2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I am about 25 now and if you ask me where my life’s headed, I can only wish I had a convincing answer. I have been 25wondering if it’s only me, to feel so lost and directionless at times or can it be extrapolated to many others of my age. Well, it looks like an epidemic, and our age is to blame! You are expected to be all grown up, have a good degree to flaunt and start earning well. Your parents start discussing important things with you, discussions which you were hitherto not part of and it slowly starts to hit you that you need to take more responsibilities and basically ‘be an adult’ and not ‘act like one’, if you know what I mean.

But your mind’s still stuck with being a lousy teenager, unable to get over the cartoons you used to watch and listening to music which most others feel is passé. All your friends are busy with their own lives , or at least it seems so and basically you realize that you are on your own. Some shift their bases to different countries for higher studies and jobs while some divergent guys start their own business. Your social media sites are filled with people travelling all over the world and posting their stories and experiences. Even more startling posts are the ones where people are either getting engaged or married. Huh! So much happening and happening so fast! It does get overwhelming and it only makes you ask one question over and over again, ‘what the hell am I doing?!’ This is what I call the twenties turmoil!

Back in college, all we cared about was to graduate and land a decent job, and we thought we were all set! What a farce that turned out to be! Finishing college and landing a job is one thing, but to find a job that you love is another (Well, if you have, congratulations!  You make the elite minority!). Either it pays you pittance or you really don’t like what you are doing. Either ways, you are not happy and constantly on the prowl to find something better. My early twenties was mainly about that. I mean just that! Nothing more…nothing less.

It’s about time that people around you expect you to settle down in life. ‘Settling down’ to me is a very subjective term and it’s very hard to quantify it. Does having a plump pay package and a job that sucks the life out of you qualify? Or even a job that you love, but pays you only enough to just get around till the end of the month does? When do you know that you have ‘settled down’? Does getting married translate to settling down?

The answer to this basically defines what kind of a person you are. If you are really content with whatever you already have and don’t want to come out of the cocoon of your comfort zone, you are basically settled. But for the ones who are struggling to break out of it and do something worthwhile, these are difficult questions! Having been through this thought process for a few years now; some hard realizations have hit me.

  1. Grass is greener on the other side: I cannot blindly wish to be what others are. If my friend gets into a job that pays him an astronomical salary, or starts a business, good for him! But should I start one, just out of peer pressure? Absolutely not! What if I am not earning as much as he does? Doesn’t really matter! I should only be concerned about hitting my own sweet spot, the one which is an acceptable compromise between money and passion, as chasing either of them, alone, can be a recipe for disaster. Success is a notion. Hard choices have to be made, some you like and some, meh, not so much!
  1. Degree, a piece of paper: The degree you have, the one that you toiled for years at college, doesn’t really mean much in the real world! It’s nothing more than a piece of paper. All the laurels you thought were bestowed upon you… Puff! Gone! Those grades that you fought so mindlessly for, they are a joke now! Hard to believe, but true. All that matters is how good you are at the work that you do. If you are not getting any better, there are hundreds of other guys out there who are ready to do the same, and for a much lesser price. Demand vs Supply, you see! You realize you don’t actually love your job, mainly cos the company won’t reciprocate! Moral of the story, never fall in love with a company! It will still be the same without you, or may be even better.
  2. Farewells are hard: Well, it’s inevitable. People do go away. You won’t have your roomies to fall back on to run some errands for you. You have to do your own dishes. You start missing the chaos and the ruckus your gang used to create! Loneliness is not actually a phenomenon that you once thought could only happen to people who were depressed or had some mental problem! It’s for real! You also find it hard to make new friends. Well, everyone around you seems weird! And you believe it’s true, beyond any reasonable doubt.
  3. Fear of Failure: Failures hit hard. Yes, harder than you thought. And there are far too many of them for your liking. May be because you are still finding out what your actual strengths are… and more importantly, discovering your own quirks and weaknesses along the way. But you know you have to keep wallowing, in whatever that comes your way, till you find that right thing to do. Until then… you shouldn’t forget to ‘Dream on’! As John Lenon once said, ‘Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans’.
  4. Get busy living, or get busy dying: This epic dialogue from the movie Shawshank Redemtion, makes more sense than ever. You know you have to toil hard… Harder than most others to get where you want to. If at all you know ‘where!’, that is!
  5. Keep Reinventing: There is always room for improvement. The more you work on it, the better your chances are to stay competitive and also do what you like in a better way.

So now, I tell myself that it’s OK not to have everything sorted at 25! I know, for a fact, that this is absolutely normal and almost everyone has gone through this. One can still make mistakes, as long as we keep learning from them.  After all, we have a whole life ahead of us! And we are just 25, for heaven’s sake!

’Your twenties will produce more failures than you ever choose to remember! The key is, when you do fail, don’t begin calling yourself a failure!’’ – Paul Angone

For me, Mysore is more than just a place…Every time a prospect of me visiting Mysore comes up, I feel ecstatic! And I am very sure it’s the same for many of us who have been associated with this magical city in one way or the other. The moment I see that bridge near the Columbia Asia hospital, that unmistakable Mysore feel kicks in! That’s when you start picking up your bags when you are travelling and get ready to experience Mysore, all over again!

My recent trip to Mysore made me remember my engineering days there. 4 years of my life, well spent! Pursuing engineering is one thing, but doing it in Mysore is another. This city has just everything that you can think of… It is modern, yet rustic in its charm… you have not so crowded malls and multiplexes, a zillion parks, wide roads with not much traffic, majestic palaces, pristine lakes, serene mountains, great education centers, a bustling student population and yet, an unparalleled sense of calmness that is so welcoming. Everything here seems so unagitated.

I have to thank my alma mater, The National institute of Engineering, for letting me experience this beautiful city. The city which has made me what I am today and has given me a lot of good friends, whose company I cherish. I thought of writing this post just to remember the things that we used to do as students of NIE and residents of Mysore from 2007 to 2011, before I forget them! May be, this can act as a ‘to do’ list for future/current Mysoreans!

Here are some of those memories attached to the places(Mainly eateries) in Mysore which may fade away unless I document it!

1. Shinith- oru egg buff!
This is what I heard from my mallu friends when they purchased egg puff from the small shop attached to the hostel campus. There used to be a guy called Shinith(He should still be around I guess) and he served brilliant lime juice and rasna, along with some delectable veg and egg puffs. For hostellers, ‘oru egg buff’ was a way of life!

2. Cuckoos
This small yet notorious place, right next to the hostel, is known for its brilliant chai and a lot of other egg items. Egg bonda and toasts were among the dishes in great demand, along with the distinct egg burji that he prepared. If you are an eggitarian, this place is a must try! Don’t go by the looks of this shop, as the looks are quite deceiving. You might under estimate this shop, but trust me, it’s brilliant!

3. Srinidhi Sagar
This small hotel (Now he has expanded) right in front of the admin block, used to be one of my usual breakfast spots. Mangalore buns and that delicious bisibele bath, along with the parotas that he prepared have catered to a number of hungry souls of NIE.

4. The LH!

Code name for the tea stall near ladies hostel. It used to be one of the most happening places during our times and the best place for gossip! Some of our lecturers frequented this place for a smoke as well.

5. Chinthana Cool Parlour
This shop which is attached to the annapoorna hostel compound, started off as a juice centre. But in no time, he expanded and started to serve a range of different food items and was an instant hit among the NIEans. It was a custom for us to have a lime juice there after every exam, discussing in detail how the paper went and also a place for gossip and during the final year, project and placement discussions!

6. Aunty Juice Centre- RTO Circle
This juice centre specializes in grape juice and if this shop has survived serving only this for decades, that’s an indicator of the taste and quality! A must try for anyone visiting Mysore! A stop here was customary for us, every time we took that road to go to the city.

7. Chamundi Hills – Tender Coconut and Sugarcane Juice
Back in my engineering days, myself and one of my friends, used to climb the hill through the steps, a thousand of them. An early morning trek to the hills can be quite refreshing and as it was quite close by, we used to frequently visit this. The sugarcane juice near the Nandi bull and the tender coconut on the hill top are just brilliant. I don’t know if it was because we used to be tired, but the tender coconuts there were quite different and used to taste heavenly. Never have I tasted such tender coconuts anywhere else. The view of Mysore from those steps along with the early morning weather, it is something magical.

8. Devraj Urs Road- Dosa Corner
Amidst all the classy showrooms of world famous brands on the most happening road of Mysore, stands this almost unnoticeable dosa corner serving wide variety of dosas. We used to visit this place so much the we ended up befriending the owner, a peculiarly bald guy who was very friendly! Palak Dosa here is just out of the world and it’s a must try! Look for Bombay tiffanies on Urs road and this shop is right next to it.

9. Jayanagar Bajji Bonda
This one is my favorite of the lot! Sankethi hostel compound in Jayanagar, a stone’s throw away from my room, has this amazing bajji bonda stall, serving everything that you can imagine! It used to be one rupee per piece during our days, but now I guess its two bucks a piece. This is by far the best place to have bajji bonda, if you are a fan of it. This fellow along with his son, has been serving here for decades and has also featured in a lot of local dailies. Its crowded all the time and you need to wait for you to get your share. It’s worth every minute that you wait there.

10. Churmuri – Vivekananda circle
Mysore is known for this snack and has a number of stalls serving this throughout the city. This one stands out though; of all the places I have had churmuri. For me, this beats even the famous shetty churmuri near ballal circle. He is been around for quite some time and has perfected this art. Yes, I call it an art because not everyone can get to this level! He stands right in front of the big bakery in Vivekananda circle and it’s a must try for snack lovers like me! The other place worth a try is the stall in front of the palace. He is decent too!

11. Bonda soup – Mahesh Prasad- Ballal Circle
One of the oldest hotels in town, Mahesh Prasad is known for its south Indian delicacies. The bonda soup here is just amazing. It is served hot in the evenings. If you top it with a tea there, nothing like it!

12. Golgappa- Mysore University Campus
Take a stroll in the serene Mysore university campus, enjoying its green cover. Breathe in some fresh air, as if you were in some forest. Come out, and have this golgappa from the stall right opposite the entrance to the campus! He is the best in business by a fair margin! Next in the list would be the one below Purple Haze!

13. Masala Dosa- GTR and Mylari
If you are a dosa fan, these 2 places are heaven for you. These two places serve the best masala dosas in town!

14. KRS Backwaters
Back in the day, this place was virtually unknown! Now, there stands a majestic temple of venugopala swamy. It was one of our favorite getaways. It used to be a desolate and beautiful place! You need to travel beyond the KRS dam to get there and when there is less water, you get to see some windows xp wallpaper scenes! It’s worth a visit even though it has garnered some publicity off late.

15. Chats- Vidyaranyapuram
When I say the chats here are good, take my word for it. I am one of those who can live on junk food and have tried chats all over Mysore! (That includes the chat street there). I somehow liked this place a lot. It’s the first one of many stalls(opposite Paradise Bakery) that are there near the St. Thomas school. They serve masala puri in steel bowls and it tastes heavenly!

16. Sangeetha Bar and Restaurant- Vidyaranyapuram
Even though I’m a non drinker, I used to visit this place with my friends a lot. A lot of our crazy engineering memories are attached to this place. Egg chilli and Raja special were amongst my favorite dishes here! This place serves decent food and is quite reasonable!

17. A jog around kukralli lake
This is a must do! One of the many benefits of staying in Mysore is that you feel so close to the nature! A jog around this beautiful lake first thing in the morning will do a world of good to your mind and body! With beautiful sunrise and the music of birds chirping, it’s the best start you can get to the day. Top it with some fresh fruits just outside the entrance, and see for yourself how great the combination is!

Well, I can actually go on n on. These are the things that were at the top of my list! Am sure there are many other places which are entwined in our memories. I am glad I got to experience Mysore and its culture and I am very sure, that anyone who has been to this city or stayed there has only good things to say about it. Feels great to say that I did my engineering there and although I have moved out of the city now, I am proud to say that I am still a Mysorean at heart and no one can take that away from me!

To everyone who loves Mysore!

silhouette

Staring back with anger, the silhouette speaks.
I dare not look at it, as it makes me weak.
I dreamt of being the person I am not,
And forever felt my dream had a shot.
My dream is now the silhouette…

It looks upon me, with despair and pique.
Goads me to wake up and act real quick…
I can’t look at its sinister face,
I am too lost in my own maze.

Should I sing my dreams a lullaby?
Or is it a requiem I should sing
What do I answer the silhouette?
It’s an exasperating thing.

Silhouette never gives up,
And neither do my dreams…
They are so entwined,
It engenders commotion in my mind.

And the silhouette speaks…

Years keep rolling and we hardly realize it! Time flies…Even though we don’t feel it; it will change us in some way or the other. We start to gain new perspectives on things and the views that we held hitherto will start to look stupid. Year 2013 has been a transformational year for me personally and professionally. Lot of things happened! Quite a lot indeed… Some were good and some were… urgh… pretty ugly. I was thinking what to take away from these experiences and what I should do in 2014. These are my top picks!

1. Shit Happens: Yes, it does. All the time! All I should do is to not give it too much thought n ruin my peace of mind. It’s not that important anyways. Some people are just born with a motto to trouble others and it’s their problem, not mine. Get over it!

2. Leave work at work: Bringing work home can be disastrous. Sailing wasn’t smooth as I hit some rough waters at office in 2013 and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, whether I was in office or at home watching TV. It just got the better of me somehow. I am not going to let that happen to me again, ever. I am better than that. Moreover, it’s not worth it.

3. Plan! : Should rework on my priorities in life. Currently am a little too lost for my own liking. That should change, ASAP! I think I have a draft ready, but needs a lot of tuning! Get on with it!

4. Stick to the plan: I have had more than 2 minds on a lot of things which I felt I should be doing in life. Taking the right decisions is all too important and that needs a lot of focus. I should learn to cut the crap out of my life and be serious about my goals, or risk losing track of who I want to be. In the process, I might miss out on a few good things as it doesn’t fit into my plan. So be it.

5. Being myself: Wasting too much time thinking about what others are doing and drawing implications can be dangerous. I have realized it the hard way in 2013. I will live my life on my own terms. It’s high time I did that. If better things are happening to people around me and never to me, may be they deserved it. It’s not my time as yet, but it will be, sometime soon. Just let it go.

6. Make friends: The best way to stay relaxed! Hatch up some great trip plans and have fun! Forget everything else for a while. Enjoy!

7. Restart writing Diary: The worst decision ever was to let go of my diary writing habit. This helped me keep track of my life and I should restart it in 2014. That’s the best way to introspect and retrospect. Also try n write something meaningful in 2014. It’s sad I haven’t been writing anything at all these days.

Huh! I have never made any resolutions for the New Year except this year! Just hoping to “stick to the plan” this time around… I wish myself a happy new year! And to you as well…

Auf Wieder Sehen!

2013 in review

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Photo : photographyheat.com

Photo : photographyheat.com

Somewhere deep inside,
I hear a voice; at times a chide,
The tone so dauntless,
The message so discrete,
My thoughts turn obsolete.

Ever so silent, yet so loud;
It engulfs my thoughts;
And lays its own,
Which, at times, I can’t disown

In the midst of eerie silence,
It rises like a volcano,
Wreaks a havoc,
Yet it leaves no marks.

I wonder who’s speaking,
I wonder if I’m dreaming,
I pinch myself and its all real,
The resonating voice is all I can feel.

Have I lost my mind?
Or am I one of a kind?
I want to eschew, Yet I can’t;
I even let out a rant.

It tells me I am you;
And you are me,
And asks me to let it be.
These silent whispers,
Echo in my mind.
I need peace,
And that’s what I yearn to find.

I , Me, and Myself!!

Posted: April 8, 2013 in life
Tags: , ,

You can call it selfish, but there comes a time in life where you have to put yourself ahead of other things and think of yourself first. Off late, I have been thinking about myself. The things I do, personally and professionally… about all those mundane things that fill my day…Things I have no clue why I am doing it… Things that doesn’t make sense at all but I just know I have to do it because of some obligation… things that sometimes I am so into… that I forget the entire purpose of it…

“Why do I do it?” It’s something that I have been asking myself and I just can’t answer it. Sometimes, I feel that life is a freaking big compromise. Whether you like it or not, it hands you its own cards and you have to play the best you can. It may not be the cards you wanted, but you don’t have a say! You just call it bad luck and try to stay put, pretending to play your best game.

It so happens that most of us, end up doing things that come our way… rather than doing things that we actually wanted to do… If you have a sense of direction to your life which you have thought about, and you know you are headed exactly the opposite way, it splits you into two! One half pretending to run in the direction you wanted, and the other half stuck in reality, struggling to make a move…

You can’t have a worse situation to deal with… can you? Why does it always happen? I mean with everyone! It’s not only me and you, but every damn guy! Should we just put all the blame on luck n sit back? Or give up after trying to force things for a while, and ultimately arriving at a conclusion that nothing can change? Or keep running behind it forever?

Answer to this depends on who is answering! A guy who is doing what he wanted to will say you need to persevere. A guy who has given his best shot, yet failed will say that it’s all bullshit. The hardest part is when you have to answer yourself! At some point, you know that it’s not going the way you wanted, but you force yourself to believe the opposite.

A famous quote says “Good things come to those who wait!” I say its bullshit. One of the biggest lies ever! If we keep on waiting, we will just wither away. We need to somehow find a way to turn it around. For that to happen, you need that “one little push!” from somewhere! You may call it luck, or divine intervention, or whatever… but you need it. Just to get things rolling. For you to start believing again! For you to have a sense of purpose again!

I always wished there was a fast forward button in life! And also reverse… just to have a peek at what’s in store for me in the future if I do this now! And to know if it’s worth doing?! How awesome it would be to know it! But… life’s a bitch. No breaking the rules. So am just playing along for now… and yet hoping for a turnaround in fortune.

Not that my life sucks now… But I just want it to suck less!

That’s all…your honor!

People ask me… “Why do you punish yourself by trekking every now and then in some remote mountain? Why don’t you just enjoy the weekend sitting back home, doing nothing? What makes you do all this?” They really do not understand the logic behind doing exhausting treks in thickest of forests or knee deep snow, with sun beating down on you, rains pouring down or sometimes in bone chilling cold of the mighty Himalayas.
Well, for me, there is no logic at all. Nature defies all logic! It’s something that I love doing and I am sure I will continue to do so for a long time. I feel alive when I do it. I love being in the middle of nowhere! That stone cold silence and total seclusion from everything for a couple of days make my head clear and easier to carry it around when I get back to civilization!

Me and a few of my friends headed to narasimha parvatha last weekend (may 17th n 18th). One of the most talked about treks in our group for a long time now and we were unable to do it as we never got the permission to trek in reserved forest ranges or camp there. Finally, we got it somehow through summiters, only to trek, but not for camping. We were off from bangalore on Friday night to mallandur, a village near agumbe, to make our weekend adventurous!
We reached agumbe by 5 in the morning. All of us had amazing breakfast at agumbe bus stand ( Hotel mayura). We are group of notorious eaters! (We got the tag in Himalayas when the cook got tired of cooking for us!) So needless to say, we hogged like crazy and used the toilet there only as we were next headed to mallandur, hardly half hour away.

barkhana falls top

barkhana falls top

alt=”Agumbe- Hotel Mayura” width=”300″ height=”200″ class=”size-medium wp-image-410″ /> Agumbe- Hotel Mayura[/caption]
Near Barkhana waterfall top

Near Barkhana waterfall top


We reached mallandur by 730, met the local guide Thimmappa, through whom we got the permission to trek. We had a day to roam around agumbe as we did not have the permission to camp.


Day 1:We started walking towards barkhana viewpoint, which gives an amazing view of the mountain ranges. It takes about 40 mins from thimmappa’s house to get here. Trail is flat and a piece of cake for anyone who can walk.

After that we headed to jogigundi falls. It had completely dried up, apart from some water which was left over! Again, a 40 minute trail. We played there and had our food.
People started to head back home after lunch for a quick nap before we go to the sunset point. But me and 3 others stayed back to experience something completely unexpected.
We saw a huge cobra! It was just metres away from where we sat! The moment we saw it, we ran for our lives! We had to climb uphill for a while and as I was running, I experienced cramps for the very first time! It was really bad… Needless to say, we were scared by the size and look of that cobra!

We got back, me limping, to tell the cobra story to everyone. They wanted to see the cobra too!
After a while, it suddenly started to rain! It was very hot since morning and this was a welcome change! It felt awesome to be there, in a village. Trust me; the rains are best experienced in villages than in cities! It gives you a different feel!
IMG_0060
IMG_0079

As it stopped, we headed towards agumbe to check out the house in which famous malgudi days series was shot. It’s a nice place, which has now been converted to a home stay. We hogged again in mayura and left to the sunset point just in time to witness (partly) the sunset.
Overnight stay and camp fire at thimmappa’s place. We cooked our own food.

ME!

ME!

Day 2:
Started by 7:45 in the morning after having breakfast. The trail goes through very thick forest range. Even though the sun came out, all guns blazing, by 9, we were in complete darkness inside the trail. Sunrays hardly reached us.

Some snake in water! (Not the cobra we saw)

Some snake in water! (Not the cobra we saw)


We trekked for 2 hours in the thickest of forests I have ever trekked in till date, we reached the top of barkhana waterfall. A sight to behold! With the view it opens up to, and water to play around… It’s the best place to relax for a while, click some snaps and then move on.
We started again by 11:15 towards the peak, again in dense forest. But now, the trail got steeper and it slowed us down a little. After an hour of climbing, and some breathtaking views, we reached the grasslands. It also gave us a sneak peek of the mighty narasimha parvatha peak. We had covered 11 kms in no time! We were happy as this was a preparatory trek to our second Himalayan adventure in May. Our chances looked good for an 80 km trek in Himalayas.
We were just 5 kms from the peak. We rested for a while before we did the last stretch, exposed to sun and the heat slowing us down. But it was worth it for the view we were getting to see! No one complained, as we enjoyed the trail.
We reached peak by 1:30pm. We never thought we would make it so fast! 16 kms in half a day! We sat there, and relished the joy of summiting Narasimha Parvatha. Everyone were damn hungry and the packed lunch tasted heavenly!
Agumbe- Hotel Mayura

Agumbe- Hotel Mayura

We left towards kigga village at 2:30 and we were back down at around 4pm near kigga temple. Our vehicle was there to pick us up. We took bath in sirimane falls nearby. It was much needed after a long trek. It was refreshing indeed.We then visited sringeri and headed back to Bangalore by night.
DSC06858

Near the peak

Near the peak

This trek is not a difficult one. Only thing is u need to have the permission from the forest department. Its really a picturesque trail and absolutely worth doing! One of the best treks and probably figures in top 3 that I have done in terms of the trail and view. Do it while you can!

For info : log on to http://www.summiters.net

2012 in review

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.