Monday, August 10, 2009
Mumbai is one hell of a place for awesome experiences. I had tried quite a few - Trekking in the Sahyadris, Cycling on the roads, Overnight stargazing sessions, Social service activities and what not! I joined an astronomy club called Khagol Mandal. I had gone with them to view the eclipse at a place 450km from Mumbai, supposedly a rain shadow region on the eclipse belt. I have tried a lot of cuisines and eateries, right from the unhiegenic roadside chinese eateries to JW Marriott. A lot is left to be done though.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
----Kahin to Hogi wo---
it must be.
The world , where u are with me;
Where me , and where you,
and where, only your and my feelings live;
Where my morning will be,
in the light of your eye lips;
Where the hymn of the moon ,i will,
listen to at your arms;
Dont know where that world is,
Dont even know if it exists,
Where my life would not be ,
So displeased with me;
My breaths are lost, i dont know, waiting for whom;
I am lost, i dont know, on whose embracing arms;
I search for paths to my destination,
now i have lost track of my destination amidst the paths;
a mesmerism, in each of our dates;
From my lips to your lips,
we stay on each of our words as a kiss;
Where the wind tells ,
About only your land and sky;
Where you are my smile,
My happiness and my life;
Dont know where that world is,
Dont even know if it exists,
Where my life would not be ,
So displeased with me;
Whatever is written below is bullshit and will not be taken seriously unless u are on the same boat as the drunken mind.
For all of my readers(assholes) , searching for their soul mates, this is a song which you can dedicate to the girl with whom u think u can spend the rest of your (useless) life. Actually this has quite reminded me of my ex girl friend. But Alas, an ex is an ex and as the wiseman says the past is best forgotten. I dont even know how many of you (crap ass souls) will hit on this blog but yeah if u do then dont delay anymore and atleast once listen to the drunken mind.
forgive for the bracketted comments as he cant stop himself....sorry.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
There is a common illusion picture with two hands back to back.. i thought i would draw the one hand that inspires me in a way to continue studying, although in vain!..
How many of us still say 'I love you mum' everyday, to the only woman who cares for us day-in and day-out? Although there are umpteen number of people who say that to a girl we met few years back....
You want to call it love!... I want to call it Friendship.. after all a soul mate is a friend who walks you thru thick and thin being a friend without being asked for, and ur enemy without being a separate entity... :)
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Prologue: Please read ahead at ur own discretion...the ones with a weak heart should leave the blog right now...lest u face the madness unleashed by the drunken mind.!!
U see urself lying infront of ur eyes ,
A body surrounded by teary faces;
In silence u stay wide awake ,still,
U see eyes bereft of life watching
Lips blackened with smoke smiling at u;
Fear deepens in your mind,
As logic starts to fail u;
In despair u look at the sky,
To see a sun fighting,
with the gripping darkness;
No birds and no clouds,
No sound and no matter;
Only an infinite space in gloom;
Your blood inside curdles,
Ur veins run dry,
Your heart cries to rip apart,
But its a cry in silence;
Your nose yearns for smell,
Only to find an arid breathe ;
Your tongue starves for taste,
Only to meet acrid tastelesness;
Slowly u realize,u feel
And u only feel
Left with only one sense,
The sense to feel;
Alive to feel the pain,
To savour the pangs of being dead;
Dry tears trickle out of ur eyes
Ur cries are silenced in a smother
As u remain in a dither
Dead with just one sense alive
or Alive with all but one sense dead
U want to escape , u want to run;but u cant-
Slowly u feel the heat engulfing u,
The fire gritting into ur body
Crashing ur bones,
Burning out ur soul;
Unbearable is the pain;
And yet alive is ur brain,
To feel and only feel;
Till its all gone, reduced to dust;
Its pain no more, its an eternal peace;
U realize He is here,
The Guardian of the forsaken
At the stairway of the unknown
To usher in a new beginning
Where nothing is beyond scope,
U live as a devil with hope;
Epilogue: Bull Shit!!!!
Friday, August 29, 2008
A report on The Straits Times, Singapore local newspaper
This is the speech Dr. Abdul Kalam made on that day. Please go through it if you guys have time.
Dr Kalam's Acceptance Speech at
the Conferment of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
21st Century University Vision
I am indeed delighted to be in the internationally reputed Nanyang Technological University (NTU) which, in a research intensive academic environment, is nurturing students from across the globe in diverse disciplinary strengths as well as entrepreneurial and leadership skills for the 21st century. My greetings to the students, faculty members, alumni, staff and distinguished guests assembled here. I consider it a great honour to me for conferring the Honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering conferred by the prestigious Nanyang Technological University (NTU). While I am with you, I wish to share a few experiences - my personal experience during my education, my personal observations on integrative approaches that have enriched the world, the creativity that is needed for the challenging problems confronting humanity and my thoughts on a 21st Century University Vision.
My first encounter with Integrated Learning environment
Since I am in the midst of students being prepared for techno-managerial expertise, I would like to give my experience with a teacher who taught me system design, system integration and system management in an integrated learning environment in the classroom.
While I was studying Aeronautical Engineering in Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai, (1954-57), during the third year of my course when I was a student, I was assigned a project with five other colleagues, to design a low-level attack aircraft. I was given the responsibility of system design and system integration by integrating the team members. Also, I was responsible for aerodynamic and structural design of the project. The other five members of my team took up the design of propulsion, control, guidance, avionics and instrumentation of the aircraft. My design teacher Prof. Srinivasan, the then Director of MIT, was our guide. After four months, he reviewed the project and declared my work to be gloomy and disappointing. He didn’t lend an ear to my difficulties in bringing together data-base from multiple designers. I asked for a month’s time to complete the task, since I had to get the inputs from other five of my other colleagues without which I cannot complete the system design. Prof. Srinivasan told me "Look, young man (this is in 1954), today is Friday afternoon. I give you three days time, by Monday morning if I don’t get the configuration design, your scholarship will be terminated." I had a jolt in my life, as scholarship was my lifeline, without which I cannot continue with my studies. There was no other way out, but to finish the task. My team felt the need for working together round the clock. We didn’t sleep that night and a few nights, working on the drawing board skipping our dinner. On Saturday, I took just an hour’s break. On Sunday morning, when I was near completion, I felt someone’s presence in my laboratory. It was Prof. Srinivasan studying my progress and the design. After looking at my work, he patted and hugged me affectionately. He had words of appreciation (he said): "I knew I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You have done a great job in system design”.
Through this review mechanism of Prof Srinivasan, I was injected the necessity of understanding the value of time by each team member and brought out the best from the system design team. I realized that if something is at stake, the human minds get ignited and the working capacity gets enhanced manifold. That’s what exactly happened. The message is : whatever be their specialization, the students should be trained to systems approach and projects, which will prepare them for new products, innovation and undertaking higher organizational responsibilities. A Teacher has to be a coach like Prof. Srinivasan. I am confident that the success of NTU is based on the foundation of its faculty and research tasks.
Integrative approaches transform the world
In all the projects that I have dealt with during my professional career, the time during my Presidency of my country, and even now, I have been coming across again and again how networking of individuals, disciplines, organizations, states and countries lead to innovative results and missions. We have been witnessing how complex missions demand synergising diverse disciplines and groups across the world to take up new avenues of research, be it improving the quality of life, exploration of the unknown or bringing peace and preventing conflicts. We are enjoying the fruits of technology expanding physical travel and connectivity beyond any realm of imagination in the past centuries. While the humanity can be proud of this kind of non linear growth of technology and expertise in many fields impacting the world at large, are we up to the challenges that confront us today? Take any issue - be it energy independence or environment protection or understanding the atmosphere or exploration of outer space or increasing outreach of science or equitable distribution of prosperity and wealth or dealing with deadly diseases or weaning people away from drugs or combating terrorism or preserving the family ties, they all require the creativity of best of minds from any part of the world. The question is we have to ask ourselves is whether the universities provide adequate breeding ground for such minds?
Inventions and discoveries have emanated from creative minds that have been constantly working and imaging the outcome in the mind. With imaging and constant effort, all the forces of the universe work for that inspired mind, thereby leading to inventions or discoveries. Higher the number of creative minds in an organization, the best results of invention and discoveries will emerge. Unique academic environment is an enabler for great thinking that leads to creativity.
Education for sustainable growth
As I greet you all in this picturesque campus of NTU in the city of Singapore, an innovative world hub for business, education and tourism, I have been picturing in my mind the revolution that has taken place in university education itself since my younger days. I have had the benefit of receiving quality education with value system from dedicated teachers. I remember with gratitude, the educational institutions and the teachers for their guidance and the life missions that they enabled me to take up. The evolving education system, and the successful accomplishments of many dynamic teams have changed the world immensely.
It is natural, therefore, the university system itself has to meet new requirements in the twenty first century. The number of universities and the number of students in universities have increased several folds. The number of international students has multiplied considerably. With the mobility of citizens from one country to another, the students belonging to multiple cultures live in most of the cities of the world. The costs of educational system have increased and funds availability also is an important aspect. The teacher-student ratio is a major issue. For want of quantity, quality and particularly research should not suffer. The universities, in my view, need to address four important criteria.
a) The education has to address the needs of the citizen for contributing to the sustainable growth in various areas of national and global development.
b) It has to meet the diverse cultural needs.
c) It should ignite the minds towards research and enquiry.
d) It has to be cost effective for deserving students to take up subjects of their choice.
Technology through communication media and internet has revolutionalised the education delivery, which needs to be used in conjunction with the direct teaching. The 21st century challenges faced by nations require the universities to address disciplinary and interdisciplinary subjects of relevance to the society. Now the question is, is it possible that university education can drive sustainable growth of a nation?
Some time back, I happened to read the Conference General report of the International Conference on Education for sustainable future in Sep 2003, which refers to central challenge for higher education for sustainability. Since it is relevant to this audience, I would like to quote
“The Johannesburg world summit for sustainable development has made one thing unmistakably clear that the political leadership the world over is incapable of rising to the challenge of sustainability. Yet, most of the hundred or so world leaders who attended have a higher education degree from some of the world’s most prestigious universities – the higher education sector is failing society by producing leaders incapable of addressing the most pressing problems. If higher education is the nursery of tomorrow’s leaders then the sector bears profound responsibilities to create a sustainable future. This implies that graduates of every discipline need a sound working knowledge about sustainability”, through their education in the university campus.
You may like to debate this view and arrive at a conclusion on the introduction of sustainable development in the teaching and research. Of course, NTU may have an answer to the above challenge.
Technology is a non-linear tool
Science is linked to technology through application. Economy and environment are linked to technology. Technology is the non-linear tool available to humanity, which can effect fundamental changes in the ground rules of economic competitiveness. The growing technological evolution in the last one hundred years is the testimony of the fact of this non-linear trend. Technology consists of stages like research and development, technology transfer, technology absorption and production of products or systems with the desired performance, quality, and cost-effectiveness Hence technology empowers nations through science. What are the future challenges facing the humanity, which needs to be addressed by the combined efforts of various nations?
New Paradigm for Science and Technology: Many challenges are going to be thrown on the sea, under the sea and above the sea. Scientists will also have challenges in bringing back a clean environment by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy from sun, wind and nuclear systems. Some of the future tasks are:
• Evolution of clean atmosphere by replacing fossil fuel by cost-effective renewable energy systems, leading to energy independence;
• Exploring the human body, particularly gene-characterization through the proteomics project for developing gene-based drugs;
• In the area of communication, a big revolution is setting in. High-bandwidth mobile wireless is in the offing. This could result in the mobile phone becoming a convergent system for multi-media applications for meeting the needs of communication in the office, home and on the move.
• Particularly for India, having 1 billion plus population, enhancing the food-grain output from the present nearly 230m tonnes to 380m tonnes by 2020 with reduced land, water and number of people working in the farms through the use of technology could be a role model for the rest of the population in the world
• A sustainable Rural Development through provision of urban amenities in rural areas (science and technology as the focus) will need innovation, research leading to products, systems and services in physical, electronic, knowledge and economic connectivities.
• Understanding precursors for phenomena like earth quake and tsunami which damage decades of development and put humanity into descent
• Evolution of Unified Field Theory, which may be the ultimate of physics, by revealing how the universe is born and how we are born;
• Evolution of an alternate habitat among the system of our galaxy for humanity by the scientific community of today and tomorrow;
• Evolution of earth, moon, mars complex to bring to the earth new material like helium-3 and other rare materials for the generation of solar power;
These are the some of the major areas of research and innovation, which need the joint research and development efforts of multiple nations based on their individual core competence. Certainly Indian Universities, Institutions and Nanyang Technological University can work on certain specific missions which are of our interest.
21st century University Vision
I have in the last ten years have met more than 3 Million University students and faculty from more than 150 universities in India and 50 universities in abroad. Based on this spirit, I wish to formulate a 21st university vision for your consideration.
• The universities have to prepare citizens of the future with a global outlook and be capable of serving his/her nation or nation of his/her choice.
• Science and technology and public policy are interrelated for mutual benefit and ushering in human kind’s development. This link has to be solidly built in the university education
• Good teachers can be in any part of the world. The university has to bring in this resource through innovative content generation in virtual class rooms.
• Technological connectivities among universities have to be pursued on a war footing using cost effective virtual class rooms.
• Cost effective continuing education possibilities are essential for citizens to be in tune with time.
• Can university education lead to sustainable development of the nation?
• With the world population increasing and resources dwindling, a mindset has to be developed for conserving and sharing the resources and look for new research for abundant resources. This calls for a “noble spirit” as well as a “research spirit”
In summary, the 21st century university education is about developing enlightened citizenship for a knowledge society for peace and prosperity of nations and the world. 21st century University has to be the incubator of world knowledge powerhouse. Based on my interaction with Indian and foreign universities, I have detected certain dynamics. Wherever there is research intensity, it has enhanced quality teaching and also the university has got a great name in the world of teaching. Universities from developed world with their vast experience of a century, have realised the significance of research as a foundation for the university. This is one dimension. The other dimension is that the student community with research focus will most aggressively ask questions. The third dimension is that the sharp gradient and accelerated development processes can give a platform for research for sustainable development. There is a large student community in the developing countries and there is an urge for higher education. Hence, we should see how we can empower them through university to university collaboration, student – faculty interaction, lab to lab collaboration, reaching out the world class quality teaching and research through a virtual reality environment with the excellent content generated.
Ultimately, education in its real sense is the pursuit of truth. It is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment. Such a journey opens up new vistas of development of humanism where there is neither scope nor room for pettiness, disharmony, jealousy, hatred or enmity. It transforms a human being into a wholesome whole, a noble soul and an asset to the universe. Universal brotherhood in its true sense becomes the sheet anchor for such education. Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases his or her self-respect. If only the real sense of education could be realized by each individual, and carried forward in every field of human activity the world will be a much better place to live in.
Once again, let me thank the members of NTU for giving me this unique honour of being conferred with the degree of Doctorate of Engineering. My best wishes to all the members of NTU for success in their mission of providing a distinctive education to the students for solving real world problems.
May God Bless you.
After a long wait by me and hari, the much awaited stipend came by today. And i should say the excitement has not settled down yet. It is probably because this is the first salary we have ever earned till now. Like all, i thought i too would make a list of things i am going to buy( consumerism...), how much i will send back home and of course not to forget the social responsibility of charity. I will be very glad to send money back home. My parents are everything for me. They never denied me anything.I used to demand stuff and get it done. They have sacrficed many of their needs just for the sake of us children.. I am what i am because of my parents only (and friends of course).I also would like to help few friends whom i feel require monetary help.But i have a strong feeling i should do some charity in some sense.I always wanted to do something for the differentially-abled. My dad is massively involved in this blind organisation for quite a while now. I could do something for it. But it is not sinking in, probably because they do get a lot of attention these days. I want to do good to some portions of the society that hitherto have been touched. I want to see somebody happy(and happy is definitely not just money, it is a feeling that there are some people who care about the fact that they exist and look upon them as equals) at the end of the day, and it should be routed through proper channels. If you guys have any suggestions i am ready to take it up. Just leave a comment. Of course I have not decided on how much i will be giving, but i thought let me at least start this process... I maybe wrong in many of the views i have put forth till now. My way of thinking and analysing things might be very irritating to some people, but i know one thing for sure, being money minded is not me!. Hari was telling me that day (quoting from a book -Phantoms in the brain), being morale, kind and loving is there in our neurons, not many realise it, its there in our genes. Finally for what have i been writing about all this? I need some change in my thought process. I need to realise the more i get richer the more somebody is getting poorer. In control systems for any system to be stable(bare with me i am an Electrical Engineer), there must be a feedback, more importantly a negative feedback. Similarily in life we need to have this negative feedback, for the whole world to be stable, and that is by sharing the things you have , losing something you have more(could be money..)and being open to everything and most of all being a human!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Ice skating is one of the things i always wanted to do. And when i had the chance i did not hesitate. 27th August 2008, an adventurous team of three headed by the ex-Nitc EEE Class rep(As always), went on to create a mind-boggling experience that sure will render in their hearts for ever! Yes, Me Hari and Ashish went for ice skating here in singapore yesterday.
The ice skating rink was not an open space but on the third level of Jurong Entertainment center at Jurong East. I had class from 10.30 to 12.30 in the morning. So we decided to go in the afternoon. Since it happened to be a wednesday, we students who had students pass got concession fee for the same. Normally it costs 15$ for 2 hours. We paid 11.80$ for unlimited time (privileges of being a student still...:)). We entered the rink with an air of tension and silence as if entering an exam hall with calculators in our hands.. alas it was not jus that,it was more than a lame exam.It was an experience and we thought we should savour every single moment of it. Nevertheless it was a hobson's choice. We gave ourselves no other option. It was like a pass\fail exam with the difference that you are sure you are going to fail it. Nevertheless we took it up. We were being men i should say! Not just for the fact that many girls were gracefully skating over there, but that we took it up! We put on the ice skating shoes and we could not stand up properly on it even in the normal floor. When we we entered the arena, the music started. :) We could see lots of people falling and skidding everywhere. There were few kids who were amazing, for them it was like playing with their toys. They were so graceful and never cared when they fell down. I think with age comes this ego where you feel uncomfortable falling in front of others. How i wished we were children again? We watched our steps, made sure we did not bump into anyone, unless it was a beautiful chick(..lol.. we dint do that, although vice versa was inevitable). There were few girls who were learning how to skate, and if you happen to be close to them you sure are gonna get pulled down. It happened many a times to all 3 of us. I knew a bit of skating so i started skating properly after some time, nevertheless both hari and ashish were fast learners. They were picking up. I was trying to do different styles, turning and braking and rotating, which all ended up in me getting my bottom frozen! Although it was tiring, we took rest and continued.We started at 2.30 pm and went on till 5 pm. We would have continued if only me and ashish did not have that wireless communication class taken by hari's professor. We had to leave. So at 5.18 pm(singapore time) history was created by us, and we hope that history will repeat itself in a better way!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Caution: Royal Usage (pun intended) of tamil language awaits you. Men who have not got their moustaches intact are forbidden to read further. I would suggest the females not to be too curious.
Few weeks back one of my best friends asked me the meaning of a word which I use very often. He happens to be in chennai only. I felt a bit guilty that after being so long with me he does not know proper Madras Bashai, so I thought I should do a favor to him by posting this....
Gals who did not bother to read the caution and started reading, there is foul language here, so I guess it is not Your cuppa tea...
Ok, to kick off.. My friend asked me the meaning of baadu. Now, every friend of mine knows that I use it very often to rebuke someone when I am pissed off or as a friendly gesture at times. Baadu has many meanings, for the past 3 years we machans at NITC college were of the consensus that Baadu meant DEAD BODY, until we found out its supposedly true meaning in Wikipedia (Thanks to venky for sending me that link..). I will give you the meaning later in the post, but to start off with the basics...
One of the words that i use very often is Gethu, it means superb, awesome, kickass! it also has a synonym semma, but the former being superlative. And i also use Thaaru-maaru, which literally means zig-zag, but it’s a slang for awesome! When you want to ask someone if they are ready?,you just say, ready-aa? or when you want to ask somebody Is it OK?, You say Ok-vaa?. The meaning of adding this -aa at the end is analogous to asking, is it?. Finished-aa?, meaning have u finished what ever u were doing? Pannada- I use it for swearing but it is not that demeaning. It means a person who takes the bad leaving behind the good, expected to have originated from the word pannadai in tamil which means a layer which filters bad elements from toddy in palm trees. I also use Nadaari, synonymous to pannada. But I do not know the original meaning of it yet. venna a.k.a vendru, literally meaning butter, meaning useless or dumb person. Vetti meaning totally jobless. Tharudala, again useless. Tubelight- not so shrewd person. Udhaaru-Vudrathu- to exaggerate, synonymous to reelu or gapsa. Sappa matteru is one which i use very often. It means a very easy thing to do, also synonymous to Jujubee. Sight Adikkaruthu-Admiring gals usually without their knowledge. Rousu udradhu- To show off.
Porambokku- Unoccupied, usually unusable or fallow land. Derogatively and dismissively, a person without identity, a nobody. Mispronunciation of 'Pembroke', as in Lord Pembroke, who stated that land belonging to no one would belong to the government.
Saavugraaki- Verbal abuse against bad drivers. OB adikkarthu- to waste time, OC- Free at no caost. Bladu,mokkai- meaning a person who puts unbearable PJ's. Kattai- refers to a hot female, we say 'Semma kattai da'. Kalakkarudhu- meaning to rock! Kadalai- meaning verbal flirting! Figaru- attractive gal.
Now the real and royal tamil that many use when their nerves twitch. Baadu- meaning to hold on the torch light when the king and queen have sexual intercourse. Otha- used with baadu as otha baadu. it means the F-word. Thevidiya payya- son of a prostitute. Maayiru- literally hair, but used for swearing. I guess this would do now. For people interested in more words in madras tamil can refer to wikipedia.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
My apartment had 5 Single rooms, a kitchen(an oven, a refrigerator, and an electric heater), a dining hall( with a dining table),a hall , a washing place(with a washing machine) and 2 bathrooms( in one there is a jacuzzi). The room allotted to me was SR 1(Single room). It was a capacious room with a writing table and a showcase attached, a cot with mattress and a cupboard which was pretty spacious. I kept my stuff and took a bath.
After taking bath and getting freshened up we had to run to the NTU medical centre where we underwent medical tests like eye test, blood test, urine test and chest x-ray. After that I had nothing to do but explore the place. And me and hari walked a lot that day and got some necessary stuffs. Singapore is so neat and clean. People who litter the roads and spit in india dont even think of doing that here.Its because they will be fined if caught littering, which brings in a fear not to do it. India is one place where anything and everything can happen. This is what people from abroad think. If we want to change it we should learn from these people. I was talking with the Cab driver on the way to NTU, and i just said the roads are so clean and neat here. He replied in his crisp malay accent, "Oh Yes! People pay a huge sum as road tax so people except better roads. Every 6 months its digged up and new roads are laid, And watering the plants and trees on either side of the road is one inportant thing". We too pay Tax( Although some do not), but we dont expect anything from the government. We are submissive to everything. We get easily satisfied and adapted to any situation and condition. If at all we can change the plight in India we should demand. There might be people asking me who are you to say that? You are not even in India,You went out of India and are cribbing about the conditions back home. I have just got one answer to them, Yes I am outside India but that does not mean I am not an Indian. And i have come abroad just now, there is lot of time left. Time will tell those people if I come back or not. I am not telling them sternly i will come back after 5 years for sure, They would retort back saying everybody says this. Anyway coming back to me at singapore..
One more thing i noticed here was consumerism. Although not as much as USA, but still people equate happiness with material possessions. There are lot of entertainment centres and food courts. Tonnes and tonnes of cash and electrical power is being used up. All the transport systems, MRTs(Mass-Rapid Transit)(Metro trains), buses and taxis are air-conditioned. For a country which is smaller than Chennai probably uses up almost thrice as much power. Thats because people demand and want such conditions. Thats why probably developing countries are still developing. Its not like there are no plus points about this place, its jus that everything here is almost perfect. They do not probably realise how much this affects a farmer or a normal person in under developed countries. These people s demands will get satisfied and supply will increase. A typical case of rich get richer and poor get poorer...And being perfect is not my cuppa tea!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Well finally atleast I'm back online already here at NTU!!
So beginning from basics, I reached Singapore Nanyang Technological University on 17th morning. Jetlag and only 2 hours of sleep. Notwithstanding that we went on to our college to proceed with the formalities.
What struck me first was the neatness, systematised (er, is that a word? ) way of functioning of the place. The roads itself were a sight to behold, larger than probably any of our NHs. As I and Naren reached NTU, International Student Services was waiting for us and directed us on what to do. We soon proceeded with formalities and landed in a room in Nanyang Heights.
(not many pics yet, sorry, dint get my cam :-) )
The medical test we had to undergo in the noon was a great experience. We had to undergo all sorts of test, even test our urine using paper sticks!! And there were blood tests and even a Chest X-ray to check for TB !
After that we toured the beautiful campus a bit. NTU looks like a toned up version of IIT Mumbai, maybe twice as big or so. And neater. There were a large number of canteens with enough vegetarian outlets, so I had no trouble finding some vegetable chow for myself.
The only sad part was that theres no more hustle-bustle here because the classes have not started yet. So the crowd is still thin. But yea, there are treats for the eye :-). Still, somehow I dont think the place would match the hullabulloo that we had in night-life at NITC.
In the night I discovered to my delight that I could access wireless net here from my lappie. That was it!! Night out time! It was mailing and chatting till 2 am.
So anyways I guess the blogs not off after all.. Hoping to get a cam and get some pics to post on blog soon..
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Pre-Script: KuJo is a figment of my own imagination and what follows is fiction. Any resemblance with characters living or dead is purely coincidence!
KuJo is a friend of mine. What makes him special is that he is only one I know whose sole aim in life is to lead a Middle-Class TM life. KuJo’s Middle-Class TM theories are an epic in itself and I will discuss them at length later. Even though I have spent quite some time with him, it can at times be very difficult to fathom the workings of his Middle-Class TM mind. That is precisely the why no one in world except Lord KuJo himself knows the explanation behind his mysterious disappearance in the middle of an excursion.
Five of us, me, KuJo, Raul, Chath and Shah (The core AF-gang TM) decided to go on an eco-expedition to Wayanad, a hilly region nestled among the Western Ghats. KuJo had no problems in pledging full support for the tour initially but decided to pull out in the eleventh hour, citing some strange reason that he had to take his aunt to the hospital on the tour day (What the #&*%?). Enquiries made by Raul (incidentally, his best friend) unearthed the fact that KuJo was in fact apprehensive of coming to the tour considering the risk involved in it. One of the most important characteristics of a Middle-Class TM mind is that it will not take risks. But risk is part and parcel of a Wayanad tour package as it is basically a hilly terrain and the places to visit there are mountains, waterfalls, forests and the like. We badly needed KuJo to cut down on the expenses and eventually managed to convince him that we will not take undue risks.
There can at times be a lot of problems created by the idiosyncrasies of a Middle-Class TM guy in your team. KuJo annoyingly keeps on asking you to repeat the itinerary again and again on the eve of the expedition. Our plans to set off as early as possible was almost sabotaged by KuJo’s persistent insistence on finishing off breakfast before leaving (Where to get breakfast at 5 am and that too in a place 20 km away from the city?). KuJo needs assurance that he will get food three times a day, on time. KuJo won’t sleep in a dorm; he needs a proper room if he has to stay overnight. KuJo wants to hire some vehicle in a place where walking on foot is the best way to go. He insists on hiring a jeep when an auto-rickshaw would suffice and on taking two auto-rickshaws when one would serve the purpose. KuJo gets mortally tired on climbing 200 meters of a medium inclined path … Hundreds of problems, but we managed to move on with all those.
We had never anticipated that a Middle-Class TM guy would be so afraid of taking so small risks. Our first destination was the Neelimala view point where, standing at the edge of a cliff, you should be able to see the spectacular Meenmutty waterfalls tumbling into the valley below, from the opposite side. KuJo even considered walking on the narrow mountain trail quite risky. What if a snake comes in? According to him, we should have taken a fully fledged first-aid kit that includes an antivenin! The thrill of a trekking expedition is in exploring new stimulating trails. KuJo won’t let us trek in peace. He would say at least a thousand times that it is risky to go to unknown places and that we should turn back. We snubbed KuJo, scolded him and ordered him to keep quiet, but it was of no avail. We proceeded nonetheless and after some search we finally discovered the trail that would lead us to the view point. But with every step taken, KuJo’s protests grew larger and larger. We finally asked KuJo to wait in some safe spot, while we go explore and come back. To this proposal he would not agree. If you were to go to the edge of the cliff in order to enjoy the full splendor of the viewpoint, there might be some risk involved, but absolutely nothing if you decide to stay a few feet away from the edge. I tell you, it is hard to find a guy with so much fear riddled in him. A road accident has 100 times more probability of occurring rather than someone managing to slide through the thick vegetation among obstructing rocks and tumble down from a cliff!
Having relished the waterfall from afar, we were eager to go around and have a closer look. That we did not know exactly how to get there was reason enough to send butterflies in KuJo’s stomach. Later, on learning that we had to trudge on for 4 km from the main road to the waterfall, KuJo started protesting. He suggested he would go to Mananthavady, a nearby town, get a room and stay there awaiting our return! We were literally pulling him like a tethered goat as we set out our march to the waterfall. The flat road came to an end 2 km down the line. To proceed, we had to take a slippery path that slithers dangerously close to a steep slope. By that time we had realized that taking KuJo along would simply add to the troubles. We acceded to his request that he would wait there in the thatched shed nearby till we came back.
It was indeed an arduous trek. I was panting and taking laborious breaths by the time we came back to the rendezvous point. To introduce a dramatic twist, we decided to frighten KuJo by telling him that Raul went missing, and that he was nowhere to be found. Upon our request, Raul fell back and we started shouting aloud ‘Raul, where are you?’ as we neared the thatched shed. Upon reaching there, the situation was, ‘KuJo, where are you?’ We searched all over the place for signs of KuJo, but he was simply nowhere to be found! Where could he have gone without telling us? He had the eatables and water bag, and there was no reason for him to go anywhere. Finally Shah got an SMS, “Friends, you should not mistaken me for this action of mine. It is for your and my own good that I finally decided to abandon you in the middle of the tour. This tour is too risky for me. I am on my way home”. Everyone was baffled; we had planned on a number of things for the next two days, and this humbug has fled to his home, 200 km away!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Virus was all fired up on hearing this seemingly innocuous challenge put forth by the waiter. How dare he underestimates me? I can finish four Parathas easily. This is an insult. With hurt pride, he declared: ഇന്നു മൂന്നു പോറോട്ടയെങ്ങിലും കഴിച്ചിട്ടേ ഇവിടെ നിന്നെറങ്ങുന്നുള്ളൂ!
Guess what happened by the time Virus finished two? He was too full for a third and even with we guys helping him, half of the side dish was left uneaten! Virus failed miserably to the challenge put forward by the waiter. Guess what he told us when we pressurized him to order more Porottas - "Instead of wasting another ten bucks on a paratha, I will try to save 20 bucks worth of Dum-Aloo-Kashmiri" and he resigned himself to eating the side-dish!
The next day, it was Sabareesh's treat at Hotel Sindhoor. Virus set a new record. This time round, he could finish just one!
PS: Virus is a product of mere fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
2. Balarama avatar - Balarama naidu This is an easy asumption as the name suggests.
3. Mathsya avatar - Ranagaraja nambi Nambi is thrown into water in an act of trying to save lord from being thrown.
4. Varaha avatar - Krishnaveni paatti During the mukunda song, krishnaveni paatti does varaha avatar in the shadow puppetry. Moreover, in varaha avatar lord actually hides earth so as to protect life forms. Here too krishnaveni hides the VIRUS vial inside the statue so as to protect life forms.
5. Vamana avatar - Kalifulla khan In vamana avatar, lord vishnu takes the vishvaroopa, that is the giant form! Hence the giant kalifulla symbolises vamana avatar.
6. Parasurama avatar - Christian Fletcher Parasurama is actually on an angry killing spree and killed 21 generations of the particular kshatriya vamsa.He comes around with the gun [modern upgrade for axe] and kills everyone around.
7. Narasimha avatar - Shingen Narahashi First of all the name itself is a play on the words singam [means lion in tamil] and narasimha [the avatar being symbolised]. Lord Narasimha manifests himelf to kill the bad guy Hiranya-kashyap and he also teaches prahaladha. In the movie, he shows up to kill the killer fletcher! and is also a teacher(sama). Lord Narasimha had to kill the asura with bare hands and hence the martial arts exponent here.
8. Rama avatar - Avatar Singh Lord Rama stands for the one man one woman maxim, kind of symbolizing true love.. Here Avatar portrays that spirit by saying that he loves his woman more than anything and wants to live for her.
9. Kalki avatar - Govindaraj Ramasamy As you know, the hero in kaliyug can be none other than the Kalki avatar!!!
10. Koorma avatar - Bush This is considered to be the most loose adaptation by many movie-lovers. But if you look at the real koorma avatar, the lord is the turtle/tortoise that helps in stirring the ksheera sagara and bringing out the amruth. This essentially creates war among the devas and asuras. Similarly today Bush facilitates war between you know whom..May be Kamal also indicates that this avatar is a bit dumb like the tortoise…not knowing what is Na Cl.
I would like to add on one more view regarding this movie. After all the hurry-burry scenes, it all comes down to the basic question of- Is God there?
Lastly when Asin asks Kamal not to say that God is not there, he replies- " i am not telling god is not there, i am saying it would be good if he (chauvinism not intended) is there". This clearly explains what Kamal was intending. It was a conceited reply and kamal has spoken about God in many a movies now. He has tried to incorporate his ideologies regarding God, being a self confessed rationalist, the way he is. And if u ask me why that 12th century story then i would say 2 reasons
1. Its kamal for you!
2. Maybe u can draw parallels between what happened in 12th century and what happened in dec 2004, both these times they were fighting for a God's Idol but for a different reason, making the so called god omni present even over different era's.
In my perspective Kamal has stopped being an atheist and started beleiving that all is one and one is all! Thats why in the end he shows people thanking their respective gods for saving their lives from the tsunami, if there is God, that is!
On the whole the movie is entertaining and a treat to watch if you go without any expectations.
Writer's Note:- Views about the analogy between the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu and Dasavatharam is not mine. I saw this review in one of the forums and thought would share it.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It’s been more than a month since me along with 3 of my friends, AK, Daali & PP went on a 3 day exploration of Wayanad. (adapted from Quest)
9th May 2008 : In the morning we, me & AK, boarded the Netravati Express from Trivandrum Central station. We had planned to spend the night in the hostel and later on proceed to wayanad. Until now we haven’t even decided upon the tour itinerary which we planned to do when we all meet up at the hostel. On our way to Calicut, we were joined by Kurien( who left the tour on the first day itself) and PP from Thrissur.
MSN was supposed to join us in the morning when we set from the college but because of some unavoidable reasons he had to withdraw at the 5th hour. We all reached NIT Calicut by nightfall and after meeting up Daali turned to planning the itinerary. The night’s stay was in AK’s room which he was yet to vacate. After rounds of discussion with frequent interruptions from Kurien who was asking for a summary every time we came close to forming our tour plan. It was decided to spend the first day visiting Meenmutty waterfall, and proceeding to Kalpetta for the same in the morning.
Day 1, In Search of the water of Elixir
10th May, 05:15 am : Took a bus to Calicut KSRTC Bus stand from NIT-C, 40 minutes of travel.
From the bus stand we took a KSRTC bus to Kalpetta and reached there at around 08:45am. Had breakfast and went on to look for a room to rent. But we were disappointed because of unavailability of rooms (go for advance booking while visiting here). We went on to seek the details for visiting the waterfall from the town tourism promotion council office which was closed for the day being a second saturday (holiday).
So we decided then and there to visit the waterfall first (dragging our luggage along).
Meenmutty Waterfalls : Distance from Kalpetta – 29 km.
Nearest town : Vaduvanchal
Hired a rickshaw to the Neelimala Viewpoint from which we could catch the whole length of the waterfall. It is about 3 km from Vaduvanchal.
The trek to the Neelimala Viewpoint was through a rather steep mud road carved out of the hill. The sight of the waterfall was simply breathtaking (that explains why we were out of breath when we reached the top ;) ). I happened to see a wild hare making a quick escape from us, the invaders. After enjoying the deep chasm separating us from the other hills, we took on for getting a closer look at the water fall. We had reached almost a dead end, with the trail ahead covered with overgrown weeds and plants. By this time Kurien was getting agitated as he thought that it was too dangerous.
After catching the waterfall from the nearest point possible across the hill, we all were set to cover that extra km which separated us from the way to the magnificent waterfall, which we had learned from the literature written about it.
Meenmutty from neelimala
On reaching the path to the waterfall (it lies on the Ooty main road), we came to know that we had to cover close to 5 km to feast ourselves on it. Having felt that an arduous trek awaited him, Kurien choose to withdraw from it and decided to wait till we return.
The Meenmutty Waterfall :
The waterfall is said to be over 300 mt (not continuous) falling over three stages.
After walking a km, we reached a light refreshment hall serving curd milk Had to tread through this
n without it. We decided to take the middle, straight path. The trail soon became very steep downhill with only a foothold of space to walk on. One wrong step and you can see yourself rolling downhill until you bang against a rocky bottom or luck hold yourself against a tree. We thought that
we must be reaching the bottom of the waterfall until we reached an almost 90° trail downwards, which made our hearts race.
Daali felt the thunderous sound of the water crashing onto the rocks making him go senseless for a while. While waiting there thinking about the next step, a group of people came across us, who said that they had visited the bottom and they are going to the top. We didn’t have the courage to follow them through virtually invisible trails. We decided to walk back and take a guide with us and the return path too was also not without risk.
We went back to the refreshment stall where after a brief rest of 15 minutes, with a guide resumed our journey. This time the guide took us through the left path. Upon walking a little, we couldn’t see where the trail went as it wasn’t even visible to us. Nevertheless we followed the guide. AK was on 4 legs because of the grip less shoes he was wearing. Halfway through, he took off his shoes and decided to wear barefoot.
The 2nd fall
Crashing against the rocky bed
Daali, silhouetted against the silk draped rocks
We all reached the bottom of the waterfall and its beauty was fared far better than our expectations. I was picturing shot after shots in my camera of the silky water crashing through the rocks. After spending a little while there, the guard decided to take us to the top of the waterfall.
Moving on to the 2nd level
Walking through slippery rocks, dried under the hot sun, we reached the top. From there we could see the Neelimala point from where we had seen the whole of the waterfall. Again after capturing our moments there we were on the move again, tracing back our steps I thought, which was not so as the guide took us up through the tea gardens of an estate. All this while we were cut off from the world, by the wonderful sight we all chanced upon and the total lack of coverage of mobile network all through the trek ;). On reaching the top all four of us got an SMS from Kurien excusing himself from the rest of the journey as he didn’t have the courage to take such a risk (because he is a Middle-class, this was to be his explanation. None of us understood How). Altogether we walked more than 16 km down and up.
It was evening and we all decided to spend the night at Mananthavadi and spend the next day visiting Kuruva Islands and the Edakkal Caves. Returned to Kalpetta and from there to Mananthavadi where we each took a single room in a tourist hotel.
Guide – Rs. 120
Transport charges by bus very marginal compared to other rented modes of transport.
11th May 2008: At 07:00 am we had our breakfast and were set to leave the hotel. The hotel was pretty much crowded because of the bride’s marriage party who had taken room in the same hotel.
Leaving the hotel, we took a KSRTC bus again to Kartikulam
from where we had to proceed to Kuruva Dweep (islands). Being just 4 of us made it easier to travel in a rickshaw only.
We reached Kuruva much early before the entry counter would open as we were misinformed about the timings. Spend the next hour and half until 10 am roaming here and there. An alternative to go across was like this to which I and PP were opposed to and so the waiting game started.
Either cross like this
Reached the Kuruva Islands by boat, took the entry ticket and started our walk through the overgrown bamboo forests. The island is about 950 acres in area surrounded by the river Kabani. There was nothing except walking through the bamboo foliage, easy cool walk. Would have been ideal for Kurien (pun intended). After going like this for more than an hour, we decided to turn back. Saw our ancestors on the way to exist. Returned to Mananthavadi by another KSRTC bus.
Or by boat
Retracing the steps back
It was already past afternoon and we had planned to visit the edakkal caves too. But due to insufficient time we had to drop the visit. By this time the atmosphere changed to one those seen in the Amazing Race (in AXN), which Daali giving a long face. The whole of third day was to be spent in the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. But on enquiring with the forest office we found out that it would take only 2 hours for this. So we decided that after Muthanga we would get sufficient time to visit Edakkal provided we stay overnight in Sulthan Bathery.
Mananthavadi – Kartikulam – about 12 km (by bus)
Kartikulam to Kuruva – Rickshaw charges Rs. 50.
Room rent @ Sulthan Bathery - Rs. 90 per head (rented a double room TV ;) )
For the adventurous visit Chembra Peak instead, Kuruva Islands is worth a skip.
Day 3, From the wilderness of the Jungle to the Top of the World
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Started at .
We were first told that we had to reach the forest office at Muthanga by 07:00am but on reaching there before time, they told that 8 am start too also will be cool. So had our breakfast from the hotel near the forest check post and walked back nearly a km to the start point. Not to be late we had hired an auto instead of the bus which we could have caught without difficulty.
Nested in the tree
We were assigned a guide to lead us. Some trails had leeches hanging from the grasses. I caught a couple of them sticking onto my socks, unable to tear through my skin. AK wasn’t lucky enough and so was Daali (luckier than AK though).
Leeching AK Oozing AK
We happened to see a couple of deer at first and then it was herds after herds. Happened to come across leopard paw marks though didn’t sight any ;). Many hives of wild honey bees, wild plants, and a Kannikonna in the midst of the forest, bear trails, stream through the jungle – must be a water hole.
Call of the Wild
We were unlucky to sight a wild elephant herd unlike other days when it was a common thing, maybe Monday was a rest day for them after flaunting themselves in front of the Sunday crowd.
The guide told about stories about elephant attack, the tribals, leopards and bears. We were also enlightened on the Muthanga struggle which was led mainly by people that were brought from outside Muthanga. Our guide was among the people who were held by the encroachers who had ventured into the forest to put off the forest fire started by the protesters. This led to an erosion of support from the local people and the agitators had nothing else but to withdraw. Showed us the part of the forest where the so called pro-tribals encroached. It was a nearly 4 hour long walk through the moderately dense forest.
This was said to be pug marks of a leopard ;)
Which could be the path less trodden?
*Official time though allotted would be around 2 hrs, the guide can extend it if we are proactive. ;)
Wild honey is sold through a society outside the forest, high cost, less concentrated, low on taste, but may be high on nutrients.
Returned to Sulthan Bathery, had lunch, proceeded to private bus stand to catch the bus to Ambalavayal, the town nearest to
Reached Ambalavayal, took an auto taking us near to the bottom of the hill. The trek is about 1 km, arduous and risky. Jeep service is available that can take us to the bottom of the cave from where it is a steep climb of 1km vertically. The ticket counter is at the bottom of the hill, jeep stoppage point. Refreshments are available at this point. After going between the sandwiched rocks, on the other side is the rock drawing dating back to more than 1000 B.C.
The Cave Drawings
It had drawings embroidered on the walls stretching more than 4 m in length. In the cave one can see a boulder that is not touching the rock through which light enters the cave. We decided to see all this only on our way back after reaching the top.
We were on top of this hill Light streaming through the large boulders
The climb was very risky considering there isn’t any well cut out steps leading to the top. The path was spread with cement paste that was beginning to form a fine powder that would make any person slip. There is a rope fastened onto the rocks across a boulder that would lead near to the bottom of an iron ladder, after which the top isn’t far away. On our way top, the people descending told that there are people on the top. Hearing this provided the required boost to scale the remaining distance. We let go of our shoulder bags near the base of the iron ladder. While they were putting away the bags, I felt an impetus that made me go fast and well over the steep rocks in one go. I reached the top, photographed the 360° view from the top in every angle and waited for others to catch on. Not a single soul was there when we reached there nor anyone came as long as we were there. It is said that we could see the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka too from there. But as there wasn’t any visibly demarcated borders, we couldn’t make out. The breeze was cool but along with it came some of the suicide bombing flying ants that too after we were 900 m high from the ground below.
From the top of Edakkal, rock slide.
After spending sometime there we started our descend which was as dangerous as the climb uphill. Once on the top I had imagined myself falling in every way while waiting for others to join in, :D.
We had lost sight of AK, who was frequently out of breath because of his change in life style in the past 2 years while at college ;). We waited for him near the entrance to the cave drawings and after looking through the incomprehensible carvings we made our way back to Sulthan Bathery.
Returned to Calicut by a KSRTC bus through the dense foggy night, reached NIT-C hostel by 10:30pm.
Sulthan Bathery to Muthanga – 15 km
Rickshaw charges about Rs. 100 (take bus instead)
Sulthan Bathery to Ambalavayal – 14 km
Amabalavayal to Edakkal by rickshaw (bus also available)
Edakkal to Sulthan Bathery (bus available)
Total Cost per person- around Rs. 1500 (including food). Highly economical with most of the travel by bus and some 4 rickshaw rides.
Next day I returned home after a 3 hour stopover in Ernakulam where I met Virus probably for the last time…..
*Adapted from Spy Kids 2 ;)