- A highly-opinionated delineation of situations encountered in India, USA, China, UK and wherever my life takes me...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010


marking the territory
Trespassing pvt property

Full biking gear

Thursday, February 04, 2010

(LEFT blank intentionally)

Only place where this can be - KL Backwaters Kumarakom
Only one possible location

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stopping by the hills on a wintry weekend


I ve never been a good follower, especially of the herds, flocks and schools. But the rigours of city life had dented my enthusiasm way beyond repair and pushed my life towards a point of no return. Thankfully, the holiday cluster rekindled my sagging enthusiam. I decided that enough of putting up with the 'idiots on the road' (courtesy Ceat ad) and prepared for a ride that would take me away from it all, albeit temporarily. Temporarily the ride that would detach me from the world's rat race - the craving for money, space, time, comfort and other so called worldly possessions that some, myself included, shamelessly call it a necessity for survival. Survival instinct, not survival per se, which had kept mankind alive and evolving, has taken a turn for worse. We may soon become victims of our own successes and walk straight into what gurus call a success trap.

No such thoughts while on the road, the fresh breeze caressing the rider, the vibration and the accompanied grunt from the engine playing the music notes, the images on the rear view fast disappearing into obscurity while my mind remained focused on the task at hand - ignoring the past and focusing on the present - as I pointed the nose of my motorcycle in the approximate direction of Yercaud.

Yercaud,was a compromise - to be honest - not close yet not very far -just perfect. It is nestled atop the Shervaroy hills, north east of Nilgiris. Of course, it doesnt have the glamour quotient of Ooty or the sheer pull of Kodai or Munnar. Yet, it goes about its business without giving a damn about its more popular sisters - which if I may say attracted me most as the choice for the riding route. Yercaud was a part of the journey, for there was no destination.

The ride began at 6am on Friday and managed to get to a clear stretch of tarmac within an hour. After that it was smooth sailing to towards that literary 'fork on the road' which led to the road less travelled (quoting R.Frost) by the 'community'. Incidentally, that was another National Highway no# 66 and this is in no reference to the famed Route #66 (Chicago to LA). I soon realized that the reason why NH 66 received less patronage was because of the poor condition of the road. A breakfast was forced upon me by a growing belly and the need to bring back some blood circulation before I could attack the craters on the path.

I hit the road again and headed towards that heavenly piece of tarmac that would leave an indelible impression on my mind. As I kept day dreaming, the fuel gauge's heart started beating too - or, was that blinking? Thankfully, a BP Pure For Sure outlet served me with Saudi's finest. I was concerned about the quantity as much as quality for I dont foresee very many such 'bars'. A left turn after the fuelling made my dreams come true. The roads were super smooth with well marked signs though I was skeptical of the boards and relied on my instincts. The corners were attacked without using the brakes, without letting go of the throttle, moving around on the saddle and with a lot of body lean. It was like tango - intense, coordinated, focused but without all that music. The scenery was breathtaking too- bamboo trees formed magnificent arches across the road, the dry and withered leaves that offered a texture to the road and the monkeys those eagerly looked for a snack.

The usual route to Yercaud is via Salem, but I took an alternate route that is used only by the villagers and a lone public bus. I was skeptical about the condition of the road post monsoon. But decided to go ahead as I got bored with the routine stuff on offer. I was a little sore from the 300 odd km already covered, but my mind was teeming with enthusiasm at the prospect of an engaging ride ahead. In no time, the forested environment over-powered the seasoned biker as I pussy footed through the curvaceous roads. The ambience was one where humans are not on top of the food chain - there are bears and leopards in the area and therefore a sudden calm made me scan the surrounding for objects of danger. The jungle cover soon gave way to tribal hamlets consisting of 10 to 15 houses with lots of eager faces. Actually, they were more surprised on seeing me - a helmeted - jacketed - gloved moving thing on a yellow bike is considerable cause for amusement for the locals who in all probability had not seen such a thing since Giant Robot (if only they had TV back then).

The homo sapiens have clearly taken a toll on nature, the coffee, teak, orange and beetelnut plantations, however green looking, were done to feed human needs at the cost of nature. The native vegetation is hardly seen except in pockets because they are hard to access places with a rocky terrain. There is no end to this human desire to consume as if there were no tomorrow. I would be sorry for the future generations who would be surviving in climate controlled environs with periodic picnics to reality. Remember, I went on a trip to Yercaud and not Copenhagen.

Yercaud would merely be a dot on my route, or so I thought, but it certainly threw more weight on the trip. I stayed within 50meters from the main bus stand and enjoyed the buzz of activity: niche mom-and-pop shops that cater to the travelers, the tea shops that are open late into the night, the bakery where I bought my xmas cake and taxi drivers who double up as guides. I did ride around yercaud and visited the boat house, a few scenic locales and wrapped up the day with a magnificent view of the sunset from the edge of a cliff. The next morning, I warmed up the engine with a ride to the highest peak in the hills and spent some time in solitude reflecting on the year that went by - the memories both good and bad.

All good things come to an end as I checked my watch for several readings - altitude 1700m, humidity 60%, pressure, direction and of course time 7am. I simply didn’t want to leave that paradise. I thumbed the starter, headed towards my lodge and packed my bags to leave. I am not a person to pass up opportunities to extract excitement out of even mundane things - a vital weapon to kill boredom in situations when everything is commoditized, while anything customized calls for Rockefeller or Oceans 11.

I headed downhill, took the neglected and narrow road - taken only by the tribals and the foolish (wish I shared my lineage with some tribe). There was a serene charm associated with every corner; some new scenery unfolded every moment, a new type of vegetation, some unique fragrance from the flowers, several mud lanes that are not present in any map and dozens of locals in the hamlets that I rode through. I only wish I had enough time to stop, chat and understand the lives of the tribals. I realized that I had not taken my breakfast and stopped at a small roadside eatery. I had a sumptuous brunch that I would not forget - my breakfast was cooked on a coal-fired stove and was served on a table facing the magnificent hills. I was never more alive in my life. I could have written off half my fortune for such a treat, but the bill said Rs3/item (MRP, VAT included ;) No, they dont accept Sodexo food coupons even if you are the Finance Minister.

The rest of the ride home consisted of typical highway blitz and I grew to like my motorcycle more and more with every passing km. There is nothing to write about the multi-laned super ways that whiz people off to megacities in no time. I thought about all the places that I ve been to, the interesting people I met and all the exotic fragrances, tastes and colors I ve witnessed. There were a million synapses that fired randomly in my brain and my thoughts wandered as I headed towards the dreaded capital city of chaos - some call it Chennai - I call it home.

Disclaimer: Please take the above contents with a pinch of salt. My opinions are strong, self-aggrandizing and intended to take a dig at every possible thing human or animal - dead or alive - myself included as long as the readers have a good laugh.

Friday, January 08, 2010

In or Out? Game Theory

Prisoner's Dilemma even for the trusted

Chunnel vision

Dark and deep, even for the boisterous and the fashionable. Glad I missed out the hoopla.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New at the cost of old

3G of life

My cuppa tea

is frothy and always full

Turning a new leaf

and soaring high skyward...

About Me

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Passionate about whatever I care to spend my time on.