29 October 2010

Road Trip Reprise

Around four years ago, a bunch of crazy folks, including me, cycled from Bangalore to Madras, during peak summer, in two days. You can read all about it here

Well, at the end of the trip, there was a crazy idea inside me that I should fight to finish it in under 24 hours.

Tomorrow, 30th October, a different bunch of guys, including me, are trying to do it.

We plan to start from Bangalore at 3.00AM. Weather, mind, and body willing, we will make it to Madras by nightfall. Fingers crossed, and yes, expect regular twitter updates ;-)

Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:36 AM 0 comments

27 October 2010

Loud-Mouth

There is a verse in a in Tamil song --நாத்திகத்தை பேசிட நாக்கு தந்தது யாரடி ?? meaning, who gave the power of speech and tongue to Atheists ?

Freedom of speech, or in general, freedom to do anything has its limits. Freedom always has a price. It assumes that the person who is going to use that freedom understands the situation in which he/she is in, and exercises that freedom with caution. Remember the words -- With great power comes great responsibility ?

The recent Arundathi Roy incidents are a fine example of utter callousness and totally irresponsible behavior. Granted that she has freedom to speak her mind and all that, being a so called "intellectual" and "thinker" she needs to understand the environment and the surroundings in which she is in, before making such silly and highly controversial statements.

Further, she speaks assuming herself to be the voice of the entire people of the Kashmir valley. When a person thinks of him/herself as a self proclaimed messiah of the masses, hubris is bound to occur, and this is a fine example.

Such inflammatory statements would do nothing towards solving the bigger problem at hand, but would only provide fodder for the extremists, and "sound bytes" for the hungry yellow journalists .(all ye folks from Times Now, CNN-IBN, Headlines Today, The Hindu, e.t.c., raise your hands now!!)

The Government of India, and the people of Kashmir would do well to ignore such silly and childish remarks from arm-chair intellectuals and moronic thinkers.

Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:00 AM 0 comments

18 October 2010

Perceptions - The brain of Men vs Women

Outrageously hilarious.





Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:46 AM 0 comments

11 October 2010

Can it get any worse than this ?

A student in California finds a tracking device in his car. It turns out that the FBI planted it there.


WTF ???


Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:13 AM 0 comments

Perceptions

This short clip illustrates why men are from mars, and women are from venus.

Enjoy !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSIqgBP2CqI

Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:09 AM 0 comments

07 October 2010

The trip that was not meant to be - Part 2

The first part of the travelouge is up here.

And so the next day the plan was to leave at 6AM. The train journey seemed to have hit a few of us. We started from Ambala Cantonment at 8AM. The plan was to reach Manali by nightfall. We were yet to have breakfast, and decided to have it once we cross Ambala. We were out of money and started the hunt for an ATM.

What would you do if you go to an ATM booth and find it locked ? Move to next one right ? What would you do if all of them are locked and the guards outside tell you that they open at 9.00AM and close by 6.00PM ? Just slap yourself on your forehead and curse your luck. We then decided to get to Ambala town a short distance away.

We did manage to withdraw money, but not before we checked around 12-15 ATM's none of which had any cash with them. Ambala is a strange place I tell you.

The next stop was at a petrol pump to fill up our tanks. Anand got duped of 100Rs here, when the filling agent did not reset the petrol pump's meter. We then decided to check the air levels in our tyres. That is when we got the first indication that whatever happens, chance will favor the prepared mind.

The alert sardarji noticed that the tires of my motorcycle had fresh cut marks. Something was rubbing really hard against it. He gave it another 500km before my tyres burst up. We removed all the luggage from the bike and checked it. The screws of the mudguard were indeed rubbing against the tyres. We spent the best part of an hour fixing it. It was now 10AM and we were hungry. We moved over the nearest Dhaba and had some amazing aloo paratas and curd. By the time we started our journey, it was close to 11.30AM, a delay of 5 hours, which in hindsight would cost us dearly.

We had found a scenic alternative route from Amabala to Manali here. We decided to take that. As mentioned, it was indeed scenic till we reached Ropar. In case you did not know, there is now a IIT-Ropar ;-)

roopsagar-canal


We did cross a canal like that and for most part of the journey, it was indeed peaceful to drive through, with minimum traffic, and a nice river alongside. Little did we know that for the best part of our remaining journey, a river would follow us ;-)

Since we had a rather heavy breakfast, we did not feel the need for a lunch. We reached Ropar town, and stopped for some tea. The shop owner told us that we would have the hills coming at us in a short while from now.

valley-view-1

Soon enough, we did start our ascent. It was not easy, given the fact that we did have some luggage.

We crossed Bilaspur town. It started to drizzle. In a highway, if it rains, the wisest thing to do is to continue riding, as there is a distinct possibility that there would not be any rains when you cross some disance. On the mountains, it is not the case. However, we assumed that there would be no rains when we ride ahead and continued doing so. The drizzle turned into a torrential downpour. Sathish stopped as he was unable ride in total darkness with heavy rains. Anand did not notice that we had stopped and he continued along, in the wrong direction !

We all stopped in a tea shop to make sure we do not get washed away by the rains !! It did not matter much; we were already soaking wet. After sometime, Anand returned and joined us in our shelter. We met a few folks in that shelter, albeit drunk, who advised us to go forward for a few more kilometers and we should be able to find a place to stay. Sathish did not want to listen to them, and we decided to drive back to Bilaspur, a distance of around 10 or so KM. I decided to be in front and everyone else decided that we would follow our respective tail lights. We started our drive back to Bilaspur. Halfway through, after much asking around, we found out that we were in the wrong direction, and as suggested by the drunk folks, there was a place to stay further ahead.

We then drove over and reached a resort Midway. As the name suggests, it is midway between Delhi and Manali. We managed to bargain the rates for two rooms and they were kind enough to provide us with piping hot food. We wovled it down our throats and went to sleep. We wanted to start early the next day. Manali was just 100km or so away.

The next dya, we decided to enjoy the mountain journey and take it easy. Manali was nearby and hence, we decided to enjoy the sights and sounds that we saw on the route.

The first beautiful spot we reached was the dam in Sundar Nagar.

sundar-nagar-dam-2

We also passed the beas river and that huge 3km tunnel.

river-view

And yes, given that it was the mountains, there was blue sky all around, of course, when it did not rain !!!

valley-view-3

We reached Manali rather lazily at sometime in the afternoon. We had a rather lazy lunch in Kulu near the Airport. It was a rather tasty and lavish affair. We checked into Hotel Chaman, just near the shoping complexes. It was not all that great, but we just needed a place to stay for the night. We had already lost a day, and we wanted to cross Rhotang, and get to Sarchu by the next day. We went to bed.

Little did Sathish and Anand know that they would be coming back to Manali the very next day, in an Army truck, at the dead of the night.

Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:51 AM 0 comments

03 October 2010

The perfect Sunday a.k.a how I converted the Citibank Chennai Runners Half Marathon 2010 to a duathalon

And so today was the chennai runners half marathon on ECR. Give the fact that the venue was just around 25km form my house, I thought it would be nice to bi-cycle down to the venue and run the half marathon.

Given that I have quite a few endurance events coming up over the next few months, I thought it would be worthwhile to try it out.

Since the event was supposed to start at 5.30AM, I thought of leaving my house by 3.45AM or 4.00AM and cycle down in a relaxed manner, so as to not affect my run.

However, instead of keeping the alarm for 3.15AM, I had kept it for 3.45AM. By the time I let the house it was close to 4.30AM. There was a fleeting thought in my mind that I should take the motorbike, but then I decided against it.

A few kilometers away from my house, it started pouring like cats and dogs. I felt that the weather gods were helping me in my crazy ass attempt. For the next three hours or so, it rained like crazy.

I pedaled hard and covered the 25km distance in 48 minutes. There wasn't much time to relax before the run began. I did not want to exert myself too much as I needed to cycle back home for a distance of another 25km. I set myself a target of 150 minutes to complete the 21km run, and I did complete it in 165 minutes.

I managed to bump into the Chennai Runner's regulars. After a nice shower and breakfast, I started the return bi-cycling trip back home. I was in no hurry and completed the distance in around 70 minutes.

Now, for a nice bath, and to plonk myself in front of the idiot box. This is what a Sunday is all about !!!


Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:27 AM 0 comments

01 October 2010

Endhinran Review

What would you do when you see super star Rajinikanth on the screen ? Whistle, howl, cat-call ? What would you do when you see 100's of them ? 1000's of them ?

That ladies and gentlemen, is what endhiran(robot), Superstar Rajinikanth's latest flick, is all about. What would happen when a robot acquires the ability to feel ? To sense ? The so called sixth sense ? Now, whether a robot can get that sense or not is immaterial. After all, we have seen movies prior to this with the same theme.

Rajinikanth is a scientist, who is trying to create a humanoid, who can help the Indian Army. His senior is trying pretty much the same, albeit with a darker motive. Aishwarya plays his love interest.

Santhanam and Karunas play his lab assistants and try to evoke a laugh or two, but fall hopelessly flat.

After a rather bizarre fire rescue attempt that goes hopelessly wrong, Rajinikanth infuses the idea of sense, the ability to feel into the robot. The robot now falls for Aishwarya Rai.

What happens next forms the story. Does the robot succeed ?

The first half of the movie moves at a rather relaxed pace. One can actually term it slow. One expects the second half to pick up steam and chug along. However, that is not the case.

In an act of sheer frustration, Rajinikanth destroys the Robot. WHat happens next to the robot forms the best part of the second half.

The last 30 minutes or so of the second half is where Rajinikanth creams everyone in the movie. Some brilliant voice and facial modulations make for more than 120+ minutes of slow paced story telling.

The camera work is of rather decent quality. Special mention must be made of the special effects, particularly in the climax scenes. Unlike any other special effects that we have seen in Indian movies, the effects do not look jarring or out of place. The only one place in the entire movie where the special effects looked totally bad was when Rajinikanth tosses a baby to play with it.

Aishwarya Rai is/was expected to sleep walk throughout the movie and she does what is expected of her.

While this movie is in no way comparable to Rajinikanth's earlier cult classic Padayappa, this movie does have its moments. Watch out for that goat bleating sound.

The songs by A.R.Rahman are not pretty bad at all. However, considering his earlier scores, this does not impress that much. There could have been some more effort on the background score.

Shankar has been trying to change the time tested formula of Rajinikanth's movies -- an opening song showcasing the hero as demigod, sentiments involving sisters, mothers, the usual formulaic jazz. He tried that in Sivaji with quite bad results. He does seem to have succeeded in this movie.

All in all, this movie is definitely worth the price of your ticket. In fact, one could actually sit through a best part of the movie, to be treated to a 25 minute or so graphical extravaganza.

Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 6:46 PM 1 comments