Monday, October 20, 2008

Nandi Hills conquered again!

From the day since Harsha bought Trek 4300 bicycle, I had been reminding him for a ride to Nandi Hills. Harsha had done two rides to Nandi earlier with his Hero Swing. You should hear the story of those rides by him! Hero Swing is a heavy bicycle and you can imagine what would happen to one after he tries climbs Nandi on this heavy bike. And I had done a solo ride to Nandi last year. Now that he had Trek 4300, we planned for the ride. As I had recently sold my Thunder MTB, Harsha suggested that I should borrow Trek 4300 from Priya. Its slightly short for me, but I thought I could manage a single ride with it. Now we had another problem. Climbing Nandi non stop is challenging and interesting, but riding to the foothills of Nandi is boring. And ride back to Bengalooru after the climb is even more tiring. Harsha had solution for this too. For the recent Maharashtra trip we did, he had got his Swift fitted with a luggage carrier. Now plan was to tie his bike to this carrier, and another bike was to be put inside the car. In fact this is what helped us plan this ride.

The plan was to start early, at about 6 from Harsha's home, pick up the bike from Priya's house on the way, and start climbing at least by 8am. But we really ran late. We left his home around 7 after nice cup of coffee. Both of us were already feeling hungry. After taking the bike from Priya we drove towards NH7. The route we were supposed to take was Hebbal - Devanahalli - Nandi. There is one more route via Dodballapur. Due to the new Airport, The NH7 has been widened and work is still going on some stretch of it. The drive was smooth except for the a small stretch just before Hebbal. We stopped for break fast at a small junction just after ITC. We mucnhed Idli, wada, set dosa, etc,. Harsha munched an extra wada :). We reached the Nandi foothills by 9.50. We parked the car in front of a small hotel. We had coffee and requested the lady at the hotel to look after the car!

It had rained the previous day and weather was cloudy.
Soon, we took out the bikes and started check the air and other things. A group 3-4 people gathered around us, trying to touch and change the gears. We told them one should not try to change the gears when bike was stationary. We started climbing Nandi at 9.46 exactly. I told Harsha that I was already at the summit in the last ride. We really had expected the ride to be tough, without any warm up. As we started climbing, Harsha kept on telling me where all he had stopped for break in the last rides, even slept at one place! I kept on asking Harsha if we needed to stop at any point. Interestingly we were climbing slow and steadily with 1-2 gears. We never had to stop. I wanted to stop at curve number 33 and take pictures. But Harsha said we could take pictures on ride back. So we carried and slowly. Finally when I saw 1km mile stone, I was happy. After just two more curves we would at the top. We were at the stop, exactly at 10.40.

Harsha was really happy as this was his first non stop climb of Nandi. Usually the bicycle riders too are not allowed to climb further as there is a "no entry" rule for two wheelers! Some day I hope ride beyond this point. We drank cold tender coconut.
The tender coconut vendor was familiar with Venkatesh. He said he goes there often with foreigners. We sat for a while. Then took some pictures at the first entrance of the fort. Harsha clicked better pictures. On the way down, we stopped at one more point to click few more photos. We were at the foothills by 11.45 and were driving back to home by 12. We were excited to find that we could climb Nandi non stop, without tiring much. Soon Harsha was forming his next plan, to climb Nandi two time back to back, without break! Lets hope we get to do it. There is one more wish of mine. I want to fix a camera to handle bar and capture a video of the downhill ride. We had not planned for the same this time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

jack of many, master of none

I was speaking to a colleague of mine about my interests. He seem to have observed that my interests change often. According to him, I seem to have mastered the art of being a "jack of many, master of none". If one goes by the previous statement, one can say, I am master of one art at least :D. Even I agree with him. The reason why feel this is, I am trying to do many things without a concentrating on a single thing. Initially I used to sketch a lot. That is stopped now. Later I wanted to try painting. And I tried my hands on guitar too. Soon I seem to have lost interest. Now I have started bird watching! Lets see how far I hold on to it. The same was the case to blogging. The frequency of posts has reduced very much. But there is one thing which is regular. Cycling on the weekends. I am happy that I am able to stick to at least one interest.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

3 fools, 2 smarties, a tiger and a leopard

As said in the previous post, I was in Mysooru over the last weekend. Same group of us who went to Chamundi hills, decided to go to Bandipur. Plan was to leave for Bandipur by 10 in morning, roam around and come back by 5 in the evening, as Subba and I were supposed return to Bengalooru in the evening . Previous day before going to bed, it was decided that we all should be ready by 8am, which I was sure would never be possible, as we had a nocturnal(read Sudhi) among us. I was a fool to get up by 8, get ready and wait for other lazy fellows. Somehow, 3Ss: Sudhi, Subba, and Seena managed to get ready by 12. Subba, Seena and I left early to visit Subba's granny at Nanjanagudu. A small boy who used to give witty answers to our naughty questions, made us forget how late we were. When asked "Bandipuradalli enide?"(what is bandipur famous for?), he replied "Bandi"! By the time we bid adieu to the kid, it was nearing 3 and Sudhi and one more friend of him, were already near Bandipur. We joined them by 4 and ate at a Resort(so called) till 5.45. I wanted to return, but others insisted that we should pay a quick visit to Bandipur and then go back. I reluctantly agreed. I didn't regret it later. I thanked them :)

As soon as we reached Bandipur and stopped to appreciate the friendly(?) deers, few other visitors told us that a Tiger just crossed the road near the small lake down the road. We were cursing our luck that we missed a life time opportunity to see a tiger in the wild. We rode on till the Tamil Nadu border. All along the this stretch, we could see lot of deers, sambars, a beautiful peacock too. While returning, I rode the bike fast as I wanted go back soon. Seena was pillion rider.

As I rode back, I was wishing that, that tiger would finish is his rounds, and again cross the road. To my astonishment, we saw a leopard crossing the road! It was at about 40-50 meters from us. It stood for a second and saw us and ran in the bushes. Even though I had read leopards were timid animals, I was scared, and applied the brakes. Seena shouted at me for that and asked me to go near to it. I rode on fast, as Seena turned to right side to see the leopard, turned back and watching us. Subba and Sudhi were way behind us and they missed sighting the leopard. We waited for them to join, and told them in excitement what happened there. They cursed their bad luck and we carried on. After riding for about 5 more minutes, Subba and Sudhi again disappeared behind us, as they were slow. And this time, there was a real surprise for us. A Tiger! A tiger was crossing the road. And it was closer than the leopard. Within 20 meters! Well, I really can't explain what Seena and I felt at that moment. We were excited and scared at the same time. Without our knowledge, legs started shivering! Again, I applied the brakes, this time some how I rode on slowly, and dared to turn right and look into bushes where tiger had gone in. We could see tiger walking away, slowly, like a king. I had never seen a Tiger in wild, that too this close, and imagine, we were on a bike! Subba, Sudhi and co, who were shooting(with camera, not with gun) peacock, joined us after the tiger disappeared. Again, we had to narrate the story in excitation to them. Do not ask for photos. Yes, I cursed myself for not carrying the camera :(

People go far safari and return without any luck. And we were very lucky to sight tiger and leopard withing one hour of ride. Recently a tiger got killed on Mysooru - Manandavaadi road. Now administration seems to be taking precaution to avoid such incidents. All along the Ooty road in Bandipur, there were photos of the dead tiger urging the drivers to go slow, so that they don't kill more of these endangered animals. Read in newspapers that the Manandavaadi road would be shut during night. Long live tiger!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

flying saucer!

I had been to Mysooru over this weekend. Sudhee had been pestering me for past two months visit him there. I was stuck with some or the other work on all the weekends for past two months. This weekend he happened to visit Bengalooru by car. While going back there was space for two more, so Subba and I hopped into his car. Past the city traffic, we started arguing over how one should drive, slow, fast, in left lane or right, high beam, truck drivers, blah, blah, blah... Sudhee was getting good lecture from his dad on the same. He even tried deceive and go faster by closing windows saying it would give aerodynamic advantage :). We reached Mysooru by 11pm. Seena joined us at Subba's home.

Soon we decided have coffee @ Ginger and go to Chamundi hills. As we drove up the hill, we could see clouds forming atop Chamundi hills. Clouds became thicker and moon disappeared behind the clouds. It was all misty above and we got out of car at view point and appreciated the view of Mysooru in night. Palace, the ring road, all looked beautiful. Later we drove on, circled around the temple and stopped at the edge. Suddenly everything down disappeared due the heavy mist in front of us. And I noticed some flat elongated glowing object very far off. It looked as though it stood very high from ground. "Whats that?", I drew attention of others. We stared at it. "It's rotating!", said Seena. To me it appeared as though it was fire in some distant forest. Someone said it might be a building lit in the night. But it looked too high to be a building at that distance. Slowly one more image slightly longer than the first formed above that. "Flying saucer!!!", I shouted in excitement. The two images looked as though they were coming closer and getting bigger and rotating... We seriously started thinking that they indeed are flying saucers. But, as the clouds became thin, the images grew large and combined to form a circle. Slowly we realised it was moon! For just few moments the moon playing hide n seek made our imaginations fly :). Then we laughed at ourselves. I liked the excitement it generated :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

blog through e-mail

Just trying the blogging through e-mail feature. The fact that you see it here, the feature has worked :D

funny thoughts of a kid...

When I was kid, there were lot of funny thoughts, funny now but not then, were in my mind. I'm damn sure it would be same with others too. I recall them and laugh at myself. One of such thought was that women gave birth to baby boys and men gave birth to baby girls! I don't know how this great thought occurred to my mind :D
There was one more, that wind was due to fluttering leaves and branches of tress, and not the other way :). I also thought that the good old TV antenna was just used to indicate that the particular house has TV, he he :D. Along this weird thoughts, there was a list of experiments which I wanted to carry out. One such was, connecting a live electric wire to sea and then see if the water becomes hot! There are lot more like this. I am thinking of writing all of them down. It will be nice to collect all such funny thoughts.

Does these make you laugh, smile at least?!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

bus to work and time pass...

Our company administration had been announcing for 3 years that we would move to our own campus. The location usually was marked by a spot along the ring road, on the Bengalooru map, shown during the presentation to us. The spot kept changing its position, as a beep on radar screen, every time a new presentation was made. Most of us were apprehensive as this new campus was outside city limits, and the reason was obvious one: traffic problems. We might be have to travel by bus arranged by company. our workplace was located in and around MG road, and most of us liked it as it was just 30-45 minutes away from residential areas. We kept hoping against hope that the campus movement be postponed as much possible. As usual, when a company moves to city outskirts, we were given option to choose office bus for commuting.

We did move to new campus, and now, most of us are traveling by bus. Usually leave for work at 7.15 am, reach by 8.30 am, if the traffic is not heavy. And in the evening, leave for home at 5.15 and reach by 7. So the time which we spend on the roads is around 3 hours. Now we have many ways to spend time while traveling. Most of us sleep while going to office :). Some times I try to read and doze off after 2-3 pages! And most of us think, trying to read in bus is quick way to get sleep, and have been quite successful with that :).

Off late I have developed a good rapport with one of the fellow commuters. We usually start talking about the weekend plan and our conversation drags and touches lot of things like birds(real ones), birds(the other kind! ones at work, walking on the road, etc,.), books, bikes, motor bikes, music, politics, election, and what not?! We even tried playing quiz, solving puzzles(some of which really do not have solution) :D. So far so good, I hope it continues. Otherwise it becomes too boring to just sit and travel everyday...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Election and voting list fun!

I have not voted in any election till now. I did regret not voting last time. I had the opportunity to vote in two elections. I want to vote because I want to have the right to complain :). Also, I want a candidate of my like to win. Last time, even though I filled application for registration, my name was missing from the voting list. This time it is not, but I am 3 years younger according to Election Commission. Similarly my mom is 18 according to them, my younger sister who is in PUC is 28. Luckily my brother's age is correct in the list. Funniest part is, my landlord's every other info is correct except the address! I am not sure if the Returning officer would allow us to vote with such inconsistencies in the data. We anyway want to try our luck. The Political parties distributed small pamphlets with each voter's name, serial number and other information. I wonder how did they get the list. May be from the website which showed the complete list. This time it was easy to know if one's name of registered through the website Thanks to the site.
I will vote. Will you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Honk if you are an Idiot

Well, I have stuck is sticker which says "HONK IF YOU ARE AN IDIOT", at the back of my motor bike. There is an even better sticker which says "HONK IF YOU ARE CONSTIPATED". Until recent, none of the fellow motorists on Bengalooru traffic had noticed it. I was in a traffic signal when a hand touched my shoulder. I turned back, an aged person smilingly asked me from where did I get such sticker. After I answered, he appreciated it and said its good, and was about to get into deeper conversation in the middle of traffic :D. Finally somebody noticed it!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ride to Bilikallu Betta near Kanakapura

As usual Harsha had chalked out a plan for a cycle ride on Sunday morning to Bilikallu Betta near Kanakapura. Bilikallu means white stone, and betta means hill. The plan was to meet at Family Mart junction at 6am on Kanakapura road, ride to the foot of the hill, trek to the top and back in 3-4 hours, and ride back to Bangalore by 5pm. There even is a motor able road to the top of the hill from Kanakapura. We were supposed to take Harohalli (on Kanakapura road)- Maralavadi - Devaralli route.

Harsha called up on Saturday night and told that he might not join as he had severe tooth pain. So I started on Sunday morning at 5.45 from home hoping to see at least two people at the Family Mart junction. Family Mart just 10 minutes by cycle from my home. Soon after I started riding on Ring Road, another cyclist in Trek 3700 went past me. I was wondering this might be one of the guys joining for the ride. Indeed he was, and introduced himself as Prasad. 3 more guys, Adarsh, Pkota and Satya also joined us at Family mart junction.

After exchanging hellos, we started towards Harohalli. We planned to ride non stop till Harohalli. But then, we couldn't resist to stop and look at the beautiful sunrise on the tank bund after Kaggalipura(?). Prasad took out his camera and shot many photos. Through out the ride, he was regretting not getting a better lens. Adarsh had got new Trek 4300 bike recently and this was the first long ride after getting the new bike. He was in full josh and was always in the front. We reached Harohalli by 7.45 and Pkota took us to the road side hotel where we munched delicious tatte idlis. It seems the hotel guy remembered Pkota's last visit and greeted him! After a visit to a cycle shop to fill in some air, and packing some chocolates, water and biscuit packs, we left for Maralavadi, which is about 10km from Harohalli. One needs to take right turn on Harohalli - Jigani road, just within Harohalli. This road offered perfect country side view with fields and trees along it. We stopped near a Mantapa along the road, to take few pictures.
We continued to ride appreciating the cool breeze. Most of the ride was downhill, and we all were expecting the journey back to be difficult under the hot sun. We reached Maralavadi at 9.45 or so and packed a kg of banana, few packets of Electrol. Pkota was complaining that this was not the same Electrol specified by WHO :D. Somebody added that we do not need Electrol, as it was given to those having lose motion! He had to be explained that since we dehydrate a lot during the pedaling and a trek after that, we would need it to avoid muscle cramps. After Maralavadi we took the road towards the Bilikallu betta. This too offered a nice view with small hills around it. We could see lot of birds chirping around, and regretted the fact that we couldn't name any of them except for Myna and Kingfisher. Again we stopped to appreciate the nice view around. Prasad shot some photos of the country road with a man grazing the buffaloes :D.

Soon the asphalted road ended, and we were at a small village where we were supposed to park our bikes and take to trek trail to the hill top. Some villager offered a shed thatched with coconut leaves. Lot of curious children gathered around us asking for a ride. We asked them not turn/touch the gear shifters and promised to give a ride once we were back from the trek. Some local boy even tailed us till the foothill until he realized that we would not offer any of the eatables to him. There were lot of locals in the fields who promptly pointed us towards the trail leading to the top. As we started climbing we felt the sun getting hotter. We took out the electrol packets and mixed with water and the appreciated the taste. The trail was nothing great, but we were happy to find one such near to Bengalooru. All along the trail we could see the Elephant dung(?). We were wondering how could the Elephants climb the hill! We also saw place where the Elephants might have stayed over night, where there were lot of footmarks. It was 12 by the time we reached the top. Pkota was ahead of all others and we found him taking a sound nap at the temple. We were expecting the hill top to be a deserted place. Instead, there were lot of people around the temple. There was some road repair and other works going on as the annual feast(jaatre) was just 15 days away. Luckily there was a water tank where we refilled the water bottles.

The hill top offered a nice view of a small valley towards Bannergatta. Again the camera was out and there were shots, while Adarsh was trying to take a nap, as he had planned to go to office directly after cycling! This guy had turned up for the ride directly from office without taking any rest and now he had planned to go to back to work! Crazy chap! We quickly finished the Banana and other snacks we had packed along. Rested for few minutes, and started back. While returning we found a couple, climbing the hill. Soon our imagination started flying, hehe.. :D. To add to that the guy mentioned that they did not plan to climb till the top. One of our boys wanted to reply that we already knew of it! Soon, we were back at the village and paid some money to the villager who had offered the shed for parking. We were back at Harohalli at 3.30 or so. Ride back to Harohalli was not that tough as we had thought earlier. Had Onion dosa for lunch at Vasu Hotel. Pkota took off soon after the lunch saying that he had to visit some relative. Adarsh too followed the suit. Rest of us started riding slowly sipping 2-3 tender coconuts along the highway. Harsha called up during one of the pit stop and told that he bought a new Trek 4300! Harsha and I have a secret deal, which still remains secret :D. Ride back was really slow and we were back in Bengalooru by 7pm.

Distances covered:
Harohalli is 37km from Bengalooru. From Family Mart it may be around 30km.
Bilikalli betta is around 12km from Harohalli.

Some pictures from Prasad's camera:


The roadside hotel at Harohalli where we munched delicious idlis :P

Mantapa on Maralavadi road.

Country road

At the foothill.

A tree

View of the valley from hill top

A local tried to explain to us that this rock exactly looked like elephant! Adarsh seemed to be whispering to the rock elephant.

The huge rock at the top under which the temple is constructed.


Prasad's photography.