Sunday, 23 December 2012

Finally, he retires

Took a long time coming. And finally, Tendulkar retires from ODI's. One big problem that ails BCCI has come to an end with this decision. Now, if only the fur blot Dhoni also retires from Test cricket, we can see winds of change. 

I am not holding my breath though. 

Finally, Tendulkar will be doing what he should probably be doing - playing tests and ensuring that his legend stays on. Took a long time coming - about a year or two delayed... but better late than never. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Justice Markandey Katju responds

And he responds to the legal notice by kids in style, doesnt he. Whoa, Salute you, Justice. Brilliant response and very timely too. 

3. The English alphabets are all arranged haphazardly, there is no reason why D is followed by E, or E by F, or F by G, etc. On the other hand Panini in the first 14 sutras of his Ashtadhyayi arranged the alphabets in Sanskrit scientifically. Thus , the first sequence of 5 consonants (the  ka varga i.e. ka, kha, ga, gha, na ) are all sounds which emanate from the throat, the second sequence from the middle of the tongue, the third from the roof of the mouth, the fourth from the tip of the tongue, and the fifth from the lips. The second and fourth consonants in each sequence are aspirants in which the sound 'ha' is combined with the previous consonant e.g. ka+ha =kha.

Link here

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Tatkal tales and travails

Terribly disappointing. I tried booking tatkal on 2 different days to come from NJP [New Jalpaiguri] to Howrah or Bangalore.

Stats from what I saw on both the days:
Both days had one straight train from NJP to Bangalore. I log in at 9.57AM dutifully so I can book tickets at 10.00AM the earliest. 

Day 1 and Day 2:
tickets available:
a. SL : 182 seats
b. 3 AC: 32 seats
c. 2 AC: 16 seats

A total of 230 seats are available on both days. 

I was able to login at 9.57AM on both days and was able to see these seats available for booking. At 10.00 AM and a few seconds, I was dropped off the site when I tried to book [service unavailable]. So, logged in at 10.03 AM [10.02 35 to be precise] and I see REGRET/WL001 as the status! WHAT? Now if we think about it, what this would mean is that 230 tickets got booked in about 150 seconds... that too using a terribly slow to respond irctc site at 10.00 AM. Sounds weird? But its true.

Not withstanding all this [I realised that there is no way in green hell that I can get tatkal tickets if this is the way the ticket booking works], I promptly went to the reputed travel agents there to see if I can get a ticket... but I was refused in most places. I kept trying and went to one more reputed [IRCTC authorised agent apparently] who said all tickets for December is booked. So, I asked him if he can book a tatkal ticket for me... [Authors note - mark my words here] Says the old man in the shop "I am only talking about tatkal tickets - all tickets till December is booked". Me: "Are you really sure? Tatkal gets opened one day before the travel date. How can they get booked in advance. Are you talking about tatkal or normal tickets". Old fat shop keeper: "Yes. Tatkal only. All tickets are booked till December.Now, you go away". I didnt budge. Asked him: "So, what do I do now? I need a ticket." Old rude son-of-a-bitch shopkeeper: "Buy a general class ticket and go in the train if you are in a hurry". I gave him a withering glance and legged it to the next shop. He said he will try his best to buy tickets using his high speed internet for the next day [legal way] but he couldnt succeed and gave my advance back.

Lessons learnt:
a. There is a massive black market for tatkal tickets from NJP. I hope some authority is aware of it and atleast attempts to sort it out. Take it from me - a person who travels in train often. It is statistically, humanly and IRCTC-ly impossible [knowing how the site works] to book 230 tickets in 120-150 seconds. I can agree that outliers exist and it can happen on some rare day [even that is possible only if we want to be very very generous and think that laws of physics didnt function too well on that particular day]. BUT, I saw it happen for 2 days running. I am sure if you check it tomorrow at 10.00AM, the same shit scenario will happen. 
b. Tickets are surely being blocked or stored for usage later [sold at a higher cost? I wouldnt know the way it works. They probably stuff it in the backend at 10.00 and take it back by 10.02 or something? Only god knows.]
c. If a foreigner asks for tickets, the answers are different. I saw it before my own eyes as a friend of mine [non-Indian] asked for a tkt to HWH from the same reputed IRCTC agent and he happily says that he can arrange tickets. He sees me in a while and he says no tickets. Sadly, he didnt realise that we [friend and I] came together and we just wanted to poke around.

Sad state of affairs. Truly shocking and very shameful.  

Monday, 3 December 2012

Himachal Trip: Part I: Dharamshala, Manali and Naggar

My friend and I did a 9 day trip to Himachal and Chandigarh last September. It was a beautiful trip and the more I think of it, the more I truly believe that it was the best that we could have done in 9 days considering that it was a sudden on-the-spur-of-the-moment trip that we didn’t really plan for.
We [I rather. My friend brought my stuff along with his - my bag included - from bangalore. It was that sudden as far as trip goes. Had to depend on someone to bring my clothes and stuff for the trip duration] started from Chennai and headed to Delhi on the Duronto express with an idea that things will work out fine [and we would be able to book tickets, hotels, have buses available and on time and we should be able to reach the Himachal and see the Himalayas from that place and so on. What we did end up doing was something that surpassed even our most optimistic imagination. More on that to come]. We had a nice 28 hr journey to Delhi [and my friend was travelling by Duronto the first time and most of the journey was a very pleasant shock to him]. We met nice friends along the way and had interesting conversations and headed to the ISBT once we were in Delhi [we used the metro in Delhi to reach there. A good ride!] Once we were in the ISBT, a hop skip and a jump and we were on the bus taking us to Chandigarh with no idea as to what we were planning. [We were also looking at going upto Amritsar and have a look at the Wagah border and see the Golden temple too. Besides Chandigarh is also on the way to go to HP]. We were slightly late at Chandigarh and we decided to move ahead full steam to HP and do Wagah and Golden Temple on the way back. [A sensible decision in hindsight as we couldn’t have afforded to spend time there] So, off we went to Dharamshala.
3rd day of trip: We were in Dharamshala at about 3.30 in the morning and we were on the lookout for a place to stay. The dogs in the road were having a keen interest in what we were trying to do [and were on the lookout for some fresh flesh too, probably]. We escaped the dogs and finally ended up in a hotel for a decent bargain and off my friend went to sleep. Unlucky for us, it rained almost the entire morning, [here] so we bought ourselves new umbrellas and started walking towards McLeodGanj in search of Enlightenment food and entertainment. More walking brought us to the Monastery [Tsuglagkhang complex] and the sights kept us at peace with the world. More walks in the Tibetan museum, Kalachakra temple, more momos in the entrance and some book and souvenir buying later, I realised that I  had left my umbrella at the book shop and it was locked... and no one knew when the shop keeper will be back as he had left for the day... As I was left brooding about my new umbrella, a thought chanced upon me to talk to the guys around... random talking with security led me to the monks quarters where we met a few monks and they helped us catch the shop keeper on phone and get my umbrella back. [Lesson No.1: Every problem presents a new opportunity...] So, once I got my umbrella, we said our goodbyes and went on our way back. We were just roaming around the place and were doing nothing when my friend caught up with a security there and was speaking to him. I was waiting for him and ready to move along when he stopped me and said “Wait, the Dalai Lama might come”. So we waited, along with the rest of people, for a while and lo and behold, he DID zip through in his car and the customary cavalcade. [Lesson 2: Some problems present beautiful opportunities]. Later, quite satisfied with the day’s work, we went through a carnival and my friend played a bit but won nothing and we walked through onto a small hill and ended up somewhere near the mountaineering institute in McLeod Gunj. We rested for a while after our efforts and also to plan on what next was required...
We decided on leaving McLeodGunj as it was too touristy and move on to an equally touristy place – Manali. [Except that we had no tickets... talking to the hotel owner helped and he pulled a few strings and arranged for 2 tickets...and in no time we were in the bus all over again after just about 12 hours of staying without travelling after 3 days of all kinds of travel.] Off we went through to Manali – the roads were long and meandering and had lovely views of the lower Himalayas... we were more awake than asleep and we were mostly looking through the window at the nice sights. [My friend had a nice sight even in the bus - on his left [I was on his right, FYI] and behind him, if you want to believe him]
4th day of trip: Landed in Manali. We were in “safe” hands and territory even before we got down – about some 15 hawks  hotel brokers descended upon us ready to push us to the hotel that they want us to move in to. We took it in for a few minutes and then started walking away to decide matters on our own. Came across the very interesting looking HP Tourism Rooms [called HPTDC, if I remember right. good place to stay!] and decided to stay in it [friend initially had reservations as it was slightly on the higher side [for him]... but in the end, he was very satisfied with the place too]. Some more sleeping / surfing, lonely planet checking to check the stuff to be done and logistics and we were prepared to take on the to speak.

We went and had a look at the Manali Museum, the Dhungri temple [Hadimba temple. Sad that we had to see Genelia the Bollywood actor in it too when we were there. My friend was very happy on sighting her and reckon, he also winked at her and she smiled back... or so he says],  Gadhan Thekchokling gompa and a few more. It was time for lunch and we came back to the hotel and had our hearty meal there [HPTDC has a good place to eat [restaurant] too!]. I slowly started initial negotiations and talk for a ride upto Leh, Ladakh or somewhere closer to the mountains [without knowing what we were getting into, obviously]. The initial rates and time quoted were expensive and we weren’t really looking at it - we were more likely shooting in thre dark at that time - and thought we will take it a day at a time. We were in a quandary after lunch – visit Solang Nullah or Naggar. Friend said Solang Nullah and I said Naggar... finally, settled on Naggar as it was mid point to Kullu too.
Maheshwar temple

Interior of temple

Yak in tow

In the meanwhile, more talking with the tourism desk and more decisions later, we finally decided on a 750 km Himalayan hinterland jeep ride [ the Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Sangla and Shimla valley]. We were paying a fairly steep price and the driver said that he hasn’t done a 5 day trip of the Spiti valley and it would require atleast 8-9 days... so we compromised to do the travel on best effort basis and decide on a day-by-day basis as to what can be done.
Naggar is a beautiful place in the midst of the road between Kullu and Manali and it was also the erstwhile capital of Kullu region in the 1460’s. Naggar has a nice castle with good views and also an old temple close by. 

Naggar Castle

View from Naggar castle

Temple inside Naggar castle

We came back to the room, after viewing all the sights, fully aware of the fact that we will start on the most important part of our trip on the next day - getting up close and personal with the Himalaya mountains. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ponting retires

Took a long time coming... but loved the way you fought till the end. 
Thanks, mate, for all the entertainment. You have been a brilliant artist. 

There were times when people hated you but it seems fitting that most stand up in respect when you have decided to retire and the rancor is not to be seen.

Update: A nice read up here. Considering that its written by an English guy [the Poms] it makes it even more special. there you go, Punter

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Trek to Phalut

Nestled in the hills, which are the lonely vistas of the Indian Himalayan range, are the villages of Tumling, Sandakphu and Phalut and I had the occasion to trek upto these places in the month of November.

I decided on a sudden unplanned trip to Darjeeling, so I can feel better, and ended up doing the Phalut trek being up close and personal with the Kanchenjunga. What’s more, I heard that the Everest Range is also visible from Sandakphu and Phalut and being a nature lover, what more reason would I really need to take it head on?
So, I spoke with a few guides here about the trek and got the best offer and told him that I will meet him on the next day at 8.00 AM in the morning.
The earlier night, I also chanced upon a few guys from Slovenia and a couple of girls from England and a guy from Germany. These guys had a trek in mind and asked me if they could accompany me till the first day atleast... and I said yes, please.
So, off I went to Manebhanjang with the rest of the folks and my guide – a nice guy by the name of Siddharth Tamang [ Siddharth being the original name of Buddha]. [Note: Distance between Manebhanjang and Darjeeling is about 26 kms and it takes about 2 hours to reach there. Its also mandatory to take a guide if one plans to walk through the Singalila natural reserve.].  The other guys spent a few minutes showing their passports to the border outpost [ the trek passes through Nepal in several regions and hence the presence of outposts from the Indian Army in almost all locations] and spent a few more minutes getting a guide from them and we were good for starting on our journey.
We had a steep but interesting walk upto Chitre on trekking trails, steps and a jeep track. We stopped for tea there and had a bit of the magnificent Rhododendron wine. [The local wine is not so strong and tastes a little bit like Roxy – the rice wine. Try it if you get a chance]. The views started getting positively better and the air crispier and cooler. We moved through more of the jeep track and trails to reach a place called Lama Dura. More of trail walking along the gentle ridges of the Himalayas took us to Megma – the place where we lunched. Most who walked with me [except the German guy] had to say goodbye as they wanted to be back at Darjeeling by night fall. Saying our goodbyes [last goodbye’s?], the remaining moved forward to Tumling – the place for our night halt. We passed through a bifurcation in the road and took the left to Tumling and reached Tumling after a good trek of 11 kms from Maneybhanjang.
Tumling situated at an altitude of 2970 meters is a small village in West Bengal that has a few people and boasts of reasonably good views of the Kanchenjunga range. It has a few good lodges where people can stay and the people are nice to tourists at large. The place sleeps by 7.30 PM in the night and temperatures can really go down in the evenings [ it gets dark by 4.30 in the winter. I hear that in the peak of winter, it can get REALLY cold]. We met a nice Finnish couple over at the lodge where we stayed and had a really nice time talking and exchanging information.
We viewed the early morning sunrise at Tumling and had a first hand experience of life at the Himalayas when its almost freezing –the grass and the trees are covered with ice from the nights cold and one’s hands and feet get really cold.
Tumling Lodge

Lonely flag
Kanchenjunga view

We started early morning [8.00 AM] from Tumling after a good oats porridge and roti and made our way to Jaubari. We had tea at Jaubhari and met another American couple, another German man and a Chilean guy who also started walking along with us. One starts on the Singalila Natural reserve forest walk from here. We bought our tickets and started with our Singalila trek - the trek is good and really steep at places. We saw a lammergeyer in full flight, and mesmerized with its wing span stopped almost dead on our tracks.
Off we went to Gauribans where we camped for lunch and made our way to Sandakphu through Kalipokhri, Bikhey and Bhanjang. The trek is a total of 19 kms and the last 6 kms [from Bhanjang to Sandakphu] is really steep and one would do good to have energy bars handy so they don’t struggle through the last stretch. After an exhausting last stretch, we all were pleased to see Sandakphu finally in sight and we were welcomed with hot tea. More talk with the Finnish couple, the American couple, the Chilean and the German guys in the evenings. Fun filled and interesting.

Sandakphu is located at an altitude of 3636 meters and boasts of the best view in India of the Mt Everest and good views of the Kanchenjuga. We weren’t disappointed even one bit with either the stellar views of the stars we got the earlier night or the spectacular views of the mountain ranges [ both Everest and Kanchenjunga ranges] from the place. It was initially cloudy at the beginning during sun rise but the views became positively better by the time it was 8.00 AM - the sun drives the clouds away.
Just before the sunrise - Sandakphu

View of Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu

Kanchenjunga range on right. 3 sisters in middle. Everest in the far left 
Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest and Makalu - in sight.

More time for goodbyes – the Finnish couple and the German guys started on their way back to Darjeeling. Off we started at 8.00 AM from Sandakphu to another village [Phalut] which is even closer to Kanchenjunga and is reputed to be the best view point from West Bengal [the other is in North Sikkim]. We started on our long journey of 21 kms towards Phalut. The first resting point is Sabarkhum, about 14 kms away, and there are no villages where tea / water can be had [Note to the reader : ensure that there is enough liquid and energy bar too, if required, on hand]. Almost the entire stretch has views of the magnificent Kanchenjunga and Everest and if the weather is clear, its a divine trek all through [one moves closer to the mountain with the view in front of us]. We lunched at Sabarkhum [saw Yaks, eagles, mules and ponies on the way]and started again on our journey to Phalut – about 7 kms away and ended up in Phalut in the evening. More talk in the evening with the Chilean who is on a 8-9 month travel tour [ I wish I can do that too!]. It was an engrossing talk with him and was predominantly educative.
Phalut is a small village at 3600 meters and has some of the best views of Kanchenjunga from W.Bengal. My guide invited me to the hosts kitchen and we [me and the Chilean guy] went and had a very good time with the host and we were seated in her fireplace [her cooking stove, actually. So we sat close to it. Not ON it] and were party to an actual Tibetan style dinner and the going ons of a normal Nepali house. After a hot and sumptuous dinner, we said our goodbyes as I planned to leave early in the morning so I can descend to Rimbhik in a single day [quite a crazy plan since its 35 kms away!]
We [me and my guide] started at 5.50 AM from Phalut without having tea and descended very quickly [crazily quick as my guide puts] to Gorkhey at 7.45 AM. We had fantastic views of the mountain range in the morning while we descended and we descended through a trail through thick forests. We camped in Gorkhey for tea and breakfast and got a very sumptuous breakfast at Gorkhey and left at 8.45 AM. There was a very nice river passing through Gorkhey and we passed through a small bridge at Gorkhey to cross the river. Off we sped to Rammam via Samadhan and we didn’t plan to stop there. We passed through the Rammam school and sped on our way to Sirikhola. We passed through really thick forests and a lot of vegetation and pine and bamboo trees. We crossed the river at several locations while going from Rammam to Sirikhola. Stopped for tea at Sirikhola after reaching the place at 10.55 AM. Sirikhola is named after the Sri Khola [I know that it doesn’t explain a lot. Khola in Nepali means a river. Its the Sri river]. We had a cup of really good tea at Sirikhola overlooking the lovely Siri river and attending to our ankles and knees [they take a good beating. The road from Rammam to Sirikhola is very steep in many places]. We started at roughly about 11.25-11.30 AM to make our way back to Rimbhik through a flat and gentle jeep road for about 7 kms. We made it to Rimbhik at 12.35PM. 35 kms in 5 and a half hours. The guide was quite upset and very tired and said never again does he plan to do this. Well, so do the veterans of the circuit. I say, I would do it all again if it has to be done.
All in all, a fantastic trek. Immaculate views? Check. Nice company? Check. Good trekking trails? Check. Good time and rooms? Check. Good food? Check. One for the memories...

a. Dont try the 35 kms in a single day - its as crazy as my guide said it was. 
b. Carry warm clothing - trekking socks and gloves if you plan to do it in the winter. [Temperature can go upto -20 in peak of winter. When I went it was about -1 to 0 degrees. Water froze in the bucket and my toothpaste became solid and had to be coaxed out. I could see a lot of ice on the trees and the grass and on the way.
c. If you want to try the guide Siddharth - let me know. I will provide his details.
Updated 29th Nov : d. The guys here keep telling me each time I meet them that 35 kms in 6 hrs is a big thing and they have never seen it till date. So... all the more reason not to try this madness.

Link to Pics can be found hereherehere and here

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

100 Best Quotes on Leadership

The one that I like: 
  1. A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. —Polybius
More here

Monday, 8 October 2012

A dumb idea

The same person who defined and attested the concept of shareholder value and how one should go after it goes against his own words and calls it a dumb idea today.

"On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world,” he said. “Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy . . . Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products."

Link here

Friday, 5 October 2012

Branding Lessons

"Focus on small group of expert users who make extreme demands of your product.  Keep exceeding the expectations of this small group of users.  When these experts love your product, they will recommend it.  Lots of casual consumers will notice and be attracted to your brand.  They’ll eventually account for more sales volume than the experts.  But even when the new consumers account for most of your sales volume, keep designing your products for those experts.  In other words, always shoot for dead center on your target."

More here

NSE Flash crash

NSE saw a flash crash today. Are the regulators watching?

Link here

Friday, 7 September 2012

The questions that arent asked in interviews

What is it that you are looking for in your next job (pick one)?
  1. More Money
  2. Better Benefits
  3. Different Culture
  4. Growth and Opportunity
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.  Rather, the interviewee’s answer will reveal what motivates them in the workplace.  Now, the magic of the question isn’t the answer, but how the answer matches or contrasts your company’s culture and environment.

More here

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Normal Distribution : Performance grading bell curve

Yet another post bashing the Great Intellectual Fraud as Nassim Nicholas Taleb would put it.

"The problem with organizations that have only adopted the bell curve — and not the rest of the integrated process — is that they end up forcing differentiation by the numbers. Managers start with the formula instead of performance. This formulaic approach reverses the basic assumption that all people have the capacity to achieve stretch performance and continue to grow and develop. Instead, focusing on the curve gives the demoralizing message that only a few people can be successful, and the rest will be average or less. And if managers expect their people to perform at average levels (or worse), they will. It’s a reverse Pygmalion Principle: People will perform downward to meet the lowered expectations. If they know that true performance and achievement will not make a difference in their ratings and their future, why bother? And for those that do want to really achieve and make a difference, they will look for an organization that is more like GE and will truly reward stretch performance."

Link here

Monday, 13 August 2012

Coming of age

Very pleased to see India come out in full strength and get 6 medals in the Olympics.

Lots of positives. Strengthened the belief that in shooting, India is becoming a rival to reckon with. Reinforced the belief of strength in wrestling [good job Yogeshwar!. Ofcourse Sushil too], a few glaring errors in refreeing in boxing but nevertheless a medal. A surprise in badminton [honestly, I didnt expect that]

Hockey was disappointing in the sense they should have finished 6/7... not 12.

Joydeep Karmakar will take a lot of positives from this. Too bad to miss it by a small bit - but all this helps in the future competitions. He should / will take heart from this.

Surprisingly, we found 2 final entries in discus too... track and athletics - something that India has failed to do for a very long time. Brilliant there too.

Tennis was poor but it was sort of expected too [atleast I thought it wasnt a medal chance]. In badminton, P Kashyap should take a lot of confidence and positive attitude from this olympics.

Overall, an outstanding Olympic and they did surpass my personal expectation [my personal belief was this: "5 medals in 2012 and they have come of age"]. Simple fantastic.

Now for more focus and target 10+ medals in Rio. Rio, here we come.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Boucher Retires

What a guy. what a man. He is truly one of the greats of the game to ever have graced the cricket field.

"The symmetry of the numbers, too, would have intrigued those who believe in planetary alignment. The third Test of the series would have been his 150th and last, at the home of cricket. But now there will always be something slightly Bradmanesque about his record international haul of 999 international dismissals."

Link here

Friday, 15 June 2012

End of days for Gupta?

Hope he gets his 110 years in prison.

"From 3:13pm to 3:53pm on September 23, 2008, Gupta participated in a Goldman board meeting conducted over a conference call from his office at McKinsey & Co., where he had once served as CEO, Tarlowe explained.  Within seconds of ending the board meeting, Gupta called Rajaratnam’s direct line at Galleon, the prosecutor went on, which was available to a select few people.  Immediately after their call ended at 3:56pm, Rajaratnam ordered one of his traders to purchase 100,000 shares of Goldman.  A minute later, he ordered a more senior trader at Galleon to purchase an additional 250,000 shares – the combined purchases were worth about $43 million.  No one else other than Gupta called Rajartnam’s direct line during the last ten minutes of trading on that day, Tarlowe added.  And the size of the trade went well beyond Galleon’s trading parameters.  News of Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in Goldman became public well after trading closed on that day"

Link here

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bylakuppe, Dubare, Honey valley : Madikeri bike trip

Friend and I planned to do a 3-day trip to Madikkeri by bike and had a decent time being there.

Started early and skipped traffic in most of the places and reached Bylakuppe [through the Hunsur-Periyapatna route] by 12.00 PM. This was the first time I was visiting the monastery in Bylakuppe and there was a nice feel to the Tibetan settlement present there and also their golden monastery.

Imposing 60-foot idols of Bodisatva, Buddha and Amutayus invite the people in the inner sanctum of the monastery.

Buddha and Amitayus

Buddha @ Bylakuppe

We were just in time to view the monks during the prayer time

Long line of monks reciting their prayers

Next stop was Dubare where there was not much of water - so we could wade through knee deep water to the other side of the river bank where the elephants are found. Dubare seems like a nice place to relax and spend time in if one isnt in a hurry. The Jungle lodges there provide decent rooms at slightly inflated prices but its well worth one's while to try it sometime.

The route from Dubare to Madikkeri is quite scenic and is a fair bit of a technical challenge too. Not very steep but long meandering roads with winding turns interspersed with a hairpin here and there makes it a nice route to ride / drive in. Add the coffee plantations on one side and the smell of the coffee flowers, its a double delight and all the more reason why one should take it slow and take all the smell and the scene in while riding. We halted in Madikkeri for the night.

Personal advice: skip Abbi falls - its commercial and not that great. Raja's seat is perched atop the park and is just about OK. The park also has a musical fountain bewtween 6.30-7.00 PM almost all days - we went late but from I saw, it was quite good for the last few mins that I was able to view.

We planned to go to Honey valley the next day - though I have been there many times earlier, each individual visit to Honey valley is an unique experience by itself and I am getting quite fond of the place. Excellent views and ability to have long walks really impress me about this place vis-avis most other homestays where the walks end in 15 mins.

View from some 3.5-4 kms away from Honey valley towards Tadiandamol ridge walk route
Note: From Madikkeri - take the route to Mangalore to go to Honeyvalley. Madikkeri->Kakkabe->Kabbinakad. Honey valley is about 4 kms from Kabbinakad. One can park their car in the parking lot and then either walk up or ask for the jeep [call earlier to arrange for the same].

We came back to Blr through the Kabbinakad->Virajpet->Gonikoppa->Hunsur and back. The route from Madikkeri-> Hunsur through Virajpet and Gonikoppa is quite bad when compared to the route from Hunsur->Madikkeri through periyapatna. [Just somewhere beyond Hunsur there is a bifurcation where the left takes one to Virajpet and the right goes to Madikkeri through Periyapatna]

All in all, a decent trip and lots of good memories.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

If you are going through hell, keep going

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He followed that with another speech shortly thereafter: “. . . we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Link here

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

First post

2 interesting articles:



Dont forget to see the deep links too!

Update: I urge anyone worth his /her salt who actually does link to the post to check both links and grasp the importance and fwd as reqd. CLINCH the moment!

Update 2: see this link particularly: hoot

Monday, 23 April 2012

Yay. Beginning of new tidings

Nadal has finally broken the jinx. WON over Djokovic after 7 agonising consecutive final defeats. Naysayers might point to the fact that Djokovic was having a tough emotional moment in his life and didnt give it his best. That remains to be seen.

Now on for Rafa's title defence in Roland Garros. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

10 communication secrets

"The best communicators are great listeners and observers. Great communicators are skilled a reading a person/group by sensing the moods, dynamics, attitudes, values and concerns of those being communicated with. Not only do they read they environment well, but they possess the uncanny ability to adapt their messaging to said environment without missing a beat. The message is not about the messenger; it has nothing to do with messenger; it is however 100% about meeting the needs and the expectations of those you’re communicating with."

Link here

Brilliant piece

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

GS executive speaks

If only everyone could have this kind of guts...

How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

Link here

I do wonder how we did get here too. Its quite a fair bit of distance from what the owners wanted... cherished and expected the firm to stand for. Any firm for that matter. Such a come down. Indicative of the current age or is this something more fundamental to the levels that we as a society have fallen?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Another one of the Fab Five bows out

A true sportsman and an even better gentleman.The first sports star in recent times,  as far as I can remember, who has appreciated the fans too. Rahul Dravid. He goes out as he came in. Untouched and untampered. Atleast not so much as the rest even after 16 years of being employed in a deeply political misfit organisation like the BCCI.

Take a bow!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Mens Hockey team through to the Olympics

Very satisfying to see the team perform well. Michael Nobbs needs mention too for trusting his team and also benching many seniors because of lack of fitness.

Will the BCCI learn from this?

On a side note, looked into the road atlas to see the entire trip into the Himachal hinterland that I had 6 months ago. Well and truly a once in a lifetime experience. Vindication. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Financial War Against Iran

James Rickards weighs in with his views on the subject on site.

Link here

Monday, 30 January 2012

Banking wasnt meant to be like this

Longish but very pertinent article from the ever sharp Michael Hudson.

"In sum, neither British nor American banking or stock markets planned for the future. Their time frame was short, and they preferred rent-extracting projects to industrial innovation. Most banks favored large real estate borrowers, railroads and public utilities whose income streams easily could be forecast. Only after manufacturing companies grew fairly large did they obtain significant bank and stock market credit.
What is remarkable is that this is the tradition of banking and high finance that has emerged victorious throughout the world. The explanation is primarily the military victory of the United States, Britain and their Allies in the Great War and a generation later, in World War II."

More here

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Ian Chappell's take on the top three modern test batsmen

Brilliant. Simple brilliant. Precisely my points too.

Apart from being technically quite correct, a graceful approach to batting, playing when the team needs him the most, playing when the rest of the team was crumbling (which was often enough). Getting in and making it count and scoring big counts too.

Link here