Dec 29, 2008
The next day I enjoyed a 6k run along the beach and after a Kerala style breakfast, left for the hills in a red colored KSRTC bus. On the way i stopped at the Pookode Lake - the water was clear and fresh and the boating serene. By the evening I reached the rendezvous point where the rest of the team led by the charismatic Srikanth Spiky Perinkulam landed.
The next morning we geared up to climb Chembra, the tallest peak in Kerala. The climb showed me just how underdeveloped my quads and hamstrings were! We spent the next day at Edakkal caves, yet another place that highlights the disaster that Indian Tourism is. There was a very scary climb to the top there, one that triggered a mini-vertigo at each turn. Felt relieved after I hit terra firma. That day we also hit the Soochipara Falls where the water was cold but refreshing. The night ended with a late camp fire.
The last day of the trip was a straight drive back to Bangalore via Ganpathivattom (Sulthan Bathery), Bandipur Wild Life Sanctuary and Mysore. We sighted a wild elephant on the way and had exceptionally delicious tender coconut water at a village named Khagradondi. I also sighted two Colnago bicycles mounted on an SUV, that was part of the Tour of Nilgiris contingent (still agonising on my bike decision :-) Finally after lunch at Kamats, we stopped at the Ranganathittu Bird Santcuary (a familiar place) on the way. At Bangalore Sharmas Travel provided a comfortable Volvo bus that took us to Hyderabad on time the next day.
See Spiky's blog for more on the trip.
Dec 16, 2008
- Un-Partition of India?
- Re-Partition of Pakistan?
- The idea of Pakistan and its unwinding
- Anti-feudalistic undercurrents in Pakistan donning mask of religion
- The Infinite Patience of India
- 'The Thing' - source in Wahabbi fundamentalism,
- The New Great Game - Afghanishtan & FATA
Nov 30, 2008
Nov 28, 2008
Oct 19, 2008
Oct 10, 2008
Oct 9, 2008
Oct 7, 2008
We took an early morning bus to Pattiseema where the cruise started from. The upstream journey was wonderful with the river gracefully snaking its way up the plains into the thickly forested hills. The climax was the stretch where we entered the famous Papi Hills where the hill ranges are so closely spaced that it actually looks like the river is removing curtain after curtain in its relentless journey. The river here gets to just 150-200 metres wide, a fraction of its girth at Rajamahendri where the rail cum road bridge itself is 5 kms wide.
We took the 200 air conditioned seater from Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) manned by a dutiful and polite crew. Unfortunately the whole booking and boarding was messed up by the management and we heard that the cruise day before had to be cancelled after starting off as they realised the boat was over-crowded. Though the journey was beautiful, the boarding and ticketing process was mis-managed. APTDC still follows a manual booking process that complicates booking and cancelation big time! The boat was also slow (one felt someone jogging along the bank would have moved faster) and the journey was about 10 hours long! For someone wishing to cover this, I would recommend a trip to Kunavaram from Bhadrachalam, a famous temple town in Khammam district; from Kunavaram one can hire a boat and complete a round trip to the Papi Hills in about 4-5 hours.
Eleven years ago, I had an opportunity to do this journey but from the other way. I took a bus from Bangalore to Hyderabad and from there a connection to Bhadrachalam. After a day or two there covering places like Parnasala and Kinnerasani Wild Life Sanctuary, I moved to Kunavaram and stayed overnight paying a princely sum of eight rupees for renting a cot! The next morning I took the daily passenger motor launch to Rajamahendri that costed rupees thirty inclusive of lunch. That journy was special - I ended up spending more time on the roof of the boat and we touched almost every village on either side of the river. Looking back it almost has a 'Swades' movie like touch to it. I recall seeing so many kids splashing about in the water and this time could not spot a single soul frolicing in the water! I am told that the demography along the river has somewhat changed and people have moved on to the cities where more opportunities beckon in the risng economy of India. In a few years the ambitious Polvaram project will dam the river a few kms north of Rajamahendri transforming the economy of the whole state and also displacing several thousand villagers. That will change the demography more abruptly and take away the beauty of Papi Kondalu for ever.
Sep 21, 2008
Sep 6, 2008
I came across David Allen's "Getting Things Done" this year and liked it very much. I now use it to keep mail box clean and lean. Am still struggling to integrate Outlook tasks with 'Next actions' in my inbox. And still have to the higher things in life that he promises will happen.
Loehr's theory is somewhat new but then not entirely new. He is a sports psychologist and much of what he says is also said by Lance Armstrong in his biography. In a way I have recently begun to do what he espouses. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you would have guessed by now that i am into running with a goal to complete a half marathon by this year end. What you would pay Loehr thousands of dollars to learn in person is already encapsulated in this training workout schedule by Hal Higdon, which is helping thousands of clueless novices like me achieve running goals!
Sep 5, 2008
Now Chrome is new but still underscores the importance of a developer community, which Firefox seems to have mastered. Google will surely attract developers who will mimick or create more Firefox like add ons. Microsoft must be wondering what to do, now that Google has opened up yet another flank in its ongoing war.
Sep 3, 2008
Aug 31, 2008
I chose Indira Park in Hyderabad for my run - approximately six and half laps. I am still recovering from my comparitively long runs and somehow managed to complete it. It felt good and the fact that lakhs of people world over are running meant something. It was also a proper 10k i ran with some restraint and carrying a water bottle throughout. So i do not feel as terrible as last week.
Aug 30, 2008
This trend is particularly relevant in Indian context as it has a potential create vast economies of scale in computing thereby making Information Technology accessible at low price points. IT adoption in India is at a world class level in the big corporates, but SMEs have not embraced it yet due to price and maintenance issues. Cloud Comupting could free up all of that and jumpstart the productivity of the Indian economy.
This throws the political equations in the state of AP awry and no one knows who will win the elections next year. But having another strong regional party will definitely help the state; just see how Tamilnadu manages the federal setup no matter who is in power on either side.
Aug 28, 2008
Rahul Varghese wrote a very nice article "Wake up call from Beijing" exhorting Indians to take up more running. See it here. I like his missionary zeal which was on display ten days ago at the Hyd Marathon.
Aug 25, 2008
At the beginning of the program, he was magnanimous enough to call Dr C Narayana Reddy as his manasika guru, one who inspired to him start writing compositions himself. He was also gracious enough to respond to the audience's requests. S Janaki requested 'Devi Brova Samayam Idhe' and he responded 'Idhena?' as if she herself was the 'Devi', before singing it. This somewhat contradicted a notion that he is a pompous artist; I found no traces of that yesterday.
Aug 24, 2008
The ipod has been setting scorching sales records and now it looks like Apple is also gaining on the computer sales front. Check this out to see that Apple is very strong on the retail sales front; Windows continues dominate OEM and institutional sales but Apple is approaching a critical mass. The Apple Mac ads have been a rage and now Microsoft is forced to counter them in a big way and has signed up Seinfeld himself for that!
Apple iStores have made their appearance in India - there is one in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - giving Indians a closer look at the sex appeal of an Apple Macbook Air, to pick just one product. Apple also made a big launch yesterday of the iPhone tying up with Airtel and Vodafone - two large telcos in India.
Aug 23, 2008
Would strongly recommend this book to anyone especially those Indian athletes now looking to beat the world post Beijing Olympics with London as the target.
The event pulled together about 600 runners from all over the world and included the Grey Hound contingent from AP Police too. A very well organized run that drew appreciation from one and all. Hoping for more such events in Hyd and I look forward to run in them in addition to cheering from the sidelines.
Aug 18, 2008
Aug 14, 2008
- Let us start with the time taken to commute to the airport. The commute from Electronics city to the Bangalore airport takes two to three hours. A similar journey from the Hyderabad IT district takes less than ninety minutes. Hyderabad is also building a huge 11 km expressway from Mehdipatnam to the highway from where the airport will be a smooth ride. Bangalore has no similar infrastructure in the works.
- The approach roads are both comparable and 'world-class' but the landscaping along the road at Hyderabad is arresting and done very nicely. Even the round abouts closer to the airport at Hyderabad give a touch of class and lend a character to the entire edifice. Bangalore has nothing of this.
- BIAL has both arrivals and departures at one single level which causes some confusion and clutter outside the airport. Hyderabad has two levels which streamlines inbound and outbound traffic and creates a lot 'space' and 'depth' to the structure.
- Check in at both places is smooth. However after clearing security at Bangalore you run into this strip mall kind of atmosphere which is highly cluttered with lots of shops jostled next to each other. People queuing at the gates run into each other, in fact anyone going anywhere runs into each other and doesn't know here he is going. The Hyderabad sitting areas is much more spread out and has a lot of greenery with indoor plants decorating the place.
- The colour schemes and layout of various buildings at Bangalore airport are not in sync with each other unlike Hyderabad.
- The aerobridges at Hyderabad are all transparent gives a pretty neat feeling whether you are looking from outside-in or inside-out. Bangalore aerobridges are opaque (perhaps to place more ads inside), adding to the already claustrophobic feel you get at the departure gates.
Aug 12, 2008
And once you get onto the train, requests to fellow passengers for a lower berth exchange usually meet with a smirk and stare as if you are begging for alms. Perfectly healthy middle aged people pointedly refuse an exchange claiming they have a backache or leg pain, though they can clearly see the state of a 80 year old woman. Trying 25-30 people finally yields one positive result and the search is closed (a 'courtesy-hit-rate' of 4%). Last month, my mother met a pregnant lady who was requesting a lower berth and finally when amma agreed, she had to move to an altogether different compartment . The lady must have asked 75-80 people, a courtesy-hit - of 1.5%! What has been your experience with courtesy-hit-rates?
Aug 11, 2008
The second less probable but infinitely more welcome news was an Indian finally winning an Olympic individual gold medal in shooting. It is fitting that in a country that has produced the like of Arjuna the mighty archer, a related sport brings us glory. I was just about write about the national humiliation that we are beginning to undergo at the Beijing Olympics and here come Abhinav with his outstanding performance. Now this one gold has gotten the monkey off our backs and the effect on other sports persons is already visible.
I've always held that India has a chance of winning gold most individual sports, funded by corporates, given our relatively poor 'team playing skills' and the huge scam the political-sports establishment is. Winning a gold at Olympics involves much more than raw talent - conditioning, grooming, medical attention, advanced equipment, careful diet and nourishment etc.
Let us hope this sets the trend for sports in India as a whole! In hindsight, the cricketing news should not have even made the headlines!
Jul 21, 2008
Oil has sky rocketed leading to numerous consequences for various people and governments, and the above is surely one of them. Nuclear energy even if it comes several years later, will reduce dependence on Middle East oil which will be good for us. Meanwhile there are supply cuts leading to queues at the fuel stations, and to somewhat empty roads. Not an entirely bad prospect for the traffic weary Hyderabadi!
Apr 9, 2008
One's blood boils to see Tibetans with their backs to the wall, trying to make a feeble attempt to highlight their cause. Time is running out for them as soon the Chinese Hans will change the demography of Tibet forever. The Americans did it with the Natives in the 18th and 19th centuries, Australians with the Aborigines and now the Chinese with Tibetans and Uigurs - have the times really changed? Are we living in a modern free world at all?
Feb 21, 2008
- GMR the Infrastructure major has a series of ad that simply announce India to the world. One of these shows an elderly couple waiting in tension for the result of their son's US visa appointment. The son knocks the door and bursts into a dance and is all smiles. Turns out he did not get the US visa and is celebrating the opportunity to stay back in India!
- Saakshi (సాక్షి) a Telugu newspaper being launched this month, has some interesting ads about kids and youth who have there dreams centered in India. One shows a girl wanting to be a world famous Kuchipudi dancer, another has a girl dreaming to become an astronaut and my favuorite finally is the one showing a youngster riding a boat (a la Shah Rukh Khan in the movie Swadesh स्वदेश) and imagining a scenario where foreigners queue up to obtain a work permit in India!
Something simply unimaginabe just a few years ago is now being visualized and projected to the masses! Needless to say if these ads reflect what the popular imagination is, then India as a country is indeed seeing a turning point in its history. Let me know if you come across more such ads.
Feb 10, 2008
Jan 27, 2008
With the rupee appreciation, larger volumes and the expected recession in the US the future is certainly not so rosy. What could turn around the futures of these companies? One or more of the following:
- Some bold and aggressive acquisitions in the global market place taking their reach to new markets. Indian companies in general (not just IT ones) have a huge potential to acquire inefficient operations overseas and use their low cost models to deliver significant improvements in gross margins.
- The rupee reaching a level of Rs 40 again on the back of a potentially deeper stock market correction, could mark a psychological threshold. With elections in India round the corner and the global recession there will be enough volatility around to make that possibe if not probable.
- Launch of some bold IT products may still take some time, but that could kick in big time non linear revenue streams and not on mere head counts. TCS is already more than 100k heads, a humongous number and I clearly don't see them replacing the Indian Railways as the world's largest employer.
Jan 24, 2008
Once you are set up, the sheer joy of integrating your music/podcasts with running is beyond words. Each time the ipod syncs, the run data goes to the nikeplus.com website where one can track the runs, goals, challenges, resolutions, trophies, route maps etc. The route map feature is great - noticed though that Hyderabad did not have as many maps as Bangalore and went about creating a few myself. All the running related activity has been superbly organised, letting one focus on getting motivated and staying the course. I am now close to completing my target of running 40kms this month and hope to set more targets in the coming months to eventually accomplish my goal of completing a half marathon.
Bottom line: I will recommend the book to any MBA aspirant for the big picture view it provides for succeeding in life at an IIM.
Jan 13, 2008
My admiration for the Tata Motors and Ratan Tata runs even deeper now post this launch. This Nano has established India solidly in global arena of automobile design. The perseverance of Ratan to hold on in West Bengal is admirable in the face of the daily brinkmanship by the vested elements to shut down the Nano factory. The guy is out to do good for Bengal by letting industry take roots once again. Let us hope that 'common people' in their thousands drive out to Singur a year from now with their little Nanos to express their solidarity and gratitude.