Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sameera Reddy's character got admitted into University of Berkeley, San Francisco. Should be a new one. ;-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dada and Jumbo hang up their boots. Big shoes to fill. Literally too in Anil Kumble's case ;).

Natwest Series Victory

Anil's 10 wickets @ Kotla

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election in Canada

Elections were completed in Canada and the result was that the Conservatives led by Steve Harper are back in power. Fine. Nothing I will be concerned about much as long as my funding stays. :)
The interesting part is that there is none of the election fanfare that one sees back in India. Elections (especially the campaigning) in India are loud, colourful, fun even bizarre at times. Here, the elections are so quiet, I didn't know when it happened.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Knetwalk is a new game I came across in KDE 4. Timepass game, where you need to connect all the client machines to the server using the connecting elements. This is one solution I hit where all clients are connected, but the game isn't over! Is that a bug? If I can connect all the clients to the server with fewer connecting elements, isn't that better?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A month in Canada

It is just more than a month since I came to Canada. Still remember the Sunday when I saw the rising sun just above the horizon at Bangalore and landed here, with the setting sun, just above the horizon. Sights to behold, both of them.

Sunset at Deer Lake

Purple sunset
The photos above were taken at Deer Lake.

The weather has been pretty good for most part of the last month. Bright and sunny most of the time. But things are changing. Incessant rain is the typical winter weather here I understand.

The colours of fall are beautiful. Trees turning from green to yellow to brown.
Colors of fall

Maple leaves however seem to turn a beautiful red. Now I know why the Canadian flag has a red maple leaf on it. :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008


I had been to Ladakh recently, to have a short holiday and for a little bit of trekking. The first step in that was to get to Leh, the current district headquarters of Ladakh. From there onto Manali in HP and then driving to Leh.
In Manali, I visited the Hadimba temple. This temple is dedicated to the demoness from the Mahabharata. She Bheema marries and later gives birth to his son Gatothkacha.

The ride to Leh
The ride from Manali to Leh goes through multiple valleys in the Himalayas and one gets to see 4 mountain passes (Rohtang, Baralachala and Taglangla are the three I remember), atleast 2 (Chenab & Beas) of the 5 rivers that goes through Punjab, 3 high altitude lakes (Surajtal, Chandratal, Deepaktal).




It is an 18 hour journey. Picturesque. But the road is not good in some places and can get uncomfortable. One can't complain though. The Border Roads Organization gets about 3-4 months of conducive weather a year. And that are the exact 3 months when there is heavy traffic on the roads with large numbers of visitors driving in and out.

The ride in a shared taxi will cost each person about Rs. 1200. It goes through the beautiful Kullu & Lahaul valleys in HP before entering Jammu & Kashmir.
The change in the terrain & the vegetation is clearly visible. From largely green mountain faces in Kullu and Lahaul, things change to barren mountain face post Lahaul, in Spiti and Kashmir.
The are patches of terrace farming & shepherds leading their sheep along the mountains for grazing.

Erosion columns 2

By the time we reached Taglangla (~5000m above sea level), the winding mountains, the heat and dust had already given me a severe headache. We stopped to get medical help at an army camp setup specifically to help civilans.

Other ways of getting to Leh:
- Do a 15 day cycle ride from Manali.
- Drive your own bike.
- Fly to Leh from Delhi.
- Take a 45 day walk to Leh.

Leh, is not as rustic as I expected it to be. It is no different from any other Indian town. It even boasts of a tennis court and golf course.

The Trek
The first day of the trek starts at Spituk. It follows a jeep train from Spituk to Jianchen. The interesting thing is that the trek begins by crossing a the river Indus. Lots of trekking groups are around in Leh. Almost all are from European nations (French, Dutch, Spaniards, Italians).

The camp at Jianchan is along a tributary of the Indus. The camp sites are owned by locals. There are small patches of cultivated land where wheat or jowar is grown. The rent at the camp site is Rs 100 per day per tent.
We were accompanied by 3 folks, cook Passang Bhutia from Sikkim, guide Ghulam Qadir (from Nubra Valley, Ladakh) and pony man Sonawangdeo.

The second day of the trek would take us from Jianchen to Gandala base. Gandala base is ~4500 m above sea level. And the pass itself is another 400m higher and after a steep climb. It was a particularly nasty day for trekking. It was bright and sunny initially, but the moment a cloud covers the sun, the temperature drops. One can sense it the heat-to-chill change clearly. Not that such a thing is uncommon at high altitudes. I had experienced this during the Saurkundi pass trek. But added to that was the intermittent rain.
The climb didn't seem tough till Rhumbak village.
House at Rhumbak

But from Rhumbak (3700m) to Gandala base (4500 m)is one tough climb. On the way we pass a 1 house village Urutse.

House at Urutse

The interesting thing about this section is the colour of the mountains we walk on. from white, to grey, to blue, to purple, it is one mindblowing experience. Not for the chromatically challenged ;).

Gandala base has 2 camping sites. Our tents were setup on the higher one. I was already drained and I don't know what energy reserve my body tapped into, to climb the rest of the way to the tent.

Each camping site has a restaurant run by the locals. It is a large tent where one can buy soft drinks, tea, fruit juices, omelettes, noodles, biscuits etc. There are no tent stays like the ones on the way to Leh. Tentstays allow people to stay overnight and provide mattresses and blankets.

Gandala base
Ganda La base Restaurant
Solar panels find a lot of use along the way to Ladakh and in interior regions where electricity cables cannot be laid.

Another construction to note is Ladakhi toilets. These are composting pits. After use, one has to dump a shovel full of mud into the hole. Over time, the decomposition leads to manure which gets used as a fertilizer.

Reaching Gandala base gave me severe altitude sickness, so I had to return. The main cause being the lack of aclimatization in Ladakh.

Returning from Leh to Manali was eventless, till we reached around Gulaba, a small village 20Km from Manali. A mudslide had blocked the road and bull dozers would not come till the next day. So a large number of people in cabs, jeeps, trucks had to spend the night in their vehicles. So I was in the Qualis for 32 hours straight, spending 2 nights in it. That was some event!! :)

On the return from Manali I saw a most beautiful sight. A layer of mist over the Beas for quite some distance. Unfortunately, the camera was in the luggage hold, so couldn't take a snap.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happened to venture into a Reliance Fresh outlet. Must say, there was nothing fresh or refreshing about the store. Most of the fruits & vegetables had wilted and wrinkled. Fresh? Not even remotely.
I took the name of the store to signify fresh natural produce. No synthetic stuff. No packaged stuff even. But some things, fresh fruit extracts say, need to be packaged. But there was enough synthetic stuff and packaged stuff to bring me down to reality.

Reliance Fresh is Unreliably Stale!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All Too Human!

The Beeb has a series titled "Human, All too Human" that discusses the life and works of philosophers Sartre, Nietzsche & Heidegger. Hope they feature more people, say, Wittgenstien, Godel and without doubt Immanuel Kant.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Want My Father Back (Part 2). A highly recommended documentary on farmer suicides, the events over the past 3-4 decades that led to it, globalization, MNCs & industrialization of farming.
A must watch for all the people who believe globalization & technology are good things. Specially the city bred no-nothing-of-the-world "Westernized" consumerist.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by Ananth Narayan S
Me and a friend biked to a small village called Shettihalli near Hassan recently. Shettihalli's claim to fame is an old, abandoned church. The structure gets submerged in the river water during the monsoon. But since it is summer now, the water has receded.
The place is ~20KM from Hassan, off the Bangalore-Hassan-Mangalore highway. On the bypass, one can see a board that reads "Gorur 22". The approach to Shettihalli is the next left turn. There are lots of people around to ask for directions. So one can't get lost. :)
From the main road, only the top and the water are visible. Makes for an amazing view. The ruins of the church are pretty impressive too. Unfortunately, as is the case with most of our old buildings, this one too is vandalized :(. But it is a place where one can spend a few mins in silence and solitude.
Apart from the place, the journey itself is quite nice. 400 KMs in a day is definitely tiring, but enjoyable nevertheless.
If anyone is driving past Hassan, I would strongly recommend them to take a short detour, visit the church and then resume their journey. Just make sure NOT to dirty the place.
Photos from along the journey and from the church itself @ my flickr stream.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happened to find this interesting photograph through Stumbleupon. Not sure if it is real or a hoax, but powerful nevertheless.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Poor quality news

I like The Inq's style of writing. Adding a humourous & witty twist to every news item they post. Like the one on the BBC not being able to handle criticism. The BBC might have drawn lot of flak, for instance its iPlayer not being supported on Linux and Mac. It is however, respected for the quality of news. Our own "BBC Wannabe" NDTV however has to improve manifold.
First stop plagiarizing the layout and color scheme from the BBC.
Second get the closed captions at the right time.
Third get the names of people displayed at the right time. Almost always, the name of the person is never displayed when the person is on screen.
Finally, stop misinterpreting and misrepresenting. 2 simple instances recently seen:
A Tibetan national says that their struggle is going to get more aggressive. The news reader says "Tibetan struggle is going to get more violent". Violence and aggression are not the same. Like Denzel Washington says in Cry Freedom to the lawyer in court "I see confrontation here, I see no violence".
Second Kiran Bedi doesn't want to carry the torch since the extreme security "cages" the torch. News headline reads that "she feels like a caged human".

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The XKCD domain is throwing me a page from Questionable Content (another comic). But trying to load a previous comic. So trying to load comic 404 gives a HTTP 404. Now that would make a straight out of HTTP geek-dom.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wierd "Also try"

Searched for a self portrait of surrealist painter Salvador Dali. And Yahoo threw an interesting set of "Also try" links. Orson Welles, fried bacon, french television. No idea how these are related to Dali.

Meanwhile, Santhosh Guru has decided to start www.sangoo.org. A non profit portal. SANthosh's answer to Google and Yahoo! Sangoo- Sounding the death knell for both.

Google-kkum, Yahoo-kkum sangu daan! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2 Treks

Happened to go on 2 treks in the last 3 weeks. Both in the Western Ghats, around the Charmadi Ghat region. The first one was to a mountain named Amedikallu near a town called Shishila. Shishila is ~20 KM from the holy place of Dharmasthala. The trek didn't involve covering much distance, like Kumaraparvata. But was real steep & extremely tiring. And things don't get better if one gets multiple bee stings, do they? It is one trek I would definitely think more than twice before attempting again.

The second one, more recent was from Durgadahalli
(the village of the fort) to Ballalarayana Durga, to Bandaje falls and terminating at Mundaje (near Dharmsathala). Ballalarayana Durga was built by Ballala Raya (as the name suggests), but apprently was later captured by Tipu Sultan. The trek was via Bandaje Falls. About 600 feet high. The view looking down from the top of the falls was awesome.

The trek was planned so that it would be mostly climbing down. So it was not tiring. But as usual, the ankles and knees took a severe beating.

Photos of both treks on my Flickr page.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fat? No food!

StumbleUpon happened to throw up a Mississippi State Legislation (HB 282) which prohibits food establishments from serving food to obese people.
Link : http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2008/pdf/history/HB/HB0282.xml

Forget freedom of choice, privacy, liberty for a moment. It is ridiculous, hilarious and scary that people require legislations to make them eat healthy.