June 16th, 2013 by admin

I have always found it difficult to rise early in the morning day after day. I have been able to wake up early on many occasions when required with or without assistance. But it was never a continuous process starting from my school days. I was always that night owl who loved being awake late in the night. However, even if I slept early did not make much difference. Many a times I started process like running in the morning but could not continue as I could not wake early in the morning every day continuously. Slowly these processes died out! During work life I started working in the night, which took out the possibility of waking up early in the morning on most days. During off or holidays too I find it difficult to wake up early due to the biological conditioning over a period of 9 years.

I always relished the thought of waking up early in the morning as a continues process. I want to enjoy the clean air, gentle breeze and do healthy activities like running, cycling etc. But it has remained buried as a thought and a wish. I know that it may be difficult for this to happen anytime soon. But I want to take up the challenge and start the process of achieving this. Part of realizing the plan is to understand how to change the present lifestyle. The change has to start from working hours followed by others. Many of you will say that it is easy and all I have to do is change my job. But its not easy with various reasons involved. Further, I love what I am doing at job now. So the road to the destination is a constructive plan over a period of time which I have drawn up. This is a timeline oriented plan where specific goals has been set and has to be achieved to complete the ultimate goal. I am relishing the challenge with the thought that it will lead me to Alive is Awesome moments in the glory of morning soon!

The video below kind of depicts what I am talking about. In my case situations are try to stop me!

June 11th, 2013 by admin

Recently I did a trip to Wayanad in Northern Kerala. A popular so called hill station or resort destination in this part of the country. The plan was to visit with one of my friend. But at the 11th hour he was unable to make it. It was long weekend with 2+2 holidays. I wanted to make the most of it but now looked almost over. The challenge was either to solo or drop the plan altogether. At that short notice it was unlikely to manage any other partner. I had travelled solo earlier but that was just a package day trip from KSTDC. I went solo ride for few hours but nothing like the plan this time. It got me thinking, as the trip was going to be almost 3 days. I had never travelled alone for such a long time before. This was nothing but a mental block which I later realized. And mental block comes from the fear of unknown.

It was a tough fight but the traveller in me own. I decided to take the plunge for the exciting trip to be just myself. Whole night I could not sleep in excitement and anxiousness that I might miss to off board at Wayanad in sleep. Next two days there was challenge of doing things all by myself but that was joy of unbridled freedom and peace. Now in the hindsight, I feel proud of taking up the challenge. It has helped me remove the mental block of solo travelling and introduced to the joy of solo travelling.

Challenges are like a puzzle like this painting at Edakkal Caves. We need to relish the challenge by removing the metal block to see through it.

November 6th, 2012 by admin

When comes to adventure bathing, we think of bathing in the river, waterfalls, sea and the like. Have you ever thought of bathing with a jumbo!  Yes, I am going to tell about my experience of bathing around these gentle giants.

This was at Dubare elephant camp on the banks of river Cauvery in karnataka. Early morning we reached the bank of river Cauvery after traveling around 250 km from Bangalore. The rays of sun on the thinning layer of fog was refreshing. After crossing the river on a coracle was the first encounter with an elephant which was walking towards me from the forest guided by a mahout. Slowly this Jambo was joined by other elephants for a royal bath at river Cauvery. Elephant bathing is allowed here. I asked for more. So I decided to get myself a bath as well. So it was bathing with the elephants!

Like an element changes its nature under different conditions. Likewise, even Alive is awesome moments are different under different conditions but the feeling is always the same. Soon the jumbos were in the water led by the mahouts. While the mahouts were giving bath to the elephants, their style was a sight to behold. In place of soap and scrub they were using river sand and smooth stones. I wish I could suggest the mahouts to use Cinthol lime soap! What would have been the elephant’s feedback on Cinthol’s strong fragrance and freshness. Two of the jumbos slept on the river shore submerging themselves. I went near the elephant and gave some spa treatment with river sand.

I dint wanted to let go a awesome bathing experience in the company of elephants. So around them I also started enjoying bath. There was an adolescent elephant, which was seeing me with curious eyes! On the other hand a big male elephant was pulling water through its trunk and sprinkling over itself. Instantly, the recent Cinthol Alive is Awesome video came to mind. I wished I could sit like that on an elephant with cinthol lime rubbing me to freshness and the Jumbo would sprinkle water on me. What an experience that would be! Check the Cinthol video below:

I sat on the river shore water watching and enjoying this amazing experience. Meanwhile, I felt a gentle push on my back. As I saw back to my amazement it was the baby elephant. With the mahout’s permission I hold it as it stood near me. Baby elephants are very jovial, restless and curious. That make them so much fun to watch! As the bathing session ended, I was walking back from the water in sync with the elephants – as if in the same company. Of all the living beings, elephants probably takes bath in one of the most stylish way. And bathing with them in style is nothing but Alive is awesome experience!

November 25th, 2011 by admin

My last helmet was a half Venus by Glider. I used it for little less than 2 years. Around an years time the the cloth holding the sponge on the right side for cheek was torn and the sponge was out. Around 1 year 6 months time the right side cushion was torn as it was placed only with gum. Around 1 year 8 months the cushion for back of the head was getting loose and was finally torn. The helmet by then was loose and not safe enough. If I used to drive little faster then the helmet would move and try go towards backside. I am telling you this to show the difference between the old and the new helmet, its pros and cons.

The old Venus by Glider cost me Rs 600 in December 2009 and was purchased from Lal Bagh road (best place to buy a helmet in Bangalore). The half size helmet was quite comfortable and I enjoyed wearing it. I went many long distance rides wearing it. The outside shield seems to be made of some hard cardboard which bends if force is applied towards the end. Towards the cheek it was only a plastic fitting. However, overall this was quite good for city ride.

The new helmet is Vega Boolean. It is a full size helmet which can also me used as half size as we can bent over the mouth section. The helmet is completely made of fiber with exterior glossy finish and graphics. The view glass is unbreakable as claimed by the sales man. The two side cheek cushions are connected by two buttons so they are detachable and washable. There is also a colored visor if you would like save yourself from sun rays. To control the visor we will have to use a button on the left hand side. There are 3 ventilation pores in the helmet. 2 are on the top which can be slided to open or close and the other at the mouth area. Closing the mouth section is easy but bending it over is little difficult.

This helmet has a very gorgeous look and will be a superb accessory on long bike trips. In the beginning it was tight and took a few days to loosen up and I am comfortable with it. Looking forward to a trip with it. It cost me Rs 1800, wheres MRP was Rs 1970 (bought from Lal Bagh road, Bangalore). If you bargain better you might even get a better price.

Note: The best time to look for a new helmet is when you start to become uncomfortable with your old helmet.

May 30th, 2011 by admin

If you are interested in bird watching/bird photography and also want some recognition in this regard then you can participate in bird watching competition with Indiabirdraces.com. This event is supported by HSBC.

Typically they require 4 members in the team. To be in the competition you will have to name all pictures of the birds which you have shot. So ideally you should have a experienced bird watcher or who has knowledge of bird. Also, try to include a member who is aware of the ecology and places where birds can be found more. Looks like the event takes place every year a few times. And there is no registration fees.

So go birding!

Website: http://www.indiabirdraces.com

January 24th, 2011 by admin

Location: 13 km from Bangalore – Mysore highway after Chanapatna if you are traveling from Bangalore

Distance: Around 75 km from Bangalore

Route: Bangalore – Mysore road – Kengeri – Bidadi – Ramnagaram – Chanapatna – left turn at Kokkere Bellur board (13 km from this turn) – Kokkere Bellur

How to Reach there: The best is private vehicle as public transport is not that frequent. However, you can come upto Maddur by KSRTC bus and then from Maddur to Kokkere Bellur by other bus.

Where to eat: There is no restaurant to eat in Kokkere Bellur. However, you can eat at Coffee Day on Bangalore – Mysore highway near Chanapatna or at Kamat Upahar or at any dhabas.

What to see: Beautiful migratory birds

Kokkere Bellur is a nondescript village located in Mandya district of Karnataka. Here every year in the month of January migratory birds particularly painted stork and Pelicans arrive here in huge numbers. They typically nest on Tamarind trees. The bird Painted Stork is known as Kokkere in Kannada, the local language and this is how the village got its name. The forest department compensates every villager on whose trees the birds nest so that they do not harm those trees. Indeed a good concept.

About our trip:

To the see the birds you must be in Kokkere Bellur by 7 am. Even better if you can reach earlier. We started around 4.45 am in the morning from Marathahalli. We decided to take NICE road so drove all the way to Hosur road to get on NICE road. From there to Mysore road via NICE road cost Rs 30 per bike. Apart from that the route was also longer. So I suggest you unless you are staying in the vicinity of NICE road junction on Bannerghatta road or Hosur road do not take NICE road. Go for Mysore road as it will be traffic free during dawn and wont cost you anything. During our ride through NICE road in the dark it was chilling cold. We were looking for every cover to avoid the cold wind.

By the time we crossed Bidadi the sky started to clear up. Just after crossing Ramnagaram there is a lake on the left hand side besides the highway. It also has a beautiful garden lawn with sitting arrangement. There we saw a beautiful sunrise – one of the best I have ever soon. On the other side of the lake there is a mosque with trees in the background. The sun was rising from behind the trees with its first light falling on the lake making beautiful colour effect. After a bit of photography there we were on the road again. I suggest you look for a Kokkere Bellur board on the left hand side after you cross Chanapatna which will ask you to take a left turn. Take left turn there and ride of another 13 km to reach Kokkere Bellur. On the country road you will first find Tailur lake on the left hand side. If you would like you can have short break here for photography. Continue further and you will come to a circle, take left and within few meters look for an open gate on the right hand side. These open gates are typical in Karnataka villages. Go through the gate little further and look for birds on the trees. If you are confused ask the villagers for the actual spot of bird nesting.

That was one of the best bird sighting I had ever done. Beautiful painted stork and pelicans were all over the trees. Painted stork has large sharp beck and long thin limbs. They are no wonder called Painted stork as they look like someone has painted them very carefully. Pelicans on the other hand are huge birds with a huge beck. Also, they make lots of noise. I was told by one villager that most bird arrives after January 15. So plan your trip after Jan 15. I suggest you walk through the village settings however make sure not to harm any paddy field or surroundings.

Kokkere Bellur is amazing for bird photography. However, note that to shoot birds you would need an advanced point and shoot camera or an DSLR with telephoto lens. For high zoom point and shoot cameras I suggest Cannon SX130, SX 20 and SX30 and Nikkon L110 or P100.

Note: River Shimsha is nearby. You can also visit there.

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