Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Day Trip To The CIty Of Palaces - Mysooru

Mysore Bike Trip

We made an elaborate plan to go to Mysore, and just like any other plan we didn't stick to it. 

Initially the plan was to leave early in the morning but then there were some glitches and we finally settled on starting at 4pm saturday 25th Feb 2011. Plan also included that we all will go in Amar's car.

Amarnath Gandhi's Car

But then we were 6 of us and so i decided to take my bike too.A bike is obviously slower,
all the more with a pillion, on highways than a car, I started early at around 4.30 from Domlur and reached Nayandanahalli and joined the Mysore road . Here I filled up my bike's tank and started off at 5.20.

Me in my FZ 16

Its always fun driving in Mysore road . But as luck would have it right after Rajarajeshwari nagar there was an interceptor waiting for me.

Bangalore Traffic Police Interceptor

I was doing just 70's and the traffic police didn't like that. After coughing up 300 bucks i continued my journey. 
We had started after lunch and weren't hungry at all. I did get very thirsty at times. We stopped only 2 times before we reached Srirangapatna.

Now the initial plan was that the rest will come in the car and probably overtake us somewhere on the way.But we had reached Srirangapatna before them and they were still in Ramnagaram. So we halted in Srirangapatna and bought the booze.

A large old monk and a large vat 69. 

Old Monk Large Rum VAT 69 Scotch Whiskey

There were hardly any decent shops for liquor . I am used to buying liqour in Madhuloka kind of shops and didn't really want to visit any of the dirty local shops. Srirangapatna came to the rescue with an average, but better than the rest, liquor shop. Then we started off with the liqour to mysore.

We had booked a hotel - The Viceroy in mysore. I wish i could write something good about the hotel but I can't. When we had called them and booked, they had quoted a price and when we reach there it increases by 500. We could have accepted that if we felt that the rooms were worth that much. 

Simple facts - the bathroom leaked, the basin was partially clogged ,the TV's sound didn't work and picture quality was no good either. All this and it is located right across the Mysore Palace. I expected only good hotels to have such great locations.

Other things were ok but we certainly didn't feel it was worth the money. we decided on having dinner in the hotel as it was already quite late in the night. the food was below average . Right then we realized that we got the booze but forgot to get the soft drinks to mix it with. So we were roaming around the streets of mysore at around 10.30 for cold drinks. 

It was not just disappointing but rather surprising. None of the shops had coke. Some shops had, but it wasn't cold. Finally i managed to get a 2 litre 7up and three 500ml pepsi.

Once back at the room we got cozy and started boozing. Things obviously got better after that. and for obvious reasons its hard to recall what all happened but some of the interesting things -

I usually mix every drink with 7up/sprite kind of drinks and ppl liked it this time . So that goes to my recommended list.

Someone feels that his nose is gone(yet again) and finds it amusing to rub his non existent nose on the pillow, obviously we did the same.

For some reason we started singing - handla glass , glassla scotch, eyes fullu tearu

All this resulted in some very memorable pictures which couldn't be uploaded due to their extremely embarrassing nature. 

We slept off wondering what we'll do the next day. I got a bit less than 5 hours of sleep. I got up and found everyone in different states of awareness. Some were suffering from insomnia while some were certainly somniac.

We managed to wake everyone up and ready by around 11 . we checked out of the hotel. and went to a nearby restaurant for breakfast.

We finally decided we'll visit Chamundi hills . There is a temple at the top but we weren't going to the temple, certainly not after seeing the kind of queue there was . We got a decent view from the temple. We walked down a fleet of stairs to a view point .

Chamundi Hills

Climbing back was excruciating, thanks to the alcohol induced dehydration and the dry sunny weather .. 
We returned back to the city and had our favourite domino's pizza

We saw the St. Philomena's church on the way but didn't go inside. 

St Philomena

We decided that we'll visit Tipu's palace in Srirangapatna as it comes on the way. Neeraj drove my bike from Mysore to sri rangapatna and i got a much needed rest. 
Tipu's palace is rather simple compared to the palaces they show in movies. It was peaceful and the only interesting artifacts inside the museum were the few weapons that were on display. 

Swords and Guns in Tipu's Palace

We sat outside in the garden , it was really peaceful except for a crow, which went away eventually. 

Tipu's Palace Garden

I was pretty rejuvenated after this and we decided that for the sake of safety I'll drive solo and rest 5 will come in car. so we drove straight from Sriranga patna to the CCD after Ramnagaram.
On the way we saw some accidents, a truck had fallen on its side off the road, there was another where a car just drove off the road but no one was hurt, and then we hit a huge road block cause by a minor accident .

I hit a max speed of 110 kmphand but most of the times drove at around 80. Had to slow down after it was dark though. After some rest in CCD I came home and the others went to theirs. 
At the end it was 307.9 km on the odometer . Now that's the longest I've ever driven in my life. And all this for only 7 liters of petrol.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I have always been fascinated by Airplanes and especially Air Crash Investigations. Airplanes are extremely complex and yet the incidents that happen never involve just a single reason. They are an example of perfect machinery. And yet its humbling how a series of mistakes can bring down a plane in seconds. This makes investigating Air Crashes very difficult and also interesting as its one thing to find a fault and a totally different ball game to find a series of errors , that caused something so tragic.

Air Plane

The book is about an Airline Airframe manufacturing Company. An Aircraft develops problems mid air and rises up and falls down steeply for several minutes causing a couple of deaths and dozens of serious injuries to passengers. No one is sure of how and why this happened. The investigation gets more complicated due to the labor unrest and corporate games.

In the middle of all this is Ms Singleton , whose job is on the line. She has to find the reason of the Aircraft's malfunction before the media destroys the credibility of the Airplane.

The story is bit of a drag in the first half of the book, but it gets really interesting towards the end. Happy Reading.

I leave you with a video of How To Survive an Airplane Crash

Preview Airframe in Google Books
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Night trek to Rangaswamy Betta

Rangaswamy Betta Temple

This was the 2nd time I was going on a BMC organized trip. 

Why BMC?

Firstly it would be prudent to explain the reasons for choosing BMC.

There are at least 2 solid reasons for choosing bmc over a personal trip

  1. You don't have the numbers.

    The first time we went for a BMC trip it was just my friend Amar and me. Its difficult to organize a personal trip if its just 2 of us even worse if its 3. The mode of transport(bikes vs car) being the biggest problem. This time it was the simple fact of not being sure of how many might actually be turning up for the trip. we decided the number only a day before the actual trip.

  2. You don't have the time to organize

    This is the biggest problem. The most common request from all my friends is - abe kuch organize kar na(dude organize something).

  3. Night Treks

    Night Treks are inherently a bit risky and for security it is always a good idea to go in a big group.

Other than these there is always the fact that you get to meet new people and also BMC in this case is pretty well organized.

Rangaswamy Betta Night Trek

It was 5 of us who finally registered for the trip - Night trek to Rangaswamy Betta. This was my first Night Trek.

As it was supposed to be a night trek, we finished our dinner and got into the BMC bus. There were two tempo travelers which were almost full . The onward journey was quite uneventful and I had almost dozed off, when I realized that we have reached. It did seem like a short trip. We reached the base of the hill by 12.

It was pitch dark and there was no moon around . we realized later that it wasn't a new moon night but certainly close to a new moon night. So with no help form the celestial bodies, relying only on our torch lights we started the trek .

The temperature was quite cold but a minute into the trek and we were warm enough to forget that. We had taken a good amount of water and some chocolates and energy bars.

The guide told us that the elevation was of 60 degrees , it certainly didn't seem a difficult trek to me. There wasn't much of a view at night but at one point we could see some city (we later learnt that it was kanakpura) with lots of lights. It looked beautiful. We didn't take a camera good enough to take a picture of that.

The guide told us that the elevation would be 70 now and another km was left. Some of my friends were tired . The 70 degree elevation did prove to be a bit challenging so much so that reaching the top did feel like an achievement and a relief.

The hill is more like a plateau with a flat top almost the size of a playground and there is a temple built around a rock that acts as a roof.

Now we started feeling cold and I opened my bag to take out my jacket only to find that there was no jacket. I had managed to drop it in the cab. So I was left at the mercy of the winds.We started a campfire with the dry plants and logs. It was indeed a tasking job to keep bringing more of them to not let the campfire die. the fire was nice and warm and the only reason i didn't freeze to death.

There were various games that were played ranging from mafia to dumb charades and then most of us slept. I was awake the whole night as sleeping would have meant being frozen.


There was some movement at around 5 and i noticed that some kids came out of the temple and started their own fire.

Gathering Around the Campfire

We started talking to the kids who knew only Kannada (and Marathi too). We ended up singing and dancing with the kids and we also gave them chocolates. Turns out that they have a school in the temple.

Kids around Fire

They told us that the other side of the temple had a better view and indeed the hills covered in cloud did offer a good view.

View from the Top

Then came the eagerly awaited sunrise . It was pleasant to see a sunrise after a long time.


We left right after the sunrise. The kids started shouting bye bye when we were leaving.

Kids at Rangaswamy Betta

The return journy was faster and we stopped for breakfast on the way. I slept the whole day after that.

Here are some other travelogues that I had read before going for this trip

If you have visited Rangaswamy Betta or want to visit do comment about it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins - Survivor To A Fighter

Catching Fire Suzanne Collins Book Review Report


Catching Fire - Book Review And Book Report
Survivor To A Fighter
Rating: 3.5
Reviewed by Sougata Khan on .

Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins - Second Part of The Hunger Games. The next book is Mockingjay.

Book Report

This book is the second Book of the Hunger Games series. The role of the President had been quite in the background in the first book. In this book however the president is shown up and close.

The second book in the series puts Katniss in yet again a do or die scenario. This time it is worse and in a way looks like a murder plot against her.

The life of the Capitol is shown in much more detail in this book and Katniss’ feelings of hatred and disgust are explored in a deep manner.

Much Like the previous book there are plenty of twists and turns that will keep the reader glued till the end.

Haymitch - He had proved to be more than just a drunkard in the last book, and was always in the centre of everything continues to play an important part in the movie and proves himself again and again.

Cinna - He was till now a very good friend and pretty much a huge reason for katniss’s success has a rather more important part in this book.

Finnick - He is introduced as a rather flimsy and comical character but turns out to be more than that in the end of the book.

Book Review - Spoiler Alert!!!

just when everything seems to be slowly getting normal and kind of better, the sudden visit of the president shows otherwise and the story takes an altogether new turn. now its not about survival it's an uprising.

Gale and Katniss’ kiss is rather interesting and what is surprising is that the president knows about it. now Katniss has to do something she isn't very good at, acting being in love.

The quarter quell seems to be an interesting twist now. It just occurs to me that Haymitch's victory hasn't been discussed in the first book at all.

When Katniss tells Haymitch about president Snows visit, the situation Katniss is in become more clear. She has to eventually marry Peeta. That’s the only way her life will be if she wants to be alive and if she wants others to stay alive. Her entire life must be an act. I feel she would rather prefer dying, but that won’t happen too.

The speech at district 11 took a rather interesting turn at the end and things seem to be getting rebellious.

The vomiting syrup was exceptional! I have heard about something like this being done by the Romans. But somehow the modern world doesn't find this civilized enough. The uprising in district 8 and the situation worsening in district 12 all seem to be escalating the situation rather rapidly for the capitol. Madge seems to have brought out another love triangle in the story. and I thought it couldn't get any more complicated than this.

The transformation of Katniss from a survivor to a rebel as it happens in her head is quite fascinating to read.The sudden revelation of District 13 is rather surprising and brings new hope for Katniss. The unbelievable turn of events of the quarter quell seem rather obvious because this is probably the best way to kill Katniss without any repercussions.

Caesar always get the most dramatic moments on stage. Pregnant! that was the ultimate of twists possible. The emotions of the Capitol are already wreaked. and this is probably the biggest hit possible

The watery arena is an interesting turn, everything seems to be done to ensure Katniss doesn't survive. This time the dangers in the game are not just physical but mental as well. This place has been designed for all kinds of torture. Finnicks love story is rather humbling and truly heart wrenching. The absolute anarchy that mars the story when the arena is blown away is fascinating. The simple plan of rebels that is hidden from us makes everything so clear. It was a rather unexpected situation that Peeta was captured as It certainly seemed like the entire thing was being done to protect him

The book certainly ends in a cliffhanger and makes you scream and run for getting the next book!


At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The hard thing is finding the courage to do it. 

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