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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…

Happy Baking Happy Holidays

We enter the last 2 weeks of the year 2014. This year I baked consistently at least one or two cake(s) a month and at times little more. I love baking and getting better with it as I practise more. There are few things which you learn about oven to other kitchen appliance and their unique characteristic.  Got a dedicated  simple cake book and hand mixer to experiment more. Some pictures from recent time. 

So far tried 

Normal Sponge CakeCarrot walnut cakeMocha pudding Date CakeHoneyed Apple slice

What a Saturday

Woke up at 4:25 AM ; it was supposed it be a a long day for me  as I try to run 39 KM practice run in a easy pace. Though I am not going to participate in the upcoming SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon) 2015 I decided to stick with the full marathoner group to see how grueling their preparation can be. 

Assembled at 4:45 in front of the NCBS gate and met an ultra marathoner from our running group who already covered 23KM starting from 02:30 AM. Oh! boy still trying to keep my eyes and mind open and then you see this great guy who is running with a BIG SMILE. Really he is a person with big heart and great smile. He has transitioned to braefoot and was holding a small flashlight as he keeps on running in dark.
Being December we  decided to run only in the lighted area till sky gets clear which is almost an hour away. We started at 5:15 sharp and continued till almost 12 KM. Somehow I was running alone though there were two just running behind me.  I realized  missed the first pl…

Sharat - when rains give way to the early autumn with blue skies, mid-August to mid-October.

Month of September 2014 was a unique one. It started like just another month of the year.
Honestly it has 17th September which is most times ‘Bishwakarma Puja’ and Pamela’s B’day and that is how I remember it. From childhood Bishwakarma puja has a special mention growing up in Tripura. After Saraswati puja in January/February there was no major festival till Bishwakarma Puja. And there used to pandals and people going out in the evening to visit those pandals. Also soon after Bishwakarma Puja the annual festival season starts where we celebrate Durga Puja and others. And normally the weather would be great where monsoon is over and climate were getting pleasant. 
But you ask about the weather for 2014 it is a mixed bag. The monsoon was delayed in Bangalore there was hardly much rain during June and July. The rain started to pick up in September and October and we had 2014 a one of the wettest year in recent time where there was traffic chaos and what now when it rained heavily for …

Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon 2014

After Chennai DRHM event the event I signed up for was Airtel Hyderabad Half Marathon. This run is little special to me as received my first ever finisher T-shirt last year as a proof of my improvement in running. Also there is the big culinary charm of Dine-hill and Karachi biscuits as post run celebration.
Booked myself a return flight as soon as the dates for AHM 2014 was out. Few of my fellow runners also opted for the same as soon as I posted the same in our FaceBook group.
The initial count was around 40 people going from our group alone this year but pre-race almost half of them dropped out due to various reasons. Myself was in worst running form as I got a Viral beginning of August which kept me away from any physical activity for 2 weeks. Just before the race week restarted running and was not even in a position to complete an easy pace 20km before the race week.
The train journey on Garib-Rath was wonderful with all the fellow runners. This time I did not took any food fo…

Instant Coffee Bundt Cake

Was looking for a simple instant coffee cake recipe and after reading few here and there, zeroed on this one from Nestlé. But as usual did not had many things at home and being a weekend decided to go with what ever  had and make a simple sponge cake with coffee flavor. Very surprised how simple and tasty it came out being a coffee lover would try it again :) 
Had a disastrous start when mixed baking powder and baking soda in the wet mix of butter and sugar. And at the end thought would put at-least few raisins in the middle but that too I forgot as you see them in the picture on the top layer.
But the best is when things goes right it goes RIGHT :) with all that the cake came out very perfect I wish had a picture from just out of oven , these are  pictures after cutting the cake. 
So here is my poor man recipe if you want to give a try.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder3/4 teaspoon baking soda3/4 teaspoon salt1 1/4 cups granulated sugar3/4 cup unsalted butter3 la…

Indian Mobile scene and future ....

As you know the growth of mobile is one of BIG discussion point of any technology seminar or talk show you attend today. Everybody already predicting more and more people will use mobile to access internet/information/e-commerce compared to traditional desktop or laptop. And in a country like India there will be lots of users who will be "on-line" for the first time  and they will directly use a smart phone bypassing key-board and mice altogether, in numbers they might be larger than some European country.
Till date good mobile  phones used to cost an arm & leg. And if you like Apple it still does in India as we have to buy the device upfront. But  things are changing and changing fast. Starting with Moto-G we are now seeing great phones (only androids) coming to Indian market for $15K INR ( $250) . And now with Asus, Xiaomi coming it looks every one is going to feel the pinch where people are very sensitive to price  but looks for best ROI. News channel reported Asus s…

DRHM Chennai 2014

Enough is enough I said to myself before I started to write down my experience with 2014 Chennai Dream Runners Half marathon. After waiting for weeks and getting constant update on social media that my friends are being tagged in various albums I could not found a single picture of myself what a pity when everyone was clicking with those super sharp DSLRs and smart phones.

Like last year we travelled to Chennai in Shatabdi Express on Saturday starting  early morning from Bangalore. The train journey was fun there were many familiar faces along with few faces of our group. Some from the last year opted out this year but at the end it was almost same number of people. Had a good sleep on train this time and could not participate in 'Gupshap'. The journey to hotel this year was very smooth compared to last year as we had a local Chennaite with us. We got down from the bus right in front of our hotel in Adiyar.


Had a big tasty south Indian veg-lunch at Sangeetha; the walk from th…

Facebook down - June 19th 2014

Wow that must generate more news later today when the social network site of the world took a plunge. Lets see how much time it takes them to fix the same. While some users are able to login they are not getting any updates and people like me are not able to login at all :(

Wow what a coincidence!!

For the upcoming  2014 TCS Bangalore10K, I am running  for a cause.  I will be supporting an NGO called ILP (India Literacy Project) which I became familiar with through my running group. I also volunteered to raise funds for ILP through BangaloreCare.  
This is my humble effort to raise funds for a cause close to my heart.  ILP is working in 17 states and 850 villages of India to make this basic right available. More about ILP and Bangalore Care can be found in their website. There is no amount as small amount when it is comes to collective power.  To make my pledge more personal, I began growing a beard inspired from “Beard-a-thon” which I am going to keep till the race day.
Let’s make India 100% literate! Click here to help me raise funds: Fundraise Detail  Bangalorecares.in
After sending the initial mail  and Facebook requests to friends and colleagues, I left for a 2 weeks vacation in April.  When I came back from vacation on 26th April, I was disappointed to find there were not muc…

PaceMakers

Believe I shared it before  many times, my likeness of an active lifestyle. It was not  new to me but last year  found like minded group and joined them and now i can say i do exercise few times a week. A passion drives us to wake up at 4 AM twice on weekdays to reach stadium and start workout by sharp 5AM.  It is tough but once you reach there and start your day the whole day I find myself with plenty of positive energies.
This group is called PaceMakers and it is under the guidance of coach KC. He is a veteran runner  with many accolades. It also  feels like a being part of  big family.

Yesterday we had an awesome Birthday party celebrating coach’s birthday and sharing our new web site to the world. If you are looking for coach and a running group and stick with discipline you may want  try to run few times with us. Please take a moment to visit the  websites.

Driving Himachal

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We are back to Bangalore from our first trip to Northern India. It was touching the dot of the "i"  in the amazing Incredible  India. The eco-friendly state of  Himachal Pradesh and Himalaya has so much to offer is just amazing.  Feeling proud to be Indian....really Amazing India! Abundance of natural beauty ranging from beautiful snow-capped and green mountains, at times rolling hills, valleys, mountains cut in mushroom shape to give way to narrow roads and tunnels, gushing river like Satluj, Beas, Ravi etc, meadows giving ways to rock around highest peak,waterfalls,apple orchards with great variation in climatic condition..... more said about it will be less....

Tanflora -- Our own Keukenhof around Bangalore

Got an invite to visit a Rose farm from one of our running group member. Though this trip was long due it was like now or never as the season for roses almost comes to end with HOT Indian summer. From Bangalore we need to go via Sarjapur, Bagalur in Housr District of TamilNadu. Google name is Amuthugondapalli. Due to exam time many people could not come but it was still a sizable group of 30. 
Myself and Aarush joined another dad & son in car-pool to drive down there. Both the boys of same age became better and bitter friends quickly. The road was a long one for us as we have to travel on ORR to Sarjapur Junction and pass Decathlon and Sarjapur village till we reached Baglur Village. From there we took a right turn next to Police station and drive for 7+ KM to reach a place with a sign for Tenaflora. We were the first one to reach and as soon as Aarush and Abhinav got out of the car started to run and explore the vast open space. 
Soon we were joined with our hostess and …

A Weekend - supposed to be perfect

Aarush reminded me it's  Friday,  at breakfast table and that he should have the I-Pad with charger for the Weekend; somehow he remembers when it is Friday very well for his age. Well the weekend was supposed to be a just another weekend on the calendar with no specific plan. There were some weekend work/changes/releases at office but not a major ones. Nowadays my running group is doing long runs on Saturday instead of Sunday. And I thought to myself if I start sharp at 5 I should be able to  finish by 7:15  and back home before 7:30 so that I can take care of Aarush.
On Friday I headed to bed early put the alarm for 4:15 and I left home for GKVK at 4:30. It was bit spooky to reach there and be alone in the dark. The only street light was working was around gate of NCBS. So did few short rounds of quick jogging on the road luckily there were no stray dogs. As I was finishing up my warm up exercises one by one my running group members started to show up. Without much time at hand…

Pinkathon

Pinakthon is a initiative to encourage todays women of India to participate in active life style. Being  little active myself I know it is very difficult for modern urban Indian women to follow the same. There are many logistical issues staring from family, in-laws, sons, daughters, job and what not.

But the biggest block I think is they themselves as to take initiative of starting an active lifestyle and being committed to it which is not an easy commitment . Though I am not expecting them to run Full-Marathon in sub 3 hours but even if they can do atleast 30 minutes of speed walk or other cardiac activities on daily basis that would be great.
So this year, Pamela & Pixy signed up for the 5K events. Picture courtesy to Flashbulbzz.

Planning a summer escape - 2014

View Driving directions to Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India in a larger map
Looking for travel advice!!! Ticket booked from Bangalore to Chandigarh round trip. We flyout  on Sunday(13th April) and stay that night at Chandigarh and next day would like to start  for Himachal Pradesh. And return after almost 2 weeks, on Friday to Chandigarh and take next Morning flight to Bangalore on Saturday (26th April).

Goa ... beach and x-mas

In 2013 we had very little family vacation time. I personally travelled here and there for single nights few times due to running and other personal work. The worst was to spend a week in Calcutta just after Durga Pooja and not able to accomplish anything there. So when December vacation time was only few days away I booked for Goa for 4 nights without much thinking. Personally felt quite happy with the booking as got a decent price for Goa just before X-mas.
We left Bangalore on Saturday morning at around 04:30 morning; the road condition was great and for the first time I was maintaining 100/110 KPMH. The road widening on NH4 between Chitradurga and Neelmangla was completed and now we have 3 lanes on each side. We stopped at Kamat before Haveri and soon reached Hubli around 10ish. From there we left the toll road but the road condition did not deteriorate at all. Thanks to Supreme Courts’ verdict on Illegal mining : ) there was no over-sized dumper carrying Iron ores. We reached Ka…