Mai meri Patni aur meri Daadi

I travelled about four hundred fifty kilometers in seven long hours to meet my grandparents today. Daadi and myself were watching TV some time ago. The movie 'Mai meri patni aur vo' was playing on the small colored screen. After watching the movie for a while, she decided to put me fundays on what kinda girl should be selected for me! Daadi dear! It was rather sweet of her to do so nevertheless.

So shall I share some of my enriched knowledge? Sure I will. :)

tip 1: Don't go for a too 'bekaar' nor toooo good looking lass.

I guess the 'too bekar' was pretty intuitive. So she explained to me why the 'not too good looking' concept was as important. 'You can look at this movie for example. (you need to have seen the movie MMPAV to appreciate the analogy)', she said. This was followed by a personal example which I don't remember very well.

tip 2: Prefer a girl from a big city over one from a smaller town. She will have a broader perspective towards stuff.

tip 3: Look for intelligence. What are you going to do with beauty? Intelligence will pay.

I guess this is the summary of all she told me. I might have missed on the details and what appears above might actually be pretty obvious. But all that coming LIVE from Daadi was kinda new thing for me. I suddenly felt I was growing up, getting old. Marital tips! Oh my God. I was blushing and smiling all the time as the funda-session was on. Very silently, I listened to all that she had to say. She loves me a lot. I love her. And I love my DELLruba! ;)

Holidays are going (not so) great. Will get back with more stuff.

Police Police

There was this kid there, in my cabin on my way back to home from IIT a few days back. He was a small kid, might be 5 or 6 years old. And he was pretty active; kept running from here to there to the chagrin of his parents and custodians. And then there was this police police crap occurring every time he had to be stopped from running out of sight. I will tell you what I mean by that. Somehow the guys using the 'police police' fear factor had convinced the sweet little kid that if he steps beyond a not so well defined terrain, the police will take him away. Occasionally he used to forget that, but then he was reminded more occasionally and thus kept in control.

I do not really think it's a very good way of taming an otherwise agile kid. This sure is an easy way but certainly not the best way. The major disadvantage is that to the child, the word police becomes synonymous to something evil. After all evil is what you fear, don't you? I understand that when this kid grows up, he will come to know why we need policemen and what their real job is. But I am also sure that somewhere deep inside him, he will always fear police. And not because of any fault of his. There are things which settle deeply in your subconscious mind and they affect you later. The case is similar to the fear of ghosts. If you start trying to control a child by bringing in a ghost to him/her, it's a bad strategy. You are only making him a coward kid. Though I haven't read about child psychology at all, this sounds very intuitive to me. I at least remember reading some article somewhere which actually stressed on the need of talking about real things to children than making false stuff appear real. May be when I am back to IIT, I would catch up with some sites to see if my intuition actually has supporting data.

The lights were off; it was slightly more than half past ten, and the passengers were trying to sleep. And I heard this whisper once more: 'Police Police'. I guess the kiddo was not ready to sleep yet. Police at a rescue mission to make a naughty kid sleep! :)

Mind your Language

It always feels good when a RAC gets cleared and you get a confirmed seat, especially if it's a night journey in a sleeper class and you are too tired to wait to sleep. This happened to me yesterday. But I do not intend to talk more about my journey at the moment, which is as a matter of fact still continuing ( Yeah, I'm relaxing in my upper berth). I think I have something better to write about. It's about my mother tongue.

When did you last write in your mother tongue (at least 200 words at a stretch)? I never did that after my class X. In fact in my entire life, the only time I have used Hindi (that's my mother tongue) as a written language has been only for the assignments and tests in school. Something similar cab be said about reading Hindi. I hardly get to do that. The sadder thing is that I hardly feel like doing that. I have heard people cry over preserving your mother tongue, but I am never moved. Are you?

I was reading this week's edition of BW to kill some time. There's this short review of a book called 'How languages work' by David Crystal. The subtitle of the book reads how Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages live or die. This very subtitle made the getting-bored-like-everyone-else-in-train me realize how rapidly Hindi is dying. Half the time when I talk even to myself, it happens in English. To be very true, the only time I use Hindi is when I am at home, or when I am chatting with my friends from north. There's one interesting incidence that comes to my mind. I think I was in class fifth or sixth then. I was sitting in the examination hall. There was this language paper that day, and as usual it had one question on writing a letter to your friend (telling him may be how you spent your vacations). I started writing the letter. I had written for about half a page when the invigilator suddenly noticed what I was writing and exclaimed, 'I think it's a Hindi paper'. Oh my God! It actually was a Hindi Language paper and just because I was so used to writing letters in English, I never realized I was writing in English all this while! I laughed at myself, struck off the words in English, and started writing the letter again, in Hindi this time. I am sure the teacher who later checked the paper would have laughed real hard, seeing half a page of English words in a Hindi paper!

Getting back to the old point of how senti we should be towards our mother tongue, I do not have much of an opinion. Why should some languages be saved from dying? What's the point? What's wrong if the whole world eventually starts speaking just one language? Thinking of the whole world speaking a common language actually sounds a great stuff. The way globalization is growing, I actually have reasons to believe this is going to happen sooner or later. And I really don't mind. I know for sure that there are folks with whom I am always going to talk in my mother tongue, and this is all I really care about.

Campus Life

The editing of the video put below was finished today, on my DELLruba (that's what I call my comp). No, I didn't do much. All I did was provide clips that have been used in the first few scenes of the video (the clips were shot by me last sem, including the monkey that you see :) ). I of course also brain-stormed with the guys who were in-charge, but couldn't come up with any nice funda which could have been implemented in the limited time that they had and also given the pain-max cam that they had. Definitely a wonderful job. But you are the better judge. Leave comments. By the way, last but not the least, I offered DELLruba's services ;)

My room has also been featured in the video! Great! Thank you guys! This video is one of many that will be shown during the PAN-IIT Global Conference to be held in Mumbai from Dec 23rd to 25th. [news link]

In my room

SL Talk: unable to connect


When I log into Second Life, I get to Verifying Protocol Version and stops. What's wrong?


If you are on a business or university internet connection, you may need to contact your network administrator to verify that you can make non-web connections to the Internet. Specifically, you need to make both UDP and TCP connections, inbound and outbound, on network ports 443 and 12020 to 13050, inclusive. If your network cannot provide the proper connection, you may be unable to connect to Second Life. [source]

Recycle it

I was sitting on a friend's laptop a few days ago when I noticed that he had nothing on his desktop at all; no files, no folders, no shortcuts. Well, there was almost nothing except of course the 'recycle bin' icon which apparently cannot be deleted. Is it?

Today I suddenly got the enthusiasm to go ahead and say adieu to the I-won't-leave-you icon and it took me less than five minutes to figure out how to do it. Finally, I am happy that I no more have that useless icon on my desktop. I might keep other stuffs on the desktop or might not; don't care much. But I definitely don't understand the need to let the recycle-bin icon permanently sit there on the limited space that exists. No more! :)

What can water do to you?

Look at the man above. He has not let water touch his body since six days, with hands and face as obvious exceptions. Yes, you read it right. Six long days; and in place like Chennai where humidity makes you sweat almost every time the speed of air around you falls down even a unit below what you obtain from a ceiling-fan running at maximum torque. It was not an easy job to accomplish. Dark clothes were chosen to last. Deodorant was avoided throughout this mission to let the passers by appreciate the effort and 'be concerned'.

But on the sixth day, our warrior surrendered to the bacteria and fungus which promised to rip him apart if he didn't give up. And so, he gave up.

And to answer the question asked in the post title, the pic shown below should suffice.

Got you. Finally.

The wait was over today. Finally. Oh my God, I had been waiting for her since ages! And I am so happy when right now, the two of us are here together, talking to one another.

Ladies and Gentlemen, compless I am no more!

Not everyone can read Hindi

This pic was shot a couple of days ago by one of my friends near CP (Delhi) when he found this smart-ass driving immense pleasure by deciding to attend nature's call at the best place he could find. A photographer's delight!

Dressed up Desperate Dudes and Dudettes

They were so many of them, all dressed up in 'proper' formals. Most of them had put down a tie; some of them had even gone to the extent of wearing coats! The campus today was looking like the headquarter of a multi national firm, with executives-resembling-crowd doing the show throughout the day. They were there in the coffee house, in the canteen, on the campus lanes, and just almost everywhere.

This is what happens when two i-banks shortlist about two hundred folks who are all desperate to get placed as fast as they can, and hold the interview the same day. Moreover when yet another 'hot' company has about 120 guys lined up for final selection for a plush job (also the same day), and two more companies ready to interview yet some more, such a change of scene on campus is all but natural. So today the dirty rotten smelly t-shirts were elegantly replaced by pure cotton full sleeves, the God-knows-when-washed-last pair of jeans discarded for neatly pressed finest textured trousers, and the could-give-way-any-moment-hawaai-slippers substituted by shining leather shoes. :)

The good thing is that some of my friends will be getting jobs finally. The job-treat season begins. Today! :)

A Dutt

On one hand he was acquitted from the Tada court, but was held guilty under the arms act section 3 and 7 for possession of an AK-56 rifle, a prohibited weapon and a pistol. Under section seven, he is liable for a maximum of ten years in jail or a minimum of five years, while under section three, the term is going to be maximum three years or a minimum of one year.

SL Talk: Great Video

This is the best video I could find, showing glimpses of SL complete with an informative narration. Enjoy watching it.

SL Talk - about etching hearts

I can't resist talking about SL ever since I've come across it. Now read this:

In Second Life, you can put your castle on an island and listen to the wind whip through trees you created, on which you can even etch initials and hearts. I have no idea how to go about doing that yet, but I came across a carved trunk in a bucolic field, so I know it's possible. [source]

My love, where art thou? Come to me and we shall begin our (second) life afresh :)

Who is Anshe Chung?

Remember my post on Second Life (SL) ? She is the richest person out there! A woman! Great!

While Anshe won't talk about how much money she's making ("I'm careful not to stir animosity," she says), Philip Rosedale, the founder and CEO of Linden Lab, which runs Second Life, estimates that she's bringing in around $150,000 a year--in real, hard cash.

Did I say SL is the next big thing to happen to web after Google perhaps? Can't wait to enter this new world!


Since it will be quite some time, before I start sharing my own experiences in SL, I tried searching for blogs/sites from those who are already in-world. You might find some of the links given below interesting:

1. A lady gets the first hint of the big wave that's arriving and is surprised when she tries to share it with her husband over the morning cup of coffee. Read here. In a later post, she describes her experience of wandering around in SL.

2. A Senior Dell Executive gives a presentation in SL, and offers to sell laptop. Real Laptop. Watch the screenshots here.

3. Read here about Rik's experience of giving a small talk to about a dozen listeners in SL. His post is a neat one with a lot of screenshots and conversation details.


Eveyone can be happy in a great company. But if you cannot be happy when alone, doing your work, you never really are happy. You never really are.

Whenever you are in doubt...

I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.

Mahatma Gandhi [Last Phase, Vol. II (1958), P. 65]

CCD shopping and how I made a fool of myself

Encouraged by Lakshmi's comment on this post, I was tempted to try tea for a change. Hot lemon tea with honey.

I somehow knew that a shop which has 'cafe' and 'coffee' as its first two words cannot possibly serve as great a cup of tea as a mug of coffee. Once the hot lemon tea with honey had arrived, and I had taken the first sip, I petty much knew that I was indeed correct. It was very ordinary, nothing that can't be made yourself with a mug-heater, a lemon, some honey and fresh water. Or may be, I am such a coffee freak that anything that doesn't have coffee in it, doesn't really excite me. Anything but Granita! Granita is the best cool drink I have had and the credit goes to the crushed ice pebbles than anything else.

And well, about that shopping stuff: A CCD coffee powder named Black Forest, kept on display had been catching my attention since a couple of days. The only powder that I have used to prepare coffee myself has been Nescafe Classic. So I was happy to find some new stuff. I took the black, attractive coffee box in my hands, adored it for some time but then gently placed it back on the shelf. Somehow, I was still not sure if I really wanted to own it.

As I was about to finish my HLT with honey, one of the cafe-boys came up to me and inquired.

Boy: Sir, you were looking at that coffee powder. Would you like to buy that?
Me : May be.
Boy (Bringing the coffee box to me): Here it is sir.
Me (looking at the box, not sure): Hmm..
Boy: Try it sir, it is available only in Tamil Nadu.
Me: It's 125 bucks right?
Boy (brought some chart and confirmed): Yeah, here it is, 125 for 100 gm. Yes.
Me: Ok, I'll take it.

I didn't know what a blunder that 'yes' was going to be. I also decided to pick a 70 bucks mug from CCD. I had broken the last mug that I possessed in the beginning of this sem. Almost at the same time, my stock of Nescafe had finished. For reasons not too clear, I didn't replace either of them. Or in other words, black coffee took a back seat. I used to have the normal, milk based 5 bucks Nescafe at the Nescafe outlet (which I still have at least twice daily) or tea at Tiffanys.

But things had changed over some time now. I was back with myself. And I was missing my coffee. Coffee to me is my companion with which I can be in peace. I have to. It gives me energy. With a mug of coffee in my hands, I somehow feel closer to myself; don't have to feel lonely. Books might be your best friends. For me, it's my coffee.

Coming back to what happened yesterday: after going for the big ceramic mug, I spotted yet another object of affection. It was a 110 bucks small good looking blue plastic jug with a black cap. I inquired if it could be used for shaking coffee. I should tell you that if you shake coffee, and do that well, before adding hot water to it, it tastes better than directly mixing the powder. But then, good shaking should ideally be done in hot water. So you need a mixer which can withstand hot water. When I used glass bottles to shake the stuff, it would crack in two or three uses. The plastic bottles that I had were never strong enough to resist from deforming if you poured hot water in them. So this jug, looked interesting and I took it.

Shopping was done. I was in my room; anxious to taste this new flavour: Dark Forest!

I opened the box. A black plastic packet was lying inside. I took it out, and broke the seal. The water in the mug with a mug-heater placed in it had started boiling in the meantime. I transfered some water from the mug to the blue jug with the black cap. I then, transferred two spoonfuls coffee powder from the packet to the jug. The coffee powder looked creepy. It was too fine and too sticky. Was this really coffee? I wondered.

No sugar. No milk. That's the mantra. Once the coffee powder had met the hot water, the cap of the jug was closed and the shaking process initiated. Hey bhagwan! As I shook the jug to mix the coffee, I realized that water would come out from the cap, leaking beneath the plastic slider provided in the cap. This was just-another-jug and not a coffee-mixer. 110 bucks!

The better discovery was yet to be revealed. Once, I 'some-how' manged to get the mixing done (basically by reducing the frequency of my vibration, to avoid spilling), it was time to open the cap and taste eternity. I opened the cap. Hey Bhagwan! The coffee powder, was floating inside the jug! It had refused to mix!

This was not an instant coffee and jusssht would not mix with water! Filter Coffee! Oh my God! 125 bucks! Why didn't it strike to me earlier?

I could not throw it away. That would be sin. My love for coffee gave me enough power to consume filter coffee made without using any filter. Gravity helped me by forcing the non-dissolved particles to settle down at the bottom of the mug. It tasted so dilute and so un-cofee-like. And I finished it to the last sip. I am a freak.

Well the only thing that didn't shock me was the coffe mug. I am left now with roughly 90 grams of filter coffee powder (or may be more), without any equipment to make filter coffee; a jug which spills the liquid if you try to shake it; and a mug which I cannot use for driking water of course. Poor me :(

Blog Branches

Two earlier posts need to be talked about once again, because of the recent developments.

Branch one: (stems from here)

Remember that PN=405 ranting? The courses have been alloted. What did you think I got finally? Any guesses?

No, not all those philosophy things! Come on, I had to be luckier.

No, not even those which I had presumed were the best that I could get with a PN as bad as 405. I mean, this is kind of strange! I still don't know how could I be that lucky!

Okay, here I go. I got the course which was on top of my priority list! Don't believe it? I don't believe it either! But then, yes, that's the truth. Did someone read my post by any chance (and by some I mean some HS Prof) and decided to do magic? Okay, fine, that's a crap imagination. But oh my, something is fishy here. Something sure is!

Branch two: (stems from here)

My love and myself aren't together yet. What went wrong?

Well, I should put it this way. What I was looking forward was kind of an arranged marriage, wasn't I? That's why I got Dad into it, and he did his best to get her for me. But when he had done that, he called me and asked if I would like to go find her myself and bring her home. I liked this idea. Love marriage over arranged, any time.

So I got a draft yesterday, and after adding some more cash from my own pocket (my PTJ salary), I have ordered a Dell myself. The config is awesome. Centrino (Duo) 1.66, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, 14.1" wide screen. And it's costing me only 52K. Go find a better deal and I am ready to gift you my (yet to be delivered) laptop for free.

Grande Mug

OK. Yet another post on yet another CCD-offered-coffee. I am surely a coffee nuts.

Grande Mug costs you 26 bucks but it tastes much better than the 20 bucks Caffeine Kick. It is strong enough and yet easy on the taste buds. It surely is good stuff for its cost especially if you are in need for some good black coffee but don't want to go high up for the international drinks which cost close to half a hundred rupees.

Caffeine kick

Had it yesterday in CCD. It's toooo much of coffee mixed in hot water. It's crude. It tastes almost like the black coffee that I make for myself in room sometimes by directly adding two heaped spoons of Nescafe Classic to hot water. The only difference is that Caffeince kick appears to have almost double the coffee quantity that I use, in the same volume of water.

Have it only if you are in the mood to have some real HARD coffee, and don't really care how HARD it is. Whatever that means!


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling


Since the day I first read about it, I have been hearing about it again and again and again. It started with an article in Businessworld a week ago. Days later I found a detailed reference to it in the spiritual talk section of the Economic Times. And today, it was in ET again because IBM plans to spend ten million dollars in it [news link]. It's my pleasure to introduce you to if you haven't already come across this new happening-all-new-dimension to the web.

Without reading any further, you can directly hop on to and find what it is for yourself. But if you still don't see why you should be so tempted to do that, I should let you know what I am talking about.

Second Life (SL) is a privately owned, partly subscription-based 3-D virtual world, made publicly available in 2003 by San Francisco-based Linden Lab,[2] and founded by former RealNetworks CTO Philip Rosedale. The Second Life "world" resides in a large array of servers that are owned and maintained by Linden Lab, known collectively as "the grid".[3] The Second Life client program provides its users (referred to as Residents)[4] with tools to view and modify the SL world and participate in its virtual economy, which concurrently has begun to operate as a "real" market. At precisely 8:05:45 AM PDT, October 18th 2006, the population of Second Life hit 1 million Residents.

The above description was lifted from wikipedia and I guess it sums it all. Started feeling close to matrix, have you?

I do not yet have my own computer or else I would have surely talked about my experience in the virtual world. But then, I will be having one soon, and hope to catch you there! And mark my words, this thing is going to go BIG! No one will ever need orkut for sure. This is much more real thing happening, slowly, steadily. And know what? Real money worth millions are changing hands as well, as an outcome of what's happening inside the virtual sphere. The future is so geeky!

Colombian Juan Valdez

I guess this is what the coffee that I had minutes ago was called. It cost me 46 bucks, or in other words it was costly. But it was a tasty black coffee. Earlier I had this another 46 bucks hot drink called Ethiopian Kahwa and both of them taste exactly same, or so I believe.

What is a tasty black coffee? It's thick, and strong and yet it is not too hard on tongue (like espresso shorts). The final verdict is: if anyone offers me to treat in CCD, without putting a cost constraint, my best choice for a drink would be one of these two coffee servings.

How to draw a Caricature in 7 easy steps

This blog-post is the result of a persistence demand from my bro of giving him fundays on drawing a caricature. I will try to be as systematic as I can be. Before going ahead with the fundays, let me first define what a caricature is, for those who are not too sure.

A caricature is a representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.

I am of course going to talk about the 'pictorial' representation in this post because that is where I am good at. By the way, I guess you have figured out already that 'exaggeration' is the key here. But how does it happen that even when you do not draw someone the way that person actually looks like, people end up recongnizing him/her? This is the art! And this is what I would 'try' to teach in the rest of the post.

I have used Fabre Castle Water Soluble Colored Pencils to make the sample caricature here. You can use any other thing you are comfortable with, like sketch pens, water colors, poster colors or just graphite pencils. The basic rules remain the same. So let's now go straight away to the steps.

Step 1

Choose your subject. My subject here is the face of a known personality (once again on my bro's request). I could have chosen to draw a caricature of something other than a human face, like say a monument. But drawing facial caricatures is what really gives me a kick, mostly because it is the most difficult thing to do amongst all the options. And it is difficult because you never know if at the end, the caricature will even look like the real subject!

Step 2

Study your subject's features. Give some time to just looking at the subject, and try to work out the various features which have a scope for exaggeration. A long nose can always be made longer, and a round face can always be made rounder. Try to visualize the yet-to-be-made-caricature in your mind. High cheek-bones? Wide lips? Thick eye-brows? White teeth? Once you have some clue on what to 'attack', you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 3

It's action time now. Pull out a pencil and draw the first strokes. Try to give an overall shape which is not the same as the real thing, but also not completely off the mark. I have made the face slightly thinner here and stretched the nose a little too much. But remember not to mess with each and every feature. You have to be careful in selecting the features which are easiest to distort without affecting the resemblance too much. Keep trying for some time, till you are sure that what you have drawn is a decent stuff to proceed with. One tip that might be a help here is that it's always too risky to mess with the distance between the eyes and eybrows. Sometime's you might be able to pull that off, but in general its safer to play with nose or jaw or lips. But then you can always experiment. :)
Step 4

Once the rough sketch has been rendered, show some confidence and draw bolder lines and kind of settle down on how the caricature is going to look. You can add some more details which were missing in the initial stroking stage.

Step 5

It's coloring time guys/girls. Pull out a couple of more shades and fill up the areas lightly. It's always fun to begin with hairs because even if you mess with them, it wont affect much! :)

I have seen some guys wondering how to shade the hairs. Here's the tip. Draw them the way they actually are, i.e. if the hairs are long, use long continuous strokes (like in this caricature) and if the hairs are short, use shorter strokes. That's the only trick, or so have I always believed!

Step 6

You pretty much know what follows next. You gotta complete the coloring thing. Shading the face is slightly tricky but with practice you will kind of get the funda. Some parts need to be darker and some portions need to be lighter. Look at the original picture to figure that out and shade accordingly. It's easier to begin with the lighter parts and then darkening the areas that need to be darkened. A lot of people hesitate to go for really dark strokes. But that's not great because at some places you have to use the darkest possible strokes. Once again carefully observe the original pic and you can work that out yourself. It's mostly about careful observation than anything else.

Step 7

The seventh and the last step is always about the finishing touches. This is important if you really want your work to look like a professional visual piece. Since I used water soluble pencil colors, I picked a wet brush to remove the pencil lines and add softness to the caricature. I also did some more pencil work here and there, and of course added my stupid name! :)

That's it. The caricature is done!

Go ahead, try out few caricatures and let me know if my fundays were helpful. By the way I agree that this caricature is kinda not so Hrithik-like! But then, remember this always. You never know how much the caricature will actually resemble the actual subject (till you have become a true professional of course). But its okay. Even after having drawn plenty of them, I still fail so often. That however, has never prevented me from trying with more and more subjects and that's what I would ask all you guys to do! Have a nice time.

Coffee Review

I had Irish Coffee in CCD today. I would say it was rather tasty given that it was a milk-less black coffee. I would recommend this drink to those who are not used to strong black coffee or espresso, but want to try a drink that doesn't have milk to spoil the fun.

Don't add the extra sugar that's provided to the Irish Coffee. It will taste sweet enough because of the delicious white cream that they add on top of the otherwise mild black coffee. In fact, the first few sips till all the cream is finally over, is the best part. It prepares you to taste the relatively plain black coffee that remains.

In IIT, it costs 32 bucks but given that you get some really great cream topping, its kinda not too much to ask for.

For the ones, who don't really like coffee weak, stick to the 16 bucks pure espresso! :) But in case you haven't yet tried the Irish, give it a shot at least once. You will like it for sure.

405: damn it

My priority number is 405. Why me? You have no clue what I am talking about? Read the next para. Others who got the drift, can skip it and move on to the para which follows the next.

Although IIT Madras is an engineering college, there's this Humanities Science (HS) department here which offers a lot of absolutely non-engineering courses. As with all IIT's all courses have some credits (its okay even if you don't get the funda of credits) and for us its compulsory to obtain some minimum number of credits to get our engineering degrees. The bottom-line is: every one has to do some HS courses. The only relief is that there are a lot of options to choose from. Till two years back, the students used to choose whatever HS course they wanted from the options available and generally got them.

Things were running fine till few Profs realized that hardly any students opted for some particular courses. And these were probably the Profs who were supposed to teach those courses. Now this fact (which kept on happening year after year) psyched them so much, that the otherwise not so creative species called Professors, out of nowhere came up with this annoying idea of a magic number. They called it priority number (PN) !

This is what the new idea is, in a nutshell. Every student now gets a sheet of paper which has names of all the HS courses written on it in a tabular fashion, with boxes along the course-names, where in one can fill the order of preference. Besides, that same sheet of paper also has this randomly generated PN, which can (if you are 'the' luckiest) be '1' or some large number (the maximum value being equal to the strength of students in the batch). The funda is that once all the filled sheets have been collected back by the department, the department will start allocating the choices based on the PN. The one who has PN=1 will be considered first and what that means is that (s)he'll obviously gets whatever course (s)he opted for. More so, an upper limit has been put to the number of students in a class. So, by the time the chance for those with a PN like 405 comes, almost all the options are closed save some stupid courses which no one wanted to take.

What a smart way of curbing the free will of students! Why me? I am not horrified for no reasons. Just read the names of some of the courses that I am sure will be the only ones left, by the time my option sheet will be processed.

Indian Classics & Cultural Values: Look, some one is already fainting.
Contemporary German Philosophy: I 'Kant' ask for anything worse :(
Literature & Values: Who values this course anyways??
German studies I: Why do they want to make a Hitler out of me?
European Union Studies: How will that benefit Europe? Or anyone for that matter?
American studies-I: I have already seen F.R.I.E.N.D.S !! What more?
Aspects of western philosophy: (The good the bad and the) ugly...

Unlucky me! Even with some exceptional luck, the maximum that I can hope is 'Indian Fiction in English', 'Drama', 'Basic Mathematics', 'Indian Economic Development' or 'Applied Economics'. These are at least doable but to get even these is such a nice try!!

And wanna know all the good ones that I just cannot even dream of? Oh boy there are many. And I can't get one of them. I am doomed. 'Environmental and Resource Eco', 'Industrial Trade & Finance', 'Financial Eco', 'Technology and Development' and 'Development Problems and Alternatives' (my no. 1 choice).

Why me? :(

And I fell in love with you

I had seen you before. Seen you with so many people before. And I always liked you. But yes, there wasn't any love. It was one of those usual liking we have for so many things. When I look back, I still wonder when did love happen. But it did happen, may be over a period of time. Oh boy, love did happen.

I knew I wanted to have you, with me, all the time. I wanted to play with you whenever I felt like, and I wanted to keep you happy. But you were not with me. Not that I could never reach you or be with you. But you were not all mine. I tried to think not of you, so much. But that could never happen. Your glow, your smoothness, everything about you, it just had to make me fall in love with you. Deep love!

After a while, it got too difficult for me to handle it on my own. I had to talk about it. But I couldn't talk to you. I liked listening to you, but telling things to you was just not possible. So I talked to my dad instead. He was supportive. I love him for that. He realized how much I had started loving you.

It's almost a year now, and the good new is here. At last, I am getting you. You are going to be mine. Within a week. Dad has already ordered you, and you will be delivered in no time. I promise you may laptop, we will have a nice time together.

Gun Shot

Ruthless, where art thou mercy
Oh, you never had some
Kill me, knock me out you holy soul
I, the dead man, am waiting for it
The gun shot

Peace Please

Ok, don't take it too hard. The caricature that you see above is that of Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus, the combined winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2006 who shares the prize with his brain-child, the Gramin Bank.

It's not very clear why an economist (yes he is a Professor of Economics) who used micro-credit to deliver loans to poor, was selected for a 'peace' prize and not for 'economics'! Micro-credit after all, is all about economics! This one line put up on the Nobel Prize website, tries to explain the logic: Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty.

Well, this logic still sounds kind of far-fetched to me.

Watery Chennai, Watery IIT

The heavy rains since a couple of days have screwed up the place. This city sucks when it rains.

The insti somehow looks like a natural jungle. Although the streams of water flowing here there and everywhere add to the jungle-look, for the not so junglee students like me, it's quite irritating and annoying. I already had a three days fever (that too during quiz time) because I got myself wet in the rains enough number of times, and not once though because I actually wanted to!

But the best part of this weather is the temperature. I mean it's just perfect! So I am not so unhappy if I can save myself from getting drenched in one of those all-of-a-sudden downpours. Aftterall most of the times, when the rain is not falling directly over my head, I can be cool :)

Down to earth Entertainment

This is for everyone. Don't miss Khosla ka Ghosla. It's a mast movie!! From the name it might appear to be an out and out comedy film. No sir, it ain't. Hold on though 'coz when I say that it's not an "out and out" comedy, I only mean it does not belong to those sustained-only-(and-only)-by-humor kind of cinema. Yep, I remember the term that should clear it all. Situational comedy! Exactly!!

Let me sum up on why this movie rocks. Khosla ka Ghosla is an extremely real-life-types movie which is witty enough to keep you entertained (and seriously entertained) because of it's simple-yet-adorable plot, brilliant performance, and superb flow of story till the very end. More so this movie scores well on the music too.

And if any of you have seen this movie, did you notice that the younger son has been shown to be an IIT D pass out? :)

The only negative factor for this flick is Tara Sharma, the IITD-pass-out's GF. Her Hindi is horrible! Or better still, her Hindi sucks!

DON revisited

Liked it. Was a decent movie. I would have enjoyed much more if I were ten years younger! SRK was good enough.

: Okay, here's the spoiler. If you recall, in the original, Don dies very early. His look alike Vijay is trained as Don who then joins Don's gang to get information about a lot of other criminals and especially one called Vardhan whose picture doesn't exist with the Police. There's this DCP who is the only guy in Police Dept who knows that Vijay is playing Don. Unfortunatlely the DCP dies in the middle of the movie and Vijay has to put hazzar fight to prove that he is Vijay! Finally he does. The only secret revealed as Vijay tries to prove his identity is that the interpole agent who had been involved in the investigation is none other that Vardhan himself.

In the remake, Don never dies! :) Quite a spoiler, ain't it? When caught by the DCP, Don is brought to a hospital and kept unconscious using anesthesia. The DCP then calls his look alike Vijay (yes all names in the SRK version of DON are as that in the original itself) to the same hospital and asks the doctors to immitate on Vijay's body, all the marks present on Don's. So far so good. But somehow, Don manages to listen to all this funda and when the body-marks-copying-job is done, he slips into Vijay's bed, and shifts Vijay to his. And he ensures that Vijay dies in the hospital bed.

This funda is revealed to the audience only in the end!

Yet another spoiler is that in this movie DCP also never dies, and more so he happens to be Vardhan, the wanted criminal.

I am sure you are going to enjoy the movie! :)

Fight AIDS in India

Are you wondering why am I suddenly asking you guys to fight AIDS? I can explain.

A couple of weeks ago, there was an IP (read notice) put up in my hostel. It invited submissions of logo/web-template designs for an NGO called "Fight Aids in India". I tried making a logo because there was a cash prize attached to it! The prize for the logo-design was 500 bucks while that for the web-template-design was 1500. In case you are wondering why I chose to make only the logo and not the web-template, I should tell you that making a logo takes something like 15 minutes while creating a template definitely takes a lot more time (at least to me). Basically 1500 bucks was too less a prize money to motivate me to try making a template (which might or might not have been selected). Fifteen minutes was worth betting for.

So my 15-minutes of graphic stint ended with this logo that you see below.

The good thing is that, today I was informed that this logo has been selected. :) Good news. Isnt' it? The better thing is that I am richer by 500 bucks! And can I also add that I in my own way also contributed towards fighting AIDS in India? ;)

A teacher's point of view

For those of you, who are not already aware of my PTJ, this is the post to read. And those of you, who are already aware of it, read more.

I did use to put science-maths fundays to my siblings at times. But teaching for money is somewhat different. One needs to 'act' like a professional. I try my best. In the process, I have started looking at the world (albeit only at times) through the eyes of a teacher. I know this sounds so weird. I mean, afterall I just spend few hours each week with tenth class kids!

What do I mean by the phrase 'looking at the world through the eyes of a teacher'? I am not sure if I can explain this fully. But there's surely one thing that I can write about. Today, it so happened that I was teaching Physics to the two kids together. In some time, I realized that one of them was actually too low on concentration. I 'hated' it. I don't belive that I 'hated' it when I myself, had always been a student like him! All this time! Did someone say that you can't feel the other guys pain till you actually step into his shoes? So true! Just so true!

I am sure that the next time I switch to a nap-taking-mode in any of the classes, today's incident will help me come out of it. Good for me!

Medha re Medha re

Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) fame, was here in insti this Monday, to share her piont of view with us, the IITians. Since I happen to be doing so many case studies this semester, which involve in some way or another the resistances offered by activists and environmental groups, I was particulary interested in hearing to what she had to say. And oh my holy lord, she had to say a lot. She is an extremely effective orator. She knows how to put forward her points and how to fight back against so many powerful forces.

She was here in Chennai, basically to oppose the airport expansion plan, which if initiated would displace about five thousand households. I wont go into the details of her speech (as if I remember everything she talked about in that something more than an hour duration), but I would definitely like to share some points that are worth pondering over.

Before writing any more, I would like you to recall that I am being trained as a Civil Engineer. So you see, guys like me come up with engineering solutions in the form of Dams, and Airfields to meet the needs of the society. Guys like Medha on the other hand, just brush aside our otherwise appreciated projects. So there's supposed to be an inherent conflict between our ways of thinking. All I would like you to do is to keep this in mind while you read my arguments so as to make a better assessment of the affair.

She questioned the meaning of development. Do rising shopping malls in cities, or the increasing number of airports or the construction of hydroelectric power projects really signify development? She said no. And she said she belived so, because these activities lead to disparity. These so called parameters of development, leave behind the poor who are not included fairly in the policy making processes. She asserted that every individual matters and so any infrastructure project should not be given a nod, till every affected 'citizen' is happy with it.

She is no different from the other activists who fight for the plight of small sections of society who so often get negatively affected by the process of so called development. Though she never explicitly mentioned, what she was talking about was 'Economic Development'. And Economic development indeed includes all the stuff (especially the infrastructure realated stuff) that she talked about. It includes any thing and everything that leads to improvement in the overall economy of a nation. So if the Govt decides to invest in a project that will lead to an increase in power generation, it indeed is a step towards economic development. Doesn't matter what Medha Patker thinks of it.

But yes, her issue about rising disparity is true. Economic Developments often tend to increase the gap between the rich and poor. The section of people who are directly going to benefit from say increased power generation are the industrialists who are in real need of power to run their machines. Why should a villager who doesn't even have a power transmission line crossing his village care about it? He care's about his land, which gives him rice and wheat and maze and sugarcane and what not. That is all he wants. And so if a dam at an upstream spot is going to sink his land deep inside water, he is going to raise his voice. What we are talking about here is a trade-off. Scarcity of resources is the concept on which the whole theory of economics is based. So many times, it happens that to produce A you have got to give up B. So how do you decide then? Tricky question.

It felt good when Medha did admit that some kind of econimic development was definitely needed. But it should be done in fine balance with the social develeopment where the benefit of any project trickles down to the lower sections of the society. A fine balance! Well, it makes sense though it does have one problem. Being almost always surrounded with the affected groups, she wont ever be happy with any kind of balance that guys like me come up with. What kind of balance is really the best? It's really a difficult question to answer, more so because here we are two different sets of people looking at world from different places. The more we listen to one another, the better we will be able to appreciate each other's concerns. And look, that's happening! :)

Look what follows!

It's quite a coincident that just two days after the last post (yesterday), I was gifted a super-cool no-wood-all-graphite 8B pencil by one of my best friends. I call this a coincident because I am more than sure, she hasn't seen the earlier post, which carries a Fabre Castle ad. :)

And this pencil is amazing. It's unlike any other graphite pencil that I have ever used. Love it!

Ideas appear with pencil and eraser

World Talk

No, this is not about tech-fests. This is about a small report in today's ET, titled "IIT among world's top universities".

Only when one reads furthur, one finds that IIT's rank is 57. Not bad! Afterall India is a developing nation. The report is based on the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) survey.

Well, the bottomline is: It feels good be studying in a place like this! :)

It's spirit everywhere; the spirit of engineering. Today is the third day of Shaastra2006 and I am having a good time!

No plans to participate and all. My only job is to see that there are volunteers around all the ambience-models on display, who can put fundays to anyone who is 'curious'. And then of course, I also need to use my grub-coupons in all the stalls that are running.

A decent number of babes to be seen this time! Babes in a tech-fest just rock! ;)

Amrit's theory of loneliness

When you remain alone and do something, you either end up performing better than everyone else or you end up performing worse than everyone else. When the first case occurs, you think you are the only smart guy out there in the whole universe. Deep sense of pride creeps in. When the second case occurs, you think you are the only loser out there in the whole universe. Depression creeps in.

Bottomline: Get out, get going. Find someone with whom you feel happy with. Stop being lonely!


I am doing a very interesting course this semester. It's called Infrastructure Planning and Management, and I thorughly enjoy it. We in class have been discussing about various issues regarding infrastructural systems like Power, Transportation, Telecommunication, Water and Sanitation etc.

Dealing with water has been the most interesting experience so far. Let me pose you a question to begin with. How much do you pay for a litre of potable water? The second question is, how much do you think the slum dwellers pay for it? Is it less or is it more?

You would be surprised to learn that, the poor living in slums (which mostly are spread over illegal land) end up paying way more than you do. The World Bank has data to prove that. And the reason is pretty simple. We can get pipe connections, which brings public water while they can't get these piped connections since they don't have a legal address to provide! How do they get water then? They have to buy it from private water suppliers who generally bring tankers to the areas. And by all calculations, these tankers charge way more than what the publicly provided water costs.

What a state of affairs! Do you think a solution exists?

I would also like to ask few basic questions, which if not answered in the beginning itself, won't ever let you implement any change in the existing water and sanitation infrastructure in India and for that matter in most of the developing countries.

Who owns natural water? Is it the government? Or are they the common people? Or no one at all?
Is water a basic human right? If yes, does it mean it should be given away for free to everyone?

Let's see what you guys have to reflect on this. I will carry on the talk with upcoming posts.

Think OFTB

Unleash the energy within

Want to Fly?

Dekh le Mamu

Amazing movie!

Yes, I am talking about Lage Raho Munna Bhai (LRMB). If Munna Bhai M.B.B.S was "the" comedy movie that made sense, LRMB makes a lot more sense. And you keep laughing throughout the show. Amazing movie! "Fundoo" is the best word to describe this film. Go watch it ASAP and you will get convinced that comedy is not always crap or pure time-pass or requries one to keep one's brain elsewhere while waching it. Lage raho Munna Bhai!

Me Mad

I always thought that I had some kind of a personality disorder. Today I found out that I indeed had one. It's called the Dependent Personality Disorder or more commonly known as the DPD. Well, I suffer form DPD! :(

I happen to satisfy at least three of these traits which make me an eligible DPD candidate.

  1. Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
  2. Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
  3. Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
This realization doesn't make me too happy! Sob sob! presents a fairly good example demonstrating DPD.

Two women are best friends for a long time. They share everything. Along comes another woman - or a boyfriend - who takes time away from this friendship. Issues develop and friendship become 'challenged' - another word that describes our experiences here. Many things seem to be challenged.

The friendship between the women now becomes outgrown and can end in drama. Many people report that lifetime friendships suddenly come to an end - become outgrown for one of the people involved - but they don't understand why. On occasion the friendships rekindle. For the most part they have served a purpose that worked at the time the people were friends - then moved on.

I am sure it's not too severe, but now that I know that is a disorder, I am looking forward to change to a healthier condition. In the race of physical health, it's a pity that we forget the importance of a healthy mind.

Wish I succeed!


My latest offering!

1. Did 'You' make it?

Yes. :)

2. Why? What for? What the hell is this?

Made this for the inter hostel painting event. And this is a painting done by poster colors, on the spot. I do not remember the exact topic but the essence was "Mother". I guess the painting is successful in depicting the theme.

3. Not too sure. Anyways, so when did you make it? And how much time did you take?

Made it this Saturday itself and took me a little more than two hours. The alloted time was three hours.

4. Did you win anything?

Get lost!


Besides taking care of the digital design department of Shaastra'06, I am also responsible for the overall ambience setup during this four day technical festival of IIT Madras. One of my teams has almost finished making a Trebuchet to be displayed during Shaastra. For the uninitiated, a trebuchet is a weapon which was used in the ancient days to destroy masonry strucutres of enemies by throwing projectiles of heavy stones. Wiki has an excellent article on it.

This one is not one of those huge trebuchets that the ancient warriors once used. But it's big enough to throw mass upto forty feet. Trial throws should begin in a day or two and then I will have more to report on how it is performing. Will come back with pics of the model very soon.

And besides the trebuchet, we are having about fifteen more models which are under construction. Taking care of so many projects and then the ever demanding design requirements, and then in keeping track with the courses, I am hardly left with any time to blog! And when I do get 'time', I am dead on ideas, or stories. So bear with me for sometime till I get li'l free. Till then, I would keep you guys updated with more of Shaastra buzz. Have fun!

Big Daddy of Indian Tech Fests

Shaastra 2006 is bigger than ever. And it is going to knock you down with it's super high energy content. Afterall it's about the 'spirit' of engineering! Time to get excited, is it?

I finished creating these two print ads for Shaastra2006 very recently. They should soon reach most engineering colleges within two weeks or so.

Ladakh: the last day

We got up early and some of us did take bath. At about six in the morning, we said good bye to mom, and then vrooomed away. Pangong lake was about hundred sixty kilometers from Leh and we intended to be back before sunset.

The riders: (from left) Dad, Sis, Myself, Bro

It was a supernatural ride, one of its kind. We kept driving in valleys for the first thirty kilometers or so; myself & bro on the Pulsar and Dad & Sis on the CBZ. The road was smooth, and the landscape simply mind blowing. We crossed the famous Indus Valley, at an average speed of more than fifty kilometers per hour.

A view of the road running in the Indus Valley

The visually delightful route from Leh to Pangong lake, offered a couple of tourist attractions as well, including the biggest monastery of Ladakh in Hemis along with several other monasteries like those in Shey, Thiksey etc. Our initial plan was to cover all of them en-route.

Thiksey monastery was the first attraction that came our way. We spent some time there, but didn't go inside. We admired the strucure from close quarters, took some pics and then moved on. After crossing the town of Karu, the valley ended and the hills started. The average speed slowed down to about twenty kilometers per hour and soon it became clear that there was no way we could return to Leh before sunset, if we kept on visiting the many 'side-attractions'. So it was decided that we would no more stop except for small tea breaks.

The Thiksey Monastery

The hills never ended till about the last thirty kilometers. While climbing the hills, we crossed the 18000 ft altitude, and then things got a way too cool for us to handle. We had forgotten to put on gloves, or even carry a pair. So once the temperature fell down, and by that I mean close to may be two or three degrees (my bro kept claiming it was minus), the hands started freezing and went deep red. Driving became hell and all of us started shivering and shaking. But we kept driving; driving through the clouds literally! We kept on praying that the downhill begin soon, but that was not to happen for quite some time.

Finally, the altitude began to fall, it became sunny, and in fact the air got pretty warm by the time we reached Tangste. At a lovely spot with white hills around us everywhere, we had our breakfast. By the way, I forgot to tell you that since the never-ending hilly roads started, Dad and sis kept insisting that we scrap the idea of travelling all the way upto Pangong. Dad would spot a huge snow burried rock facing us and immediately suggest that we go there, have some fun, and then start the return journey. But I had kept on dragging on and on, reasoning that we had enough time. Dad had then set a target of 12'o clock: wherever we reached by that time, we would stop and return. I knew his fear. With a bike with no lights, we HAD to get back before the sun could say us good bye.

It was twelve o clock finally, and no, we had not yet reached the lake! But then, it was pointless to return back after joureying more than hundred kilometers and crossing the beautiful but tough hills. And so, we continued!

Lukung was the last town encountered, from where the lake was about ten kilometers away

After a seven hour interesting, stimulating, mind capturing, dilemma ridden, and above all exotic mobike ride, we reached the lake finally. And what a lake. Oh my God! This lake which holds the record for the highest altitude brackish lake at 14,256 ft above see level was the most beautiful water body I had ever seen with my eyes. It simply rocked! The more than hundred fifty kilometers ride, was worth it. The deep blue water of the lake reminded me of granita!

The Pangong Lake

After chilling there and some more photosession, we hurried our way back to Leh. Somehow we knew it would take not more than five hours for the return trip. Afterall we had got an idea about the terrain now, so we would be driving faster.

Initially our assumption appeared true. We were driving faster, though carefully of course. And then those hills came again. And then, nature decided to join us in the fun ride. It started raining. And it started getting cold. We didn't have raincoats. And we also didn't have time to stop! Within fifteen minutes things got severe, way too difficult than it had been in the morning. Driving through the icy downpour in an uphill ride, was like tearing your way through an iceberg! And we had no other option but to do that. Well, this was the real Ladakh! But it really went too out of control, when ice repaced the water. I could see small pellets of ice pieces depositing on my already-dead-by-then hands melting slowly, killing a million cells of the epidermis. I feared frost-bite, but that never happened to my relief.

One of the many safety signs painted on the rocks

Sis spotted some local campers, and we asked them to give some plastic sheets which they luckily had. But by that time, the rain and hail storm had almost subsided. After a while, it became normal, and we picked up speed. Riding and riding, and enhaling the pure air that weaved magic all around, we finally reached Leh by seven. The sun said us good bye only when we were settling bills in the rent shop.

The last day was over, and it had already etched a never to be forgotten story in our hearts. Mom was so happy to see us back! Well it was time to do the packing for the morning flight the next day.

I will never ever forget my Ladakh trip. Hope you had fun too!

Ladakh: Day 3 and 4

An early morning view of the snow clad hill tops in Leh. Pic was taken from the bus-stand

Please forgive my slow rate of posting. A new sem brings with it so many complications that it takes quite an effort to make a post.

We got up early in the morning to catch the early morning bus for Nubra Valley. The bus left Leh at 6:00 AM. The ride was mind blowing. It was the best bus ride that I had ever experienced. It was long, and I enjoyed each and every minute of it. As the bus kept on climbing the brown hills, the temperature kept sliding down. The highest point was when we crossed 18000 feet and it was fun. I was in 'high' spirits.

Dad sips hot tea as the bus stops for a ten minute break

Bro enjoying the hill side view. The bus had to wait for nearly half an hour during the onward journey as the millitary guys were repairing a stretch of the road.

We left the bus in Diskit after a little more than six hours of ride. Diskit is the biggest town in Nubra Valley. And it was one of the smallest towns I had seen. We hired a taxi there, and found a hotel. Mom hates travelling. She had been sleeping all the way during this bus ride, and she wanted to take some more rest. So she crashed in the hotel room, while the rest of us went to see the famous hot spring and some monasteries in the Nubra Valley.

The hot spring sucked. It was not worth travelling another one and half hour in a taxi, immediately after an amazing-yet-tiring bus ride just to see a sucking hot spring. But once again, the view outside the window of the car was just too awesome. Ladakh is about enjoying your rides more than anything else. It's like a dreamworld. You have to love the beauty of the natural landscape that surround you as you keep travelling on roads.

I am sitting here over the sulphur rich hot spring that sucked. You have to be a Geologist to appreciate the beauty (if any) of it. I am not one!

Sis found time to relax on the staircases of a monastery that we visited while returning from the Hot Spring.

The next site on list was the camel safari. The taxi had to come back all the way to Diskit, to go there. We went back to hotel to ask mom to join us. Bad news. She had fallen really sick by this time. We bid adieu to the cab guys, paid them 1.5K and called it a day.

The hotel had its own restaurant. And it was a stupid one. Food was costly and they didn't have any variety at all. And believe me when I say that after taking the order for mixed vegetable from us, they actually went ahead and plucked some vegetables from their own garden-cum-farm and cooked it and served! You can't get things fresher! But the food still sucked.

Bro enjoying the evening in the hotel balcony

Yours truly, headed for heights. This opening in this hotel led you to the terrace which was made up of clay!

We had to return Leh the next day. We decided to hire a taxi early in the morning, go and see the camel safari and catch the bus. Things didn't go as planned. We did hire a taxi. But as we were on our way to the site, we crossed the bus for Leh. So we cancelled the idea of missing this bus for the sake of seeing some camels! Money was the reason behind this. Buses here run on alternate days. So missing this one meant we HAD to book a taxi for Leh. And it would have cost us around 3k! Forget it!

This was all about the Nubra Valley. Though the bus follwed the exact same route in the return trip, I still enjoyed as much. Once again, brilliant ride. In fact we faced hail storm this time while crossing the high altitude passes.

Once back in Leh, it was extremly important to rent two bikes. We had realized that the best way to tour the region of Ladakh was to travel on motor-bike. With the heaven like scenes doing the show on all the four sides, no other cost-effective strategy to enjoy the area could be worked out.

Finding bikes was not easy. This was a peak season, and many more had already realized what took us four days to figure out; bikes rock. The rental shops were running short of bikes. We wanted to avoid a Bullet because of it poor mileage. But we also did not want anything less than a 150cc Pulsar because we had to climb hills.

After lot of effort, we managed to get one Pulsar and one CBZ. The CBZ didn't have lights! But that could not stop us from cancelling our scheduled bike trip for the last day in Ladakh. We brought the bikes to our hotel in Leh and parked it outside the gate. We slept early that night so as to leave Leh as early as possible. The plan was to travel 185 kilometers upto Pengong Lake and then return back before sunset. Afterall, a bike didn't have headlight! And morever, the flight back to Delhi was the next day. So there was no option of extending the bike trip.

Back to Leh, in search of a bike.

Wait for the bike trip that happened on day 5. It was my most amazing experience in Ladakh. You will love to read about it.

Ladakh: Day 2

A regular Stupa in Leh

Leh looks a lot like Tibet

It was bad news. Dad had caught fever and mom had not yet recovered from altitude sickness. And this was our second day in Ladakh.

My bro and myself had found out the other day that Jammu and Kashmir State transportatin run buses on alternte days to different small villages and towns in Ladakh. We decided to go to Diskit in Nubra Valley, about hundred twenty kilometers from Leh. A hot spring and a Camel Safari were the main attractions of Nubra valley, besides the natural beauty of the valley itself.

So on day two we planned to book bus tickets for the next day, and then tour more of Leh. There's an old strucutre called Leh Palace, situated on top of a small hill in the main bazaar itself. And furthur uphill, is a temple. Both these structures are made up of stones placed one over other without any binding material. At some spots, binding is done, but then that by mud paste. These old buildings are supported by wooded columns and beams wherever required.

The 'look' of these structures reminds you of the Indus Valley Civilization. When you walk your way to reach the doors of these buildings, you get this feeling that a big downpour of thick water from the clouds and the complete palace will get washed away. Luckily, it doesn't rain there too often. Snow fall is all that happens here besides light drizzles at times. The Himalayas to the south of this region, never let monsoon make any impact at this place.

We peacefully got bus tickets for all five of us. It was a little more than a hundred ruppees per person. Then we also asked a travel agency guy to get the permit needed to go to Nubra Valley from the DC office. The students I card of my bro and myself saved couple of bucks since the government there charges less for students.

Sis in front of a temple on our way to bus-stand

The same temple

A Buddha painting inside the temple

Stuffs on display at a curio shop on the way to bus-stand

We had reached the bus-stand, from our hotel near main bazaar, following a short-cut. In hilly areas, short-cuts are generally, stepped routes which bring you downhill faster than the regular motorable roads, circumferencing hills. We had to return to the main bazaar from the bus stand because the Leh Palace was there itself. But for the return jouney, I suggested that we take the longer motorable road so that we get to see more of Leh. After initial resisitance, my siblings bought this logic and consequently we did find a new place to greet us. It was kind of a view point which went furthur up to lead to a small temple. After spending some time here and getting pics clicked, we proceeded to the Leh Palace finally.

I don't know the purpose of these four protruding wooden planks, fixed at the view-point but they appeared enchanting

Bro and sis relaxing once we reached this accidently discovered hill top temple

View from the accidently discovered temple

Once the jobs for the second day were done, we had all the time in the world to explore the yet to be enjoyed Leh Palace. It was fun climbing the hills, and passing through made-of-clay-andstone-lanes as we made our way to the Palace. The temple was furthur up the hill, and sis gave up on climbing that much. But my enthusiasm kept everyone on their toes, and after more than an hour we finally did reach the top. The view from there was awesome.

Coming down was peaceful, but by the time we had reached back hotel, we were really tired. We had shot so many pics and taked so many videos that dad got bored seeing all of them. But he did see finally! :)All of them!
The bus to Nubra Valley would leave early morning the next day. For that we had to be at the bus stop at half past five in the morning. So we crashed early that day. About the Nubra Valley in the next post....


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.