Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mysterious Contracts!

9th December, 2008

Today! The ugliest day ever in my life. I am seeing many things which I did not want to see. There are lot of things happening simultaneously and all with negative vibes. While I am writing this, I am still feeling very uneasy about what I am going to write now:

Mysterious Contracts!

I was hearing all about our company taking off vendors from its roles starting Jan 2009. I was not sure about this because nothing was officially announced. But I had already started worrying about the news I heard about. I was filled with fear and anxiety for my fellow colleagues’ who are very close to me at office who are on vendor roles. When I heard about the confirmed news from my boss, I was really shocked and could not believe it. But it got confirmed later that our company is sending off all the vendor employees across all the locations in India. But nothing was still announced in Bangalore office. So all of us were worried about what would happen today. While we were discussing about the same, there was a call for all the recruiters in a conference room for some discussion. I was very sure that this is the discussion which is going to happen and today is the end of all the vendors. As it turned out true, it was decided over the call that this month is the end of all the vendor employees in our company. I went numb over it and was shocked over the fact that we will lose our buddies at work. I could not stop worrying about my colleagues. Most of them are not bold enough to face such situations and they will panic and get worried about their future. When they announced the same to all the vendors, I could see the worried faces and fear for their future run. Lot of them started crying and got panicked about the whole decision. Most of them were bread winners for their family! And yet they had to face such ugliest moments in their lives.

I was feeling so low that I could not even eat my lunch properly today and I was not having any courage to face these people today. Even though I wanted to talk to them, I controlled myself by not talking to them on this issue. While returning home with Nami and Prasad, the discussion was the same and we were telling Prasad that how bad we feel for our colleagues. What can Prasad say? Or what can we say? Person who is facing this situation will know how the pain is.
After reaching home, I was narrating the whole story to Narasim and he was feeling bad about whatever happened to my colleagues. All he wanted from me was to support them in whatever way I can.

I then wanted to speak to one of my colleague and I called him. He was talking to me with a very low tone as usual but it sounded very different to me today. As always, I started my conversation by cracking some silly jokes as to why I called him as he was not speaking properly. As it turned out to be a serious conversation, he slowly opened up and started sharing his difficulty. He was worried about what will happen in the future and he still had not come out of the shock that company took this decision all of a sudden. He was also feeling bad and was worried about his fellow colleagues who are sharing the same difficulty. I was just being supportive on the call, gave him some suggestion and asked him to keep himself cool and go with the positive frame of mind to try hard. He agreed to whatever I said and he also told that he would follow up with few of the contacts which I had given to him earlier. He thanked me for calling him for which I did not know how to react but for saying good bye for now!

I started calling many of my friends and started requesting for any openings. Well… it’s not only the situation in our company, but elsewhere also. There were hardly any positive responses for my requests. But I still keep the search process on for them. I will try my best to get them a break through!

Contracts! Is this all what it means? For me the definition of contract is something different. As we all know that any arrangement of ‘giving and taking’ for a business purpose is a contract. Contract employees are just as good as what they call as permanent employees of the company. I was on contract for a period of 6 months and have experienced the bad phase of being on contract. They just do not treat them as their own employees. Instead there will be lot of indifferences in the way the employers handle them. But if you look at their work, it will be as good as any other employee. Given a chance they would compete with any of the team members. But when it comes to worst situations like layoffs, they are the first hit. I do not understand what the reason behind it is. Just because they are called as ‘vendors’ or ‘contractors’, they are the first hit? Why cannot it be on the performance basis? Those who are performing well, there has to be an option of retaining them. They can layoff those who are not performing well. We all understand that the market situation is worst but while taking decisions, we also can consider all the consequences which might occur for each decision we make. Market is so bad that these people who are being laid off will have to struggle to get a job. Nowhere can they see a job opening out in the market. Company could’ve sent them on a long unpaid leave and taken them back at a later point of time instead of terminating them. This way they could’ve saved lot of costs. All these are my feelings and suggestions which I wanted to make. I may be wrong or I may be right; all I am going through is the difficulty in facing these decisions. Company’s view these decisions may be right but at what cost? All companies are same. I keep getting phone calls from my close buddies saying that their companies are taking off all the contract employees. I have a bunch of my close buddies who are working on contract with many IT firms. I get nightmares if I think of worst situations like this. But anyway the time has crossed its limits and now I can see only the pain in everything. Hopefully they will get some real good breakthrough as soon as possible.

When I was coming back on my bike from Nami’s house, all I was thinking was about the same issue. I was riding so slow that one could walk with the same speed. I was just looking at the lake side and the lush green trees. It was a cool and lovely evening with drizzles and cool breeze to wipe out all the worries and tensions on my face. I saw a lot of kids who were enjoying in the garden and few couples peddling the boat in the lake. As I moved near to the flyover and the Hebbal Lake, I saw a lot of birds waiting to go home after the sunset and waiting for that moment to come. I stopped my bike and stood over the concrete stone of the lake for a few minutes and was watching the birds fly and few ducks just enjoying its movements in the blue water. And then I saw two dogs fighting for a piece of food, fisherman pulling back his nets back home… all these are wonderful moments and feelings which picked me up for the day giving me a message that still there is hope! And we will overcome all our sorrows and problems with that hope of life!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Little Talents - Future leaders in the making!

Friends! I welcome you all to this new post. I know I am doing injustice to my friend Harish by not working on the assignment we both had to work on which is due and on our neck now. But I am excusing myself from that assignment and writing this post because I am now in a good mood to write about the experiences we had with our Eskool event happened yesterday (27th November) at Prasiddhi School.

Since the time we started our Eskool operations at Prasiddhi School, we were thinking of doing some creative event for the school children. And we were thinking of various options for the same since almost 8 months. One thought came to our mind is why can’t we give some live projects to the high school students? Like how we had our projects during our graduation and Post Graduation. We knew it was not that easy but still we thought of proceeding with the plan.

Finally, we went to the school on Oct 18th and had a meeting with Shashi and Jyothi (our Faculties) on the arrangements to be made for the same. We instructed them to divide the classroom into groups of 6 students each and giving them one topic for each class. So there were about 6-7 teams per class and we decided on selecting a winner and runner out of every class to be awarded during the annual day. All students were excited and thrilled to hear this as for the first time they are being divided into the groups creating a competitive environment inside the classroom. All students were eagerly waiting for their topics to be given and were even pestering our faculties to give away the topics. We decided on four topics for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th standard students. The topics were in general and were not in specific to their subject. 7th got their topic as ‘Bangalore Traffic’; 8th got their topic as ‘Evolution of Man v/s Evolution of technology: Futuristic view beyond 21st century’; 9th got their topic as ‘Computer Virus’; 10th got their topic as ‘Global Warming’. I know all the topics sounds interesting but our objective mainly was to bring in the competitive environment, Team working abilities and creativity with the use of Power point. Well, there were rules for them to carry out the activity and the deadline was set to collect all the projects.

After few days, we got to know from Shashi that all the students are excited about the projects and they are all interestingly doing it and surprisingly few teams had even submitted their projects before the due date. Once all the projects were collected, we had to get those from the school and have a look at it before we fixed the presentation date. Even though we delayed this process of going through projects because of many uncertainties’ we had, we decided to go to the school and fix up the date for the presentations. Since we cannot take many leaves, we asked the school management to give us permission for one full day to be there and finish all the presentations without dragging it to many days. Finally we fixed the date as 27th November.

Supreeth and I took off from our job on 27th and managed to reach the school at 9 am. We were all ready with the criteria sheets for us to enter the marks for all the teams. As soon as we got into the Eskool lab, we took printouts of the criteria sheets and saw a few 7th standard students still struggling to make some changes to their slides. Shashi was blasting them out saying it’s the final day and presentations are going to start in sometime.

We went into the library where the projector was connected and Supreeth fixed his laptop to the same. As we walked in, all the 7th standard students walked in and started submitting their slide presentations to us so that we can copy it to the laptop. We took quite a lot of time in organizing the files because of the virus in all pen drives and CDs they had got. And finally we were all set to begin. As supreeth was managing to copy files, I was talking to students asking them some silly questions and making them laugh. Finally, I called upon the teams in random order. One by one they came and presented and went back to their respective places. There were 7 teams in total and all the teams’ efforts were remarkable and quite interesting. They were very creative in their presentations and the way they shuffled within themselves while presenting. Even though they are doing it for the first time, they were doing it in a very good manner and supreeth was quite amazed by one team which made a very good eye-to-eye contact while presenting the content. There were few funny instances also where in few students felt shy to come in front of the slide and face the audience, instead they just turned back and read the whole content on the slide. Well, they are doing it for the first time and we respected it. Few teams were not sure how to present but they were very creative enough to place the content on the slides. The suggestions they had come up for Bangalore Traffic management were excellent. If we really implement those suggestions, we will really be in a safer zone! I still remember, there was one slide which says Hell-Mate (for helmet).

Because of the delay in starting the presentations, 1st period got over and we were yet to complete the 7th STD presentations. We somehow managed to finish it soon and then entered the class X. X STD students were all excited to present their slides of the most interesting topic Global Warming!

As they walked into the hall, we saw lot of students eager to present their case and were waiting to take over their own fellow class competitors. We again collated all the presentations in to the laptop and started in the random order. I must say this, these X STD students did not seem like they are really X STD as they had done their presentations very professionally. Creativity was at its best and the content, the level of thinking, hard work in shaping up their presentations were remarkable. There were a few presentations where there were no team efforts, rather one student performance. Supreeth gave them some inputs on how it has to be and how a team should perform. There were extraordinary presentations with lot of matured thinking about this interesting topic. There were lots of suggestions given on how to reduce the Global Warming. As soon as the presentations got over, I went up to the stage and spoke a few words on why we chose this topic for the X STD and what should they do as a team to contribute to reduction in the Global Warming. I encouraged them to think about the suggestions which were on the slides and implementing the same to lead their own better life on this beautiful universe!

After the X STD presentations, we had our lunch and were back at the hall for the IX STD presentations. Even though the topic for them was not that interesting (as per the students) they had done it remarkably well. There were 6 groups in total and there were extraordinary performances. As all the classes, to their extent, creativity was at its best! There was a nap for all in between as one of the team had more and more text on the slide and all of them were reading it from the slide without even turning at the audience. Well, that’s how the foundation is at that level. Unless we bring up such initiatives, students will not break out for the better shows.

By the time we finished the IX STD presentations, it was 3.30 pm and that’s the end of the day. We could not finish the 8th standard presentations on that day and it got postponed to Saturday. There were lots of learning for me from the whole process looking at their commitment towards winning the event, creativity shown and the skills presented over the stage. I was quite impressed with the kind of performances they have shown towards the achievement. This proved that these little kids can achieve anything if given an opportunity to showcase their talent.

To end my post, these kids, who showcased their creativity and conviction towards achieving success in the competitive environment, are our future leaders who are seeking opportunities at every step of their career. And we will try our best to bring in this kind of competitiveness before even they move out of school life to join the bigger roles in their lives.

Because of the rules set for the competition, we have to select a winner and runner for every class. Otherwise, every team is a winning team here!

Thanks Sup for your brilliant efforts in making this event in spite of your cold, cough and fever! Thanks to our faculties as well!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

PHC - Surprising Turnaround!

Project Kandwar/The XVIII Horse update:
We were to go and meet Dr. Chandrashekar at Chikballapur to discuss on the solution for the PHC at Kandavara. Doc set the appointment with him on 8th November and we all decided to meet him at his residence. As planned, I reached our NGO office on 7th evening after my regular work and Doc also came there. TS had the duty on 8th so he said he cannot join us. Also Doc wanted to come back by 11.30 and handover the car to his brother. So the plan was to leave our office at 8 am in the morning and come back by 11.30 am.

It was a sunny and bright day. Doc, Narasim and I left our NGO apartment at 8.15 am and reached the Swati hotel on NH7 to have the breakfast. After having breakfast we left the hotel and started towards Chikballapur. All the way, we were discussing about the potential solution for the PHC and how Doc can contribute towards the same. Doc expressed the difficulties in getting a doctor to the PHC as he had already tried to talk to many General Physicians about the same.

The problem we were trying to fix is the PHC in Kandavara is just a building which is not being used. Since 17 years there is no doctor appointed to the same and for all the treatments, villagers should go to the Chikballapur city even though they have a PHC building in the village. As per the public meeting we had conducted, this is the extremely needed service for the village. We tried to meet the DC and the officials in the State to get the problem fixed. But we had no luck with the same till this year.

Dr. Chandrashekar is a retired Ophthalmologist from ESI hospital in Bangalore. As per Narasim’s meeting with him last year, he was supposed to help us to bring in a group of doctors into our network who can help us with giving life to the PHC. As committed, he tried talking to several doctors who work in Chikballapur about our project and the PHC requirement. It seems as though none of the doctor showed interest in the same and Dr Chandrashekar had given up on the issue. So the agenda of our meeting was to resume the communication with him and understand the alternatives available with us towards the goal.

Narasim has very good memory as he had not forgotten Dr.Chandrashekar’s residence. We reached his place by 10.20 am. Doctor was in his farm land and came down as soon as we called him on his mobile phone. As always, we first got the coffee as a welcome drink before we started the discussion. Chandrashekar was explaining us on his retirement from the ESI Hospital Bangalore and how he is spending his time post his retirement. We brought up the topic of the PHC and he was expressing his difficulty in bringing the doctors together to work with us for our project.

Surprising turnaround!
All of a sudden he gave us very shocking and surprising news. He asked us whether we went to Kandavara before meeting him and we said we are yet to visit Kandavara. The surprising news he gave us was the following: “Government of Karnataka has demolished the PHC building in Kandavara and they are building up a 2 storied building to set up a Nursing institute. Ground floor will be the hospital and the 1st floor will be the Nursing training institute.”

Wow! Was our reaction and all these days we were not even aware of this and we were delighted out of our belief to hear this news from him!

Finally we thanked Chandrashekar for the good news and said good bye to him and visited Kandavara. We saw the new pillars coming up and enquired from the supervisor / contractor who was working at the site who said this building will be up and ready to use in the next one year!

Well… we are not sure how and who moved this file which was pending since a long period of time. We were out of our belief to see this outstanding development. Whoever did move this file in the government, he is the hero for people of Kandavara.

All our efforts till now for the PHC came to a productive end and a new beginning!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life on a railway track!

Life on a railway track!Well… I guess I made you guys wait for very long to write this new adventure post in my blog… this time it’s not Kodachaadrigaaa? It’s all about the railway track! Check it out…

The plan!

For a change, even though it could have been a long weekend, we planned to stay in Bangalore and to do some quality work on many things. October 5th was Hari’s birthday and he was planning to come down to Bangalore to spend time with all of us (but more with his Grandma for the obvious reasons). As expected his plan did not work out because of his loads of work at his office. He stayed back in Pune leaving us with no work for weekend. Well it was October 3rd already and I planned for a trekking camp. TS was doubtful as it was difficult for him to get one day leave (on Saturday). I forced him to take leave and join me for the camp. All he did was what everyone does as a first step to get married. Yes! His leave was sanctioned as he lied to his manager that he is going to Sakaleshpur to see a girl!

The twist!
Now you know our place of trek… yes! This time we planned to go to Rottikkal. After googling about the place and looking at those stupendous photographs, we decided to leave on Friday evening and get to Rottikkal. The whole reason for me to plan for this 2 day camp was because of Supreeth. He wanted to go out of Bangalore very badly to stay out of his office and his house construction tension. But at the end, it was difficult for him to get the permission from home and join us. Well… I just sent him an SMS saying “The whole event was planned for YOU”!

TS, Raghu, Sudhi, Supreeth and I met at the KSRTC bus stand at 11 pm in the night to catch a bus to Sakaleshpur. Google gives us good direction; I say this because, while exploring the information about Rottikkal, I found out that it is a 20 acre resort where people pay the regular tariffs to stay there and enjoy the nature. We were not interested in such camps as it will be expensive. All we wanted is to finish the camp within 500 Rs.

“The Green Route” came to my mind. It was a 6 years dream of our team to complete this trekking. I got all the required information on the same and informed TS that we are not doing Rottikkal this time but we are doing the Green Route trek!

11.30 pm, we packed some snacks for the way and we took the bus at 12.30 am to Sakaleshpur. It was supposed to be a 4.30 hrs journey to Sakaleshpur but we landed there at 4.00 am early morning. As soon as we got down from the bus, there was a mobile tea stall for us to have the ‘bed coffee’. We enquired with the shop guy on the bus timings to Donigal. That’s when Raghu and Sudi came to know about we not going to Rottikkal and the new plan. The reason for me not to tell the plan was because I was not sure whether they would allow us to do the Green Route trekking without permission. By the way, The Green Route is the railway track route between Sakaleshpur and Subramanya (56 kms). There are totally 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and many waterfalls in this route. Luckily we got to know that there is no permission required and all that we had to do is to be very careful on the track as we could face many trains on the way which may be dangerous while we are on a bridge or inside a tunnel. Scary isn’t it?

The start!
We were to reach Donigal railway station 8 km from Sakaleshpur as this was our starting point. We took the bus at 5 am from Sakaleshpur to Donigal and got down at Donigal at 5.15 am. From there we came to know that we need to walk upto the Donigal railway station which is 5 km from this place. We again packed some snacks / food for the way and started walking from that place. Early morning jackpot was that we got a good 5 km ride in a lorry. Got down at the Donigal Railway Bridge and climbed up to the Railway Track!

Oct-04-2008; Break-even: Dream comes true!
As soon as we touched the track at 6.15 am, we were like it’s our 6 years dream to get to this place. Wow! TS was mentioning that this is our Break-even point as in from here onwards it’s the profit zone for us. Surprisingly there was a small waterfall which helped us to take some good shower and to finish up with all the morning karma!

The place was so good that we did some warm up exercise climbing up the red mud opposite to the railway station. We had good fun there before we started and finally we started our track journey at 7.45 am from the 49/400 point.

Step by step we started walking on the railway track. All we were worried about was what if the train comes when we were on the bridge? Or inside a tunnel? There were few railway workers at the railway station so we went and asked them about it. All they said was to be careful and keep watching for the trains while on the bridge and before getting into any tunnel. It was sounding too scary because whoever answers our question used to tell us that it is at your own risk!

Well! At 51/100, we saw a tunnel like structure built as a over bridge. We were so dumb in thinking that tunnels will be like this. As we are moving on, whoever comes in our opposite direction, we used to question them about the tunnels and bridges. We then used our brains to know how many trains we might face in a day? The typical answer given by a railway worker was: “there is no exact number of trains in a day, it may be 0, 2, 5, 10 and sometimes even 20 + in a day”. This made us think that we will have a real tough time ahead.

A life track!
This route is named as The Green Route because of its scenic beauty. It is just green off the track. The track passes through the green wood forest crossing many water currents and deep valleys which make the railway track look lively always. October was the right season to visit this route as there are no rains and everywhere its just Green!

This railway track was abandoned for 10 years when they were converting the narrow-gauge track to a broad-gauge track and also because of too much of land sliding which had closed this route completely. When it was abandoned, there were many people who went on this route. That’s when the ‘The Green Route trek’ became so famous.

Well…now that trains are ON the track, the trek will be wild and scary. So our 2-day life on a railway track started in this way. There were many indication boards across the track indicating the curves, number of kms from Hassan, Tunnel # and the bridge details.

The bridge!
Finally we reached the 1st bridge. Wow it was spectacular to look at it. Even before we went on the bridge, we took a lot of photographs. Seriously there is no space on the track for us to hide when train comes. But there is a small structure built on the bridge to stand when a train comes at a certain distance. If at all train comes while on the bridge, we need to run and get to that small side angle which is built to the bridge.

Wow! When you are on the bridge, you just need to see both the sides; all you will see is the spectacular scenic beauty. One side will be the row of mountains and the other side will be a waterfall or a valley. The depth will be too much that if some one is suffering from a motion fatigue, it is advised not to go on this track for good.

The train!
Well… as soon as we crossed the 1st bridge, to our surprise, there comes the 1st train also. We ran fast and reached the other end of the bridge as soon as we heard the train horn. We all were excited to see the train passing through the bridge. It was a goods carrier with 2 engines toward front and 2 engines at the end with about 50+ containers. It was too good to watch and we clicked few more photographs of the train and the bridge and moved on.

We crossed a few bridges and we were eager to see the tunnels. But for some good distance, we did not find any tunnels. But the excitement and the track walk was getting wild as we were moving on.

The tunnel!
Almost after 4 kms, we saw a beautiful water stream under a bridge and were clicking photographs of the same. We attended to our nature call as well. Then we heard the train horn……… well how will it be to see a train coming out of the tunnel # 1? Yes., it was the tunnel # 1 and we could see the train coming out of the same along the curve. we had to move off the track when to let the train go. After the train left, we ran and reached the tunnel. Tunnels are very huge and the structure looks very strong built out of rocks. It was written as Tunnel # 1 550 m. So the 1st tunnel is almost half a km long. It looked too dark inside and our excitement could not wait too long to get in to the tunnel. Wow it was an amazing experience inside the tunnel. We can only see the light at the end of the tunnel and nothing else. Without a torch, it is too difficult to walk on the track inside the tunnel. As we moved inside, we could see the interior of the tunnel with the torch light and make out that if a train comes, all we need to do is to throw our bags to the wall and hug the wall. This may save our lives!

There was a small opening we could see from inside the tunnel and we thought we will go out of that opening and see what is there out. Wow! Was the reaction of everyone. It was a total surprise for all of to see a very big and a spectacular waterfall. We had not seen such a beautiful place in real. It looked like a wall paper we always chose for our desktops at home. Amazing creation with a wild touch! We were speechless after looking at it. It was very steep and we had no intention of getting down there and kill ourselves so we came back into the tunnel again and moved on.

Now we got used to trains, bridges and tunnels as well. Tunnel # 7 was the lengthiest of all which was 683 m long. It was the breakfast time and our stop was at curve 19. We had got bread and jam packed for our breakfast which was adequate for us to have it at that time. Me, sup and TS were playing some games throwing stones by fixing the targets.

Let me give you shocking news that there are no hotels until we reach 38 kms on this route. SOS!!!

Tunnel # 10 & 11
You may be wondering why I am explaining about the tunnels 10 and 11. These two tunnels are connected with a bridge which is at a very short distance to one another. When we came out of the tunnel 10, we heard the train sound! Aren’t you scared?

Somehow we could cross the bridge and moved onto a concrete structure built after the bridge before it connects the tunnel. We are saved. But the experience was thrilling.

We were just one km to a railway station called as Vadagaralli Railway Station. When were at 58/100, we were planning to have our lunch as we were hungry at the same time we were tired as well. So we thought of resting and we saw the railway slabs which was dumped across the track. We went up on that and rested. It was so silent that all of us took a quick nap and had to get up because of the rain showers. Yes! It started raining and we thought this will be the worst part of our trek as there is nothing to escape from it. Luckily rain stopped and then we thought let us reach the station and then have the lunch there. We started walking towards the station.

As we were walking, we encountered a small bridge. But the scary thing in this bridge was there was no top metal sheet for this bridge to walk on it. It was just a bridge with iron slabs carrying the two tracks. The slabs were at a 2 ft distance from one another and there is a deep valley under the bridge. The experience was like if you start walking on it, you will tend to lose out your concentration because of the flowing water which you can see under the bridge. With just the iron slabs, we feel it worse to keep a step which makes us get scared to cross the bridge. Anyway all of us slowly reached the other end and we saw a neat small railway station welcoming us at 59/100.

There was a person who takes care of the railway trolleys which carries a minimum number of railway officers from one station to another. As per him, there is no hotel and we cannot get food until we reach Subramanya. This made us get worried about the food as we had not taken enough food for the way. All we had planned was to trek up to the yedakumari (the next station) and take the 5km forest route to reach the highway to catch a bus to Subramanya. This plan was ruled out by that person as he said that the 5km route is closed because of the difficulty in crossing the river on the way. There was no option of us except for trekking up to the 79/600 which is still 20 km from here without any food.

As we started having our lunch (biscuits and bread-jam), we saw a batch of school students coming towards the station. They were the group of scouts and guides team in Bangalore. With them there were 4 senior scout officers. We were thrilled to see them in the scout uniform and their excitement in trekking this route. We met them and spoke to them for some time. All five of us were eyeing at them because they were carrying loads of food and they started preparing Avalakki there at the station. TS was irresistible and was saying that we will go with them so that we will get some food. Well... that was on a lighter side and we made lot of such funny statements. We left the station and started walking on the track.

Off- track beauty!
Conquering the milestones one by one, we covered 3 kms very soon and reached 62/100. By then we had even crossed couple of tunnels and bridges. Even though we were worried about food (especially our Hancock Supreeth) for the rest of our track journey, we were all cheerful and were enjoying the journey. Raghu and Sudi were named lehman brothers! As even they were trying to come out of their daily financial life. And tunnels! Supreeth was scared to get into the tunnel without my LED torch and he took the responsibility of managing the torch inside the tunnels for all of us for all the tunnels. Off the track, we saw some awe-inspiring beauty of nature. We couldn’t believe that we were amidst such a spectacular views. The green wood forest and the water streams, the peaks, were astounding for our eyes. One by one our cameras were full of beautiful pictures.

There were so many funny moments and thrilling experiences during our first day on the railway track! We even tried climbing the big nets which are covered across the hills to avoid land sliding. We climbed trees, nets, tunnel stones (well supreeth climbed on me as well...risky life). Can we do all these and can we have such thrilling experiences in the cities we live?

The heaven!
After walking for 8 kms from the previous station, we reached heaven. Yes! This is the heaven for all the trekkers like us. It takes 18 kms of walk through the bridges and tunnels and many thrilling moments to reach this heaven. The heaven is at 67/400 and it is called Yedakumari! This is a small railway station which is located at a very high altitude above sea level. All you can see from this place is two lively railway tracks and beautiful peaks all around. Any person visits this place will feel great about reaching this place. All it took to reach heaven was 18 kms of track walk! We reached this place at 6 pm. We planned to stay at this station overnight and as per the station master’s suggestion, we planned to take the train at 4.30 in the morning to Subramanya. Well... this was the plan.

Raghu at 6pm wanted to take shower and he went searching for the water. Water water everywhere! But still he wanted a proper place to take shower as there were 3 teams at this place resting for the night.

As we started resting, we met a team of 14 people who were from Bangalore resting at the station. That’s when we saw Meghna! Feels good isn’t it?

Meghna and team started their journey from the place 5kms from our starting place which means they started at 55/100. They had already occupied the lounge place at the station and started cooking for their dinner as well. Happy? I thought you guys were happy to know that we got some food. No! But they offered us some fruits and cucumber which we finished it as soon as it came into our hands.

Raghu the savior!
Yes. The reason for me to tell this is because Raghu saved us from getting killed out of hunger! While he was on his search for the place to take shower, he met a railway worker who offered us food for the night. Without a second thought, i went with Raghu to his place and ordered for 5 meals. Now... happy?

Worst part is that when we came back to the resting place, we got to hear from Supreeth and TS that Meghna’s team is willing to offer us dinner with them. Well... it was too late for that and we managed to tell them that we arranged for our food for the night. We missed a chance!!!

Hot meal and chilled sleep!
At 8, all five of us went to the dinner place. We were relieved to see the rice and sambar which was ready to serve us hot. We started having food like we have never eaten before! Looking at us, they even offered us omelette! There was a glow on supreeth’s face which took 5 eggs for that glorification.

One thing which i am still finding difficulty in understanding is why is it that people who are living in western ghats area are so humble and always with the giving hand??? Yes, to second my point, it was left to us as to how much we need to pay for the food we had! But since we had a very good dinner, we paid 30 Rs per meal and came back. No wonder such people live 100 years!

Since we were tired of the 1st day on the railway track, we thought of sleeping soon. Raghu and Sudhi as always had got economic times. Hold was not for reading but for sleeping as it acts as a floor mat. And we were to sleep on a wonderful concrete bed – the platform! I have no idea whether supreeth slept or not as there were many insects which were killed around him. But all of us had a very good chilled sleep! Gudnite!

A Second day on the railway track!
It was 6 am and i woke up to see an awesome huge green rock which is just opposite to the station. All others were still sleeping and i just went on a walk on the platform. It was a great feeling to be at that place and see such an astounding beauty of nature. The station is covered only by peaks. I could see kumaraparvatha, and lot of other peaks of the Bisley ghat forest range. This was a great relief and feel good factor when you have so many tensions and irritating daily work life. One will forget all the tensions and sorrows within looking at such an awesome creation. You feel like you are dancing, singing, painting, writing a poem... getting married to a beautiful girl...too much isn’t it?

To give you an example of how much you enjoy when you are off the work life at such a beautiful place, we took 1.30 hrs to do our daily morning karma which we complete it within 15-20 minutes when we were in Bangalore. Thrilled? We started at 8.45 from Yedakumari and started the second day on the track. By then Meghna and team had left the place (may be they took 20 minutes here as well for the above mentioned important task!). We encountered a lot of bridges as we started walking and tunnels as well. It was such a view that we could see Meghna and team on the hill next to ours walking on the bridge. Yes! Life is full of curves, twists and turns... one can see the right turn! It was Hari’s birthday the October 5th and we were lucky that Sudi’s mobile got the network connection just to wish Hari for 5 minutes.

As always, i had not told any of these guys that i had 15 chapattis to eat. All i was saying was let us get to the 75th km point and have our lunch. We were so fast that we met the Meghna and team! Now the fun begins... They were a good team of 14 people who are working in Bangalore in different offices. They started sharing their previous trekking experiences with us and we started entertaining them with our usual PJs. Especially TS! And Meghna – she is a beautiful girl who is still in 11th standard and fed up of studying already. Me and supreeth while walking we were listening to good songs playing from my mobile phone. She started listening to the songs and made statements like “I have a good company now as you guys have very good collections of songs”. We were shocked to see her behaviour and her attitude to look at things! She is 11th standard only at school but she speaks like someone who has completed her PhD. Phew! Again she said... i love this song!

We had very good funny moments with this team and they started sharing chocolates, fruit juices with us which made us happy as well! Our journey went on the track like this facing many fun filled experiences with this team and the beauty! (you know what i meant).

Wild things!
I am not talking about the movie but i need to tell you our wild experiences. We were all ready to get some wild experience like being on the bridge when the train comes! Inside the tunnel when the train comes! Isn’t it crazy?

Yes. After crossing the tunnel # 25, there was a bridge connecting to it. All our fellow trekkers were standing aside and signing to us that a train is coming. We had to run to a place to stand. Then we saw that there is a side angle for this bridge to stand on it. Only maximum 3-4 people can stand there. We just ran without even thinking about our lives! Me, TS and Raghu ran on the bridge to get there. All others were scared what if train comes by then? Luckily we went on to that spot and the train comes like a killer express. Wow guys! I must say that it was the most thrilling and dangerous experience. The whole side angle was shaking because of the train and we were standing like we have left hopes about we being alive. But once the train passed over the bridge, we were feeling great that we could face this experience. The feel good factor even now is that i had given my camera to Sup to click photographs of this event. It’s awesome to look at it now!

The next experience was at the tunnel near the Arebetta station, we faced a train coming into the tunnel when we are inside. We were not prepared this time but somehow we all could stand to the wall and saved ourselves. Wow it was just scary!

Time pass!
Do you ever think that one can come to walk on this track for time pass?? Yes. We met a team from YHAI, Mangalore. They just came on this track for time pass from Mangalore. We had good fun with them. There was a person called Ramesh Kamat who is known for his hilarious talks. So he made us laugh at his superb jokes. As per them we are just 3km away from the spot which connects us to a highway.

At 76/100 i opened the chapattis which i got and we had it with the lemon pickle. It was too good that we were then able to walk further.

Hunt 79/600 and mission Gundya!
The reason why i say this is we were advised to take a right turn at 79/600 through a forest route for 3 kms which connects us to the village road to Gundya! But we could not see 79/600 at all. Scary right?

Yes all that we could see was 79/500 and after that there is a tunnel # 35 of length 482 m. So there is no 79/600. And there is no right turn. We had to cross the tunnel and come back again to 79/500. Then we could see a small route in between 79/500 and 79/600. And 79/600 board was inside tunnel which i explored and captured in my camera.

We finally climbed down 3 kms inside the forest which was a wonderful experience which led to Supreeths ankle ligament stretched because of one wrong step at the end! We reached the road and slowly walked 2 kms again to reach the highway which connects to Gundya. In between we saw some spectacular views of Kumaradhara River and some good wallpaper views of the way inside the forest.

We reached Gundya, had some refreshments and said ‘tata bye-bye’ to Meghna! And ofcourse to her team.

Well...this was our awe-inspiring story of our two day life on a railway track! Hope you all enjoyed the journey on the track and off the track with us till now.... i thank the whole team which gave me this fun filled thrilling experience.
Please do comment!
Written by Srikanth on October 15th, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008


A Dream Journey!
Manadaladalli…eno onthara…ello onthara...

Don’t ask me why I have kept the story title as Kodachadrigaaa…? You will enjoy reading the same in my story for sure. This dream journey is loaded with fun and beauty. I have experienced it and wanted you all to experience what I have experienced. All I am feeling right now is what I am sharing in the story! Bon Voyage!

It was 14th August, 2008 and TS as always called me to check on what are the plans for the long weekend?

August 15th till 17th was a long weekend and we were all desperate to go out of Bangalore and keep ourselves away from the routine stressful work. I and TS were ready to go but we were not sure of where to go!!! TS called me more than 10 times to check where can we go as everywhere it’s raining badly and difficult to plan for a trekking camp. Finally, we decided to go to Shimoga and camp there and depending on the rain we can go out to places. Since only both of us were ready, I thought of checking with my other friends too. Doc! As soon as I asked him to come, he was all ready to come. When he asked where are we going, I said “Male illa andre Kodachadri…male idru Kodachadri” (means if its not raining lets go to Kodachadri, if its raining also lets go to Kodachadri) which made him laugh like mad and finally he accepted.

When I was in office, I just pinged (Gtalk) Srivatsa! That’s when he also showed interest in joining us and he offered us to go by his Black Panther! (Ford Fusion). Without a second thought I agreed and now we are the team of four who were all set to leave in the night. Srivatsa was asking me where are we going and where will we stay during these three days for which I answered we will go to shimoga first and then decide on the other places. For staying, we can stay in our friend’s place or in any temple! He was shocked by my response and finally said OK for the plan.

Since it was a very busy day for me at office, I had scheduled lot of calls in the evening. My work was scheduled to be finished not earlier to 11 pm. So four of us had decided to leave by 11 pm and drive through the night and reach Shimoga in the morning.

At 7 pm TS called me and told that lets leave in the late night as we can reach Bhadravati to see the BRP Dam which will be full because of heavy rains. I told him that lets leave Bangalore as scheduled and if we reach there early, we can sleep in the car itself.

As planned, I finished up with my calls at 11 pm and asked Srivatsa to start. By the time he came to my house I was ready and I got in to the car and started to Hebbal where we were supposed to pick up TS. While we were on the way, we were talking so much that srivatsa drove the car on the divider near to mekhri circle. We had to get down and push the car back and take it on the road. We were lucky that nothing had happened to the car. Thanks to me as I noticed the divider and warned srivatsa to apply brakes!

We met TS near the Hebbal fly over and picked him up and left from there to pick up Doc. We were so unlucky that we got stuck in a heavy traffic jam on the ring road after BEL circle. For a change, TS gave an idea that we can take the car back and go through the BEL Circle which will directly take us near Doc’s place. We took the same road as per TS’s suggestion and ended up on the road which was under construction. We had to come back and connect to the main road and then take the right deviation to the Doc’s place. TS was hungry and he had called Doc while we were on the way and had asked him to pack some fruits for us. Doc got in to the car with the fruits which relieved TS’s hunger to a certain extent.

By the time we actually left Bangalore, it was 2 am. Now, finally our 3 day journey began and srivatsa with full swing drove his car like a jet which made us reach Coffee Day near to tumkur within 45 minutes. We had my favourite Tropical Iceberg with Chocolate Sauce with some veg rolls. We loaded our tanks fully and also our car with full tank petrol.

The next stop was at Tiptur and from there I started driving and reached Arasikere. All along the way, we were listing to good songs from all the new Kannada and Hindi movies. Thanks to Srivatsa as he had the whole collection of good songs and the music system in the car was just awesome. After reaching Arasikere, again Srivatsa started driving and we had planned to stop only at BRP dam. We reached the place and it looked like our sleep got washed away as soon as we saw the spectacular scenic water flowing out of all the doors BRP Dam. All the four gates of the Dam were open and there was so much water that we could not even stand straight near to the flowing water. So much force it was carrying out of the reservoir. We took a lot of photographs and videos of the scene.

TS had planned to take us to one of his uncle’s place in the Kuvempu University Campus next to the BRP dam. I was all the more excited to visit the university once and the kind of campus they had built was attracting us since a long time. Luckily we got this opportunity to visit their residence where we were to fill our stomach with a very delicious breakfast. They had prepared Idlis and Dosas for us that were very tasty and a coffee after that made our day. We were started feeling that the whole trip is worth just because of this one visit. After the heavy breakfast, Pruthvi – TS’s relative, took us out for a round and wanted to show us how beautiful the campus is and how good the forest surrounding the campus. He was explaining us on the types of animals that are there in the forest and how calm the campus will be. We spent about 1 hour with him outside and had a very good walk. I was jumping as usual which made Srivatsa to click some stunning photos of my crazy jumps. After all the jumping and walking, we were set to click some good photography shots as we were trying to catch Butterfly’s and birds. Luckily we got quite a number of good shots and thanks to Canon! Without which I would not have clicked the best shot of my life. All through our visit, the rain had stopped and it was just drizzling. After the continuous rains for one week, the day we went there made the rains to calm down and open gates for us to visit them. Lucky we and our camp! And it was a Happy Independence Day!

We left BRP at 12.30 pm and reached shimoga by 1 pm which took us to Shivu’s place (TS’s brother). This is the place we were planning to come and halt for the day. Since it was a festival on that day, lot of sweets and delicious lunch was awaiting us. As soon as we arrived, Ajji (TS’s grand mother) made arrangements for the hot water for us to take bath. I was the first to take bath and other three followed me and we were all set for the lunch innings to begin. TS’s sister-in-law and Ajji both were very caring and showed lot of concern towards us by serving the food. Obbattu! It was very long time since I had this sweet. We had all the items prepared for us nicely and all our stomachs were full.

After a while, we went to Shivu’s factory and there we met Jagadish (TS’s 2nd brother). He is a laughing stock. Whenever we meet him it will be a very good time with him and hilarious moments to enjoy. Jagadish went to some place on his official work and we planned to visit two places that day. One is called as Kudli – here two rivers will meet at one point and will flow as a single river. This place is 18 kms from Shimoga town. Tunga and Bhadra are the two rivers which flow as Tungabhadra from this point. The place was astounding and we were shocked to see so much water on that day. Thanks to the heavy rains which gave us this spectacular view. We clicked a lot of photographs and then returned back to shimoga. From Shimoga, Shivu got down as he was feeling uncomfortable because of headache. Only four of us drove down 18 kms to reach one more reservoir called as Gajanur Dam. This again is a spectacular reservoir to watch. We were unlucky here as they were not allowing us to go on top of the dam because it was under some construction of the power generation unit. This made us to stand at the side of it and watch. TS was very hungry and got us all the kharapuri which was really very khara and made us to eat a chocobar ice cream too! This visit was also wonderful as there were lot of dialogues exchanged between four of us and especially with Doc as he was desperate in searching for a good girl to get married. Time went by in pulling Docs legs and we returned back to Shimoga.

As we reached Shimoga, Doc was searching for a medical shop! (Who knows what he was searching for). Since I was feeling hungry and wanted to have honey cake, I took them to a bakery on the MG Road. Doc found his medical shop there and took what he wanted and we all had the honey cake and packed some juice and food for our next way. We were planning to go for a movie but since Jagadish was not there with us, we could not go for the movie instead we ended up meeting Vishveshwaraiah (TS’s mava) at Shivu’s factory. It was nice meeting him as we discussed a lot of issues of interest which kept us busy till 8.30 pm. After that there comes the issue of Belief in God! Shivu raised this topic which led to a lot of arguments and finally settled with no answer as always. We came back home at 9 and by that time Jagadish also came back. We all had our dinner together and watched TV. Jagadish entertained us more than the TV which made us get tired and set to sleep. Finally slept at 10.30 thinking that we need to leave early next morning as we had planned to visit Kodachadri peak! The plan was to Trek Kodachadri in the morning and get down by the evening so that we can reach Siganduru for the night halt. That’s what the plan was but anyway good night!
------------------------------------------------------------end of Dream Journey 01!
We were planning to get up early (atleast by 5 am) in the morning but when I got up at 5.30 am, these guys were still in a sound sleep. Finally we all woke up at 6.30 and took quick showers. Shivu asked me whether we are eating breakfast and then leaving or taking the parcel for the way? For which we all agreed to have the breakfast and leave. Hot chapattis were served with delicious chutney followed by a very good and strong coffee. By the time we left house, it was almost 8.30 and we went searching for the gas station to fill the Panther’s tank. Fully loaded tank, from shimoga left towards Hosanagara. When we reached the deviation from where the road connects to Hosanagara, we were feeling like we are driving on the heaven! What a beautiful sight to our eyes. Both sides fully covered by greenery and a very nice road with light drizzles. It was just WoW! And our cameras did not wait too long for us to click photographs of the astounding scenic greenery. We stopped at frequent intervals as all along the way we were just stuck with the beautiful views. Srivatsa was telling “this was the wonderful drive I have ever had”. All along the way, lovely Kannada songs were tuning into our ears.

We reached Hosanagara and we took the road to Nagara which is the way to Kodachadri. As we are moving towards Nagara, rain was playing in its own way sometimes heavy showers and sometimes just the drizzles. We reached a place where we saw a lot of lovely kingfishers. We stopped and waited for the photographs but it was too difficult to catch even one kingfisher in our cameras. Unlucky kingfisher! It could not come into our cameras. Without spending too much of time, we left from that spot and we entered Nagara. As we are entering, we were welcomed by a beautiful fort. We clicked couple of good pictures of it and moved on. We reached a beautiful spot where there is a channel flowing and a check dam built on the same. The water force was too much and gave us good shots for our camera. That’s where our Doc got a little hyper when he saw a row of hills covered with vibrant green landscape. Doc went to an extent of changing his nurses’ uniform colour to vibrant green in his hospital. All the best Doc!! From here whenever Doc says uniform, we relate to these hills covered with vibrant green. We reached Nagara and took the way to Sampekatte (the name is given like this because there is Sampige mara with a good katte built for it).

Sampekatte is a place which connects to Kodachadri and from this place one can start trekking. There are two routes to Kodachadri: One is from Sampekatte and the other is from the Karekatte. Most of the trekkers will take the Karekatte route because the trekking experience will be good from there and the Sampekatte route is just the Jeep route. We were a bit confused as to which route we need to take as we need to park our vehicle in a secured place. We enquired with people over there and asked them we need to park our vehicle in a secured place and at the same time we need to trek from Karekatte side. People were shocked as Karekatte is 35 kms from Sampekatte. Finally they suggested that we can park our car in a place called Kattinahole and from there we can take a jeep and get drop till Karekatte. This was a great idea and we decided to do the same. Since it was raining and we were sure of leeches in the peak, we packed some salt and limestone (will tell you how it helps in the later paragraphs). We started towards Kattinahole which is 6 kms from Sampekatte.

Here comes the best part of our 3 day camp. Wow too good to tell and too good to miss! We were almost 4 kms from Sampekatte and we were not sure where Kattinahole is. We thought of stopping and asking with someone. We were all bachelors and as soon as we saw a girl there, our car stopped by its own. I opened the window and asked her how to go to Kattinahole. She is a simple good looking village girl and she was willingly assisted us by telling us the right way. She said “keep going in the same way; you will get one Vigneshwara temple (lord Ganesha) and one Aanjaneya temple (lord Hanuman) after these two temples, the next village you get is Kattinahole”.

Till here nothing happened. We said thanks and when we were about to move, there comes the best part of my story: The girl with her innocent face, asked us…… Kodachadrigaaaa…?

Wow! It was just wow… what an expression she had while asking that question; how do I express it in my story? No… I cannot express the same here. It was the experience that all four of us carrying even now. Kodachadrigaaaa…? This question is still humming and giggling in our ears!

Anyway as she asked this question, we were lost and I don’t even know what we answered her! We left from there but in the corner of our minds we were not willing to move and worst part is that there was one seat left in our car. For quite some time, all of us were silent and looking at each others faces and asking nothing but Kodachadrigaaaa…? Her expression was priceless! She was a simple and good looking girl with lot of innocence with in. I liked her very much (rather all four of us) and started thinking and recalling her expression of her saying Kodachadrigaaa…? Phew! It always happens that you feel good within whenever you see what you wanted to see… don’t you?? We all will have some expectations of how your girl should be and Kodachadrigaaa…? The expression answered and matched the same. We were unlucky because this happened with in no time and it’s all past now. Only thing which is left within us is the expression she had on her face! Whenever we think of it, we will feel out of the world! And will take ages to come back to normal.

Did you also like??? Kodachadrigaaaa…?

We reached Kattinahole finally and parked our vehicle. There is a hotel which offers lunch and jeep services to the peak. We checked with the shopkeeper Gopal; he offered us to drop us till Karekatte at some cost. We agreed as we were desperate to trek from the Karekatte end. We had the good lunch there in the hotel, packed some junk food for our way and got in to the jeep. Gopal was a very good natured person and he is running this business from quite a number of years. He has seen a lot of people coming to Kodachadri and he was telling his experience on his business now that more and more people are coming to Kodachadri. I and TS were also sharing our experience of us coming to Kodachadri in the year 2002 and there were hardly a few people who used to trek to the same. Gopal was also mentioning that government has sanctioned a road and has allotted 13 crore rupees for the tar road till the peak guest house. This disappointed us a lot. Finally we reached the Karekatte spot and got down from the Jeep. Gopal offered us to call him if a jeep is required while coming back for which we said we are going to trek back in the night. Giggles!

It was 2 pm when we started climbing. I and TS were remembering the time when we trekked in 2002 and sharing the same with Doc and Srivatsa. We had climbed the peak in heavy rain and lots of leaches. Wow that was one very good experience as even 6 years later we are able to recall each and every move and dialogue of that camp. Listening to us sharing our experience, Doc and Srivatsa were excited to get the same experience. It was not raining too much this time but still, as we started climbing, rain started pouring heavily. We prepared ourselves to face the leeches and packed our legs with some salt as leeches will fall down as soon as it touches the salt or the limestone. As we started, we could see a lot of leeches attacking our shoes which made us to run. It was wonderful inside the forest and a perfect view for our cameras. A lot of photographs on the way and we were enjoying each and every step of our climbing. TS recalled each and every incident happened at different spots enroute to the peak. So much happiness, so much fun and such a good experience of feeling the nature! Where, when and how many times you get when you are working in Bangalore????

Hold on… forgot to tell you one more illusionary experience. Oops when we were climbing whatever/whoever comes on our way was asking the same question… Kodachadrigaaa…? Wow… it was simply awesome. Just imagine a leach coming to you and asking Kodachadrigaaa…? With the same expression behind it. One more to add to it is we have named that Kodachadrigaaa…? Girl as Rooopa! Don’t ask me why! But we did name her as Rooopa! Phew! Too much isn’t it??

As we were moving we met two more people on the way. Preethi and Rajesh started trekking from the Karekatte route at 11 am in the morning and we met them half way to the peak. Rajesh was obviously carrying more weight with the camping tents and other things than Preethi with one moderately weighed backpack. Both were newly married couple and working at NXP technologies Bangalore. We introduced ourselves and moved on saying all the best to them!

We reached the guest house at 5.30 pm and saw a lot of crowd who were already occupied the guest house. They all came by jeep and were staying that night in the guest house. We were in a dilemma whether to stay back or not for which we finally decided not to stay! And lets do the night trek.

It is still 2 kms to the peak and we started climbing. We had a good fun and Doc was on his heights to make fun and all along the way we were just laughing. At frequent places we clicked lot of photographs. When we were about to reach the peak, we saw a huge buffalo standing and blocking our way. We were all scared as to how do we cross the same??? Oops! Its Doc who took the lead… it is too funny to explain you guys how he crossed that buffalo but of course gave us confidence to cross the same as well. We met a very big gang who are all from Bangalore working at different companies. One of them was Murthy! Who introduced himself and was checking with us whether we came by jeep or trek? After knowing the answer he was quite shocked and said “there is no one in our gang like you guys otherwise I was very much interested in trekking”. We reached a point on the peak where in it was too awesome and attracting our cameras to click a shot. We reached very difficult spots just for the photographs and which made the other big gang to open their mouths and just see us and nothing else. Finally we reached the final point on the peak called as Sarvagna Peeta! This is the place where there is a temple kind of a structure built for a god called Shankaracharaya! We clicked few snaps and then went back side of the peeta. Murthy came there and was talking to us for sometime and we were sitting and eating the goodies which we had taken. There comes one more couple to the peak. Rekha and Karthik from Hassan; even thought these guys came by jeep, we could see a lot of leech attacks on Rekha’s leg and that’s when we offered them some salt. They were quite pleased as we also offered them some biscuits as well. They wanted us to click a photograph which I did click and made them smile for a while. They had got a torch with them luckily. It was 7.30 pm and was getting very dark at the peak with light rain showers. Rekha and Karthik wanted us to accompany them till the guest house and were scared to trek down till the guest house. We as usual with our good sense of humour, made their way easy. Hold on! We are lucky here as they offered us to go with them in their jeep till Kattinahole. Since we were already experienced the night trek from peak till here, we agreed to go with them.

Phew! It was easy to climb down than taking the jeep. That’s what the feeling we had while sitting in the jeep. Jeep driver was experienced to the core and knows each and every stone on the route. We finally reached Kattinahole and washed ourselves. I went and offered Karthik and Rekha on our contributions for the jeep journey. For which Rekha said “No no no no no ….. You have done so much for us and we do not need anything else and also we have not paid anything extra to the driver”. We were of course happy and wished them happy journey!

We were unlucky that Gopal could not offer us the dinner at that time as it was 9.30 pm. We then said that’s fine and moved on. We were supposed to go to Nittur and from there we had to take the Siganduru road. But somehow we missed a left turn and road was so good that Srivatsa didn’t even stop to enquire with someone. We saw Chevrolet Tavera – Rekha and Karthik’s vehicle and started overtaking the same. We overtook them and were moving in a very good speed. We somehow got doubt that this is not the way to Nittur as the road to Nittur is not this good. So we had to stop and enquire. By then Tavera passed on. We came to know that we are 6 kms away from Nittur and we had to go back. Phew! Now we are on the right track and went all the way to Nittur and from there we took the road to Siganduru. Doc and TS were asleep and I was also yawning and sleeping at times. Srivatsa luckily did not get sleep and our car finally stopped at Siganduru. The hotel was closed and we had nothing left to eat but for a big bottle of Maaza. We had maaza and went into a room in the temple and took the mats and slept off! It was 11.45pm when we slept. Good night again!
----------------------------------------------------------------end of Dream Journey 02!
It was 5 am in the morning and the temple staff came and woke us up and asked us to take shower to get ready for the pooja at 6 am. We were a bit lazy to get up and take shower but we had left with no options. We woke up and went in search for the bathrooms thinking that we will get hot water. But there was no hot water and we had to take the cold water bath!!! Phew! As soon as I poured the cold water on my head, I was like… hooooohhohhooo! I can’t express that here sorry!

We finished with the temple activities and we were feeling very hungry as there was no food in the night. 6.30am we went to the one and only hotel of Siganduru and ordered idli, Vada, buns of two plates each! It was too tasty to have it that early and filled our stomach. Packed some junk stuffs for our way (including lollypops). We left from there and reached the place where we need to get in to the Launch (Steamer) to cross the backwaters. We parked our vehicle and since we had time till 8 for the launch to arrive, we were enjoying the scenic beauty around and clicked lot of good photographs. Launch arrives at 8 and we boarded the launch and started our aquatic journey! It takes 30 minutes to cross the backwaters and while we were on the way, srivatsa clicked some photographs and for him this is the first time he is taking his car on the launch.

After crossing, we took our way to Sagara where Shivu was waiting for us to get in. Yes! He joined our journey on the last day. Luckily he had packed idlis for us from home. We picked Shivu at Sagara and left to Jog falls! Phew… too awesome to watch Jog in this season. We went to the usual view point first and clicked some photographs and then we thought of going to the Mungaru Male spot; the point where the water falls from top. We had to park our car on the main road and before we left, we thought of eating something and went in to a small shop. The shop keeper lady was very kind and we ordered khara puri for all of us. After getting to know that she had akki rotti also, I could not stop tasting one! I and srivatsa took one rotti each and enjoyed eating it and in the mean while Doc and TS had chittranna. Shivu was satisfied with a lemon juice he himself prepared in a bottle. One good learning here is that the lady was using the rain water which was collected on top of her shop to clean the dishes. She said “Every evening before I go home, I clean the top sheet so that the fresh water gets collected by morning”. Too good isn’t it???

Now! the dangerous scene of our trip. We just followed Shivu where in he took us to the edge! Phew… THE EDGE and there is no life beyond it. But it was awesome experience. So many people were staring us and scolding us from where ever they were. It’s the extreme edge and if there is a slight slip also there is nothing after that. Shivu asked me to hold the tree at the edge and look down once which I did and I did… wow! Too good to see and breathtaking. We clicked some best photographs there and while going back, Srivatsa clicked best shots of a green Snake which was posing from a tree.

TS and Shivu wanted to go to one more spot there for which I refused because it was already 1.30 pm and we were to reach one more water falls which is 60 kms from where we are and return back to Bangalore as early as possible.

We left jog and took the route to Siddapur and then the route to Unchalli waterfalls. It is about 38 kms from Siddapur and we reached there by 3 pm. It was a spectacular view to the water falls but we all were unlucky because no one could see the falls because of the fog covered. That much water was just falling. Finally we returned back; while returning Shivu took a deviation which led us to a beautiful place where there were small waterfalls. TS and Doc missed it as they did not follow us. Me, Srivatsa and Shivu enjoyed the place for sometime and clicked few good shots and returned back to the spot where we had parked the car. We had tea there in the tea shop and left the place thinking that we have to come back once again when there is less water.

While we were returning on the way, we experienced the one which was not expected. Accident! Hold on… nothing happened to any of us. There was a KSRTC bus coming from the other end and Srivatsa was driving the car in his super speed and at the turning we came to know the bus is coming from the other end. Both bus driver and Srivatsa applied sudden brakes and luckily nothing happened but the major happening was missed in a second. Had the bus moved one inch more to the left, it would’ve gone in to a steep side and the next day we would’ve read it in the news paper. Shivu the craziest of all, when this accident happened, he was taking video of the same. Phew! I don’t know what the driver and conductor would’ve thought about us but the whole event was crossed without any tensions for either parties. There were few scratches on our car which is manageable.

We all were hungry and all set to have the idlis Shivu had got for us. But we were finding it difficult to find a place where water is available so that we can stop and have the food. Doc was shouting at srivatsa to stop the car. Finally we stopped at a very good and awesome looking place where there was a hut and deep well. We had our food there (it was not enough though) and then left to Shimoga. On the way we also had stopped the car to eat Pine apples. Wow it was too tasty and we had the whole lot of pine apples that the shop keeper had it with him. Guess how much we paid for each??? Its 5 Rs each.

Finally we reached Shimoga at 7 pm and left shimoga at 7.40 pm. We had our dinner at Kadur at 11 pm. Out of belief that we left we left kadur at 11 pm and we reached Bangalore – Nelamangala at 1.30. 200 kms in just 150 minutes - now you know how good Srivatsa at his driving!

We dropped Doc at his place and TS to his place at Hebbal. I was unlucky that srivatsa did not drop me home as he could not drive more. I got down at Mekhri Circle and took an auto rickshaw and reached home at 2.45am.

Well before I say good night! This is the dream journey of all four of us to keep ourselves away from the routine stressful work which made us enjoy experience and rejuvenate ourselves in the forest and out of the world. The question Kodachadrigaaaa…? Is still humming in our ears and if we just think of it, we will be refreshed. By the way… Kodachadrigaaa…? Is no more a question. It’s an expression of Rooopa which is priceless!

Good night! Don’t ask me Kodachadrigaaa…? Until you say you have experienced it!
Hope you enjoyed an awe-inspiring Dream Journey! Of Srivathsa, TS, Doc and myself
Documented by Srikanth on 24-Aug-2008 at 12.08 pm.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Global Warning not Warming from London!

Well guys.. July 24th we (myself and Harish) were ready to pack and leave to an International conference at London... before i tell the story, harish and i (Dove and Eagle), great buddies! we met during our MBA and took quite a number of challenges to do something out of the box and we have been doing the same till now.. many small excitements with success like winning the national social impact award, setting up an NGO - The XVIII Horse Foundation, few international conferences on the project we had worked during our MBA, now entrepreneurial adventure! all these are of course after a lot and lot of failures. Cant say whats keeping us still with the same spirits but there is an urge to do something really big.... this is not only our thinking but also people around us are expecting something big from our end! will have to wait and see... i have no idea how else to describe our friendship journey so far, but i can only say that this is just a beginning.

Well that was just a small intro to our past. With this blog i wanted to share a small story which ended drastically few days back. Yet again, we received an invitation for a paper presentation for an International Conference at London which is going to happen in London this July 25th. We were excited as always and the last date for the paper submission was June 30th. Till 29th we had not done much work on the same but we had decided on the title of the paper though. Paper titled Traditional Indian Grass Roots Vs Global Warming! interesting isn't it?? yes, thinking about the title itself gave us so much confidence that we started reading materials and gathered enough information. Google the Savior! but still lot of practical aspects were to be borrowed from researchers and different organisations to shape up the paper to the acceptance level of the other participants in the conference.

It was 29th june and i was busy with my house shifting to a new place and had not even called harish to enquire whats the status of the paper. At 9 pm, i called him and asked wassup?! he was like.. i am down with fever and could not do much. phew! suddenly i have no idea where we got the energy, we pulled ourselves in front of the system and started collating the materials we had collected. Lot of thoughts went in and paper took some good shape. We were of the belief that it has come out really well (well this was to our best knowledge) and sent it to our guides for review. Our guides, who knew that 30th was the last day, were checking with us whats wrong with us and why are we working on the paper on a last day.??? but still, they were supportive enough as always and guided us further.. finally! the paper was all set to be sent and it was 10pm our time and 5.30 pm in London we finally emailed the paper. The conference is scheduled to happen on July 25th till July 29th and was conducted by WGGWCC - Working Group on Global Warming and Climate Control. sounds still interesting???

Phew! now the actual story begins.. 3 days after we sent the paper, there comes the bounce back message to our email stating the email is not delivered. What???? exactly our reaction was WHAT??? immediately we called the organisers (sandy williams) who gave us an alternate mail id to send the paper and we thought we are lucky enough and sent the paper. But there was a doubt - how can the mail bounce back like this?? as per them they said there is a technical problem.

And after 3 days again, we called up the organisers asking for few clarifications and the process that is to be followed like Visa, Hotel Reservations, Tickets etc.. we sent them an email as well seeking clarifications.

8-July-08, i received an early morning call from Hari surprisingly at 9.20 am saying "Maga... we are going to London and our paper got selected". wow... yes my reaction was just WOW... just WOW.. we called up all our guides who were happy, called my closed ones who were happy... ofcourse we were happy and excited. We have received all the mails on tickets, hotel reservations, visa processing.. as if there was nothing left.... and all set! there comes the doubt after few minutes of happiness... why is it that they are asking us to pay for hotel reservation now itself? why is it that they need reservation receipts even before we get the Visa papers and Tickets Confirmation... WHY? it was not a small amount for us.. even though they had told that they will sponsor for the whole event except for hotel reservation, we were not big enough to pay 485 pounds! yes...thats the question... why??

Is this event FAKE?????? yes.. guys... we got trapped in the name of Global Warming...Global Warming has become Global Warning... we explored that the whole event is fake and the mail id of the hotel reservation is under scam organisation's website. They are just doing it for money! we were lucky that we never booked for the accommodation else we would've lost 485.. sorry in Indian rupees a sum of 40500/-! again the savior...

hmmm...this was the story which took of our few moments of happiness... The efforts which went into the paper, amount of reading, writing, discussions... phew.. what all.. just took off our moods on 8th july leaving us just that hope that the paper is good enough for the next conference!

Leaving the past behind...only our spirits have kept us cool and left us with loads of challenges again!

WGGWCC.............. isn't it sounding too weird! i just love it! phew!

Hari... kudos to you! me also! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eskool! - The Making

Well... its all in the game! as sup always says...
I do agree.. its just all in the game of life.. but eskool.. our dream project is just born and keeping it alive taking whole of our lives.. guys lemme tell you.. Neva gonna forget all these moments which am experiencing now!

it was just another Saturday May 31st 2008, i was painting the eskool door wall, thats when i realized what am i doing here...? whoz this Sup.. Ragu.. Hari n all ... is this the dream or am i really painting the door??? Yes... the last two days before the school gonna start and there was so much pending work.. Sup with all the computer cables and Ragu cleaning all the tables... phew! carpenters still working on the tables so that we can accommodate 15 computers... time went by and realized that we forgot our dinner completely... drove to the empire on MG Road and had dosa chicken (thats for sup.. i just had Veg dosa!!).

Eyes opened to a Sunday the last day before the school starts.. Carpenters still sleeping... Ragu waiting for us near the gate.. lots of pending works.. Networking, software installations, Center table for teachers, chairs, lighting and major breakdown with the UPS batteries.. expensive breakdown too ... i still wonder how did we complete all these in one day..

June 02, 2008.. as scheduled, the school reopens and Eskool takes birth! all the students and teachers were thrilled to watch the new rejuvenated computer lab called eskool computer lab! Red and Blue colors all over and brightness within. Distributed sweets and chocolates for all the students and teachers... all excited faces but lot of appreciations as well!

Well.. thats about how it got kicked off...but after that.. everyday phone calls from teachers saying " sup.. there is a problem with the 5th system's mouse.. 7th system is getting hanged.." Phew! we getting hanged ourselves... but still.. we have our madhu... on call he will be there at the school at his own created time and day! but completes the work though! thank goodness calls are reduced by the 3rd week... wow! watte fun being associated with this initiative...

am happy the way things are happening. There are lot of ups and downs in the process which we are facing every day every minute. Phone calls, Sms, Gtalk chats… many modes of communication. I am not finding any difference in the amount of work we are doing every day / every night / weekends, getting irritated, frustrated, being silent, small failures, arranging for money, having dinner at 2am early morning, skipping lunch, painting walls, cleaning computers, sweeping, driving crazy, silly fights, getting angry at things, stupid decisions...

Phew! I’m just loving it.