♫ My Top 5 Last.fm artists: Jamestown Revival (34), Coast Modern (6), Miike Snow (6), Susto (5) & Dawes (4) #music
I’ve always wanted to go on long road trips, but with both Jo and me working, trying to find a contiguous block of holiday has been rather difficult. With me taking a break and Eid holiday coming during middle of the week, we got a chance to do our road trip.
With a date set, we next wondered which route to take? We considered Coastal Karnataka(Bangalore – Goa – Mangalore – Bangalore) and Tamil Nadu(Bangalore – Madurai – Kanyakumari – Thanjavur – Chennai – Bangalore), but eventually decided upon Coastal Karnataka after consulting with resident travel expert Ashwin. He also suggested few additional places(OK, he suggested a lot of the intermediate places) and we decided on this route and timeline.
So when I resigned from CGI, I thought I’d have to stay through the entire 2 month notice period with the org. However, since there was no dependency on me, I was hoping for an early release and thankfully that did happen. I initially thought of joining the new job right away but decided to take a month-long break from work and relax for a month.
A month seemed quite a lot, however the days went by so fast I didn’t even realise that my break was over. So here’s somethings I did to keep myself busy(few of those I had been meaning to do since a long time, never got around to doing it)
- The first week was pretty much devoted to completing a freelance job I had with SAP – to write a 6-part tutorial series on how you can use SAP Web IDE and Github for collaborative development
- I also spent a fair amount of time in playing/completing games that I had been meaning to since a while: Tropico 4, Transistor, Just Cause 3, Journey, Pillars of Eternity, Broforce, Uncharted 3 and few more
- Realised how much working at home without a power backup would be a pain because of BESCOM’s sustained powercuts(couple hours almost daily, if not more)
- Became what Jo calls, “house husband” – do housework ie get fruits/veggies, chop ’em, do the dishes some laundry(they seem so easy.. took couple of hours easy)
- Cleaned the wiring clutter in our house, esp the one around my desktop. Bought 1m of velcro, used it to tie around lose cables coming from the landline, Ethernet cable from Act, tons of wires coming from/behind the desktop. It’s not quite pretty, but still loads better than how it was before.
- More cleaning, this time inside the desktop cabinet, tied up wires coming from PSU(which is not modular) and replaced the fan which came with the cabinet(which are incredibly noisy) with BitFenix Spectre. I’ve been replacing each of the fans in the cabinet with this one, they are pretty silent and for the lighting fanatics, they’ll leave your eyes dazzled.
- Went on a 1,800km roadtrip across coastal Karnataka and Goa(will post travelogue soon)
- Did some light reading for upcoming new role
- And lots of sleep, especially thanks to above mentioned powercuts by BESCOM
Overall, it was a good one month break which went by way faster than I imagined!
July has been a month of great changes.. I started my first job in July in Chennai – new city, staying on my own, earning my own money.. but that was about 9 years back.
This year again, July is a month of change. After 5 years(and few days) at CGI(erstwhile Logica), I will be moving away and onto the new unknown. Reasons for moving are many – completed my project, didn’t like the new project’s commute/timings, tech stagnation and personal growth are some of the major ones. Where to next, you might ask?
Well after all these years of corporate life, time for something new – will be joining Styletag.com as the DevOps guy. From Oracle to Rails, on-premise to AWS, this is something that will be a challenge I am sure, and I look forward to it.
Wish me best wishes 😉
Two years back, I bought(rather, Dad bought & leased it to me, I’m still repaying him :-D) the Maruti Suzuki Celerio. Why Celerio? I was looking at something within ₹6,00,000 – that meant the Ford Figo(which I bought, almost took delivery but had to cancel), the Swift etc were out of conisderation.
Dad told me that a new car is coming and is quite within the budget and he was right. The car seemed to be pretty good – looks good(from the front anyway), and with its hype about the AMT(and from Magnetti Marelli of all places) I decided to zero-in on the car.. till I realized the AMT is only upto the VX trim(no ABS/Airbags/BT stereo etc) and with a waiting time of 3 months or so – decided to nix this and went for the Manual transmission Zxi (Optional trim)
Few weeks ago, Jo & me went on a 11-day vacation from starting from Srinagar heading south-west bound towards Manali via Kargil, Leh, Nubra Valley and Jispa. During this 11-day visit, we had a blast, met bunch of great folks, visited some breathtaking places and ran into wee bit of trouble. And since it’s been awhile since I posted here, decided to do a travelogue.
So, we booked a tour via A Lifetime Trip. To be honest, I didn’t do much of the research on the tour operators – my college friend Prasad & his wife Shyamala did bulk of the research and finalized on A Lifetime Trip. We pretty much looked at the places to visit, Jo wanted to visit a lot of the places, I was happy with the places. I did a basic check for A Lifetime Trip, saw that they had good reviews and confirmed to go with them.
The tour was supposed to start from Sringar on July 31st and return to Delhi on August 10th, with overnight halts at Kargil, Leh, Nubra, Pangong Lake, Jispa and Manali.
The 4 of us (Prasad, Shyamala, Jo and me) decided to reach Srinagar a day early so that we could have some time to explore Srinagar.
Onwards to Srinagar
I booked the flight to Srinagar pretty early – actually a good 4 months before our journey so I don’t have to worry about not flights not being available later or flights being out of my price band. The flight was to take off at 06:15 and land in Delhi at 09:00 with a follow up flight at 13:20 and land in Srinagar at 15:00.
Not wanting to take a chance against Bangalore’s famed traffic, I booked an Ola for 03:00. Trust Ola to screw it up, the cab guy was nowhere to be seen even at 02:50. I called up Ola Customer Care, they reassigned another driver… who also didn’t come. I had to call him up, wake him and plead him to come over. On the bright side, we ended up with a new Ciaz to take us to the Airport. The roads were empty, and the driver seemed to make full use of this by treating the road to the Airport like a racetrack and driving like one. We reached the Airport in a record breaking 40 minutes. If you think that’s too long – well, you’ll know when you’re here.
The Airport routine went without a hitch, Air India was on time and we took off and landed in Delhi on time. Once at Delhi airport, we went over to Starbucks, grabbed couple of coffees and chilled there for couple of hours.
When it was close to boarding time, went over to the gate. That’s when we realized that the flight was running late. To make matters worse, it started raining outside and visibility was almost nil. Once the cloud cleared and the plane had arrived, we were about an hour off time and by the time we landed in Srinagar and collected our baggage, it was close to 16:00.
Srinagar airport was under construction and the main hallway was blocked with either construction materials and barricades indicating construction zone. Result: Fair bit of chaos near the baggage collection belts since only one was operational. I’m very paranoid about airlines losing my bags, so to see my bags among the first to arrive was a relief. We took a pre-paid taxi from the airport to our accommodation for the night, Welcome Residency. There was a fair bit of confusion about the hotel since Inbox pointed me to the Welcome Residency near Boulevard Road, while the one where we booked was at Shivpora. An email to the hotel and a quick reply from them ensured we landed at the right place. Srinagar was quite a bit hotter than what we expected, with the temperature at around 30 degrees. As our taxi driver drove through the crazy traffic(be it Srinagar or Bangalore, the road madness follows), we talked to him for a bit about what places to visit. He recommended us to visit the Gardens(Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh) followed by a visit to Lal Chowk. As we drove through the traffic, couldn’t help but notice the rather broad presence of machine gun toting J&K Police and CRPF. About 45 minutes later, we reached our hotel, checked in and took a short nap.
Fresh from the nap, we decided to head out to explore some places around Srinagar. And despite it being around 6pm, it was incredibly bright – something that we didn’t expect. We walked for about a kilometer to find an auto(since the Hotel was a bit interior), found an auto guy who was asking Rs 350 to head to Shalimar Bagh. We had a deal with him to drop us off at Shalimar Bagh and he reassured us that there will be other autos for us to make the return trip. With not many choices around, we took the auto anyway. While on the auto, we did some small talk with the rick driver, asking him about his family, what places to visit around Srinagar, what places to visit to check the local cuisine and I’m not sure if it was the small talk or that we agreed to his fare without a question or something else, but once we reached Shalimar Bagh, he had a change of heart, he said that he felt it wasn’t right that he asked for Rs 50 more(claiming most would take Rs 300 to here) and told us that he’d be waiting for us outside Shalimar, but will take us only to Nishat and not back to the hotel.
Done with a tour of Shalimar and some pictures taken, we headed out and called our auto rickshaw guy was waiting for us. He repeated his stance of feeling guilty and reinforced that he will drop us only till Nishat. With this expectation on, we headed back towards city via Nishat. Once at Nishat, we realized that Nishat is closed(later we realize that most gardens close post sunset, and it was about 7pm now). Our auto guy was flummoxed as to how this was possible, since he’d told us it’d be open till at least 8. We figured he’d let stop the trip here, but once again he changed his mind saying he’ll take us to Nehru Park, which is actually an island in middle of the Dal lake. Considering the traffic ahead, we requested him to drop us straight to Lal Chowk instead of Nehru Park as it’d been a long day and we decided to have dinner and head back to the hotel – half expecting him to decline. Much to our surprise again, he agreed, without saying a word of protest, repeating his earlier talk of feeling guilty and agreed to drop us to Lal Chowk for free. About 45 minutes later, we arrived at Lal Chowk, headed off into Ahdoos Hotel for some Mutton Seekh Kebabs, Roghan Josh, Rice and Rotis. The Mutton Seekh Kebabs were so yum, we ended up ordering another round of it. Post the awesome dinner, we decided to try Kashmiri Kahwa and absolutely loved it, capping off a fine dinner.
Finishing off dinner with a fine Kashmiri Kehwa A photo posted by Sathya Bhat (@sathyabhat) on
While heading back to the hotel, we had a minor scare as a bunch of guys on a bike came close to Shyamala and catcalled her. They were gone before we could gather our senses, but anyway we grabbed an auto and went back to our hotel for some much needed rest.
Travelogue continues in future posts.
Part of this was originally posted as a comment to Nithin‘s facebook post about today’s news article stating that Cops will send you legal notice if you block an Ambulance.
There’s a well known law called Parkinson’s Law which states
work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
There are various corollaries on this – and the one which I resonate the most is
Data expands to fill the space available for storage.
Now, if you drive on Indian roads you’ll pretty much agree with this version:
Vehicles will cram in to fill the space available on road.
I had a situation this morning where the ambulance was about 4-5 cars behind me on Old Airport Road. Right infront of HAL Police Station. The Ambulance’s sirens are blaring, the driver’s desperately trying to make way so that he can move on. I have 2 BMTC volvo buses back to back on my left – first BMTC bus taken so much as of the road as to crumple me like I was nobody. An rickshaw was less an than inch infront of me(who poked in somehow from mid-lane bulldozing his way, eager to trade paint if necessary) and a biker trying to pass me from the right side with so little gap, his knee would scrape my car and he’d scream bloody murder if I just let the clutch go for a microsecond. I wondered where and how am I supposed to give way to the Ambulance in this case. If I wait and let the Ambulance go, then I’d have heard more curses than a Bangalorean yelling at an Auto driver for demanding meter mele double at 8pm. Ultimately, I crawled on first gear till the Ambulance passed me, pretty much blocking the entire lane behind me.
Any curses were drowned by Foo Fighters’ My Hero coming through the Celerio’s music system. Also was good to see an auto rick behind me gesturing others to move so that the ambulance can pass. Good going man.
I had originally wanted to publish this back in late August when I shifted from Borg Cube to Borg Cube Grande.. ie, my new home.. but #lazybhat happened and I never got around to finishing that.
Since shifting to Bangalore, I’d been staying in a tiny 1BHK house in Murugeshpalya, off Old Airport Road. Back then, I’d chosen this place mainly for it’s proximity to my workplace – at about 4.4km, it takes me an average of 15 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes to reach office. With 335E plying in copious amounts, heading to office or to Majestic to head back home was quite easy too. 2 years in, I decided to to move to a bigger place, so that things are all set when the inevitable #cpgweds happens.