there.The Bus to Kodu-Raste was supposed to be at 7:00am. In the meantime, myself, Rahul, Manish and Harshad went around the Sakleshpur Bus Stand. Manish enlightened us with his entrepreneurial experiences and the chat mainly centered around the possible entrepreneurial ideas and experiences. Though it was pretty heavy topic to discuss at around 4 in the morning, but it was quite enlightening.Meeliya had a nice sleep till the bus arrived, while Laksmi & Vathsan were having a fun-time with a puppy in the bus-stand.


Finally the bus came at around 7:30am and we proceeded to Kodu-Raste.The bus was a typical red-color(match-box) bus.Though the seats were straight and hard, we managed to sleep for an hour and reached Kodu-Raste at around 8:30am.Then we freshened ourselves and had steaming kodugu , dosas and chappati at a local hotel.Kodugu is a special kind of a dish(similar to Idli) that is made out of rice powder.The owner of the hotel had a sweet little cute toddler(Megha) which winked at everyone whoever said 'kannu-nodu'(blink your eyes). The owner kept referring to Lakshmi as 'young lady' which was quite amusing (was it an 'oxymoron' ??).The sun rose a little up ; the slight drizzle along with the Sun's rays bisecting these water droplets was a treat to watch.


The owner offered to drop us at Haddaluguddu(obviously for Rs.200!!), from where we could actually start our trek. He had a small auto(truck) which is used for transporting goods in this part of the country. 7 of us managed to sit(packed) at the back , whereas Ganesh and Vathsan sat along with the driver. It was a forty minutes drive along sinuous curves and bends; with greenery everywhere - it was a neat-jumpy drive.


We reached Hoddaluguddu at around 10:30am and started the trek after taking a few snaps/snacks here.Ganesh was busy feeding a couple of stray dogs.[ During the entire course of the trek, Ganesh was kind enough to feed all the stray dogs].Lakshmi was the first victim to the leeches. A leech was feeding on her right leg whereas another one had already had its adventure on her left leg and abandoned the place.Ganesh's snuff box came to use and the leech collapsed after he sprinkled some snuff powder on it. We proceeded with the trek after everyone checked their shoes.We continued and climbed up a hillock and had some snacks on the open scrub.In the meantime Harshad ran and climbed up an adjacent hillock , he stood on top of the hillock and waved his hands .I sprinted towards the top and was there in 2 minutes. It was great to see the other 'junta' sitting on top of other hill a few hundred feet away.

From here we had to decide on which path to take to reach the next destination. There were 2 options -
(1) to cut across a forest , climb the hill and reach the other end or
(2) to follow the foot-trail which was already present.

We resorted to the former.We had to wade through dense bushes and plants , and this was the most arduous path of the entire journey.Finally we reached the hill top after almost an hour. As we were about to relax a bit, it started to pour heavily. Myself, Vishnu, Manish,Rahul , Ganesh and Lakshmi went ahead to stand next to a tree whereas Harshad,Vathsan and Meeliya didnt follow us. Rain was pouring heavily and visibility was droppin badly.The cold wind coupled with heavy downpour drenched all of us.The water-resistant bags and wind cheaters were of no use. But, Vishnu found out an ingenious way to light a bidi(country form of a cigarette) and smoke it. Rahul and Ganesh accompanied him.We stood in this heavy downpour for almost 40 minutes. Then we decided that it was of no use to continue standing there and we better move forward, as we had to reach the next destination before dark. Vishnu went back to call the other 3. He went and returned back after 5 minutes to tell us that those 3 were sitting under the tarpaulin and were having panner-butter-masala(we all turned green!!!). Vishnu also happened to see that middle-finger of a guy(Vathsan, of course!!) emerging from the tarpaulin. After sometime Vishnu and Lakshmi went back and snatched the tarpaulin from the top of the guys. Having no options left, the three had to follow us and we continued again.

We reached Mainur at 12:30pm. It was a small village with half-a-dozen huts. We enquired about the route ahead to a couple of localites. One lady said that the route ahead is filled with leeches. We trekked further along paddy fields and land-slidden countours.We had to cross a small-river which was flooding badly and we were looking out for options. There was a burma-bridge(constructed with the locally available bamboo sticks/ropes and coconut tree bark). It was great fun to cross this bridge. Occasionaly, someone would find a leech in his shoe, and Ganesh would be there with his snuff box to lay the leech to rest. :-)

And we finally reached Hongadahalla via Jadagatta at around 6pm(June 3).We had tea and hot upma(with chatni) in the local hotel(Rs.110 for 9) and spent some time there. In the meantime Vishnu and Ganesh hunted for a suitable place to stay during the night.We checked-into the kalyana-mandapa(marriage hall) at around 8:15pm.We spent the night here. The kalayana-mandapa was under-construction. It had a clay floor and an asbestos roof, opened at one end and closed at the other three.The 2 walls on either sides had openings for the windows to be fitted. We spreaded the newspapers and feasted(dinner). Menu included paneer-makhni , Chana-Masala, Cheese-Spreads and slices, Breads, Bisi-Bela-bath and Palak-Paneer (all these were packaged foods that we had brought from Bangalore). Meeliya, Ganesh and Manish had sleeping bags and settled themselves inside it, whereas others had to satisfy themselves with Newspapers. My jeans and t-shirts were wet and heavy. The cold air hitting against me and my clothes were tormenting me and i was shivering badly.I could not sleep for the entire night ; I could hear Rahul(who was sleeping next to me) and Manish snoring to their fullest.

I decided that I would rather opt out and return to Bangalore than continuing with the Day-2 of the trek. I was unsure whether the wet clothes would help me with the trek.

At almost 3.00 am , I found a semi-wet jacket lying on the tarpaulin and tried my luck . I pulled it over myself and slept for around 1 hour 30 mins before someone's voice woke me up. Vishnu lighted the used newspapers outside the kalyana-mandapa. I sat next to the fire and dried myself. For the first time I was feeling 'dry'. My jeans were now crispy dry and my hands were warm.In short, this feeling was far better than the cold night that made my teeth go tittering.All of us vacated the mandapa and went to the hotel and had tea/breakfast(Rs.120 for 9).Ganesh fed 3-4 stray dogs with all the bread packets that we had.

Vishnu, Harshad, Ganesh and Vathsan were planning on the possible routes to trek on Day2. I was still sceptical of whether I should continue or return back to Bangalore.We were told that the bus to Bangalore was at 9:30am. Finally the bus came at around 10:15am and all of us boarded the bus.Meeliya, Manish and Rahul opted out and went back to Bangalore whereas the others(incl me) got down at Kodu-raste and prepared for Day-2 trek. Harshad wanted to go to a 17m water fall that was on the map , but none of the localites knew about the same.We also asked about the KumaraDhara Waterfalls and we were told that it was near KumaraParvatha, which was pretty far from Kodu-raste.We decided to trek to the 17m waterfall.We started at 12:30pm from Kodu-raste in search of the 17m water fall.We walked for around 3 hours before we reached a place

We halted near a streamlet and had lunch.Menu included Paneer-Butter-Masala, Pongal, Masal- Upma, Cheese Slices, Bread and Jam. Rain started as we were in the process of satisfying our apetite , but we continued our rendezvous with the food, as were drop dead hungry.


We continued to trace back the route to reach the bus-stand ; but took a minor diversion to have a view from the top of a hillock. The view from this hillock awestruck me.These were the Western Ghats with the densest forests I have ever seen. We could spot KumaraParvatha and Doddhebeddha. The summit of KumaraParvatha was covered with clouds and mist.The valley was looking beautiful, with hills on either sides. We sat here for around 20 minutes and continued our trek. { Sorry, i dont have words to describe this scenic beauty }

We reached the bus-stand , wherein the bus to Sakleshpur would arrive at around 5pm. [Hence, we did not retrace back the route till Kodu-raste.]We had some biscuits and chikki. The idea of maggie stuck me and i thought about the option of getting hot-water from the local hut. Vathsan had a couple of bites of raw-noodles and in the meantime Ganesh got the hot water(in exchange for a MTR Pongal packet). I mixed the noodles along with the spices in the hot-water (guess this is the easiest recipe that i can prepare !!). All of us had hot semi-cooked maggie. Harshad filtered the spicy-water from the maggie.Just as we were waiting for the bus, myself , Vishnu , Harshad and Vathsan resorted to some 'intellectual' discussions on cross-breeding. We were exploring the possibility of cross-breeding a hen with a dog ; and Vishnu baptised this 'possible' creation as 'Den'. All during the course of this discussiom, Vathsan gave a puzzled look and a question mark hovering over his face (guess all this was above his wavelength!!). The dicussion progressed to a yet another possiblity of cross-breed between 'our-creation' Den and an elephant. We finally abandoned this topic as it was getting highl y scientific and us mere mortals werent aware of the Laws-of-Science and Evolution.


The bus finally arrived at 5:30pm and we reached Sakleshpur by 7:30pm. We were informed that the Bus to Bangalore was rare, and it is better to leave for Hassan and catch a bus to Bangalore from there.We had tea and waited for the bus to either Hassan or Bangalore.Just as we finished our tea a bus to Bangalore arrived and we happily got inside. The bus halted for dinner on a highway stall and we had hot rotis with tea. We reached Bangalore finally at around 2.00 am and officially ended the trek by having a hot-watery-yucky tea in the KSRTC Bus Stand.Myself and Harshad were all game to trek back to Koramangla from Majestic; however, we(incl ganesh) finally hired an auto(at double the cost) and came back home.

As I look back at this trip, I must say without any qualms that this trek was a beautiful trek to start with during the monsoon season. The nature's pristine beauty coupled with a neat clean air gave no room for any kind of cold/fever to affect us.As I pen down this experience, i must say that the trek-group was awesome and I am looking forward to more treks in the coming months with them.

June 01, 2006

Abhimanyu

Abhimanyu has become synonmous with any brave teenager , who has the potential to take on the challenges posed in front of him. He is the kind of war-hero that every school kid yearns to become one day and help this great country of ours(India) , take on the challenges.

But what Abhimanyu connotes to me is more than a mere war-hero. Abhimanyu is a phenomenon. 'He' is the process by which a goal is acheived given uncertain conditions ahead. He has high correlations with any linear programming problem wherein all the constraint equations are given and the goal is to maximise/optimise a function.'He' is the typical Manager's/Consultant's thought process.

Background :
Abhimanyu is a character in Mahabharata. He is the son of Arjun and Subhadra and a disciple of Lord Krishna. His claim to fame was his bravery ; and the way he punctured into the Chakra-Vyooha that the Kauravas had formed. He was killed in his attempt to come out of the Chakravyooha, by Dronaachaarya, Kripaacharya, Duryodhan, Karn, Ashwatthaamaa, Shakuni and Jayadrath.
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