Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Road Trip to Goa - Again

Another of my road trip to Goa, from Bangalore. This time while planning for the trip, I was contemplating of either choosing a different route or probably stay over at night and split the journey across two days. But after a lot of analysis, especially the savings of time and money, it only made sense to finish it off like my previous trip's ie all in a day. (Start from home at 5am ,  and reach home in Goa in approx 12 hours.)

This time, we actually made it a point to note down in a diary every one hour, how many kms we had actually travelled and then looked at the average at the end. We also noted where we have the Kamath Upchar's so that anyone reading this can have it handy and plan appropriately, as we ourselves happened to forget the approx time lines as to when we would get the next.

Here was the approx plan -
Route --
Bangalore - Hubli  -                     NH4   - 400 Kms - Travel time 6 hours
Hubli - Ankola(Hitting NH17)  -  SH63  - 150 Kms - Travel time 3 hours
Ankola - Margao -                      NH17 - 100 Kms - Travel time 2 hours
Stoppages and breaks -                                                              1 hour.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 12 hours

Well, sounds well on paper. Previous day, we bought a lot of stuff, mainly eatables and drinks for our journey. We had preferred coconut water in our last trip, and hence packed a little extra this time. Also lot of biscuits and cakes added to it. What's most important during driving, especially on long drives is that one's stomach should be filled not necessarily full, and that ends up with lesser headaches etc.

5:30 AM - We started from our apartment, after heating up the food prepared the previous night for the journey and also a Thermos filled with tea, and two bottles of drinking water. Due to the metro construction, there are a lot of roads which lead to yeshwantpur, are actually blocked. So we ended up spending a little more time to get there. Once we were on the flyover, it was a easy drive, with only a few trucks to dodge with every now and then. After around 50kms from yeshwantpur, we get the first Kamath Upchar. Please note, the entry to this place is not clearly seen, and most cars actually end up entering this place from the exit road, which is not very easy to cut it in. The restrooms available there, fleurs is maintained well compared to other places. So I prefer this place. This is one hotel there which is more like a darshini, where you stand and eat(self service mode) and another which which is more of a regular hotel. The tea there was a good and just charges you up. The next Kamath upchar is only after 200 kms from that place, or rather 300 kms from Yeshwantpur. On the way we did take some pictures from the car. The views of the Wind Mills is especially lovely and the closer you get to it, the better it looks. Though the view is not really comparable to the one on the way to Kanyakumari, but well worth it.







There is a Kamath Upchar just after the first one, but as mentioned above, I do prefer this one. Then there is also a Coffee day just after this one. So there is a choice in case you lose out on the first one, which I would try and avoid.

Some more of the pictures on the way -






This Institute is in Davangere. The only time I had any reference to this place was during my CET counselling.




The beautiful roads of NH4, along with the cloudy skies, just making the drive relaxing. The greenery surrounding this place simply adds to the color.










And then it starts to rain, making the drive even more better and interesting. Managed to get a couple of good shots.



Then on our road to Karwar from Hubli, though there were bouts of rains, it wasn't really bad. We drove at a constant rate, averaging around 65-70 kms per hour which was good. Which meant that we were covering 200 kms in approx 3 hours which is the rate that I wanted to achieve. Though the road here is winding at some places, it cannot be called bad from any angle. We stopped at one petrol bunk for fill up, and there we also had our packed lunch around 2:30.
At 3:30 we touched Ankola, on NH17. Though its not actually Ankola, its still around 5-7 kms towards the left from that T-junction. Again, there is another Kamath Upchar almost at that junction, and you would need to travel around 2 kms to get there.
From there its around 110 kms to Margao, which you can cover in around 2-2.5 hours depending on the weather and not really much on the traffic.

We returned back the following week, on a sunday morning. We started at 9 from home at Goa, considering the fact that, there is a mad traffic if we touch Bangalore around 6-7 in the evening. Its anyday better to reach a little late after the peak has subsided, and at the same time, we dont need to leave early in the morning from home.
On the return path, we first stopped at the Kamath Upchar at Ankola, which I had referred to in my last paragraph. From there we did a non-stop to Hubli and stopped just after getting on the NH4 highway. There is another Kamath Upchar out there. Unfortunately it was jam packed since we had reached there at  prime lunch time. So we decided to anyway, get into the parking lot and eat the packed lunch that we had carried with us, along with the not so hot tea.  The as it started to get darker, we did keep eating the tit bits that we had carried, and shifting driving seat does help a lot. After around 200 kms, towards bangalore we get the last Kamath Upchar we normally stop. (Though there is another after some 25 kms and a A1 Plaza too).
The biggest bottle next on our entire journey was the toll booth at the entrance of the flyover near Nelamangala. It took around 20 min just to pay and come out. And then again it was pretty smooth and we had reached home in standard bangalore timings. The return trip took us 12 hours 45 min to be exact, which was not bad considering we were entering Bangalore.

There are numerous toll booth's on the way , and each way would cost you around 200 each side. considering the fact that, 2 toll booth's still are not yet ready. Once ready they will start to charge 35-40 each.
The NH 4 highway(till Hubli), is completely done now and one doesn't need to take detours and go on the wrong side of the road due to on-going constructions. Its just one straight smooth road and a perfect driving pleasure.





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Mausam - Bad Weather

Movie Review - Mausam
One line feedback - Avoid

If you still would want to watch this movie, then this should be one of the reasons-
  1. You  like to watch good photography.
  2. You like to participate in KBC and want to know  chronologically, the events which have happened over the past decade for the fastest finger first(Operation Blue star, Babri Masjid, Kargil War, 9/11,Gujrat Riots).
  3. You want to believe that bad luck does exist and one family can effected with all the major bad events which have occurred the whole decade across the world.(As mentioned above)
  4. You have a special interest in locks  which are built across the worlds. 
  5. You like to know and/or get nostalgic about the old telephone system and see they would get dialled and the listen to the good old ring tones.
  6. You want to see how to get a kick from riding a bicycle, and a good inspiration to start cycling again. Environment friendly reason off course.
Probably Pankaj Kapur wanted to create a serial of all the major events (man made disasters) and ended up putting everything into a movie and wanted to be displayed on a big screen. 

Some other analysis which we managed to do during the course of watching this fast paced movie.

  • When Shahid went to throw a bomb on Tiger hill during the Kargil war, did he keep in mind that Hrithik was also on the same assignment but poor fellow was climbing all the way up. Didn't he think what would have happened to him ? There seems to be lack of logistics,and bad communication.
  • Shahid , (at the end of the movie) standing at the door or a train bogey, aka suicide scene in Jab We Met, he was holding the support with his one hand (while the other one is paralysed), and his ex-flame offers him tea. Was it a trick that she was playing as he could have lost balance and neither was kareena present there to save him...
Now if you can understand , what this movie can do to a sane person like me, you can decide pretty well where to spend your money for entertainment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Latecomers

I do have a problem with these type of people, ie who are perpetually late. And what more, most of the people plan schedules keeping in mind these people only.A little importance is given to those who come on time. And its more of using these punctual people to fill in for the time lost due to delay in the latecomers.
In every meeting in office, though there are a bunch of people who come on time, they need to waste their time waiting for the latecomers. And yeah, the meeting doesn't start until they come. what more, if the meeting actually started, they get a recap of what happened, and there is again no value for those people who made an attempt to come on time.
Just wondering when would sense prevail and people try and respect other people's time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Canon PhotoMarathon 2011

Had registered for this marathon couple of weeks back and sure enough got a call from the organisers and the followed up with an email about the registration details. Somehow, I didn't want to miss it out this year and though it was a sunday morning, I woke up on time to reach the venue on time. This time was a new venue and was next to the Mallya Hospital. Parking was a pain and had to find something couple of kms away.
The registration counter was quite fast and we had to sign a couple of documents and then we received the id card and a white t-shirt with the logos and we were all set for the marathon.

At 10 am sharp, the first theme was announced. There were in all 3 themes and each theme had to be completed in 1.5 hours. The first theme was 'Games People Play'. Though it was interesting topic but not easy to get one,especially on a sunday morning. And yeah, I did miss my zoom lenses, as they have caught up with fungus. I was armed only with my kit lens (18-55) and a prime lens of 50mm. Spend some 45 min in walking around that place, near the Mallya hospital, Kanteerva Stadium and then near the UB city. Didnt really find anything interesting for the theme except the tricks that people play near the traffic signals (which probably even I do). It was nice noticing that and took a lot of shots. 

Walking just you get a different view of the place and you can get to see a lot of details. I didn't know that there was a Harley-Davidson showroom in that part of town, though it's the right place for such kind of bikes, considering the number of expensive cars that I normally see in a very short spell of time. 
There was an interesting picture that I managed to take , in a house,a very style house with a lot of garden area and an auto-rickshaw parked inside. It did make a nice shot, considering, its exactly opposite the Harley-Davidson showroom.


Some of the shots which I had considered for the 1st theme are below.
From PhotoMarathon-2011

This Ambulance, which was empty, was trying to enter the one-way street from the wrong direction and a policeman standing there, didn't quite mind it. But I didnt manage to get the pic where the police and the ambulance were in the same frame. 

After submitting the 1st theme at 11;30, there was a Kannada film actress who had come for the event, Aindita Ray. She was asked some silly question's which she gave some weird answers. She also got a free canon dslr :( Everyone in the hall felt bad about it, as it was quite evident that she didnt know the value of that camera. She did pose with the camera and everyone took a lot of her pics. She also let out the next theme, which was even more trickier to even think of.
The theme was something like this, though I dont seem to remember the exact words. ' Instilling the values in the next generation'. This was a real tough one even to get close to it. There were a few schools around who were playing different games. We all went there to get some ideas. I didn't have much luck there too and went ahead. Finally managed to get something in the coffee day where I went to have a quick bite.

Later on after a lunch served by the organisers, the 3rd theme was unveiled, which was simple and could get lots of ideas. The theme was ' Thinking Green'. I did get a lot of photos for this and I submitted the one which I felt good at the last moment, though it might not be the best one.

Nevertheless,here are some of the photos. Though a very tiring day, with a lot of walking done in a single day, and that too trying to get creative, was not that easy. I guess thats the reason, its called a 'Marathon' and not just a contest. Hats off to Canon to have such an event held every year. They also had a Service center for canon's and they did a neat job of cleaning the sensor of my camera and also cleaned the lens. The lens looks much better now and the photos looking a lot crispier.

From PhotoMarathon-2011

A biker crossing over to the wrong side of the road

The Biere Club.

The Harley Davidson showroom

Arranging the coffin outside the Mallya Hospital

Correcting the time on the clock

Only we know, how easy or difficult it is to have such tariff plans :)


Half Full or Half Empty

Participants uploading the pictures 

Impressive caption at Mallya hospital

Thinking Green- The camels on busy bangalore roads. The petrol prices dont effect much on them

At the Coffee Day



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Radio Channel

I would normally listen to Radio in the car while driving to office. And 94.3 Radio One was my favourite channel all this time , lets say for the last 2-3 years. As this was the only channel which played good hindi music.

Just a couple of weeks while searching for new channels I realised that 104 Fever also played great hindi songs. To top it all, in the evening we have our good old RJ Darius Sonawala. I felt really great hearing him again after such a long time. And the best part of this channel is they have nice snippets of Russia which I enjoy a lot. Also after 9 pm, they play all the songs from the 90's which was in our teenage days. Just feel good about it. As I write this article, I am enjoying the music played on this channel..

Repaired

It was a long pending task. Lets say for around 2 years that my music system was not working, or rather I was not using it. Finally I decided to get it fixed and enjoy music in my bedroom, especially to play the audio cassettes for which there is no other way to listen to. Finally called up Just Dial and got hold of a company which repairs Sony Music systems. The technician arrival in the time frame which was promised and he told me that my music system is a good one, or rather a older model which is not available in the current market. And If i had to buy a new one like the one which I have, I would need to buy like the ones of Bose or Sonodyne and would cost me no less than 65k-75k. I was pleased to hear that, though at the back of my mind I did feel that he was making me shell out a higher amount and at the same time not make me feel bad :) Nevertheless, I like this music system compared to the new one Sony player which I have bought for my parents in Goa. Somehow the sound quality of this older one seems better. Though mine doesnt support DVD player, who really cares, as long as I can play music on the CD's and also enjoy Radio.

Finally after 3 weeks I got my music system repaired but the same day my TV warranted a repair due to a power surge. Called another Just dial and asked for a technician. He came a little late than what he had promised for. I asked him the cost of the repair, as I had learnt from the mistakes I did while getting the music system repaired. He gave me a ballpark figure of 2k which i felt was a little more as If I had sell this old tv of mine wouldnt really fetch me even 1.5k. He then gave a alternate option, ie he would repair it on his own and not really through his company and get it back all repaired by the next day and also the cost would be 1300 only. Silently giving my apologies to Anna Hazare I agreed for this arrangement. He did come with the fixed electronic next day, though delayed by a couple of hours, but defnitely fixed. That 1300 saved me another 25k, else would have ended up buying a new LCD. Thanks for whatever happened...Currently as I write this article, I am happily enjoying the radio on 104 fever, which I listening to with old nostalgic songs...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Overdrive - Auto Mag

Seeing the short preview on the Overdrive tv show of the making of this month's Overdrive Mag, I thought that I should buy it. And as they say, if you want something you normally do get it :) At a signal , there was this guy selling these magazines, and though it was the 'Better Photography' magazine that attracted me towards, I remembered the Overdrive, and picked it up.This collectors issue was double the regular size,  and it also costed double the amount.
Later in the day, rather at night when I opened it, I felt it was really worth it. Though most of the pages are ads itself, the articles are really good. I loved the test drive of the hatchback's from Udaipur in Rajasthan to udiapur in tripura. Its simply awesome and love to do it sometime soon.
There are couple of posters which are well done and can be really used to decorate your cubicle. I plan to take mine to office, though there is a high probability it would be stolen pretty quickly ...

I think its a definite read for Auto lovers.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

India Against Corruption


A great movement from India.But I do have my share of views which I wanted to portray. The corruption doesnt really start at the government level, as you all know, but its induced from citizens like us, who want to get away with out mis-doings. I wanted to write an article on that front, but when I went through blog from Rashmi Bansal, I think she has put it in the best possible clear cut method.

Here is an excerpt from her blog
http://youthcurry.blogspot.com/2011/08/i-pledge-to-end-vocational-corruption.html


It is in this spirit that I have formulated a series of pledges for people belonging to different professions. If you really feel strongly about ending corruption in this country, silently make your commitment. To create that brave new world.

Chartered Accountants

I pledge to truthfully and faithfully conduct audits, refusing to overlook and sign off on discrepancies.

I pledge to ask my clients to pay the correct amount of tax rather than asking them how much tax they want to pay and working backwards.

I pledge not to employ my young colleagues doing articleship for the sole purpose of generating fake expense vouchers.

Doctors

I pledge to truthfully and faithfully examine patients, refusing to send them for unnecessary tests and surgical procedures.

I pledge to prescribe the correct and lowest priced medicine required, not the brand of a pharmaceutical company which offers me junkets and incentives.

I pledge to give receipts to patients for fees paid to me instead of operating in ‘cash’.

Marketers & Advertisers

I pledge to truthfully and faithfully sell products which live up to their claims.

I pledge that I will not play on the fears and insecurities of people by bombarding them with messages which make them feel old, ugly, unhealthy or unloved.
I pledge that I will not digitally enhance the hair, face and bodies of film stars and models to my products look better

Stock market experts

I pledge to truthfully and faithfully state whether I have made money using my own tips given to various television business channels.

I pledge to be a true expert by asking tough questions to company management and promoters.

I pledge to disclose all my personal investments in the stock market, before offering my ‘unbiased’ advice.

Journalists

I pledge to truthfully and faithfully report the news, without fear or favour

I pledge to not publish or broadcast paid news, or advertisements disguised as news.

I pledge that I will not suppress news, on the request or behest of any person/ persons.

The list of professions is long, I leave it to the readers to formulate the pledge necessary for their own line of work. You are welcome to add such pledges in the comments section :)

But here is one final pledge for all corporate fatcats:

I pledge to truthfully and faithfully work towards not just the bottomline of my company, but the health and happiness of society as a whole.