One year of JustBooks

Here is a small study of the books I have read in a year through Just Books a lending library.

Total books: 23
Total pages: 4062
Total price of all the books: INR 6635
Longest book: Eriyum Panikaadu (336 pages)
Shortest book: The Dip (85 pages)
Oldest published book: Autobiography of Charles Darwin (1887)
Latest published book: Eating wisely and well (2012)
Most read authors: Khuswant Singh (5), Richard Feynman (2), Seth Godin (2)

The reason why I am discontinuing with them. I don’t find the books I want to read. I always search for the book I wanted to read next and reach them just to find the book missing. When asked they will ask sorry. the book is missing sir, we will let you know when we find it. But never found a book which I wanted with all their support.

 

Failure at Hills

Back in September 2012, when along with few friends, we were roaming in the highlands of UK we discovered Ben Nevis Track. I still remember that evening, I was going crazy with all the green beauty around me. Scotland is a beauty that can make anyone fall in love with her. I can bet on that. The high mountains, the crystal clear water flowing in the rivers, cool weather, the quite environment, friendly people. What more would you ask God for?

I started walking in the track expecting my friends to join me. But my friends were so busy in their photoshoot that they didn’t mind following me. I started walking. Deep in my mind I knew if my friends aren’t accompanying me to the top, they might call me anytime and ask to come down as they are waiting for a long time. This is one more reason why I like travelling solo.

I was so cheerful, greeting all the British people coming down the mountain. Few enquired about my whereabouts and encouraged me to go to the top. I knew my clock was ticking. I might have to return back when my friends gave me a ring. I literally started running as much as possible to reach the target before that call happened. And finally the call happened, and till date I feel bad for not conquering the mountain.

Anyway for a traveller, its about the journey and not the destination.

Before Ben Nevis, I have climbed to the Uchi Pillayar temple in Thiruchengode. Ok some might not consider that a mighty task. But yeah I am not Tenzing Norway trying to climb Everest.

After coming back to India, my first solo trip happened to Hampi. I wanted to climb the Mathanga Hills to witness the sunset. Started all alone with my backpack. And that was the time when the movie 127 was released. I was scared to death of falling down somewhere and I might end up there till some tourists find me. I checked the mobile and there was no mobile coverage. This place was scary like hell. No humans around, completely deserted and with no mobile coverage. The terrain here also was a bit different and a bit scary. After around 50% of the ascent my fear overcome my courage and made me return. First attempt to climb the hills a failure. And to add salt to the injury after reaching the bottom I was able to hear kids shouting from the top of the hill.

That actually broke me. When all these kids could do it, why not me. Enquired a local about the way to reach the top. He informed me that the way I took was so steep and their is a much easier way to the top. I made myself believe it and felt a little better for not going to the top.

The second time I was back in Hampi, it was in my list of things to do in Hampi. This time I tried in a different path. I would say I was about to complete the track. Fear over took again. This time I returned back convincing myself  that I had to catch the last bus, and it was already late. Second failure.

The third time I went to Hampi with my friends and did try to climb the hill to witness sunrise. And so Mathanga hills are done.

 

Saavandurga night trek, Tadiyandmole trek, VVS Dam in Coorg and hope the list continues.

Lands I have wandered till date

The tag line of my travel blog goes like this

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

All these travels are listed in my blog http://kadambai2london.blogspot.in/.

I was wondering about the places I have travelled through my books as a character. So thought of listing them here.

Ok started making the list and realised, its difficult to list down all the places which I had come across in all the books I have read so far, and its really tiring to do a research on it.

So the list actually lists the following books

select * from books where read by me and title in (select * from places)

Things to do in Bangalore

Heard from a friend about this list. Posting it here, so that I have a record of mine.

  1. Eat Masala Dosa at Vidyarthi Bhavan
  2. Take a Morning Walk/Jog along Sankey Tank
  3. Watch a Derby in Bangalore Race Course
  4. Death By Chocolate (DBC) at Corner House
  5. Attend Flower Show at Lalbagh
  6. Idly, Chutney n Benne at Brahmin’s Cafe
  7. Shopping on Commercial Street
  8. A Walk on the MG Road Boulevard
  9. Visit Bangalore Palace
  10. Visit Iskon Temple
  11. Early Morning Drive/Ride to Nandi Hill to witness Sunrise
  12. English Breakfast on a Lazy Sunday at Koshy’s
  13. Take a ride in the Toy Train at Cubbon Park
  14. Watch a Match at Chinnaswamy Stadium. Do you prefer a Gayle Storm or a Ind-Pak Match ?
  15. Paddle Boating at Ulsoor Lake
  16. Sky-Theatre Show at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
  17. Standing “Under the Sun” & witnessing Surya Kiran’s show off their acrobatic skills at Aero India
  18. Mid-night trek to Skandagiri Peak to witness Sunrise
  19. Food Walk during Ramzan at Mosque Road
  20. Visit Vidhana Soudha
  21. Argue with Auto Driver over rigged Meter
  22. Watch a Play at Ranga Shankara
  23. Visit Tipu’s Summer Palace (Srirangapatna)
  24. Window Shopping at UB City Mall
  25. Burgers at Indiana Fast Food (Now Available at The Chocolate Room, Brigade Road)
  26. Visit the Central Library at Cubbon Park (Guess the number of books they have)
  27. Mid-night Drive to BIAL for a cup of Coffee/Tea
  28. Morning Walk in Cubbon Park
  29. Cycling early morning around the city or to a near by destination
  30. Half Masala Dosa at Siddappa’s, Sampangiram Nagar
  31. Attend Chitra Sante by Chitrakala Parishat
  32. Play a round of Golf
  33. Visit St. Patrick’s Church
  34. Ride in a Chariot around Bangalore Palace
  35. Spotting a Sparrow in the City
  36. Visit Bannerghatta National Park
  37. Buy/Sell second hand books in Avenue Road
  38. Attend the Sunday Soul Sante
  39. Have Idly Vada at Veena Stores
  40. Musical Fountain at JP Park, Mathikere
  41. Masala Dosa at CTR
  42. Have Gulab Jamun at Bhagatram Sweets, Commercial Street
  43. Flower Vendors at KR Market
  44. Ride in Namma Metro
  45. Super Car/Bike Spotting on Lavelle Road
  46. Binge at Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR), Lal Bagh Road
  47. Visit Army Park (National Military Memorial near Raj Bhavan)
  48. Visit Freedom Park (Formerly Central Jail)
  49. Visit Shiva Statue on Old Airport Road (behind Kemp Fort)
  50. Rev your Engines on NICE Road
  51. Visit Venkatappa Art Gallery, Kasturba Road
  52. Visit Nandi Teertha (Nandi Kalyani) Temple, Malleshwaram
  53. Attend the Annual Cake Exhibition
  54. Visit Bannerghatta Butterfly Park
  55. Watch a Dollu Kunitha performance
  56. Have Sulaimani Chaya
  57. Have Biryani at Shivaji Military Hotel, J P Nagar
  58. Attend a Live Gig at Counter Culture, K R Puram
  59. Visit Buddha Vihara, Sadashiv Nagar
  60. Biryani at Meghana Foods
  61. Visit Higginbotham’s Book Store, MG Road
  62. Have Jolada Rotti Oota
  63. Bowling at Bluo-O, Orion Mall
  64. Chaats at Gullus, Sheshadripuram
  65. Visit Brigade Road for Shopping
  66. Visit Hebbal Lake, Hebbal
  67. Eat Boiled Corn on the Streets
  68. Visit the Art of Living Center, Kanakapura Road
  69. Have Ragi Mudde Oota
  70. Drink Coconut Water on the road side
  71. Visit National Gallery of Modern Art, Palace Road, Vasanthnagar
  72. Watch Dirt Bike Racing Live
  73. Try Zorbing
  74. Visit Pyramid Valley, Kanakapura Road
  75. Visit Wonderla
  76. Visit Malleswaram 8th cross (Old Market) during Festivals
  77. Visit Innovative Film City
  78. Visit Lumbini Gardens
  79. Visit Dodda Alada Mara (Big Banyan Tree)
  80. Visit Snow City (Jaya Mahal Road, Opp T V Tower)
  81. Visit Ramkrishna Ashram
  82. Watch a play at Chowdiah Memorial Hall
  83. Sing Karaoke at Opus
  84. Visit Tipu Sultan Palace
  85. Eat Bun Nippat Masala at Chetty’s Corner
  86. Eat Vada Sambar at Hotel Janata, Malleswaram 8th Cross
  87. Eat Biryani at Nagarjuna
  88. Visit Vishwa Shanti Ashram, Nelamangala
  89. Visit the Sunday Market (Chor Bazaar) in Chickpet
  90. Spend time at a Coffee Shop alone/friends
  91. Eat idly vada at Madurai Idly Shop
  92. Night trek at Saavandurga
  93. Friday night Raasta Cafe

Hyderabad Traffic Police

This incident happened on my last trip to Hyderabad in my friends Karnataka registered car.

The first incident happened when we had just entered the city. A traffic cop stopped us. We stopped and were ready to get down. He didn’t want us to get down. He asked us to sit inside and asked for the papers. When we took the papers, he went around looking for reasons to fine us. He found one at last. The font in your number plate is so small. The fine is Rs 1000. Give me 300 and you can leave. When I suggested to get a challan and pay the fine legally. My friends didn’t listen to me. They were happy they saved money by paying him 300 and left.

The funny part is, when we entered the city, another cop stopped us. He caught us in a place where there was lot of traffic. He didn’t even mind creating a traffic problem there. He also followed the same pattern. Don’t get down. He said “Number plate font is so small. Fine Rs 1000, There is stickers on your window glasses. Fine Rs 1000. Total Rs 2000. Or else you can pay me 300 and go”. My friend started pleading with him. The cop was not listening. He told us “Quick, there is a lot of traffic happening here. Give the money and leave”. At this point, I got so irritated and shouted at the police, “Give me the challon. I will pay the fine”. I don’t know what happened. He just asked us to leave.

And then in the next signal again cops stopped us. Same drama again. My friends again pleaded them saying “Just now we paid the other cop”. They asked for a challon. They know we bribed them. They wanted us to pay them. I think its like a competition within them. They follow this custom within them. The money from each catch goes to the cop who caught the vehicle. They stand as a bunch and hunt down all the vehicles.

This time the police guy came with a suggestion. “I can understand your problem. Pay us 300. I will get you a challon. You can show the challon to the next police, if someone stops you”. We agreed with this deal and he got us a challon for Rs. 100 for some small offence and paid the officer Rs 500. Then we went to the charminar. On the way back, we were stopped again by the same cops. On our first day in Hyderabad with a Karnataka registration car, we were stopped 6 times. After getting the challon, each time a cop stops, we show him the chalon and he waves us away.

The funny part is, later noticed that, we didn’t spot any law and order cop in the whole city but only a lot and lot of traffic cops.

Sounds of a village

I am in my room in my home in my village. I am practicing the art of doing nothing. Just lying down in my bed, I am listening to all the sounds around me. I can hear crows, sparrows, hens, mynas and lovebirds. I hear the sound of leaves dancing to the wind. I can occasionally also hear the cows and goats. I can also hear the sound of the bells around the cow head. People speaking loudly to each other and now and then there is this stupid automobiles.

I have done the same thing in Bangalore. I have tried to listen to the sounds of the city. It is always noisy with automobiles. I think we Indians love honking. Might be its kind of a stress relief to the people driving the vehicle. Surely it increases the stress of the people around. I have tried to listen to the sound of Bangalore. It was always noisy in the daytime that I never had the piece of mind to relax. At nights the streets are a bit calm. So you at least get a chance to be quiet. But even then there is traffic always in Bangalore roads because of the US timing night shifts. So the sound of a night in Bangalore includes honking and fast vehicles. Dogs barking every now and then a bike or car passes them. And then I stay near to a healthcare BPO. So you can hear the noises of these people exactly at the same time everyday. These people have a break at the exact same time everyday.

In my village I love to ride my bike in the highways. There will be absolutely no traffic in the roads. It’s the national highway connecting Kanyakumari to other important towns of Tamil Nadu. I chanced to witness the sky at dawn yesterday. It was beautiful. The sunrise and sunset is always beautiful wherever you are. Looking at this scene made me wonder, when was the one time I saw the sun rise or set in Bangalore. It never happened in the last one year. Life in a city, you don’t get to witness anything like this. The worse thing is in your busy life you never know you are living inside a concrete block and never witness the beauty of the nature. You never know such things exist outside.

Each time I come home, I always think of quitting my current job and starting some small business in my village and live a peaceful life. And like a lot of people I am afraid to do that. The one thing I believe I can do to make an earning is code. I am a programmer. I should start doing freelancing one day and move near to my hometown. That will be my long time goal.

Nothing in this world is permanent. I will be soon moving back to Bangalore after my short vacation. Before I even realize that I am missing the sound of my village. I will get used with the noise of the city and keep moving.

Hotel Selvi, A/C

Each time I visit my hometown; I do these two things without fail. One is to have lunch at Hotel Selvi at least one day, and the second is to drive my bike in the state highway SH177. In this post let me describe the food in Hotel Selvi.

So Hotel Selvi is an average mid size hotel in the small town of Vallioor. It’s known to almost everyone in this locality. I remember knowing this hotel for a really long time. It has created such a presence.

Food here is so costly for the town standards. For instance, when you can get a chicken biryani in other hotels in town for just Rs 50. The chicken biryani in this hotel costs around Rs180.

The ambience is also average.  It doesn’t look so great. But the hotel management has re innovated the look a bit. They have changed the black and dirty window panels and placed new better-looking ones. I think this is the only visible renovation I could mention they have done in years. And yes last time I been there, I saw they placed tissues alongside newspapers to wipe the hands. They have cleverly placed both tissue and the newspapers alongside each other to use. They also have placed a Dettol hand wash bottle near the washbasin. A nice change for sure.

So what’s so great about the hotel? The food is pricy and ambience doesn’t look so good. Its there food, that is so great. That is what a hotel is meant for right. I like the food here a lot. So do lot of other people also.

They are known for their non-veg food items. Generally all other hotels in the region serve garlic chicken, butter chicken etc. But they don’t do that. The items in their menu are

  • Mutton Sappadu
  • Meen Sappadu
  • Chicken Sappadu
  • Kushka
  • Chicken Briyani
  • Mutton Kushka
  • Kudal
  • Kaadai
  • etc

It’s as traditional as possible, except the biryani part. My favorite dish is Mutton Saapadu. They serve meals in banana leaf with mutton curry. Their parota is also known in the locality. Parotas here are thick and costly as any other thing in the hotel. I have never seen anyone complain about the price here. Everyone around knows its costly here and they also know the food here is worth the price.

The menu includes dishes like kaadai, kodal, moolai etc. They have a variety of non-vegetarian items. I don’t think they have a menu card yet. Their menu has very few items and for sure they are so inviting.

The service is also kind of different from all other hotels. Generally you don’t get good service at small hotels. But this hotel is completely different. The service is damn good. Almost every server watches your plate and knows when to offer you something. They are completely in par with their counterparts in five star hotels.

If I am not wrong a lot of things haven’t changed here even in a decade. The menu for one thing has not changed at all. Even the servers who serve here have been here for a very long time. There should be something right the management must be doing, that the employees never leave. At least these days, I find it a very rare thing to happen. There’s a stone near the billing counter, which states the opening date of the hotel to be 1973. It’s been a long ride for them.

When some one says, “we should build a brand name”. I remember these guys. They sure have a brand name for themselves.

2013 in review

This year was so awesome. I have accomplished a lot in the last year. Last January, I had got a new job and moved to Bangalore. I have fallen in love to this city since then. Bangalore has a great climate, and a whole bunch of beautiful young girls. This year, I have created a bucket list and also have crossed a few items in it.

I have learned, read and travelled a lot this year.

Career:

In last one year, I have written code in Java(Android), Objective C(iOS), Ruby(Ruby on Rails), Javascript(node, backbone), HTML5 and CSS3. Never in my life, I have learned a lot like the last year. I might be rightly called “Jack of all trades, master of none.”. I have decided to master my skills in web development with ROR in the year to come.

Travel:

I should take time to thank my friends for this. Whenever I wanted to visit a place, they were there with me. I had visited Murudeshwar, Mekedaatu, Hampi, Tirupathi, Tanjore, Coorg, Hogenakkal. I tried scuba diving in Murudeshwar, travelled alone to Hampi, got oil massage in Hogenakkal and tried trekking and river rafting in Coorg. I have lot of stories to say about these travels. I can say about how every one was afraid when the scuba diving guys made us sign a document saying they are not responsible for any mis-happening in the dive. I can talk about how I was cheated by a guy and left all alone in a small island in Hampi, the glowing temple and the day spent without sleep in Tirupathi. The awesome memory of the Tanjore temple, trekking experience in Coorg and how we paid to get beat up in Hogennakal.

Books:

Goodreads says, I have read 54 books, around 12 thousand pages last year. The best three books of last year could be

Personal Life:

Had faced quite a lot of downs, this year. Hope next year is not going to be so bad as this year. Its time to move on. Applying lean principles to personal life, One Failure should not stop me. I should learn from it and apply the learnings in the days to come.

Good Rain vs Bad Rain

I love observing people around me. I do this all the time, especially while travelling. I thought let me write few of them in my blog.

Location: Train from Kumbakonam to Tanjore

After attending a friends marriage, was travelling in the train from Kumbakonam to Tanjore. The train was over crowded and there was not even space to move around. It’s when this thing happened.

A guy speaking about good rain and bad rain. Good rain is one which happens in night and bad rain is which happens during day time. Its because the bad rain creates trouble to humans daily work. Good rain never hinders people’s daily chore.

How I conquered Hampi

I have found a new interest in travel these days. It goes well with my other interests like reading and photography. I imagine of traveling to distant places with a book in hand, a camera around my neck and a bag at my shoulder all alone. I got this travel bite first when I was roaming around Scotland. The scenic beauty of Scotland had bought a change in me. Two days spent there, it was like heaven. I had this feeling when I was hiking through “Ben Navis” in Scotland all alone. I felt my mind was so relaxed and I was able to think of lot of things with a calm mind. This feeling I don’t know how to explain but it happens occasionally. At that moment I feel so high. I can’t explain that feeling in my words.

When returning back from Scotland all my friends were asleep and I had to be awake to keep company to the driver. It was so calm and traveling in the Scotland high roads was fucking awesome.

There are few places in earth which you feel you have some attachment with it. You have the long desire to visit this place. One such place for me is Hampi. I am not sure when I first fell in love with this place. But I wanted to visit this place for a long time. Just looking at its images in Internet and reading blogs about people who visited it always turned me on. I dreamt of a day when I would roam the streets in Hampi and click pictures. I was so desperate to visit Hampi. It was in my list of things to do before I die.

Now back to Hampi. First I had planned to visit this place after returning from UK along with a friend of mine who also had interest to visit Hampi. But it didn’t work out as planned. After shifting to Bangalore, I felt a step near to Hampi. I was asking my friends to accompany me. We planned a lot of times, and none of the plans worked.

Last weekend I had plans to travel to Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. But as always plans just don’t work. So I had yet another weekend ahead of me, with no trivial things to do. I was planning on thursday night what can be done this weekend. Few options popped up. One among that was to travel to Mumbai, drink a cup of tea in Taj and return in the next available train to Bangalore. Another option was to travel in random trains for the two days continuously and reach Bangalore by Monday morning. I also had plans of going to Hyderabad, Cochin, Chicmanaglur etc with no plans ahead. I checked the ticket availability and found only costly bus tickets to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Cochin. And traveling in random trains needed at least a little bit of planning or else I will end up in some corner of this vast country in Monday morning. I checked the ticket availability for Hampi, and bong it was available. So booked tickets and started to plan things. One thing I was afraid was rain. The forecast suggested it would rain for the whole next week. I found it only after I booked the tickets. If it rains, I will not be able to get out of the room tomorrow.

Friday night all set. I was feeling excited and a bit afraid. I am traveling alone for the first time. I don’t know the language. I don’t know Hindi as well as Kanada. It might rain the next day and I might not be able to do anything in Hampi. But excited in the same way that I am following my dream. Traveling all alone with my kindle in hand, camera around my neck and my bag at my shoulders.

Boarded the bus to Hospet from Bangalore KBS. Woke up in the morning and saw through the window. It had rained in the nights. The place was looking green and beautiful. I was expecting a place full of boulders with no green on them. But it was all green and a few boulders around. Reached hospet and was waiting for the bus to Hampi. I asked for the bus to board and waited for the bus and was watching the people around. The town looked similar to any Tamil Nadu town. Children in school uniforms on their way to schools and people going to work. Except the few foreign tourists around, it all looked the same.

I had inquired about the next bus to Hampi in the information desk. He shouted back at me 7.15. I didn’t feel like asking him in which platform and moved away from him. My best bet to get into the right bus was to follow the foreigners around. Did that and got into the bus.

As I like to do it everywhere took the last seat in the bus. When the bus stopped there were a bunch of guides and auto-wallas trying to get a customer. I asked a auto-rickshaw guy to take me to a place, I had read about this place in blogs. They had mentioned that it is the best place to stay and it is across the river. But the auto guy said the other way. He said to me that if there is a rise in water level the boats stop working and you will be struck in the other side of the river for days. So I followed his advice and asked him to take me to cheap guest house. He found me one and also helped me rent a motor bike for the days trip and departed.

I did get ready and then started moving without aim. I didn’t know were to start and where to look. I was just riding my bike when a bunch of school kids asked for a lift. I stopped and within a few seconds all three were in the bike and the fourth guy was trying to jump in. I asked them where they want to go and asked them to show me the way. They did and we reached Kamalapuram. On the way I had found few boards marking the places. So now I knew where to start. There started my journey. This is just a beginning. I will travel more in the days to come.

Hampi