Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bangalore Marathon, 16th December 2007:

I started running some 5 months back. I use the treadmill in my office gym. Though I am not so regular, I have tried to keep my gaps small enough to claim I have continued. It started with small tired runs at the beginning of my running expedition and improving myself with time. I haven’t seen my physique change for any better, though my stamina improved.

I run for short distances in the treadmill, usually getting exhausted in the beginning, but comfortable after the body gets used to it. Never get a chance stretch myself, as there is a 15 mins time limit at the gym treadmill, so that all peoples get equal chances. I have always seen lesser crowd on Fridays, and started stretching myself to run longet time in some of these days to see if I can go further. Running at a slower pace then usual, I was able to stretch myself to longer time.

Couple of weeks back I decided to take my run to the tar roads of Bangalore. So measured a route besides the airport (I live near the airport) of about ~10 kms long. One fine morning I woke up early at 5:30 am (I hate to wake up early), and started my run in the pre-decided route. I started taking deep breaths just after I started, but soon the body got used to it. To my surprise, I completed the 10 kms of run without stop, and I was genuinely satisfied.

Yesterday I went for the second time, despite hating to wake up early. It was again a 10 kms run. After doing it second time, I felt confident enough of repeating the same distance again if required. The same evening I was talking with my roommate and during the course of discussion the Bangalore marathon topic popped up, and the though of participation came to my mind. It’s a chance to test the limit of my distance running.

Woke up early next morning and took my bike headed towards Kanteerava stadium, from where the Marathon will start. Registered myself for the half marathon and received my chest no (#1008, wow already a 1000 participants). First, it was the full marathon that started. The full marathon had ~ 300 participants (my smart guess looking at the crowd size). Half marathon started after that @ 6:30 am with ~ 1500 runners. I started jogging at my treadmill speed, knowing I had to finish at least 10 kms which was just half the way. The marathon started at Kanteerava stadium and the route followed was ->Cubbon Park -> Dr. Ambedkar road -> Cubbon road -> Ulsoor Lake -> Old Madras Rd. -> Byapannahalli R.S. At the railway station we have to turn and take the same route back, the station being the halfway mark at 10.5 kms. I saw peoples overtaking me wondering if I was running too slow, but didn’t took the chance of going faster and tiring myself before I get to the halfway mark. It was after 1-hr and 5-mins I reached the halfway mark. The organizers threw a violet color fluid in my shirt, it was probably for marking me for completing the halfway mark. I took the turn to take my route back. I saw peoples on their way to reach the halfway mark; well this means I did better then few peoples I guess. Not that slow, mmmm..

After the halfway mark I felt my body getting drained of its energy. After a couple of more kms, I had to take a short break. After walking some distance, I started running again. But I felt the energy level dropping and my legs not that fast any more. I started taking short breaks, and the breaks started coming frequently. I saw most peoples near me taking short breaks too. I didn’t wanted to quit at this point, like many others whom I saw putting up a run after breaks to make sure that the job is not half done. It was 5 kms left and I started thinking, this is one thing I will never ever do again in my life, with legs starting to get frozen. But I still kept moving on running and taking small breaks in between. I saw the banners of kms left counting down with time, and my energy levels kept me just going close to the finish. As I approached close to the stadium, I went for the final push and just started running. Entered the stadium with peoples cheering at all of us who just came in. I thought, GOD it’s done. But after entering I was told I had to make another full circle at the track before entering the finish line. Well, some more push, and I was finally at the finish line. I saw one organizer noting down my chest number, yes # 1008. After 2 ½ hrs of grueling fight of body vs. mind, finally the mind triumphed.

I was given a water bottle and I directly headed towards the grass, lying down with tiredness and satisfaction. Within 5 mins all my tiredness was gone and I was filled with joy of completing the job half planned. I had done something I have never done before; I had beaten my expectations. Well it feels so happy.

I was among more then 500 odd peoples that finished the half marathon, many of them kid’s. Luckily I was not the last one to finish, as I saw some peoples finishing after me. Good to see good running culture among Bangaloreans.

Added afterwards:
Today I received my certificate of completion. I finished the 21 kms with timing of 2:32:08, ranked 326. The runner who finished first had timing of ~ 1:04 mins. So I took almost 2 ½ times of what he took. May be I should try to better my timings in the next marathon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


26th January 2006: Happy Republic Day. It's an early morning for us. Woke up at 4:30 am in the morning at Sujeet's house. In fact all the peoples in Sujeet’s house was awake (The bikers: Me, Deka, Sujeet and Jaiswal). We all got freshened up and took bath. Had a light breakfast with bread toast. Our luggages were already packed. Got quickly out of our room to fasten our luggages to the bikes. Finally all set; we kicked off our trip at 6:30 am. We filled our tanks full at the first petrol pump. It was now a drive out of Bangalore to a 260 kms of grueling drive to Coorg.

We kept on taking small breaks on the way to keep ourselves out of fatigue. The first break was at Srirangapatna (near Mysore) for a better heavy breakfast. Bypassed Mysore on the way to Madikeri. The drive to Coorg was very good, we had nice stoppages at coffee plantations, tree shades and of course bio-breaks. The complete drive was real real fun, no tiredness at all – not the way expected it to be.

FLASHBACK: It’s a week left for us to leave for the bike trip to Coorg. We are planning our stoppages and places to see. All of us are scared deep in our guts in the thought of that long drive. Nobody was confident enough that we will make it safe and healthy, one reason being we never had such prior experience of a long drive. We were enthusiastic though, enthralled by the very feel of the upcoming adventure never tried by us.”

After the entire fun ride we finally reached our hotel – “Hotel Cauvery” in Madikeri at 2:30 pm, 8 hours after we started. We unpacked the luggages and got freshened up. It was already ~ 250 kms of drive. All got together in a room to plan out the rest of the trip. Everyone agreed to the first thing in the agenda, LUNCH.

The café of our hotel was already closed. Its 4:00 pm in the evening. So we moved to a nearby restaurant and had our snacks/lunch. That evening we thought of completing the visit to Abbey falls. It was ~ 10 kms drive from our hotel. We took off in our bikes to the waterfalls. We were quickly there. Very small treks lead us to the falls. It was a nice place (though honestly not the best I have seen). We captured the moment with few snaps and pushed on our way back.

On the way back we stopped over a kings tomb (could not find the name of the king). It was almost evening with the sun setting down. There were few enthusiastic kids playing cricket. They quickly agreed to be our guide and they lead us through the cool structure. It was getting dark, so time to get back to hotel. On way back, stopped over a temple. We planned for the Madikeri fort, but it was already dark. The day ended well with dinner and 283 kms of driving. Dinner was at the restaurant of Hotel Cauvery (one honest advice, never eat there).

27th January 2006: Day 2 of our journey. Today’s plan is to go to Tal Cauvery. It is known as the origin of river Cauvery. It is also a holy place. Its gonna be a 47 kms drive, so we started early. The first destination was raja seat. It’s a viewpoint with a nice garden. After a brief stop there enjoying the morning sun, its drive to Tal Cauvery. The drive to Tal Cauvery was very scenic with almost 95% of mountain biking, sharp corners, steep roads and lots of fun. With Sujeet around, the speed at which we moved hovered around 80 kmph.

Reached Tal Cauvery. It’s a bright sunny day, and quite windy at the hilltop. Suji Deka and Jai wanted to go see the spring (origin of Cauvery). I decided to stay back, just enjoying the cool view outside. Once they are back outside again, its time to climb up to the top of the hill via the steps. I guess there were ~ 200 steps. We were damn tired once we reached the top (shows our fitness level). But with nice view in front of us, and the soothing breeze, the tiredness disappeared immediately. Far off at a distance we saw some windmills (the first windmills I have seen in my life). The view was awesome, and we started convincing ourselves that its worth a close look at the windmills. The idea cooked up to go out on the trek and we started off to get to a closer look.

After a reached our first target spot we had, we decided not to stop but get closest to the windmill. After the grueling and tiring walk when we finally reached the windmills, it was really satisfying that we started to congratulate each other. Its not that we did something really great, but we did something really satisfying, to walk the roads not often taken. After a small rest it was time to walk back, back to our DARLING bikes for the drive back to our hote


We were already tired that day after the trek. So we decided to do no more travel and just rest. Only thing that was planned for the day was go hunting for good Coorg cuisines. After some unsuccessful hunt for “Pork Chilly” we just went ahead and had our drink and dinner @ East End Hotel. It was some good food and good night sleep.

28th January 2006: The plan for the day is to spend first half of the day sight seeing and next half traveling back to Mysore. Spend the evening at Brindavan Garden, night at a Mysore hotel and spend the next morning at a water park.

The first destination was “Nisargadhama, Kushalnagar”, a island on river Cauvery. It did not look like a island though, but was fun. There was a small zoo with spotted deer’s in it. There was also elephant ride which was supposed to start a bit late, and we decided not to wait that long. Back to the entry point stopped by a restaurant (dhaba truly speaking) to have our breakfast. Ordered some Idli-Vada and Bread-Omelet. Till the time our breakfast reached we spent our time with the rabbits in the garden nearby. After a good heavy breakfast it was time to go to the next location, “Harangi Dam”. We reached there pretty soon. Photography was not allowed (because of terrorist threat, LTTE I guess). We took some snaps from outside the boundary at the entry gate from far off. Deposited our cameras and went in. time for some rest, slept over the dam and went besides the water body (remembered the good old NERIST day’s, where we enjoyed the Dikrong river).

The next one was the last stoppage, a Buddhist temple at Bylakuppe. Its one of the places of Tibetian refugees in India and Dalai Lama. It’s close to Kushalnagar in Kodagu. The first impression I had looking at it was, amazing. The golden dome was shining bright in the sunlight. Spent most of our time inside. We are getting hungry and planned for some local tibetian cuisine. Finally entered one of them. Ordered noodles, and chopstick. I had never eaten with a chopstick. So after minutes of struggle, the hotel owner came to our rescue. Once he taught us how to use it, it seemed very easy now. After finishing our food, it was time to be back.

Though the initial plan was to stay back at Mysore that night, we decided to get back to Bangalore. Stopped over for dinner on the way. It was night and driving became dangerous at the highway, though thrilling. The headlights blinding our faces and visibility from our headlight not that good, we cruised back to Bangalore in the Mysore highway. Finally reached home @ 10:30 pm at night. The total distance clocked in our bike was 575 kms.

As planned on our way back, the next day we went to see the blockbuster of the year “RANG DE BASANTI”.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Driving bikes fast is one of my very BAD habits. But fortunately I try to make sure that I know what the safe limits are depending on the road and traffic condition. But according to my friends, I am in the dangerous driving regime according to their standards. I always make sure I wear my helmet when I drive my bike. The actual reason for wearing helmet is actually it helps me to drive fast, much better visibility than fast winds hitting my face, and it also saves me from the dust.

Once on a rainy night I had to come back home from J.P.Nagar (Bangalore). There was a dinner get-together at my friend's house. It was late, raining (actually drizzling) and I really wanted to hurry back before it starts pouring heavily. Once I hit the main road I put my bike under full throttle. Its late night and the road were empty. So speed was not a criterion for me. The road was not properly illuminated (my headlight also didn't seemed too bright). I was cruising at full speed and suddenly I saw a gigantic speed breaker. I was at a speed at which I could not really respond. I could hardly remember what happened next, all I remember was I was off the bike skidding through the tar road and my bike following me. People gathered on the place and took me to a nearby hospital.

When I finally reached home, I was in a state of shock. But after I saw my helmet I really knew how lucky I was. The scratch marks in the helmet was too scary. I imagined those scares in my head, man I was lucky. If I wasn't wearing my helmet that night, I wouldn't have been alive talking to you in my blog today.

All said and done, little advice I want to give you friends (it's your personal decision if you want to take it :-)
- Don't drive fast on the roads you are not familiar with
- Overconfidence kills, know your limits
- Empty roads are more dangerous then with traffic, you get more careless

Friday, October 19, 2007

Company Transport

I take my company bus to go office in place of my bike. Its actually the best thing to do in the Bangalore traffic. Well I am not so good at waking up early, so I miss my bus quite a time. Then I have to beat the traffic with my bike.

When I take the bus in the morning, there are many other peoples taking their respective company busses. One thing I observe is to try to benchmark the company facilities (bus service), to see if my company gives me bus-servive that is good :-)

Honestly, its just make me pass my time waiting for the bus. I really can't differentiate between all the company bus services, all looks equally good (or I say bad, ha ha). But one thing that really surprised me was looking into one of the company bus (I won't name the company). The bus looks like as if they are involved in human trafficking. By the time it reaches our stop, it is packed with peoples until the door. Few peoples get in the bus from our stop even under such condition, and it feels as if the last guy is hanging from the bus. Man it's surprising.

It takes hell lot of time reaching office; I even get tired sitting in the bus. It gives me time to sleep or think over something I want to do in office. But I just wonder about the peoples (those being human trafficked), they go standing to office, THEN WORK. How can you expect someone to work after such an tiring journey?


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bangalore traffic & MY DREAM BRIDGE:

I am probably the millionth guy writing or talking about it. But its something one can't stop talking about.

I first came to Bangalore in 2000 for my summer internship in NAL. Bangalore was new to me and I had tough time initially figuring out directions to roam about. I stayed in CV Raman Nagar and take to take the early morning bus down to NAL in Airport road. We then take the NAL shuttle bus through wind tunnel road to the NAL R&D campus.

Now my first impression when I saw the wind tunnel road was, probably the places beyond it when we go by the airport road is city outskirts and nothing really existed. (I really didn’t know about the existence of Marathalli at that time). This impression mainly came because of the lean traffic I saw on that road. After almost a month I knew about the existence of Kemp Fort, which is just walking distance away from wind tunnel road. In my last days I started exploring places near Kemp Fort. One of my fellow trainee told me about a place called Marathalli he stays, which is a good small place. I went back with a very good impression, awesome weather, easy going peoples and fun place to be in. I wanted to be back here for my job, if given a chance.

Come 2003, I finished my Master’s and got a job in Bangalore. Really felt good to be back, with older memories coming back. This was quite a different place what I have seen when I left last time. More peoples, looked more developed, many more peoples probably working. Being posted in Whitefield, I got a chance to explore places beyond Marathalli J. I stayed in Indiranagar and it took me around 25 minutes to reach office, sometimes later. Comfortably took my 8:30 am bus to reach office before 9:00 am. Things were quite normal for a year when things changed. It started to take more time to get to office (courtesy the famous Marathalli bridge). My house owner in Indiranagar wanted me to move out, as it seems the house rent has suddenly increased quite a bit. We had to move to Airport road. It suddenly became common to reach office at 9:15 and later. Before I can really adjust “psychologically” traffic has started becoming unbearable in the bridge. I actually started getting headache by the time I reach office. It might be road rage, but all the vehicles just SHOUT’S WITH THEIR HORN for just no reasons.

Time passed by, traffic torture continues, every day MORNING as well as EVENING. Nobody cares, cars shout, bus shout, everyone just drives rash, no traffic rules, no lanes, WELL JUST NOTHING.

One fine day, I was just so happy to see a board. A bridge is planned to build in place of the current TORTURE bridge at Marathalli. In just 4 months (as per as I remember it was supposed to be over by 2006 September), we will be having a 6-lane road. I felt like I was daydreaming. But anyway traffic was diverted via the inner ring road, touching down the old-Madras road. The distance was longer (but believe me, it took less time to reach office). I wasn’t complaining, as its just some months of compromise and we will cruise through a highway, WOW.

OK, too much daydreaming J, today is September of 2007, and I am still awaiting my dream bridge. I just don’t know how much more time it would take. Traffic woes still continues, car’s still SHOUTS. And when it rains, it takes me 2 hours to cover the 12 kms distance from my office to home.

Added on 8th April 2008:

Today I saw the marathalli bridge opened. May be it was opened over the weekend.

Chak De - bla bla bla

The recently released movie Chak-de-India has created a new word in the Indian subcontinent. Chak-de-***. In-fact chakde has been used (or shall I say exploited) by us to fit into any possible topic we can.

Well the most obvious choice to start off with is definitely hockey. Chak-De-India song has been translated by media into the national anthem of Indian hockey.

Movies has been historically a very strong medium to influence common public in India. I do feel really happy about the kind of publicity/awareness it created for a sports like hockey in this cricket crazy nation. Demand for hockey stick's tripled, and this is actually a good sign for this sports.

But things went beyond what I might have thought when the movie is seen as an inpiration to every things in our life. It gradually translated to chak-de India for Indian cricket team's victories and also to chak-de India for the booming stock market, and also connected with the Indian football teams good recent performance. Any good new's can now be related with the feel good factor depicted in the movie.

Chak-De girls have in fact become good brand ambassadors to women empowerment. They are seen hopping TV channels talking about it.

The timing of the movie was also well planned, with Indian Independence round the corner; national sentiment was at its high. India’s women hockey team made some good performances, and so did the men’s team. So chak-de was seen as a revolutionary movie with its after effects bringing motivation and good fortunes to India.

Whatever may be the case, its too much of chak-de now. Lets not try to connect everything to chak-de and lets move ahead.

BTW, when is Shahrukh Khan’s “Om Shanti Om” getting released? Lets go watch that movie.