Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What a Friend We Have In Jesus



This is my favourite hymn. The words are amazing!

1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

2. Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

(For the tune, search you tube videos)

So the next time you are feeling down and depressed, sing this hymn!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hogenakkal Falls Trip!! A bike trip acorss two states!!



With the cold winter arriving in Bangalore, I decided to head south for warmer weather with my friends for a day. This past weekend six cool BITSGians decided to go on a bike trip to hogenakkal falls. The Road Runners were up and running, or riding rather, by 7:30am. Manish and Gampa were the duo on the splendour, Aditya and Sanchit were the 'glamour' couple![:P] While Ashwin n cooldude (a.ka. Daniel) were the tag team on the xcd. I was the unopposed president of the RR because none of the others wanted the post

And so we started down Hosur Road towards Hosur of course! The road near electronic city was a little rough because of the flyover construction in progress. Boy! It is a one long flyover! I think the govt is planning to link Bangalore to heaven with that flyover so that all the sinners of Bangalore will have an easy route to heaven! [:D]

Soon we reached the border area. We didn't realize when we crossed. But I could feel it in the air that was charged with this strange energy! This was the land of Kollywood. I said to myself, "yes, this is where I belong!" My childhood dream of visiting Tamil Nadu had come true. And then a milestone confirmed that we were in the border town of Hosur!

We wanted to have breakfast and so asked a passer by for a decent restaurant. He directed us to a big hotel called The Renaissance Grande, which was too grand obviously! So the RR decided to make that their first pit stop and ate cream buns in front of the hotel! Soon we were on our way again, but Gampa's sharp eyes caught sight of a decent place for breakfast where I had the best idlis ever. That was when cool dude, using the GPS in his head, got a brain wave that probably shaved of 30-40 km of the trip. He decided to directly go to Rayakottai from Hosur, instead of going to Krishnagiri and then to Rayakottai as the ordinary people do! Readers who don't have inbuilt GPS should refer to Google maps to get a clear picture.

On we went. And on and on. It was good to feel the wind in your hair and mustache and to breathe the clean country air! Beautiful scenery and lovely views. We sped through dozens of small villages. These villages were passed through before you could finish reading their really long complex names like parathavegthalli. OK i made dat up (paratha-veg-thalli!! [:P]) but most names were like that.

And we cruised along. The bikes were awesome. The Bajaj XCD exceeded expectations while hero honda besides giving 'glamour' to the group, added 'splendour' the trip. The odometer kept ticking over. 60km, 100km, 140km. No sign of the falls. Did my GPS fail? Not possible!! I thought we would have reached Kanyakumari at that rate. And then there it was, a milestone saying Hoggenekal 10km!!

We made our way slowly along the winding mountain roads. Finally reached. I handed over presidency to ashwin from then on because I didn't know Tamil. After paying countless tickets for our bikes, ourselves, and God knows what else, we reached the boat area. After some hard bargaining by Ashwin it was settled for 150 bucks per head for a coracle ride. Manish said he hadn't brought his head along and so should not have been charged! Anyways we soon got a glimpse of the falls. It was amazing. There were small waterfalls all over the place. We clicked some snaps. Then went downstream of the falls in the coracle. We had to get off and go to a viewpoint where one gets the best view of the falls. There were many falls in a semi circle. Hence the name 'The Niagra of India'

There were some masseuses offering their services to the tourists. I declined as my rear had suffered a lot on the way there and I didn't want it to suffer further at the hands of those quack masseuse! It was time for a dip. We had a nice time splashing around lazily which was much in contrast to some guys who had taken the bathing quite seriously. They were furiously scrubbing themselves as though they hadn't bathed for years!

We decided to have lunch before we started back. Eating for the first time on a banana leaf was a spiritual experience for me. I tried to absorb the culture of the place just like the way rice absorbs sambhar!! I also learnt a lesson in fluid mechanics. I realized that the surface tension of rasam is quite low and hence will easily flow out of the flat leaf.

Finally we were ready to head back the way we came. I won't describe the return journey. But you can read the description of the first leg backwards if you wish to get an idea of the return journey. Of course we didn't go reverse with our bikes because unfortunately our bikes didn't have a reverse gear!

The long trip came to an end when we reached Sony world junction again. The RR had covered an incredible 320 km for the round trip! All in all an amazing day.

Information about the route for the RR followers! It is exactly 160km from Bangalore or from Sony world junction in Kormangala to be precise. And this is the shortest route!! The route goes as follows. Bangalore-Hosur-Rayakottai-Pallakadu-Pennagram-Hoggenekal. See map for further details.

Thank you Google Maps, Wikimapia, Orkut, Pankaj and Laxman all the help.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Madhugiri trek, the vertical limit!!


The day started on a gloomy note. The typical fickle weather of Bangalore was back! Just when i thought i could sell my umbrella, the rain gods reminded me of their presence. But nothing was going to dampen my spirits today! I was going trekking for the first time in 6 months!! I packed my bag with lots of food and water and headed to the bus stop where the Bangalore Mountaineering Club bus was gonna pick me up.

The trek was gonna take place at a fort near Madhugiri. For further info plz google it. I boarded the bus at bout 7:30 near IISc with Ramkumar. Gampa, Anoop, Eldo, Dev, Rakesh and Sriram were already in the bus along with some other people. But we BITSians were by far the coolest there! The journey was long. It was supposed to be 80km but it took bout 3 hrs!! But we gained some time as we headed towards the west. (:P) The driver thought he could liven up proceeding by screening TZP!! Its a gr8 movie, but not for this occasion. Some females had moist eyes and the guys were yawning by the time we reached the base at bout 11.

All of us scrambled out eagerly and then stopped short in our tracks!! The sheer size of the hill left me weak in my knees. The monolith was so high that the upper reaches were covered in mist. Someone said horses used to climb the steep path with ease. That gave me some courage. Not that i consider myself to be a horse. I consider my self to be a mountain goat!! [:D]

All the trekkers began enthusiastically. But that initial josh didn't last long. Within minutes people were gasping fr breath. But the eight of us (i ll refer to us as Cool Crackers coz it rhymes with trekkers!!) kept climbing up full steam!! Soon the cool crackers also began to tire. The gradient was really steep and at times we had crawl on all fours like monkeys! Anoop was worried about his mustache coming off, rakesh was nervous and was wondering whether he had made a mistake of coming on this trek, Dev was trying to sound enthu to hide his weariness, eldo got bursts of energy during which he used 2 charge ahead and stop gasping fr breath, ramkumar kept listening to music to avoid listening to my dry talks while Gampa and Sriram were trying to get the attention of the gals with their cool cameras! The climb was tough, but the pleasant weather kept everyone in good spirits

As we gained altitude, we entered a cloud and everything became foggy. Soon there were cries of 'cant visible' from the front and back. Luckily there were some carvings in the rock that could barely pass off as stairs that helped us stay on track. I keep myself busy by clicking tons of pics of everyone around.

Finally we reached the summit. Nothing was visible. I had lost track of space and time! There was a biting cold wind blowing which prompted many chimneys to light up. The cool crackers couldn't wait to get started with the eating business. Anyways we bitsians are always pioneers everywhere we go and this was no different. Everyone followed suit soon.

Soon it was time to head back down. I played 'mass' on my cell to liven the spirits. The path was very slippery now. And i could I hardly see with my fogged specs. So i decided to try a novel way of sliding downhill. It was like tobogganing without the toboggan!! It was quite effective for most part. Then we reached the toughest section.

We had to walk about a 100ft along a steep face of the hill with jus a few widely spaced shallow footholds to provide grip. It was really scary. And everyone went really slowly here. The 100ft seemed to be an eternity. Finally we reached the normal phase which was not easy in anyway now that the path was wet. I continued sliding down. Soon it got boring. I decided to spice up things by standing up and promptly landed on my butt. I then tried bare feet. But was still feeling uneasy. Then Ram gave some bhari like he had climber much steeper and slippery slopes during his Himalaya trek. Though I must admit his crossed feet technique was very effective.

Finally were reached the base again. We were all dead tired physically. The bus driver decided to tire us mentally also and played the movie Welcome!! The tune is still ringing in my head!! All in all a wonderful trip.

I would give it a 7.5/10. The trek was tough and challenging. And the weather was great. But it was very far from Bangalore. And the trek got monotonous after a while. The slippery path didn't help either. We also didn't get any good views from the top because of the cloud cover. But its a great place to face the ultimate challenge in trekking around Bangalore.. video

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Its time to bell the CAT

OK unlike d GRE post, this piece aint gonna give u tips to crack the real CAT.. (bhari!!) The CAT i am talking about is Daniel's own Cool Attitude Test (CAT) . This exam is designed to test the coolness of various 'Indian Institute of Ma Ma Mass' (IIMMM) aspirants..

The first section is verbal.. In which candidates are required to show their proficiency in thrash talk. Next comes quant where u hv u display knowledge n skill along with speed with accuracy in counting bharis, self proclaimed statements, dry jokes etc in a video cip of 10min.. DI is basically dude index.. its upto the candidate to decide how he proves his high DI level.. i believe in freedom of expression..

Himesh and golden star G will conduct PI fr successful candidates.. This star value is bound to attract top talent fr d exam!! But there are special quotas for fans of this blog!! All the best to the rest.. may the coolest candidates freeze the judges!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A visit to ‘Excellent Men Hairdressers’


The title in simple terms would be ‘a haircut’. The other day I thought my hair needed some ‘dressing’.. So I went to the renowned hairdresser of Mathikere.. ‘Excellent hair dressers’.. I stepped in their excellent studio and asked for a hair dressing that would include a haircut and a shave.. The artist (barber here) listed out haircuts like a waiter telling you the afternoon menu in a restaurant. He mentioned hairstyles like round cut, military cut, and some exotic ones like golden star cut and himesh cut.. I guess he believed in the saying that ‘god made man, barbers make him handsome’.. I told him I would like a simple cut.. Just cut my hair properly so that I shouldn’t look like a chicken just out off hot water..

I settled into the chair admiring my hair.. I noticed my hairline was receding.. May because of global warming.. I took an optimistic view of things and thought I looked wise with my balding head.. People would think I am a gr8 thinker (which I am obviously, to think of this crap).. I decided I had to live up to my ‘thinker’ looks.. N what better place to think than a cosy chair at a barber’s shop? Neways there was nothing else do as the barber got down to his trimming business.

I began thinking of my trips to my barber in Goa. It was a gr8 place to catch the latest gossip. One would be updated on everything under the sun.. From matka to accidents to fights of both men and bulls.. Then there would be self proclaimed cricket n football experts giving their views on hockey to anyone who would care to listen to them. The drunkards added some spice with their ‘spirited’ efforts in abusing some nonexistent person.. I was disturbed from my reverie my some sudden commotion.. The TV volume was increased.. I realised the umpire had given a wrong decision against india in the test match. I worriedly looked, not at the TV, but at the mirror to see if the guy had nicked my eyebrow. I was relieved to see no damage done.. I don’t have my eyebrows insured and I didn’t wanna look like a Chinese guy.. Ok one bit of advice.. Never go for a haircut when India is playing a cricket match.. At least don’t sit in the hot seat until the match is over just in case u think the barber’s shop is the best place to catch the live telecast.. Worst would be if sachin gets clean bowled while the barber is working on ur hair.. Your ear might get a nasty nick as the barber vents his fury.. Neways, the barber started blabbering something in kannad to the others in the shop right next to my ear.. I was like hold your horses buddy.. Your abuses ain’t gonna make any difference.. So STFU (shut up for the lay people) and get back to work.. He calmed down soon and continued with the ‘snip snip snip’.

Now this barber had a fat tummy.. N his constant hovering around me gave me a relaxing massage!! (If u see the connection).. I started dozing off.. Suddenly ‘phus-phus’ and water was sprinkled in my face.. Holla mate!! Wassup? He thought I was sleeping and he wanted to ask me if he should knock my cool moustache. I thought for a moment. I imagined I was a sandalwood actor with a thick moustache.. Chicks swarming around me.. Ah.. And I was king like Singh is King!! I shook those dreams away and looked wistfully at my thin, uneven, moth-eaten moustache.. I sighed sadly and said decisively ‘knock it of big guy’.. So the barber tried to position my head precisely with respect to all 6 coordinates for the ‘sacrifice’.. Madame Toussad’s wax statues might be less precisely positioned.. N I had to stay still in this position.. Then some stray hair settled on my nose.. It started getting tickly.. So I asked the barber to scratch it for me.. Good he didn’t ask what to scratch..

Finally my hair was dressed..I paid him the fees.. He asked me if I wanted to colour my hair... I said ‘nah, non off my ancestors were peacocks’ n walked off into the cool evening feeling liberated from the burden on my head.