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 sun-glass. Was double minded about the tee as it felt little chilled as we walked out of the hotel. But as soon as did warm-up felt great about the choice of attire.

Initial plan I had in my mind was to stick with one lady runner from our group and try to finish as best I could. We started together but around 2KM mark there was little down hill and I continued my pace which I was comfortable once I go ahead from her. I continued my own pace and most time did not checked my garmin at all. I knew I was running faster than normal weekend runs but there was no discomfort. Around the lake where we took "U" turn could see all the the elites were coming back and a majority of them were from our group. Around 17 and 18 KM I wish the finish line was nearer as mind always plays devil game at the end.

The last 500 Meters there were Pacemakers waiting to cheers and pace the last part. I tired my best to push myself and get get a 1:50 finish. Well a minute shorter I would have beat my own record from 2003. But the length of the race is not 21.1 so if I really need to finish 1:50 next time I need to save 2/3 minutes overall and a target of around 1:45 would be dream come true.

Special thank to Flashbulbzz for the capturing these wonder pictures.

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 in India) and trees lined on the both side. Soon we were climbing the twisted roads and crossed Coronation Bridge over the Teesta river ( few days later the bridge become news when “An Indian Guinness World Record holder who attempted to cross a river suspended from a zip wire attached to his ponytail has died during the stunt”. We continued on the Siliguri-Gantogk(NH31A) road and took a turn at Melli for Jorethang and continued on Melli-NayaBazar Road. After Jorthang the road became more steeper and narrow you really need to know how to manage those hills and steep incline and hairpin bends with zero visibility. Only relief was there were not many cars on the road. We reached Bermiok after passing by Nayabazar, Rinchenpong, Kaluk. The road was more or less well maintained but many places would be quick target of rains and land-slide is common which would cause major havoc for commuters.

The Hotel( Kanchan Hotel) was pre-booked and we were the only one to stay there. Surprisingly, the last visitor to this place was two months back. The rooms were nothing great but as they are on the hill you could see Kanchenjunga Range from your room. Suddenly, we realized we are feeling cold as this place is 5650 ft above MSL. But the caretaker gave us the first surprise mentioning we need to spend 2500 on Taxi for sight seeing. It was a shock but we did not have a choice. In the meantime, the sky was getting cloudy which is very common post noon in hills. We had a simple Bengali lunch Dal, some veggies and fish.

Post lunch we started with Tagore Smriti , a nice park dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore. Personally, doubt did Tagore ever visited this part of Sikkim as there is no solid proof for the same but the local tour guides thinks he did. From there we went to Rinchenpong monastery. There were small monks inside the monastery for their afternoon classes so we did not went in. This is a very old monastery built in 1717 with wood. The driver/guide told us there is another monastery ( Resum Monastery) if we are willing to walk up-hill. We wanted to explore so continued it was long walk up-hill with many steps. My mother stopped climbing in the middle and we three continued. It was a price-less walk reminding Master-card Advertisement as it was complete silence and the soundings are too green and pristine. Once we reached the top there was not much to see honestly. There is a old monastery which seems now part of dispute between different sect or family and there are few families staying as caretaker. Photograph of the monastery was not allowed so we took some pictures outside and headed back.

Now we headed towards to the British “Dak-Bunglow”( Now Government Guest House) , we crossed Poison lake on the way. The story of poison lake goes like this “when the British attacked Sikim(1860). They reached up to Rinchenpong when Lepchas (the original inhabitants of Sikkim) poisoned the water of the pond, the only source of water in Rinchenpong. In the process killing almost half of the British troops and forcing them to retreat.”

Well it became dark by 4:30 PM and we headed back to hotel and enjoyed hot tea with pakodas. Sitting at the rooftop restaurant we enjoyed clear sky and innumerable number of stars glittering on the sky, the lights of Pelling and Gayzing was illuminating like diamonds. Cold was getting unbearable so after an early dinner we retreated to the room quickly.


Day-2


Wow! what a sun-rise with rain washed blue sky we got a clear view of Kanchenjunga Range. It was simply magnificent. We clicked many shots and special thanks to Pamela for being up so early. Post breakfast we left for other local destinations. We started with Chayataal a picnic spot. This a Government resort on a remote hill top. The road is really bad there was no tar and with previous night rain it was really muddy. We found it bit strange and could not understand why government of Sikkim is allowing guest house/hotel/Govt- Bunglow like mushrooms. If it continues for another couple of years this remote part will become like Uttarakhand tsunami one day.The USP for this western Sikkim is remoteness, being closer to nature with plenty of trees if that is gone it will be a real shame.

From Chayataal as headed down we stopped at Rock Garden; another park/picnic spot. It is located next to a stream and it was walking up and down taking pictures. The place is really nice to enjoy yourself with nature and not being bothered as there was no other tourist around.

Now we traversed the hills towards Pelling(Major town of West Sikkim) and crossed the beautiful valley of Dentam, stopped at Cheese Factory and bought some cheese for ourselves,. We took the road going towards Uttarey and visited the famous suspension bridge ‘Sinshore bridge.’ From Sinshore Bridge we took an U-turn came down to Dentum and drove towards Changey falls. Now we are on the complete opposite hill range and could see the road that we came in the morning. The Changey falls was OK but as we were end of summer there was not much water but good enough.

On the way back to Dantum we asked the driver to stop Kalej Khola, this is near Dantum Bridge. We went to the stream to soak our feet the water was cold but it was really relaxing. We were hungry and headed back to our hotel for lunch. Post lunch we went for a stroll on the same road for couple of kilometers.

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 with computer for the receipt.


She hands me over the print outs.(surprise surprise so this is the time it really takes 1 minutes max) 


Me  asked for Official Seal


She points back to the first guy


Me  come back with the printouts he signs and puts the round seal.


Thanked him very politely. And got out of there.


The whole thing took only 10/15 minutes a max and my good luck that my work was done. Best part he spoke in Kanada and I kept on replying in English.  Whatever we do as Indian with watching MTV and eating McDonald a visit to Government Office still  remains nightmare which I postpone and procrastinate for ever. As those Officer or a Clark does not change their attitude.