Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whether you like it or not

Thank God every morning; that you've something to do that day which must be done. Whether you like it or not; being forced to work and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self control; diligence and strength of will; cheerfulness and content; and a hundred virtues which the idle never know.

For we all know that being idle is a legacy we can't afford, because we all have been idle at some point of our lives and know that it's just a complex confusion churner. On the contrary, we also know what being industrious yields; even though it requires picking and dusting ourselves from the sloth and putting ourselves in the middle of action, which can be uncomfortable at times. But, it sure does set the tone for betterment in the long run.
What I've faced often is irritability, at doing things which need to be done. This is not because I do not want to do it, rather because of the uncontrolled mind which rebels against doing anything and makes us irritated, albeit that something will be good for the self in the near future.
At this point remembering a good old proverb gives the much needed thrust in the rear-
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle — When the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”


 

As a matter of fact I'd seen this proverb in the notice board of my college library and was impressed; but taking action on same lines was a different ball game altogether, so i just dropped the proverb off my mind.
But over the years I've learnt  the importance of time and that time lost means opportunity lost. And that it is only a lack of purpose, lack of goals and to worry about the results that stagnates us in life.
 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bouldering in Bangalore..

I've been always interested in adventurous activities which are a main cause of improving my fitness levels. But, I've always pursued it respecting the limits of my pocket not for fitness, but for the sheer fun/thrill of it and fitness was a byproduct. So, bouldering being a part of adventure was also under that interest.
I'm just a pure amateur at it, but find it really interesting; especially I found it very interesting at Hampi owing to the ambiance created by all the ruins, mountains, river and the spectacular view around as shown below:



Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas. However, it may also be practiced at the base of larger rock faces, or even on buildings or public architecture.

It's also interesting at Ramnagaram which is the Mecca for Rock climbing and Bouldering and also at a lesser known place called Turahalli - which is good for beginners like me.
 



Although there are lot of technicalities involved which one could learn from Kanteerava Stadium which has an artificial wall for climbing enthusiasts and also trainers/experienced people available for training; you can also do it casually using trial and error method something like problem solving.
Or as most of us only look for a way to relax and unwind, it could be tried during a team outing or something like that through various adventure clubs in Bangalore. And yes, if you've a pair of Climbing shoes (which is a bit expensive in the range of 3k-4k), it'd be very helpful for better traction and edging capabilities.
Now whatever the reason may be, it is a real pleasure to do for the simple reason that it is challenging and exciting..

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bouldering at its best!

Bouldering in the Czech Republic from BERNARTWOOD on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

JMeter setup procedure

Although it is not difficult installing/setting up JMeter; I'd like to list the procedure here for a smooth setup and to save time, for whomever may need the steps.


-> Download JMeter zips of the binary and src directories from JMeter hompage.
-> Extract it to C:\
-> Go to the bin dir on the command prompt and run the "jmeter.bat" file.
-> Make sure JDK version higher than JDK 1.4 is installed on the system for the relevant processor type (https://cds.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/CDS-CDS_Developer-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewFilteredProducts-SingleVariationTypeFilter), otherwise the following error will be thrown:

C:\JMeter\bin>jmeter.bat
'java.exe' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
errorlevel=9009
Press any key to continue . . .
 
-> To check whether Java is installed or not, Open a command window to try the java command-
>c:\
>cd \Program Files\Java\jdk1.5.0_09\bin
>java -version

If you are getting the following output, your Java installation is ok:

>C:\JMeter\bin>java -version
java version "1.5.0-rc"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0-rc-b63)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0-rc-b63, mixed mode, sharing)

-> After running the batch file if you get an error-

"Unrecognized VM option '+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError' Could not create the Java virtual machine. errorlevel=1"

Then comment the line:

"set DUMP=-XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError" in the jmeter batch file. After that the JMeter console should open successfully!
 
-> The JMeter UI should display now.

Blind Man

If we are aware we'd know that, both the body and mind are constantly arising and ceasing, conditions are in a state of constant turmoil. The reason we can't see this in line with the truth is because we keep believing the untrue. It's like being guided by a blind man. How can we travel with him in safety? A blind man will only lead us into forests and thickets. How could he lead us to safety when he can't see? In the same way, our mind is deluded by conditions, creating suffering in the search for happiness, creating difficulty in the search for ease. Such a mind can have only difficulty and suffering. In reality we want to get rid of suffering and difficulty, but instead we create those very things. All we can do is complain. We create bad causes and the reason we do is because we don't know the truth of appearances and conditions and try to cling to them.
Happiness is the eternal destination of human beings, but it is something material; which is not there when you seek it. But, as I remember a quote "Happiness comes in the most unsought of times".
As it is something very material, if something is there or some conditions/situations are as expected we are happy, otherwise we're in dumps. When a man can seek a state beyond happiness and sorrow, then only can he be truly free.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tour-de-Wayanad..

This tour of Wayanad on bike (done on 1st week of May-2010) was organized from our office cycling club called "EcoRiders" of which I'm one of the admins, supported by our Employee Welfare group called "Syntillations" and conducted by a 3rd party called "Muddy Boots" who are trip/tour organizers; be it biking, hiking, kayaking or seeing around and they specialize in the region Wayanad. Incredible group they're with absolute professionalism, well organized and giving the participants a life-time experience of Wayanad like nobody else can!
About the ride - Absolute adventure, fun, frolic and exciting..Wayanad with it's untouched landscape, forest cover and hilly plantations is any rider's/trekker's dream place, which I'd realized in my previous two trips here. Still after 3 trips, I haven't covered some amazing places like Pakshipatalam, Chembra peak and couple of sanctuaries; which I hope to cover in another trip.

Coming to the ride, as the slide-show beneath shows - it was a blend of a lot of exciting things, something like a lot of ingredients which goes into an exotic 'Curry'. And a great experience it was as we rode through all kinda terrains (Village and Mud roads, through the town, along the River, through the Forest, beside paddy fields) to discover Wayanad hidden beauty.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Egoism

Generations have changed, but man's Egoism has Not.. Even a small overtake on the road hurts their huge Ego!

 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Interview!

This is about an interview attended by a guy who's relatively a fresher, and is the friend of my brother's friend. It's not a very distant hearsay, as I know this friend of my brother.

This boy and most of the happening youngsters nowadays are all big followers of Rock & Hip-Hop, so it's no wonder that they'll have one or the other of these numbers on their mind. It so happened that he attended an interview and cleared the rounds till the last but one and was in the penultimate one.
He enters the interview cabin-



Interviewers gruelled him and found him wanting in that round, and told that he hasn't made it to the next round! They asked him to describe his thoughts on the interview and experience so far.. The lad thought for a moment, and told that - "I'd like to sing a song to express that"; and the interviewers thought - well.. nice to see something different..they gave him the go ahead..

And this is what he sung -

" I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
And lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter... " (2) !!!

From the famous.. " In the End " of Linkin Park !!!



Any guesses what the interviewers' response could have been..??!! :)


They threw him out.........saying - "Get lost, this is not 'MTV-Roadies audition' - you jerk!!"


Well, you can't blame the lad.. He just expressed what he honestly felt at that moment!;)

And might have as well thought on the way back - "Hmm..They don't like 'Linkin Park'!! Maybe, I should try singing a different number next time.." :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

B&W and Color Photography - my take on it..

What marks the difference between B&W and Color pictures? Is it only the perceptions we've associated with them, or is it that both are used to stand-out from each other and give a unique feel?
Color began to be used in commercial photography in order to stand out from all the B&W. Now B&W is being used to stand out from all the Color.Or may be the nostalgic feeling we've associated with B&W pics as those are what we've mostly seen in the 80s and it's re-emerging now! Whatever the reason may be, both have their unique positions in the situations used and depending upon the subject of the pic.

Now, normally when humans see a color photo - we primary see the colors first, then the other aspects. But, when we see the same photo as monochrome - we immediately see subject, form, shape, tonality and texture. For some, this seems to be a richer experience. I personally like B&W a bit more than the color ones, probably because there is an overload of color stills nowadays. But, color pics also appeal when the colors in the pic blend well into each other thereby rendering a soothing effect and giving a feel of the theme or subject pictured.


One way of looking at the question is to ask whether the subject is colored or not. Sounds too simple, ain't it?! In fact it is simple.. If color can be used only when needed, then we may not have the bombardment of color snaps which happens nowadays. Sunsets for example usually need color..Just think of a Sunset snap you've seen without the orange and red colors - it becomes lifeless.. Another approach is to take a look at a range of images in both B&W and Color - flash between the two and see which has the most impact, go with it.
I remember reading somewhere -  "Looking at a B&W version will often enrich your experience, as you'll see geometry and shadows much better." And I think that's true, as you'll feel the same if you compare both side by side.

Now, to get this sorted I got prints small (postcard) as well as large (A3) size and compared them; and must say that the color ones gave a better feel and connect to the place I went to.. mostly landscapes and wide-angled shots, the B&W ones were more effective when coming to close-ups or portraits.

Conclusion - I like them both and would have a mixture/collection of both in an album according to relevance!

One of my captures..

Monday, July 5, 2010

A day in Shravanabelagola & Melkote!

This was a last moment plan after my slightly bigger plan of covering Mangalore and the coastal regions had to drop because of various reasons. The initial plan was to go to Mangalore in train via Hassan and Sakleshpur through the Sakleshpur-Subrahmanya forest rail track. The train traverses round about 25 tunnels and 45 bridges amidst the mountains and forest through scenic terrain giving one of a kind feeling; as the route was once famous for the railway track trekking, which I'd done when the track was in an abandoned state before 2006 and trains were not yet operational. So, this time I wanted to check the route on a train.
When passing through this route, one can also see the Bisle ghat and the Kumarparvata ranges which are among the most challenging and interesting trekking options in Karnataka. From Mangalore had plans of going to Udupi to visit the Lord Krishna temple and then Malpe-St. Mary's Island; and finally covering the coastal areas and finishing the trip at Kollur and heading back.
But, after dropping this plan I was not sure where to head to, as haven't left any place to be covered at least within 200km radius of Bangalore. I didn't want to waste the Saturday for sure, this being a long weekend with leave declared on Monday for the All India bandh; and wanted to cover a different kinda place for breaking the monotony and with ample scope for Photography. That's when my brother (Ramesh) suggested about Shravanabelagola which's of much importance to Jains and is a good tourist attraction as well, along with Melkote which is an important place for Vaishnavism. We'd been here before with the family and I've got a blog of the same in the archives; but wanted to head here primarily because of the unique rocky terrains and the stunning views which one gets from here.
I would say for an amateur like me or a professional photographer this place's abound with so many options and subjects!

The plan was finalized only the night before and on short notice Ramesh's friend Rakesh and my friend Ajmal were ready to come. We planned to start by sharp 6am, and usually stick to the timings. But, this time around even though brother's friend and my friend had been ready, Ramesh got stuck at work as he works in a kinda night shift. We'd to wait till 7am for him to come, and started immediately.
The route was through Yeshwanthpur-Pennya circle (which's a mad mess given any time of the day!)-Dasarahalli-Tumkur rd-Take a left at Nelamangala and proceed till we see the deviation board towards Shravanabelagola.We'd our morning tea at Nelamangala signal which sure was a breather after the hell @ Dasarahalli circle.
The drive was long and the next pit stop was for breakfast, at a place from where we'd still 100 odd kms to cover. Till the breakfast stop we'd covered a lot of interesting and mundane topics in the conversations. The breakfast was simple, in the form of Idli-Vadas and dosa; accompanied by tea which refreshed the mind for the rest of the journey.
The rest of the journey was filled with, me giving an extended brief about Shravanabelagola and other tourist attractions near to it, among which was Melkote - which we were to visit after this.

Now, something about Shravanabelagola - This is predominantly an important place of worship for the Jain community which is located in the Hassan district 158km from Bangalore to be precise, wherein the famous "Mahamastabhishekha" which happens only once in 12 years is held and 1000s of devotees congregate here to perform it. It is a spectacular ceremony in which the statue is covered with milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins. There is extensive media coverage as well as lot of Photographers of world acclaim come to catch a glimpse of the act of faith. I remember seeing a video by BBC, which was plain fantastic.
It reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of 'Ganga Dynasty' of Talakad. And you need to see the architecture here to appreciate it; you can also see interesting intricate carvings depicting life in those times a 1000 yrs ago and also see some interesting writings/epigraphs (which has dates of the inscriptions mentioned) of the important events of those times.



The Statue here is claimed to be one of the biggest monolithic statue in the world, a feat in itself; and it is not of Mahavir Jain as is the common perception of the tourists, but of "Lord Bahubali or Gomateshwara" who was a king before he renounced everything and came here to do penance. His penance continued till he got Enlightened, and it is depicted on the statue that plants and carriers grew on him and mole hills were formed around him.

The Entrance and the path surrounding the main enclosure

It is believed that the famous and one of the all time great Emperors of India - Chandragupta Maurya has also meditated here after he'd renounced his kingdom and come to south to seek moksha.
Now coming to the term 'Enlightenment' or 'Moksha' which has been the center of Hindu and also all religions which have originated in India since time immemorial, is one of the most interesting and widely studied topic in the western world about India. Albeit it doesn't have many takers in the modern era, it still remains as the final emancipation of mankind. Of which historian and BBC reporter - Michael Wood speaks in his great documentary "The Story of India (2007)".

Small Bahubali at the foot of the Big Bahubali
Coming to the account of our climb - while starting at the base the view of the steps ahead is sure different and inviting; the climb obviously starts with a few clicks. As we were climbing Ajmal was concerned about the effect it'd have on his legs, as it is a bit challenging to the person who ain't used to frequent climbs; but that doesn't matter one bit owing to the interesting climb/walk it is. Proceeding ahead we noticed a small structure built out of a cave adjacent to a huge boulder.

To be continued.. 





Monday, June 28, 2010

Pleasantries of Nasruddin Hoja!

"When I was in the desert," said Nasruddin one day, "I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty bedouins to run." "However did you do it?" "Easy. I just ran, and they ran after me." 

Once, when Mullah Nasruddin was visiting a Western town, he was invited to attend a fashion show. He went, and afterwards he was asked how he liked it. "It's a complete swindle!" he exclaimed indignantly. "Whatever do you mean?" he was asked. "They show you the women - and then try to sell you the clothes!"

Nasruddin went into a shop to buy a pair of trousers. Then he changed his mind and chose a cloak instead, at the same price. Picking up the cloak he left the shop.
"You have not paid," shouted the merchant.
"I left you the trousers, which were of the same value as the cloak."
"But you did not pay for the trousers either.”
“Of course not,” said Mullah; “Why should I pay for something that I did not want to buy?"






Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Photography as a hobby!

According to Wikipedia - Photography is the process, activity and art of creating still or moving pictures by recording radiation on a radiation-sensitive medium, such as a photographic film, or an electronic sensor. Light patterns reflected or emitted from objects activate a sensitive chemical or electronic sensor during a timed exposure, usually through a photographic lens in a device known as a camera that also stores the resulting information chemically or electronically. Photography has many uses for business, science, art, and pleasure.

Photography as a hobby used to sound boring and dull to me as an activity, but the end result the photographs always used to appeal as it'd to anybody. And then i really didn't have even fair idea about how to capture or compose a snap. To top it all I didn't have a digi cam to take a plunge!

One thing I don't like is to be a brick in the wall in whatever I take an interest in. If i plunge seriously into any field i make sure I improve or my skill does, else leave it to the better people; so this apprehension that I'm just another amateur used to demotivate me as well, and it still does although to a lesser extent now.
All the clicking I'd done as a kid and youngster was more or less - point and say go..click! But in those pictures taken, it always used to be either the people in the family or friends or the landscape clicked bluntly without any thought going behind it which were the highlights. This is so superficial which I've come to realize now, that you would not like to have a real look at those snaps later sans for the nostalgic memories it'd instigate years later. :)
But as I started taking a liking to it, I became more aware of the wonderful and creative world which lies behind it. This got me seriously interested after one of my friends had bought an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cam and was trying to learn by experimenting and through net tutorials; and some of his snaps used to come out really good - courtesy 50% the camera and remaining his composition. This gave my interest a shot in the arm to go for a new camera, as at home we did not have one for a long time. The previous one we'd was the old styled film roll camera and was not working.
I'd one of my family friends coming from US and lo this was the chance to get one and Dad was ready to pay for it within a budget of 25K. Did not want to invest in something high end upfront, as it should be even fit to be used by the family. So after some research settled for the Canon SX-10IS - the USP of which was the optical zoom and the SLR like capabilities. Was happy to get a prosumer like this, albeit not having much idea of exposure and other settings which i took some time to learn.
This camera is a really good one for a serious amateur and a real good value for money from the Canon stable. It has got the wide-angle and telephoto lens integrated into one single fixed one. But, later you discover that the unchangeable lens and the sensor are the only constraints when you move up the ladder of your hobby; but that's after you get a stronghold on photography which sure takes time.

After getting started I was mostly on auto-mode and the scn, portrait, landscape etc...which are preset by default. This is purely to learn the art of composition and also because the technicalities of the camera are little confusing initially. Once after getting some idea and hands-on composition, then is the time to play with the ISO, WB etc..to put in simple words the basic adjustments you could make in the camera settings.
Now, my camera's optical zoom of 20x gave me good chance to try out capturing distant things as birds, which gave a great boost to the motivation levels as I could capture some unique and lovely birds which I/We hardly notice in daily life.
This eventually brings you to a stage wherein the admiration and respect towards nature increases manifold, as the variety and versatility is like an ocean waiting to be discovered and sailed by each sailor (in the context, the photographer). And it really proves an ideal vent out for all the stresses associated with living in a city if you're looking for stress-bursting.

Now, I'm a person who goes for a lot of trips - being a travel and adventure buff (whenever my wallet supports), so places and opportunities for clicking were aplenty. I started experimenting with the macro, super macro, exposure levels, WB to give my pics a variety and tweak in comparison to my previous pics. As monotony is just bad for the photographic spirit as it turns out in any other field; and you got to scratch your creativity quotient to beat the mediocrity every now and then. But, the real eye-opener and learning rather i'd say understanding of the basics of photography which might be a,b,c,d...for a professional, came through a workshop i attended of acclaimed Photographer - Kalyan Varma (BBC and NGC Photographer). Actually he charges 3k for a day's course, but i was real lucky as the employee welfare group in my office called Syntillations along with the photography club called Photologic sponsored this absolutely free for the enthusiasts. I came to meet fellow photographers in the office as well and got many doubts n queries sorted from Kalyan. Most importantly i came to know of the importance of the aperture mode through this workshop along with few photo shop fundas.

Kalyan had told that, it is always a good idea to do a coffee-table book of your snaps; and I've been pondering over this. This gives you a physical copy of your snaps put into a professional record format as well as gives a good perspective of where you stand as a photographer (provided you've some good ones, as you're shelling something for it!). And anything which can tell a story through the medium of a book, gives such a good feeling and satisfaction.

Ok, now for the further plans on the photography front - apart from the coffee book, have an SLR next on my list.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Did Aliens Create Humans?! - Thoughts about a recent post i saw!

This post is my response with respect to the post i saw at the below link @ yahoo fit to post:

http://in.yfittopostblog.com/2010/06/17/did-aliens-create-humans/#comment-8358

My first response was - What Aliens created human beings?!! lol...


Scientists say that some big bang created the universe and all things thereafter...All the intelligence in man, the different species, perfect conditions for life, the human body, mind and ego which is one of the most complicated designs..
And our Charles Darwin says evolution has brought everything to what is now.. Oh really Mr. Darwin?! Then why are there still apes who haven't evolved? Poor lot, eh..?! Life was existing in oceans and it moved to land..And so many varying beautiful creations flora and fauna were created automatically! hmm..

A program without a coder - That's how his theory can be put in a blunt fashion!

The chemical composition required by creatures including man's body and mind to survive, the perfect orbit of planetary systems----All these were automatically created!! Stupendous....
It's like saying an application or software/gadget automatically came into being and evolved, without an architect and a programmer.
Why can't nobody answer where from man/beings cometh and where he goes, and the inevitable nature of death..??! Why have so many religions/beliefs thrived for so many thousands of years without degradation? Why does man fail to comprehend the truths of life and innate nature of things physical/metaphysical with his logical/rational mind? No answers...
Westerners get attracted to Eastern philosophy and thinking about the spiritual side of a man. The top philosophers and thinkers who thought beyond the mundane have come from the east..answering few of the questions man has always asked since time immemorial; albeit there also have been some from the west as well..


One such is the most famous Scientist/Thinker/Philosopher/Mathematician of our times and he thinks this (few of his quotes):

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." -- Albert Einstein

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. -- Albert Einstein

A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be. -- Albert Einstein

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.  -- Albert Einstein

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."  -- Albert Einstein

So before even ascertaining Aliens are there these scientists jump to such theories albeit a hypothetical one.

One Supreme God/Lord controls everything; ages pass, but the truth of his Existence shines brilliant as ever/eternal!! So, Praise the Lord, for he be from any religion or belief. On the contrary for all religions/faiths created and yet to be created come under him! :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The brown area in the deccan plateau..

http://jomonkoyippally.blogspot.com/2010/05/dry-triangle-in-center-of-south-india.html

I definitely agree to this and it is an eye-opener kinda post. Even after all the go green, eat green, think green drama we're not able to do anything about the real problem up in the above link. Is this what going green is all about?! God save us all from the self-imposed wanton destruction of the once green land..

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Greenathon Green Facts!

  • Ice caps are white, and reflect sunlight, much of which is reflected back into space, in turn cooling Earth; but with the ice caps melting, the only reflector is the ocean. Darker colors absorb sunlight, further warming the Earth.
  • Scientists blame global warming for the declining penguin population, as warmer waters and smaller ice floes force the birds to travel further to find food.
  • Stressed by cyanide fishing, harbor dredging, coral mining, deforestation, coastal development, agricultural runoff, careless divers, and now global warming, there is a devastating loss of coral across the world.
  • With accelerated global warming, and the ice covering melting, the earth would be absorbing more sunlight, and is on its way to becoming hotter than before.
  • Due to global warming the polar ice cap in the Arctic region is shrinking and rupturing; if this continues, summers in the Arctic would become ice-free by the end of this century.
  • Everytime we burn oil, coal and gas to generate electricity and power, we produce the heat trapping gases that cause global warming.
  • Deforestation is one of the main causes of atmospheric carbon dioxide; burning and cutting millions of acres of trees each year, it is responsible for 20-25 per cent of all carbon emissions.
  • Water vapor is the most prevalent and most powerful greenhouse gas on the planet; it holds onto two-thirds of the heat trapped by all the greenhouse gases.
  • Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct!
  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute!
  • One-third of the water used in most homes is flushed down the toilet.
  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.
  • A modern glass bottle would take 4000 years or more to decompose -- and even longer if it's in the landfill.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours
  • Energy-saving lightbulbs last around ten times longer than ordinary lightbulbs- over 10,000 hours.
  • A laptop is more environment friendly than a desktop. It consumes five times less electricity.
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!
  • A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15 per cent.
  • Tissue paper is a major source of waste. It takes 60,00,000 trees to make 1 year's worth of tissues for the world.
  • A ton of recycled paper equals or saves 17 trees in paper production.
  • A plant on your desk acts as a natural filter, absorbing airborne pollutants and computer radiation while replenishing oxygen levels.
  • Lawns only need watering once a week, post rain only after two weeks. Do watering early morning for minimal evaporation and water conservation.
  • Crawling traffic contributes eight times as much air pollution as traffic moving at regular highway speed.
  • Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year!
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and soaping your hands. This can save around 16 litres a day. That's 11,000 litre of water per person per year.
  • A dripping tap can waste over 20,000 litres of water every year.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where is the unregulated materialism taking us?!

A human life in today's world especially an urban world surely needs materialism to survive. But to what extent?
At the cost of our life and the nature? How happy are we compared  to the yesteryears?! Or have we forgotten what happiness and harmony is, and associated it with ruthless materialistic and possessive mentality?
Well its something for all of us to ponder upon!

In this context I'd like to quote an excerpt from Kenneth Anderson's classic "This is the Jungle", it goes like this:

'India will be much poorer - the whole world will be poorer - when the wild places of this earth and of this land are bereft of their animal life , and mankind has grown so materially-minded that the calm, sweet hour of solitude and meditation will have become lost to him forever.
May those who read these stories and who love the quiet corners of the earth and the humble creatures that dwell therein, do their utmost before it is too late to instill in the minds and consciences of grosser comrades an appreciation of these lovely places and their denizens, so that these may be allowed to continue to exist unmolested and un-harassed in their natural surroundings. Many of these beautiful spots, as we knew them in days long gone by, have since resounded to the thud of the wood-cutter's axe. They exist no longer and have become barren tracts of land, victims to the ever-hungry octopus of human and industrial expansion. Glens that a few years ago echoed to the roar of the tiger and the trumpetting of elephants are now totally bereft of jungle life. How sad it is for those who knew them as they once were to visit such places again!
     It is almost too late already, but there is just a little time and a few hidden areas left. If the public of India and of the remaining countries of the world that still possess them do not become conscious of this rich heritage now, and take immediate steps to safeguard and preserve what is left, all too soon it will be too late and this valuable asset will be gone forever.'
  He further says-
    'It is my earnest desire to arouse in all of you readers a love of the jungle and its animals that will help to move public opinion to legislate for their protection from wanton destruction and slaughter. Should this book, or any of my earlier stories succeed even a little in achieving such a purpose, I will indeed have accomplished a worthy mission.'

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Insignificant time lost!

Commuting is an activity none of us can avoid in our busy city/rat race kinda life. And, 99% of that time is insignificant and is lost in the stream of time available for a day - adding no value to our day and cumulatively to our years.
Now, what if i can make use of that time at least once a week to start with and then gradually move onto the higher planes of optimization?! Sounds crazy? Yes, definitely it can be used up rather than sitting like a log wood on that motorbike or like a potato on the driver's seat in your luxurious cars (I'm talking in particular riding/driving in the city).

Your guesses are correct, it's by the usage of a simple stuff called the 'bike' aka 'bicycle'. This was supposed to be the simplest mode of transport available in the earlier days, although it has undergone a sea of change in terms of technology and look n feel; it still remains simple and amazing.

That's exactly what i did, like all the other funky looking guys you see on the roads nowadays who've taken to biking recently. It sure did come with quite a number of apprehensions and self-doubts, some of 'em are: wouldn't i look awkward with that helmet n attire, would i be able to pedal 22 km up n down to office and back, would i be found wanting in a long ride for speed and stamina?!
Well i'd say from the experience that, fifty % by part of these stupid reasons vanish as soon as you take your bike to the road; and the remaining fifty % you overcome (apprehensions n doubts) and build gradually (stamina, strength n speed) over a period of time. Well there's  no diminution once you take to it and persevere with it, even if it's to achieve fat loss. :)

Once i started commuting to office on my initial bike which was Hercules ACT-105, i found that i take more or less the same time to commute as i do using a motorbike and definitely lesser using a car!
It was challenging initially to push harder on up-hills, and i used to dread that; not anymore. Now, i long for up-hills, the reason - when there's a uphill you've a down hill too, just like our lives.
The uphills improve your stamina, strength, toughness, endurance and extracts effort and makes you a better rider; just like the difficulties in life makes a person stronger and tougher.

You start to notice much more things around to detail, breathing rate and rhythm becomes better and still more you start enjoying the ride, along with having a feeling that you're not polluting the environs and burning fuel.
         Or let me put it in the colloquial phrase - "Not adding to the Carbon Foot-Print". Sounds familiar? If yes, think about it leaving the typecast perception we all have for it. It really makes a difference - the most would be in your day2day life in terms of the relief it provides from the stressful life, then fitness of course; and last but not the least - to the Environment as well!

Another nice thing's you need not stop at as many places as you do when on a motorbike or car, as you can take it through the footpaths and get down and push it through the signals (provided it is safe!). That saves you a lot of time and avoids the frustration of time loss at signals and traffic bottlenecks.
Burning those calories definitely gives you an extra satisfaction factor as well.

Now, enough of the merits; let's move on to the joy and fun part of it. You can embark on long rides early in the morning to see the magical side of it, it just rejuvenates you when you take to the roads having a lot of trees and a good scenic background.
In fact you don't have to go much far, the ORR-Sarjapur jn. to Sarjapur side road is one favourite among bikers because of its proximity. That road can take you through Varthur back to ORR or alternatively to Anekal road.

Some of the other Interesting routes:
- Banerghetta road to Anekal,
- Kanakapura road (towards Cauvery Fishing Camp),
- Magadi Road towards Savandurga,
- Mysore Road towards Big Banyan Tree to Manchinbele Dam to Savandurga.
- Nandi Hills
- Tumkur road (Shivganga or Devarayanadurga or Madhugiri)

These are few to start off with and then there are lot many you'll take to after that.

As a matter of fact Bicycle tourism is quite famous in other countries, especially Europe and US. And it is slowly but steadily picking up here as well.

Let me finish off this post with a quote:

"The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion.  Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well."  ~Ivan Illich








Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quote

An egoist can be won over by being respected, a crazy person can be won over by allowing him to behave in an insane manner and a wise person can be won over by truth.

- Chanakya/Kautilya

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Kabalidurga

Kabalidurga has been on the mind since i read a small description on the net which is the only description available about it, as I presume not many are aware about this place; at least I was not up until recently.
After couple of trips with my brother and his friend Rakesh were canceled in the year end owing to many reasons. The long weekend of the New year was beckoning a trip; and thought of taking the boys for at least a one day trip; and lo this new place was ready as a destination, as it was a new and unexplored place for us.
We initially had plans for an overnight camping as part of the trip, but the spontaneous planning and not having much idea about the place cancelled the camping option. I'd prefer a camping any day, as that renders a special touch to the trip because of the extended time spent and the conversations.
I'm gonna acknowledge Kabalidurga as K'durga hereon.
K'Durga is 80 km from Bengaluru along the Kanakapura road. Needless to say, but the Kanakapura road is a very scenic road with a lot of greenery on both the sides all along the drive/ride. Have had numerous outings to places along this road, and it still remains one of the most favourite roads of mine.
Now for Satanur, you gotta take the Kanakapura road, cross Kanakapura and head to Satanur wherein we take a left towards the famous Cauvery Fishing Camp; now for K'durga you gotta take a right instead of the left and keep going straight for around 6 km before taking a kaccha road to reach the foothill (you can ask anybody for this deviation). Reach the foothill, park your vehicle at a safe spot nearby and start the walk to the hill. Along the way you'll be greeted with some nice scenic hills around, couple of beautiful ponds and a small temple.



Now some info about K'durga and the fort+temples on the hill:
It is a vertical somewhat steep hill with a moderate to partially extreme level rating depending on the climber. To climb the hill one can use the footpath (with some steps in between) having severe gradient.
Ballala III mentions the place as Kabbala, according to Hoysala record from the same place. At the foot of the hill is the village with a temple locally called Kabbalamma. It has a prakara and a small Mukha mantapa. Above the tall vertical hill are located an old Bhimeshwara temple, a granary, magazine house, a small pond, etc. In the middle of the hill is a small cavern being converted into a temple enshrining an image of god Srinivasa. Measuring about half meter in height, above the rocky ceiling is a shikhara and there are two ponds within the precincts of the temple. The top most portion of the hill has one more pond; the hill also has fortifications all around which makes the climb all the more interesting.
As a matter of fact Mysore rulers used it as a dungeon for political prisoners. And Tippu changed the name of the place as “Jafferabad”. Having a view from this hill in the evening, one can undergo sublime experience of enjoying the enchanting scenes including green fields, the gold coated horizon etc.; this being no exaggeration.

That's about the info, now on to the climb. We were four of us with myself, my bro, his friend Rakesh and Rakesh's friend Sanosh. We'd reached the foothill by 3pm after we started the journey from Bangalore aroung 12.30pm. Parked the vehicle and took some time to have lunch which was some nice Veg biriyani prepared at home; the reason for delaying the climb up to 4pm was to escape the scorching sun.


As we were walking to find the starting point of the climb, saw some people climbing down, which helped in finding the starting point of the climb. As we started the climb and proceeded, got a somewhat steep gradient with a railing along for support which was missing intermittently which made it a bit interesting; and this sure was enough to trigger the adrenaline, as the further climb promised a lot of adventure which turned out to be true eventually.


There was good foliage en route coupled with boulders which added on to the beauty of the path.















Sightings of trees like these against the light blue background of the sky makes the trek all the more worthwhile giving some nice clicking opportunities. You'll find quite a number of interesting birds as well on trees; but i screwed up couple of opportunities of snapping birds on a beautiful tree - still an amateur!
I really like hiking these kind of routes which are so naturally appealing, with the contrast of rocky terrain and lot of greenery combined with the breathtaking views around; that given an option I'd run away every weekend to such places, which i used to do a lot before and less frequent nowadays.

We also came across quite a number of cactus plants, carpenter-bees and garden lizards to put on the fauna & flora list as you proceed in the shadow provided by the hill from the scorching sun.
















Carpenter-bee posing to show its colors












Camouflaged






The view of the hills surrounding on all four sides and the fields interspersed with small ponds keeps improving all along the climb. Around 1 to 1.5 hours will take you to the top of the hill and the top is flat with lot of trees, fortification and few house like structures; may be some of which might have been used by Tippu sultan's soldiers. There also are 2 small temples with the main one of Lord Shiva.
One of the things worth climbing for is the view of the numerous hills and the thick forest, from behind the small temple (towards the back of K'durga); it simply is astounding and magnificent.












We had to quicken things up as it was getting darker, and we had to climb down the steep gradients before it got darker. Hurried up to check the house like structure made out of a cave beneath a rock, which looks mysterious; presume, it was a resting place for the soldiers.
Then we went for the next small brick structure through which trees had grown out and looked interesting with a small door. It was covered with leaves and shrubs inside, and do not have any idea what it might have been used for. Got some clicks and started the climb down which was pretty easier, interesting and less time consuming around say half an hour. The beauty of the surroundings, the hill and the evening sky in the twilight got augmented and provided some nice snaps.
So, managed to reach the foothill before it got darker and immediately started the journey back. And while coming back we sighted the moon in an unusual color pretty close to the horizon and quite big to spur the interest to stop for an exclusive shot of it; was a view you'd never get in a city or have a chance to see. The silence of the place augmented the magical effect of it.
This pic was taken at full optical zoom of 20x trying to capture its color with some leaves in the foreground:














We also had some great 'makki ki roti with saag and lassi' from a eatery called "Balle Balle" (typical small restaurant-dhaaba). Do not miss this as the food's really sumptuous; it is just after the Art of Living headquarters on the left hand side.
Reached Bangalore pretty quickly with less traffic in the night and finally calling it a day.

Great place for a trek any day.