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Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we headed back the way we came yesterday and after crossing Rajaji National Park the road divides and one goes towards to Dehradun and one to Rishikesh. The drive was pleasant, as we opted Laxman  Jhula as our destination google map smartly took us via highway bypassing the main city.But at the end the roads started to get narrower lucky for us we found a parking lot packed yet as we early risers ;)
The weather was little cold compared to the planes of Dehradun with lots of breeze coming from Ganga. We walked to Laxman Jhula to cross it. Oh boy! We have no idea what local authority allows two-wheelers, cycle to cross the hanging bridge which is meant for a pedestrian. And top of it you even have some cows standing in the middle.
I am sure the people coming all the from abroad to Rishikesh for peace, meditation and self-purity do get a complete shock wi…

PHP iptcembed Gallery3 to Flickr

A journey of sharing photo only got me into having a website of my own. When digital camera came out with decent mega pixel was an early adapter of the same. But soon realized sharing Pictures on email was not an option and  hosted pictures  on Tripod. Oh! they used to give 10MB of free hosting :) now Flicker gives one 1TB free. So long  story small after the managing own gallyery app writen initally with csv and php , later mysql and php and lastly Gallery for almost 10 years. found gallery development is kind of not that active it used to be. So thought of moving into Flickr which was big no in-between as they had restriction on free accounts. But now those restriction gone managing 7000+ picture and importing them with proper details remained a BIG challenage. At last came up with iptcembed  where all the details where written into  JPEG file itself and imported those image as set to Flickr.And all your details, tag, captions are set properly.
Here is how I did it

1. Copy Gallery&…

Kurseong

The first-daywe got little suspicious with the transport rates being quoted by Kanchan View Hotel Manager. We reported that back to Calcutta the tour operator Mr. D. Ghosh. But once you are away from home and you have limited option to negotiate a bargain. The Hotel person by now have charged us 2500 for the first day covering only Tagore Smritivan , monastery and forest bungalow. For the second day we paid 2500 to cover 5/6 places but the distance was more. By now we have checked few blogs and travel sites thanks to borrowed usb modem and quite certain that we are being robed :( The charge for travelling to Burniok to Kurseong was a whopping 4500. Somehow by now we kind of lost faith on that travel agent :( of Calcutta. 
Only good part we got a new Mahindra Xylo and started travelling back to Jorethang on the same road and took a turn there towards Kurseong The road was really bad as we entered West Bengal luckily we were in a SUV. The road was narrow, long and without any major v…

Mysore Half Marathon 2013

This was Mysore Celebration Run 2013 ; well there was BIG celebration at Pacemakers running group. Coach was brand ambassador of the run, we had a promo run in Bangalore for the same. Few runners from group also got featured in Life is Calling's web site.
Initially I was against this run as I rescheduled my Mother's return flight from Bangalore to Siliguri on the same Sunday :(. But big thanks to Maa and Pamela as they supported to run me this event. Initial plan was Pamela to drop Maa at airport, but at the end Maa said she would go via Taxi of her own. I traveled in car with fellow runners post lunch on Saturday and with small coffee break reached Mysore around 18:30. We had a simple South-Indian rice meal - a well carb-loading with rice. The hotel we stayed was 100 meters from the start/finish line.
On the race day we did not had to wake up that early compared to weekends run as run was starting at 06:30. Prepared myself for a hot day with a very light sleeve-less , ca and…

West Sikkim - Hee Bermiok

We initially planned to visit Bhutan during summer vacation of ’13. Somehow during the planning phase we found it was overshooting our budget. And moreover, was advised against it during late April & Early May as there is a high chances of rain during that time. So we had no plan and no places to visit while we are going to be in Siliguri for 10/12 days.
We called one travel agent in Calcutta from train and told him about our requirement and he said he would be able to put an itinerary of 6 nights ( 2nights Sikkim, 2 Kursuang and 2 in Darjeeling). We had no clue on the suggested itinerary as we were too preoccupied with our trip to Gaya.

Day-1

The d-day before of our trip cab driver called and informed us he is coming down to pick us. He suggested it would be a good idea to start from Siliguri as early as possible. We started around 7 from home to Bermiok (West Sikkim) via Sevoke road. The road along Assam riffles was just magnificent straight road without any potholes(a miracle …

Indian Babus(Govt Official)

Today went to the local BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) office to get my property Tax receipt which I paid in June there. Was told to go other one as this office is being closed. God only knows why Government build office first and operate there for few years and move to another one. On going to next office
 The guy told without looking at me "Come Monday"
Me - "Sir Monday is Off due to Ganesha Festival"
Him -  swallows  his words and says "OK come Tuesday"
Me -  "Sir I need it today"
Him - Now he looks up and says "come afternoon"
Me -"Sir it is already afternoon as it is 12:20 PM"
Him - "OK get the bank statement" to prove the money is credited as you paid by Cheque"
Me - little annoyed  -"It is three months and I am telling you it is debited from my account"
Him - takes the acknowledgement slip and goes to a room and comes back  in 5 seconds.
Me - Goes to the same room after 30 Sec; ask the lady wi…

Blessed

Blessing is a simple word, but yesterday night (Monday) just before sleeping I was thinking about the same again and again. Wished for a gadget to record my thought as I was too tired to use any keyboard or voice recorder. At times we  wonder and sometime make fun of those award ceremonies where people on the stage  keep on thanking people around him or her and sometimes even their dogs. I always love to read the preface of a book where authors thank about their loved ones and early critics and business partners. Webby Award (considered as Oscar of Internet) being techie kept it simple --- as they have "5 word Acceptance Speeches” rule. Well I was not thinking about those awards and long speeches but more about the people around me who are allowing me to cherish my daily life on my own way.
After a horrible finish in Bangalore TCS 10K(1hr plus) and Chennai Half Marathon(2:27 my watch/2:09 race web site). I was determined to be regular with Coach Kothandapani K C and Pacemakers gr…

Pipeline Road Run

There was a discussion in the running group to practice hill-run before upcoming Hyderabad run which I am trying to be a regular member. Normally the "numero uno" destination for hill training around Bangalore is Nandi Hill ; which is 60KM north of the city. Have already run Nandi hills few times and yes Nandi is grueling specially the last 3 KM. Nandi run is 15KM in total where you go 7.5 KM up and come down the same. But the run does not duplicate Hyderabad where we need to cross 3 flyovers. Pipe-line road at south of Bangalore parallel to Kanakpura Road is very similar to Hyderabad . The initial plan was to run 21 KM one way and had a sumptuous breakfast at one farm house.
On the D-day morning the plan was little changed as decided to do 12.5KM up and down to complete 25KM and then take our cars to the farm house for breakfast. So we started running from KSIT Engineering College and followed pipe-line road and crossed NICE-road, Ravishankar Guruji Ashram, Angana, and …

1st class sleeper

It was a dream from a long time to travel in 1st class in Indian Railway. The last time I traveled in 1st class was early 1985 when we went to Puri ( a must stop for Bengali ). So when the dates for summer vacation became clear started booking for train tickets. It was month of December when we booked ticked for April. Wanted to book 2nd AC ticket but to my surprise it was already sold out so opted for AC 1st Class. The price of AC 1st class is almost like air-fare on a positive side you get a personal cabin/coupe and great food and service but it still takes looong time to travel between Bangalore and Calcutta. It takes 2.5 hours in flight and 28 hours in the fastest train which is called as Duronto (quick). We wished to get a coupe for ourselves as when you book a AC 1st Class ticket you don’t get a seat number like other class just till 4 hours of train departure that is when Railway prepares the boarding chart. Doing few search on internet one gentleman suggested the best way t…

Chennai DRHM

Chennai DRHM ( Dream Runners Half Marathon) was on 1st Sunday of July i.e. 7th July 2013. It was the first run out of Bangalore for me. Last time I registered for Mumbai Standard Chartered was in 2008 and was gifted with Aarush just few days before the race :D  Well Aarush is the reason why I can not run on weekdays morning but he is the catalyst who introduced me to The Pacemakers running group of Bangalore.
 It was a great escape for me from Bangalore and daily routine. a big thanks to Pamela for supporting me on this. Knew it was not going to be my best run given the fact I was not practicing at all. The last time ran was beginning of June after that it was all about running around household and office work. Working late and on weekends and busy with Aarush's school and what not. In fact I was so messed up  posted The Pacemakers  Facebook page that “I am not going” but thanks to Pamela after an hour  posted  “I will” be going.

Thanks to fellow runners a cab was booked and woke…

Google Page Test, CloudFlare and W3 total Cache

Installed all these three on pamela.santm.com and blog.santm.com which are running on wordpress 3.6 trunk. moved the dns details to cloudflare. While Pamela's hobby site did very well Google page test result our blog result was not great. Looks like the culprit is inbuilt gallery of wordpress which is re-sizing images and seving them on fly causing high server time. the command that helped me a lot is "mogrify -strip *.jpg" which is part of imagemagick tool kit and removes exif data from images.



Aarush~nama

Last Saturday, it was father & son time again as Pamela in school after long summer vacation. Aarush was doing his part to keep my hands busy and asked him are you a Nut for being such naughty? And the apt reply was “Yes, I am; I am a coconut”. Could not stop laughing for a long time. Even though we call it a nut but coconut is not a nut botanically?

Handshake

A great gesture of being humble by Mr. David Thomson today.  He did shook-hand  with the entire front row as we officially inaugurated of our new Office today.    Luckily I  was there early bird :)  and was touched by his firm handshake. He is the  wealthiest man personally saw in person  he used to be ranked in top 10 richest man according Forbes few years back.

BookShelf

This was complete DYI project. Theses books are not going to be touched soon.




Opinion - does it really matter ?

Opinion – a simple word everyone has one. Thanks to new social media which makes it so easy to spread it. They express it say it is personal (me included). Does it really personal once expressed ? I am not a social science expert but there are some opinions heard, read in recent time wondered what to do with them.  Tried argue with few at the beginning but at the end ignored them all. Hope you will do the same, if not leave your comments. Scene-1 Mr. President visiting CA and ends up apologizing for a comment which sound natural but did not go well in media. Sorry Mr. President wrong choice of words everyone has such high expectation from you. If it was your predecessor may be we have not read about it Newspaper’s opinion page.
Scene-2 One Chief Minister of India decides which countries are allowed to play in one Indian state for IPL. Well she is not the first one to do there was a stage set for the same in Mumbai long time back. Looks like it is not impacting cricket much and everyone …

Mangalore

As mentioned we split  the travel in October with a week in between at Bangalore  Durga Pooja.  The destination for part two had to have sea and beach to cleansing the body and soul. Personally more of sea person if I have to choose between hills & sea.  We settled for Mangalore.  We booked for one hotel in the city which had maximum discount for 3 nights. We tried SumerSands the number-Uno destination for Managlore on travel. Now a resort with private beach was actually made for Expats community.
We started from Bangalore at 5 AM Sharp this time after loading the car with bags and baggage previous night. We were running low with cash but opted to find an ATM along the road and left Bangalore in hurry. This time road to Nilmangala  via Yashwantpur was more pleasant compared to last week and soon we were on NH 48. Till Kunigal  the road is now a proper 4 Lanes with tool. We paid toll twice on this part of the road but I was not complaining as I was doing constant 110/120 Km/Hr. Th…

Bijapur-Chitradurga

Day-5, Woke up at 4:30 in the morning as I could barely sleep whole night. Had mu bath and got little bit packing down to ensure we leave Bijapur at the earliest. Woke Pamela & Aarush around 5:30 and we started to walk to Gol Gumbaz. Unfortunately the lady who manages the ticket counter did not show up till 6:30. We were the first one to enter. After the local guard gving us little more history lesson asked us to climb the steps quickly before anyone. We climbed the seven story building using medieval steps which gets steeper as you climb. Aarsush did a great job of climbing all by himself. We were the only one at thw whispering gallery and able to whisper between ourselves across the hall. It is a amazing feeling of hearing the slightest of sound across football field. But after 10 minutes of so we got lousy intruders and we called it a go. Climbing down was more difficult at times.

Reaching hotel we had breakfast and Aarush and Pamela took shower and by 9 headed out for Bangalor…

Badami and Bijapur

Day-4, Morning we woke up early and headed towards to Bansankari Temple to start our day. Bansankari has lady idol with eight hands which is worshiped meticulously around. We saw one lady rolling herself around the whole temple periphery with wet cloth which signifies she just took a bath in the nearby holy-pond. We got a good darshan of the devi idol as there was not much crowd in the morning.
We came to hotel and waited for our breakfast which was bit late as we woke up early. After breakfast we headed for the Badami caves. Badami has 4 caves inspired by Ellora. There are lots of monkeys in the base and cave-1 (dedicated to lord Shiva). You must not carry any food or water bottle, we got ourself a guide who has been in this business for last 20 years and he explained in details each cave and allowed us enough time to take plenty of pictures. Though the objects are same as we have seen in Hampi, Aihole and Patadkal but as they curved them out of the rock and created temple in cave fo…

Aihole and Patadkal

Day-3, post breakfast we hit the road, this time we followed the GPS voice of Pamela’s Lumia more attentively and with ease we head out of Hospet and join the highway. The highway NH-13 between Hospet and Bijapur is recently widen to 4 lane. It was a pleasure driving, the road was not at all crowded and surprisingly the trucks maintained the left lane. Was driving around 110/120 KMph without any trouble and soon reached Hungund. From there we took left turn towards Aihole.


There are plenty of sign for Aihole but when we reached we were greeted with a rustic village. There was no guides or local man asking us and by mistake we crossed the village and started with Jain Temple which is located on the isolated back side of the hill.
From there we came to village and visited – Hucchappayya Math Complex, Mallikarjuna Complex, Ravana Pahdi & Hucchimalli temple complex. Aarush had little snack while the car was under a tree shade. But the sun again was too hot and scotching hot. All these…