Monday, May 30, 2005

The Night Riders

The evolution continues . . and we software guys always find ways to make simple things simpler ( and for complicated things, find someone to do it) . On the weekends, it's a different story altogether. We try out things in a different and tougher way when the easier ways exist. This weekend, we planned to visit a place on cycles when there were bikes to carry us. Though the "cycle trip" was Aish's idea ( she claims it so ), it was just me and mithun who decided to go on this mission. I gave up calling people to join, when they'd exclaim back "r u nutz ?" or some'd persuade us not to go . .

The mission objective was to conquer peak 4018 ( Savandurga ), distant 60 km from Bangalore, off Magadi Road. The torrential rains on Friday evening messed up our plan. We now had to conform to plan B. Being unable to get the bicycles for rent, we picked up Mithun's cousin's cycles. They were in a pretty bad shape. We spent the whole of Saturday watching Jet Li's "Danny the Dog", getting cycles repaired and sleeping. The zero hour was approaching and we were anxiously waiting for the rain to stop. The mission began at 2400 hrs on Saturday ( ya, midnight at 12 ) with the slogan "Jai bajrang bali" . There were several reasons for choosing this odd hour : no dehydration, no traffic, no rain, no other option...

We paddled in enthusiasm and the cared little about the humps and ditches. The enthu soon died down when Mithun started throwing up. The mission seemed impossible and crazy, for we had hardly cycled 3 km. The brave man decided to continue and so we did. With the help of auto drivers and service station guys ( the only creatures of night available, for we dared not ask the cops ), we made it to the Magadi road.

Cycling in these pre-dawn hours was the one thing we never tried and this was proving very exciting. The misty moonshine was making things just visible and we used torches only to read the milestones. With the day break, we could make out the silhoutte of the mighty Savandurga ( the biggest monolith of Asia ). An elderly villager who spoke decent English gave us direction to reach the base of this peak. We cycled through narrow dirt roads of remote villages. The most backward of 'em had the most modern name : POLO-halli . .

We took our own time to reach the base. The birds were a major distraction to us and Mithun was trying out his photographic skills with his new DSC. The mighty Savandurga seemed mightier from its base. We started the ascent at 0804 hours. We were accompanied by 2 stray dogs. We planned to feed 'em only if they make it to the top with us. One of 'em probably got the message and gave up following us. The Arkavathi river was gleaming like a silver line and the sun was drowsily peeping out of the clouds. the acsent was tough and we wondered how the guys of yetser years had managed to bring about a fort on this.

The dog still continued to linger around. We kept following the arrow marks which the Forest-Dept guys had painted. The last part of the ascent was tough and the way seemed elusive. The dog suddenly started whining when we chose to follow the faint mark. I thought that the dog was perhaps afraid to jump down the creek and i ignored its cry. After a tough climbing, we realized it was impossible to reach the top via the route we chose. We had to back-track. The dog was now standing on the peak and seemed to be pointing at the path it possibly followed. We soon discovered the actual path and thought the Forest guys must have played a prank.

We celebrated the completion of the first phase of our mission at 0930 hrs. Danny the dog was still there with us ( the movie we watched the previous day, made us christen him so). Now, it was time to treat Danny for the help. But, he did not eat. Now, you must be thinking we carried rotten stuff !!. I guess, He had followed us with a motive other than just eating what we threw at him. I was missing Keerthi the most. He'd have loved this dog.

Midway during the descent, Danny escaped with some Germans. As we climbed down, we pumped up the enthu of people heading up though we knew it wasn't easy. It was good to see our cycles safely parked. We had no time to relax. 6 hours of cycling and further 4 hours of trek had drained out our energies and deprived us of our zeal. We started cycling back. It wasn't easy this time with the sun directly above our heads. We had a short nap in the woods and kept going on. There was not a single person who missed to take glance at us. I often ran my hands down to check if my shorts hadn't fallen off and checked if my cycle had both the wheels. Some dazed, some jeering, mostly sympathetic and rarely appreciating looks were giving us a mixed feedback. While John Denver kept whispering in my ears .. Magadi Road..take me home ( desperately ) the place..I belong...hmmmm...Magadi Road...

When the milestone read 18km to B'lore, Mithun gave up. I too would have fallen off after a couple of kilometres. We hitch-hiked a Carrier Van and got a lift with our cycles for 10km. All of a sudden, The exhausted Mithun showed signs of strength and his enthu seemed to come out of the blue. He discovered an easier way to reach home and that was all on our minds: reach home, hog, sleep.... we drove the motorless 2-wheelers like bikes and traversed the chord road overtaking other motored vehicles. And, we were home. The mission was accomplished. The watch showed 1934 hrs.

The sense of accomplishment subdued the pains of sprains and cramps. And we kept on repeating 'we've done it..we've done it..'

There are many lessons we learnt from this trip.
* Never ever cram too many things in a short time ( but, it's fun doing so )
* Never over estimate your strengths ( but, we just proved it wrong ).
* Trust a dog more than a man...
* 1 Kilometre equals 1000 metres ..and it's a pretty LONG distance.

..There was one good discussion about one's temparement while riding and this is what we derived from it. This may be helpful for keeping your cool on such rides and can be generalized and applied for one's life too.
when going -
while ye ride down a hillock, enjoy it.
while ye climb it, just think " Oh !, i'll enjoy this while coming "
when coming back -
while ye ride down a hillock, enjoy it.
while ye climb it, remember how u had enjoyed it while going

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Best Laid Plans..

2 days of planning, further 2 days for rope-ing in people to join, 2 more days for getting the logistics right..this is usually what goes into making a planned trek..But, the fun of having a totally unplanned trek is a different experience altogether..these unplanned activities, most of the times surpass the efficacy of even the Best Laid Plans..
....A bike trip to a waterfall in the neighbourhood was up on the schedule and almost 8 of us had marked our calenders..couple of 'em pulled back owing to their personal commitments and that eventually led to calling off the sunday plan..Paru's treat for making it to the IIM, however came as a compensation..After a heavy meal, sleep was the only thing uppermost on everyone's mind..
..I was thinking that something was wrong with the stellar positions, or the earth were traversing a retrograde path, for it was leading to a series of unusual events..The usual-lazy Paru was all pumped up to go on a bike ride and the ever-ready Shashu put down the idea.. Finally, 4 of us decided to carry out what others were referring to a fool's was foolish indeed to start a bike trip on bad roads to a waterfall distant 75 km at 4 in the eveing !!. is blind, but a craze like this is even more the time we decided and left the city limits, it was 5.00 pm..we had less time, lesser patience.. gap between sun and horizon narrowed and so did the roads.. our spirits were high and the pillion riders' higher ( for they were air-bound most of the time ).. the destination was near and the falling of dusk nearer.. We finally made it to the place - Chunchi falls 5 km off the Sangama-Kanakpura road.. No sooner than we parked our bikes, a guy came from nowhere to collect the parking fees..i'm afraid this B'lore-disease has even spread to a place so remote..
..All i could see while climbing down was satirical and ridiculing expressions of people returning back..some concerned brethren were shouting " be careful, don't rush.."...and within seconds, we were seeing the river Arkavathi fall down the rocks with brute force and an equal grace, trying to spread the message that patience and perseverence can cut unyeilding rocks with a thing as feeble as water..the mirk that was encompassing, left only the white stream visible and the waters seemed to be falling from void back to the void.. that was an experience..simply mind blowing..
...It always takes more struggle to cover up the folly committed in haste..we had a bigger task, that of reaching home - safely.. the roads being narrow, we had to often descend the main road to let the speeding trucks go was the most difficult 2 hours of bike ride of my life hitherto..Venky further scared me by reminding me that it was a new moon day.. it was the pitch darkness that was troubling me more than the superstition behind the Amavaasya..
...the roads, i thought were designed by engineers frustrated by studying the Fourier Series during their Engineering, that they were punishing the riders with a road - having a fundamental component of 1m wavelength and an amplitude of 0.5 m and some surprise-components ( glitches ).. quite often, the natural frequency of the shocks'd match with the fundamental, tossing the pillion rider high up in the air..
...We were back to the place where we stated at 9:00 pm..The sight of a cop reminded us that so far, i was driving a bike without a license and Paru-the licensed fella was riding a bike without documents.. This thought had agitated Paru enough and when i turned back, I saw the most hilarious sight ever - Paru had apparently hit the cop trying to stop him.. a couple of female pedestrians blaming the cop for his carelessness ( make sure you read "blaming the cop" ) ..and our Paru showing his compassion by sitting on the bike and shaking his head !!..i rubbed my eyes 'coz, for a moment i could not believe my weary eyes..We managed to disapper from the scene before the cop could think of holding us back..
..Me and mithun have had many of such "unplanned treks".. but surely, this was the mother of all..'s said "You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way ".. though we hurried all along, we enjoyed every moment of the ride..every tick of it..

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

look who's eyeing the White House.

I found a funny article in the TOI (dated 4th of May 05) which read, " J Lo eyes the White House " .. I re-read, just to confirm WHO ??.. it was " J Lo "
.. I read again, 'coz this time, i thought it must be " A White House " .. no no, it was " THE White House " !!.

After having tried hands at singing, dancing, gymnastics and men, J Lo is now obsessed with House Keeping. . She says she loves to clean her house ( all new things seems interesting in the beginning ) and all her stress disappears when she's striaghtening up..( and what the hell !! she had to choose the White House for it ?? )

She says "The first thing I'd like to do is redecorate the White House - it doesn't look too cozy" ..Guess how it'll imagination is limited...

she claims herself to be a power house and is capable of challenging Bush and intends to be the first female President of the United States..Let's hope that this new obsession of J Lo, like any other Ojani Noa, Puffy or Ben Affleck episodes, dies away before the next Presidential election..

...till then, she can continue eyeing on the White House . ..
'coz eyeing wont cost a thing ...