Friday, November 28, 2008

14 years later

We last saw each other in the year 1994, July to be precise! That was in Class Ten, 14 years ago. Naramsimha Murty and I went to school together and in due course became fast friends, only to lose contact!

But technology would ensure that the gap stayed not more than 14 years! So when one day, I saw the name float on Orkut, I did not hesitate once to send out my usual one liner "Dead or Alive?" Imagine my ecstatic surprise when I got an "alive and kicking" response saying that he was in the same city as I! Never before did I experience the power of technology shrinking the world into one connectible space where access to every person could be by way of a simple web page or an email address. So much for the power of the Internet!

One can imagine how 'celestial' an event it is like to meet up a decade and a half later with so many years bygone. Quite surprisingly, we had not been ravaged by the passage of time and connected very well, thanks to the brilliant timeless days spent at school which were undoubtedly the best that I have ever known. We had grown in physique but remained the children we used to be, totally at ease without any restraint whatsoever. It seemed nothing had changed, but for the place and time.

Nature enthusiasts that we were and still are, we decided on an impromptu trip to Khadakvasla . I couldn't help but recollect lines from the evergreen ballad, Wind of Change by Scorpions.., "Walking down the street, distant memories, are buried in the past forever, I follow the Moskva, down to Gorky Park, listening to the wind of change......."

As a finale, I will leave you with some serene pictures taken at Khadakvasla.

"I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone" - Bruce Springsteen, Streets Of Philadelphia, 1994.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I belong here

These hills were once densely covered with oak, eucalyptus, pine and conifer trees. Today, only clusters remain! One can see more buildings and fields than trees. It does not take an expert on global warming to infer that the rapidly changing temperatures in Ooty are as a result of massive deforestation.

The spot from where this picture was taken (on December 26, 2004) once housed a shelter that served as a viewpoint for passing trekkers and tourists. It was pulled down many years ago. Apart from a few holiday homes and a small dam, the surroundings of this place remain largely untouched.

Immediately below, on the right, is a small untended tea estate. The long road, far below, on the left hand side is the National Highway (NH) 67, which connects Ooty to Coonoor, Coimbatore and beyond.

The large piece of vacant land (appearing mildly brown and barren), far ahead, which forms a 'C' shaped curve on the right is the Race Course of Ooty which serves as a venue for the yearly horse-racing event. Back in the 80s and the early 90s, part of it was used as a helipad for visiting dignitaries.

Far ahead, among the blue mountains is the Mukurthi Peak, (not clearly visible) which is situated at an elevation of 2554 meters (8346 ft). I scaled this peak during a trek to the Mukurthi park in January 2004.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blue skies of Freedom

This picture was taken on November 21, 2004, en route to the Mudumalai National Park, at a place called Kalhatty, some 20 kilometers from Ooty. A group of friends decided on a bike ride to the edge of the national park on a Sunday and when approaching a steep hair-pin bend, this commanding view presented itself. I lost no time in urging my co-rider to stop and then took this picture and spent a few moments savouring the breathtaking view.

In the immediate vicinity is a turnip and radish field tended by the local farmers. The blue mountains (commonly known as Nilgiris, Nil for Blue and Giri for Mountains, owing to their shades of blue), are a very common and integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. In the distance, past the mountains, is the vast expanse of the Mudumalai Reserve which borders the Bandipur Reserve, famous, among other things, for being part of Project Tiger.

Together, these national parks are home to some of the finest wildlife India holds residence to. They include Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Bison, Jackals, Deer, Hyenas, Wild Dogs and many more. These places are a must visit for all nature enthusiasts, where one can remain unconnected to the bustle of city life and feel truly rejuvenated and one with nature!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And, You went away too!

The end came on November 4! The world lost Michael Crichton!

But for him, we would not have known the Jurassic Park, the Lost World, Congo, Andromeda Strain and many many more. Apart from the wonderful author and filmmaker that he was, he was also a Doctor, having received his Doctoral Degree in Medicine from the Harvard Medical School. That, folks is just the beginning of what was a long list of commendable accomplishments.

He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where he spent time researching public policy while also teaching anthropology at Cambridge University. Amid all this, he also found time to do some writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His speeches on Genetic Research, Complexity Theory, Global Warming, Extra-terrestrials and the Environment were very well received, are descriptive of impeccable knowledge and hold immense scientific and political significance.

I will remember him for being the author who wrote with ease, his process of thought, in a measure of clarity and description like none other.

While I respectfully and rather painfully bid adieu to this remarkable soul, I would like to conclude this post by quoting lines from his speech at the Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy, Washington, D.C., on November 6, 2005, where he criticized environmental groups for failing to incorporate the complexity theory.

In his talk he spoke of the importance of the theory of complexity in environmental management. The lines are very apt, simple to comprehend and extremely relevant in today's rapidly deteriorating environment and highlights how unsuccessful we human beings are while trying to understand systems that we co-exist with.

"Most people assume linearity in environmental processes, but the world is largely non-linear: it's a complex system. An important feature of complex systems is that we don’t know how they work. We don’t understand them except in a general way; we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them, we learn we don’t. Sometimes spectacularly."


With inputs from Michael Crichton - The Official Site
Image Courtesy - Wikipedia

Friday, November 14, 2008


Mondays are usually the worst days ever! In truth, the same is the case with all weekdays (unless one is on vacation)

This Monday was different, for I stole sometime to post a response to Anjali's tag and also found out that Vimal (a.k.a Vimmuu) had tagged me! The feeling of being double-tagged is one of exclusivity, and true blog-bliss! I finally had something to fight Monday morning blues! That nasty gut-wrenching feeling that overcomes many of us headed to work, school, etc on a Monday morning after having thoroughly recharged oneself on the days before (in my case, after spending time and bucks watching Quantum of Solace, where neither quantum, nor solace meant what they were intended to by Barbara Broccoli and Marc Forster, with the exception of Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Aterton that is.., thankfully!).

The Tag

Requires me to post six things that are eccentric attributes of mine (not that I have any, perhaps!!)


Being a foodie (infinitimes), it is not unnatural for me to thus talk about my extra-sensitive food pickings that have over time become certain eccentricities adding to my Mom's woes, when I head home! I guess my staying away from home is God's way of telling my Mother "My child, let me save you from the suffering." So then, part of it begins by blatantly refusing to eat any veggies, anything less than extra-spice, anything that is a few hours old or re-engineered! Somebody once asked me "R, Is there anything that you like?", to which I answered "My choices are very simple! I like the very best."

My Space

An absolute no-entry to anyone who I consider outside the inner circle! I guard my space with fierce obsession. It is the one thing that I cannot compromise. 'The space' also includes the space around my immediate physical self! I have a heightened awareness of my personal space while my friends and folks call that a mere exaggeration of a false self! To me that space is more important than Area 51!

The OCD Factor

I hate to confess this but I am a victim of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (relatively mild, perhaps). So then, apart from the X number of times of washing hands (with Dettol), infinite times of checking the dead-bolts, locks, keys and so on, the story seems far from over! I have a strange thing up my head that prompts me to arrange objects on my desk, workspace and at home in a straight line! That includes books, papers, writing material, clothes, shoes, toiletry and worse..... even the telephone!!!

Oh, and the refrigerator reminds me of my fixation for even numbers! Water bottles, eggs, cheese tins, milk cartons, beer bottles, fruits and vegetables..... all of them are stored in even numbers! An 'intelligent' self-improvement program alerts me of any 'oddity' which is promptly neutralized. My pet hate - The number 3 and it's multiples! [It is not half as weird as it sounds! Trust me ;)]

Halt! No photography!

I'd rather be dead but caught in front of the camera! For some reason, I prefer being the clicker than the clicked! Perhaps, the whole act makes me feel too conscious or perhaps my nature of being the behind-the-scenes guy has over time, taken a toll on me! Anyhow, I love photography, with the exception of being photographed! The result? A decade or more of not being snapped. And to those of you who have tried to coerce me into getting 'pictured', my apologies for having been a jerk! (I know I ain't one, but it pays to be diplomatic right?)

The Restless Mornings

I'm an early morning guy. My day normally begins at 5, with the exception of when I am in Ooty (thanks to the bone-chilling winters). Now, being up early in the morning isn't much of a problem until it affects night-owls! Once up, I cannot tolerate others snoozing and will not lose anytime to kick the dozer out of the sack! The modus operandi - often yelling my lungs out or using some weird pre-recorded gurgling noises 'stored' (for such occasions) on my micro-cassette recorder. No prizes for guessing the intensity of dog-fights that follow!

Darkness and Music

Music can be best enjoyed in the darkness, especially if one is listening to Metallica, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Cold Play, Nickelback, Pantera, Nirvana, Enigma, Eminem, Tupac, Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Deep Purple, Linkin Park and Staind (to name a few). While circumstances such as this are a welcome break, they are not always taken humanely by people around who consider this 'act' nothing short of irreverence as a result of insanity! Music is passion and any amount of eccentricity is less! The message is loud and clear ;)

Oh, I must make a mention of a certain friend (whose blog goes who hates rock music or any other genre that sounds like rock! His favourite music is 'anything' except hard rock since he cannot "stand the sound, oops noise." I'd like to gift him a collection of Slayer, Iron Maiden, Marilyn Mason, Acid Death and Atrophia Red Sun!

Any clues on who this could be?

And now as part of the plan, I have to tag friends and let them know that they have been tagged.

I tag

Destination Infinity
The Trooper ;and
Salil Ravindran

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tagged in Silver

On the morning of 6th November, Anjali (a.k.a Silverine) left me a comment on my previous post saying that I have been tagged! I was pleasantly surprised but at the same time, being an old-dog (not quite versed with the ways of Blog Country yet), was thrown in a dilemma as to what this really was! My next pit stop was Anjali's blog, My Think Pad, which told me exactly what I needed to do.

The Tag

As part of this exercise, I am required to answer two questions from the past, present and future and conclude this post by tagging friends from Blog Country and subsequently let them know that they've been tagged! So here I go!


My oldest memories...

They date back to the year 1981, two years after I was born! Back then, in Ooty, we were a joint family and I was one among the five tots at home, the others being nephews and a niece, all but one, elder than me. Ooty was true paradise with lush green eucalyptus, oak, pine and fir trees lining the roads which were immaculate. There was a sense of order and cleanliness that cannot be seen today.

We kids were a well fed and well cared-for lot and that ensured that we were forever hyper-energetic much to the chagrin of our parents. Much of our play-area was the front courtyard of the large house we lived in. I vividly remember Dad bringing us scores of toys (even those failed to arrest our notoriety, particularly mine) which were soon dissected open and rendered useless even before their functionality was fully understood!

The following picture was taken sometime in 1981 at the entrance of the Ooty Lake and I still remember being called to look into the camera which I guess was too much of an effort (considering the lovely girls around). To date, this remains my most admired photograph and will continue to be so undoubtedly. Those indeed were the days! The best, the very best!

What was I doing ten years ago?

November 1998 was past of my last year in St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, where I had gone to study Business Management. Being my first stint out of home, I lived it up and did everything under the sun, but study! Already a music and a movie buff, I missed no opportunity to sample the latest movies in town at the many laser-disc theaters which were a hot favourite among the college crowd! Eat, sleep and make merry was all that I did, much to the contention of my parents. Only time would tell me how costly these mistakes proved, for I lost many a lucrative opportunity to shape up my career and steer it in the right stride and direction.
After the incident, even the fool is wise!


The last few days have been rough and today will be no exception, considering it being the scary Monday! Mounting pressures as a result of creation of plans, white-papers, presentations and endless meetings have begun to take a toll on me but at the same time have been a learning experience like no other. I quite remember how smelting of Gold results in its purification. The ore-content of metal passes through a hell like furnace before it emerges in its final form that accentuates both its lustre and value. Our lives are no different!


Just why don't Sundays repeat? Tomorrow will not be very different from the days that have come and gone! We are in the middle of many an 'engagement' and with the ongoing financial crisis, businesses are on the down-side! Consulting therefore is viewed as a luxury and a luxury it is!
I'm hoping for a quiet day, one that does not warrant the need for too many presentations, documents, road-maps and so on. I will be spending the day building documents on a line of business that has become my baby, and will see myself 'at-work' from day-break to well into the night!
On a lighter note, so much for the musing "Work is fine if it doesn't take too much of your time."

14 years from now

Speaking of 2022, my driving license is due to expire on 25-Feb-2021!
I'm not sure that at 43, the government will want me to drive!
Anyhow, I hope to end the charade [read: veil] of official life by 40 and dedicate whatever remains to savour life along with my family. I heard somewhere that life begins at 40!
I hope to visit many a place and indulge in an exchange of culture, thoughts and desires. Down the road, off in the country-side in Ooty, amidst the blue hills, after a tread down the beaten path, hopefully, I'll live to see the birds fly and the lone deer chew on fresh acacia shoots draped in the morning dew. With a loving family, a brilliant SLR Camera and this blog which is my virtual world, I will live a content man spending time watching his daughter take the first teen steps and thank God for her (I haven't yet told you about my Mom's wish, have I? Well, she wishes that I be blessed with a Son, just like me! A Son????? God... that gives me the jitters. I'm not too sure if Mom's wish is a blessing or a curse!)

If I build a time capsule what would it contain?

In the event of Stephen Hawking being proved wrong, which is highly unlikely, my time capsule will contain digital simulated holograms of all those people and blogs that I am (was) associated with. Needless to say, the capsule will hold terabytes of pictures and videos. An archival system to store the world's best ideas and processes will be incorporated along with a time manager than can display in motion, the significant events that shaped the world for the better!

Finally the Pièce de résistance, where I am to tag friends of mine!

I tag;

Devika Jyothi (A Certain Kind of Woman)
Swati (Escapades)
Keshi (Viva forever)
Man in Painting
Bharath (Musings)
Vibu (The Gemini Mind)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Schematics of a w[o]andering mind

Lost, astray, but still in motion,
forever curbed with inaction,
and amidst certain confusion,
hard, it is to find inspiration.

An atom of thought,
which rises with doubt,
will cause many a belief to flout,
that very scheme it chose to support.

Lost in silence amid a million words,
with choice none, but to play the chords,
a boy listens the drumbeats of his mind,
which is akin to the passing wind.

Oh Creator, what have ye made
of this soul, that is already slate?
I try to take shape, of the present
but shape, is that thing, I most resent


Inspired by; आखरी अलविदा, Aakhri Alvida (Last Goodbye), Strings, 2006