Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Woaaah!

Came across this somewhere

"Nothing's better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, and your friends beside you."

YES :) !! It's never been better in a long time. ( touch wood )

Monday, November 12, 2007

Team Hoyt

Woah.. haven't seen something like this for a while.

Dad & son team running the triathlons / Marathons. Nothing uncommon. Just that the son suffers from cerebral palsy!

Truly awesome.

( Via Dragon )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Discovery!

'When was the last time you did something for the first time? Keep Discovering' goes Emirates tagline...

Today, is my answer

And yours ?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

20 years in 20 years

Thats the improvement to the new house buyer's profile in India. In the last 20 years, the average age of a new house buyer has reduced from 50-58 years to 30-38 years ( According to a report published in Business Line 2 days ago ) - A clear indication of spending power in the 30-40 year age group. The spending power is just going to penetrate even lower ( 25 year olds, depth ) and to a larger group ( more people in the age group, breadth) in the coming years.

As for me, i have managed to resist the pressure from mom ( who else!! ) and despite the tempting offers she threw in ( offering a small part of the money required!! ).

This step will have to wait for a while..

Illayaraja - At his best !!

My carnatic-music trained brother sent me the link to this song by Illayaraja. The song is composed by 3 notes SA-RE-GA in carnatic & C,D,E in western. Its a tough one to compose , given the limitations ( to be sung only in the rising note ).

I should admit i couldn't figure out the nuances.

I liked the rhythm , nevertheless.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BITS Pilani, Gym Grounds, Marathon

Mahesh Krishnamoorthy ran the recently held marathon (42.2 km ) in Columbus, Ohio in 4:26:30.

Something about him...

He and I went to college together and on most days, we were the only ones running on the 400 m oval at the BITS, Pilani grounds in the evenings ( some days, we were the only ones in the ground !! ). And i used to comfortably out run him, every single time !!!

With this reality , both of us decided to enter into a bet ( before we left BITS in 2004). We decided that we will return to the same 400 m oval to do a 50 lap race 28 years later, at 50! ( I was so confident, that i really upped the stakes :) )

Now i realise that the only time i was better, was when we ran during our college days. Last year, when he was down in Chennai, he kicked my back... while i was huffing and puffing to complete the 20 km run, he was cooling off at the end point with the shoes off and waiting for me to finish ( prly 25 mins slower ??? )

and i ran my first marathon and i finished ( ok ok, that talks about my timing ... 5:59 ). And Mahesh ran his first half ( 1:42 !!! ) and just did his first full ( 4:26 !!! ) ( and i say, i ran in INDIA and he in the US !! difficult conditions, i've run in !, my excuse )

I still have 25 years to improve though ... ( am just hoping someone ties him up inside his house in Cincinnati).

This aside - the reason for the improvement. He was extremely dedicated to running. He never misses his run ( lesson for me !! ) . Runs 10k on most days. When i speak to our common pals in Cincinnati, they tell me that if anyone wants to meet with Mahesh, they have to either go to the grounds or to the research lab !! oh yes, the other thing - he just doesn't stop at running. He has been awarded a fellowship to do more research in fluid dynamics ( not sure of specifics ). He won a few awards at a national conference for his work,recently !!

And he says, his running made him more focussed on his research !!

Sooper stuff Yogi! Hope to learn from you :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sky high !

I finally have access to a number of TV Channels - Specifically looking forward to watching a lot of sports ( yaaay ) and Discovery & Nat Geo channels. Been almost 7 years since i watched TV on a regular basis. Thanks to some nice and sooper generous pals - I finally have a TATA SKY satellite TV connection at home.

This is a b'day gift from the bunch ! And i was mighty surprised. Thanks a ton guys and girls!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ennem Maa Thozhi..

Sometimes ( very rarely , though ), we end up listening to just one song in a day. Nopes, not just once - One song ALL DAY. With the REPEAT ON, i listened to the folk song by Vedanth Bharadwaj, the whole of yesterday. A bunch of us went for a story telling session on Sunday ( despite the heavy rains) where Vedanth performed. He had us in a trance, to say the least. Was worth wading through the waters... definitely!

This song ( Ennem maa thozhi ) can be found towards the latter part of the You tube video below. Thanks Vedanth for sharing this one.

Video , btw, is made by Vedanth's pal Bindu Malini. Awesome creativity.

Enjoy!

Btw, i have the mp3 of "Ennem maa thozhi...". Mail me if you want this one.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A week and a Weekend

One 20 hour work day
two 18 hour work days
Packed work week
My Cricket team chasing 189 in 22 overs and winning, on saturday
Meet passionate entrepreneurs on saturday night over drink and fun
Garba and dancing ( ok ok trying to !!) with pals 11 pm to 3 am on saturday midnight
Head home for more fun at my house party with pals , till 5 am ( sorry i slept at 4 !! )
Head out to play ultimate frisbee at 5:30 am ( dark red eyes!! )
Burn lung at the frisbee game
Work on Sunday afternoon
Watch McLaren lose ( :( ) over dinner
Write this post at 12 midnight, Sunday

Love my work and play ( the orders change but the intensity remains!! )

P.S Missed running with ChennaiRunners :( . Damn...

In or Out ?

Are the In and Out stores found in the petrol pumps - In or Out ?

While filling up diesel at the petrol pump yesterday, the sight of the well stocked "In & Out " store made me think. "In & Out" stores are the retail outlets in most Bharat Petroleum fuel stations.

Am thinking aloud here - Do let me know what you think.

If " In & Out " has to make money, the store has to bring people in. Obviously, the biggest target customers are the people who come to fill fuel. In the western nations, in the absence of a fuel pump attendant, the car drivers / owners fill fuel in their cars on their own and are forced to go into the petrol station office ( in all cases, a retail outlet is a part of the office ).

If we look at the Indian scenario, the petrol pump attendant fills fuel and the car drivers/owners pay cash near the pump and leave away from the station. Also, the space constraints limit the drivers from parking the cars and getting into these retail outlets.

The only time i went into the retail outlet was when a bunch of us were driving around at 2 am and were hunting for a non-alcoholic drink.

Unless customers are drawn into this store, this model may not work.

Would love to hear what you think about this .

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Life and Living

All of us will die. Until then, we can live. Here is a man who has lived fully - Read this , this , this and this.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Beauty & Economics

Fabrice has this funny post on his blog - a question and answer on Craigslist.

My dear gold medalist ( both BA and MA Economics !! ) friend Archu will find the answer part really interesting!!!

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy. I’m not from New York. I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that’s where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won’t get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she’s not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won’t hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I’m 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I’ve seen really ‘plain jane’ boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I’ve seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What’s the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I’m putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I’m being up front about it. I wouldn’t be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn’t able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

PostingID: 432279810

THE ANSWER:

Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I’m not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here’s how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a cr@ppy business deal. Here’s why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here’s the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity…in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won’tbe getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you’re 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold…hence the rub…marriage. It doesn’t make good business sense to “buy you” (which is what you’re asking) so I’d rather lease. In case you think I’m being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It’s as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as “articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful” as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn’t found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn’t need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you’re going about it the right way.
Classic “pump and dump.”

I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Girls, Running in Marina and Men

Running on the Marina sands is one of the best running experiences. It feels like you are lugging some 20 kg weight strapped to your legs. It feels even better when you do a 200 metre sprint on a hard road, at the end of the workout - gravity doesn't seem to affect you at all and you can really TAKE OFF!

Ok, that is not the point of this post.

Whenever i've run at Marina ( on the inner tar road ) with a girl, i've a great time (it is because of the company, obviously :P ) !! . It is also really interesting to observe the men ( who form the majority of the morning walkers / joggers and most are in the 30's , 40's and 50's ). Some points..

  • I stare at men ( ok ok I am quite straight .. ) for like... ages and not one has noticed that ( for he is staring as well )
  • The velocity of the man in front relative to us decreases considerably from the spotting time till we pass him / them after which it picks up again
  • When i spot an interesting girl in front of us and coming towards us, then my velocity with respect to her decreseas as well ( oh yes, am not a hypocrite!! )
  • And if the girl in front has a man in tow, their relative velocity has little change on spotting us ( poor guy.. he doesnt have an option !! )
And yeah, it kind of hit me hard when i saw men staring at my pals - It really makes them uncomfortable with the attention and most times, it interferes a great conversation happening during the run. Sometimes, its hard to be a girl . ( I am not a saint and i sure do have spent times looking at the women ). Having had the opportunity to be almost in the shoes of the girl, i can get the discomfort men sometimes cause ( harmless intent , if i have to defend the men and me)

Friday, October 05, 2007

I Can't Believe...

+ I can't believe that we are world champions in T20 ( still it hasn't sunk in )

- I can't believe that Joginder Sharma is in the same league as Shane Warne, Glen McGrath , Wasim Akram , Joel Garner, Kapil Dev , Muttiah Muralitharan and a few others ( all are bowlers in cricket world cup winning teams !! ). Wish he proves me wrong, given his domestic cricket credentials.

+ I can't believe that Chennairunners has grown to 280 members and makes a real impact on people's lives every day ( if you don't get what am talking about, join the club )

+ I can't believe the rate at which India and importantly the smaller cities are growing . Clearly, a new India is emerging and suddenly, middle/lower class is seeing and taking advantage of the opportunties to grow big (Real estate prices in Coimbatore has grown some 600-1000% in the suburbs in the last 2-3 years )

+ I can't believe that Frisbee can be a gripping , lung burning , addictive team game ( if you want to experience this, land at Besant Nagar beach at 5:15 am on weekends )

( + positive wonder and - ( you know what i mean !! ) )

Update : Thanks Absdoobs. I believe i got the spelling right now!!



17 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Since the last 6-7 months, i've focussed my reading mainly on anything related to entrepreneurship, startups , success stories , lessons learnt and trends in the market among others. The article i found here exactly fit into what i was looking for. Thanks Karthik

Here it is...

John Osher has developed hundreds of consumer products, including an electric toothbrush that became America’s best-selling toothbrush in just 15 months. He also started several successful companies, including Cap Toys. He built sales to $125 million per year and then sold the company to Hasbro Inc. in 1997. But his most lasting contribution to the business world just may be a list of screw-ups he jotted on the back of a piece of paper.

“After I sold my business to Hasbro, I decided I’d make a list of everything I’d done wrong and [had] seen other entrepreneurs do wrong,” explains the 57-year-old Jupiter, Florida, serial entrepreneur. “I wanted to make a company that didn’t make any of these mistakes. I wanted to see if I could come up with the perfect company.”

He came up with an informal list of “16 Mistakes Start-Ups Make”-since expanded to 17-that has been used in a Harvard Business School case study, has been cited in many publications, and has become a part of what he teaches budding entrepreneurs in his frequent university lectures. He also used the list in 1999 when he started Dr. John’s SpinBrush to sell a $5 electric toothbrush that quickly became America’s best-selling toothbrush. In 2001, Procter & Gamble purchased the company from him for $475 million.

“I didn’t expect it to actually work like that, but it did,” Osher says. “It’ll probably never happen again. But we made a perfect business, from the beginning to selling it to another company.” Since then, however, Osher has created another product, an electric dish scrubber that he also sold to Procter & Gamble. And he has yet another health-and-beauty product-development effort underway-although he’s keeping the details close to the vest-in which he’ll try again to create the perfect business.

To home in on what lies behind the 17 mistakes, Osher told Entrepreneur what they are and how you can learn from them to achieve your own level of perfection.

Mistake 1: Failing to spend enough time researching the business idea to see if it’s viable. “This is really the most important mistake of all. They say 9 [out] of 10 entrepreneurs fail because they’re undercapitalized or have the wrong people. I say 9 [out] of 10 people fail because their original concept is not viable. They want to be in business so much that they often don’t do the work they need to do ahead of time, so everything they do is doomed. They can be very talented, do everything else right, and fail because they have ideas that are flawed.”

Mistake 2: Miscalculating market size, timing, ease of entry and potential market share. “Most new entrepreneurs get very excited over an idea and don’t look for the truth about how many people will want to buy it. They put together financial projections as part of a presentation to pump up their investors. They say, ‘The market size is 50 million people that could use this product, and if I could only sell to 2 percent of them, I’d be selling a million pieces.’ But 2 percent of a market is a lot. Most products sell way less than 1 percent.”

Mistake 3: Underestimating financial requirements and timing. “They set their financial requirements based on Mistake 1, and they go ahead and make a commitment to this much office space and this many computers, and hire a vice president of sales, and so on. Before they know it, based on sales projections that were wrong to start with, they have created costs that require those projections to be met. So they run out of money.”

Mistake 4: Overprojecting sales volume and timing. “They have already miscalculated the size of the market. Now they overproject their portion of it. They often say ‘There are 200 million homes, and I need to sell [to] x number of them.’ When you break it down, though, a much smaller number of those are really sales prospects. That makes it impossible to make their sales projections.”

Mistake 5: Making cost projections that are too low. “Their cost projections are always too low. Part of the reason is that they project much higher sales. There are also unknown reasons that always come out that usually make costs higher than planned. So on top of everything, their margins are now lower.”

Mistake 6: Hiring too many people and spending too much on offices and facilities. “Now you have lower sales, higher costs and too much overhead. These are the things that you see every day in companies that fail. And they all grow out of that first mistake: failing to research the size and viability of the opportunity.”

Mistake 7: Lacking a contingency plan for a shortfall in expectations. “Even if you’re realistic in your estimates to start, there are things that happen when you start a new business. Your sales ideas may be no good; bank rates may go up; there may be a shipping strike. These aren’t the result of poor planning, but they happen. More often than not, entrepreneurs just feel that something will come along when they need it. They don’t have contingency plans for it not working out at the size and time they want.”

Mistake 8: Bringing in unnecessary partners. “There are certain partners you need. For instance, you often need money, so you’re going to need money partners. But too many times, the guy with the idea takes on all his friends as partners. Many people don’t provide strategic advantages and don’t warrant ownership. But they’re all going to get 25 percent of the company. It’s totally unnecessary, and it’s a mistake. Before people are made partners, they have to earn it.”

Mistake 9: Hiring for convenience rather than skill requirements. “In my first business or two, I hired relatives. It was easy to do, but in many cases, they were the wrong people [for the job]. And it’s hard to fire people, especially if they’re relatives or friends. More time needs to be spent handpicking people based on skill requirements. You really need super-skilled people who can wear more than one hat. It just bogs you down when you hire people who can’t do the job.”

Mistake 10: Neglecting to manage the entire company as a whole. “You see this happen all the time. They’ll spend half their time doing something that represents 5 percent of their business. You have to have a view of your whole company. But too often, the person running it loses that view. They get involved in a part, and they don’t manage the whole. Whether I do this product or that product, whether I hire somebody, [I consider] how they [will] fit long term and short term in the big picture. Constantly try to see your big picture.”

Mistake 11: Accepting that it’s “not possible” too easily rather than finding a way. “I had an engineer who was a very good engineer, but with every toy we developed, he would say, ‘You can’t do it that way.’ I had to be careful not to accept this too easily. I had to look further. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re going to break new ground. A lot of people are going to say it’s not possible. You can’t accept that too easily. A good entrepreneur is going to find a way.”

Mistake 12: Focusing too much on sales volume and company size rather than profit. “Too much of your management is often based on volume and size. So many entrepreneurs want to say ‘I have a company that’s this big, with this many people, this many square feet of space, and this much sales.’ It’s too much [emphasis] on how fast and big you can build a business rather than how much profit it can make. Bankers and investors don’t like this. Entrepreneurs are so into creating and building, but they also have to learn to become good [businesspeople].”

Mistake 13: Seeking confirmation of your actions rather than seeking the truth. “This often happens: You want to do something, so you talk about it with people who work for you. You talk to [your] family and friends. But you’re only looking for confirmation; you’re not looking for the truth. You’re looking for somebody to tell you you’re right. But the truth always comes out. So we [test] our products, and we listen to what [the testers] say. We give much more value to the truth than to people saying what we’re doing is great.”

Mistake 14: Lacking simplicity in your vision. “Many entrepreneurs go in too many directions at once and do not execute anything well. Rather than focusing on doing everything right to sell to their biggest markets, they divide the attention of their people and their time, trying to do too many things at [one time]. Then their main product isn’t done properly because they’re doing so many different things. They have an idea and say they’re going to sell it to Wal-Mart. Then they say they’re going to sell to [the] Home Shopping Network. And then the gift market looks good. And so on.”

Mistake 15: Lacking clarity of your long-term aim and business purpose. “You should have an idea of what your long-term aim is. It doesn’t mean that won’t change, but when you aim an arrow, you have to be aiming at a target. This [concept will] often come up when people ask ‘How do I pick a product?’ The answer depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to [create] a billion-dollar company with this product, it may not have a chance. But if you’re trying to make a $5 million company, it can work. Or if you’re trying to create a company [in which] family members can be employed, it can work. Clarity of your business purpose is very important [but] is often not really part of the thought process.”

Mistake 16: Lacking focus and identity. “This was written from the viewpoint of building the company as a valuable entity. The company itself is also a product. Too many companies try to go after too many targets at once and end up with a potpourri rather than a focused business entity with an identity. When you try to make a business, it’s very important to maintain a focus and an identity. Don’t let it become a potpourri, or it loses its power. For instance, you say, ‘We’re already selling to Kmart, so we might as well make a toy because Kmart buys toys.’ If you do that, the company becomes weaker. A company needs to be focused on what it is. Then its power builds from that.”

Mistake 17: Lacking an exit strategy. “Have an exit plan, and create your business to satisfy that plan. For instance, I am thinking I might run my new business for two years and then get out of it. I think it’s an opportunity to make a tremendous amount of money for two years, but I’m not sure [whether] it’s proprietary enough to stop the competition from getting in. So I’m in with an exit strategy of doing it for two years and then winding down. I won’t commit to long-term leases, and after the first year, we’ll start watching the marketplace very closely and start watching inventories.

Simultaneously, I will keep the option open to sell it in case I can’t get something more proprietary. That means I won’t sign international agreements that would kill any opportunity to sell it to a multinational. I will make sure that the patent work is done properly. And I’ll try to make sure manufacturing is up to the standards of any multinational company that I might try to sell it to.

Another exit strategy can be to hand the company to [your] kids someday. The most important thing to do is to build a company with value and profits so you have all the options: Keep the company, sell the company, go public, raise private money [and so on]. A business can be a product, too.”


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Phenomenal - Randy Pausch

When this man and this man talk, we better listen. When they recommend you to do something, we better do ( Will be too silly, if someone asks me why.. ). I did just that . After a long day ( but fun day ) at work, the best thing i could've done is listen to Randy Pausch speak.

He is just PHENOMENAL. The lecture is about an hour and 25 mins long - please do watch/listen all of it. I stayed awake all through the lecture after a 16 hour day and really wished i could watch the man one more time. The talk is on "Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams "



Some notes from the last trip to Coimbatore...

  • Had to reach Coimbatore at 8 pm on friday, last. Had a ticket in the 6:50 PM Paramount airways flight from Chennai to Coimbatore. Started from my home at 5:15 PM, in the pouring rain to catch the flight ( thought the rains would keep the roads free and i could reach the airport on time ). I was almost right, till the auto crossed the first km, when we faced a massive traffic jam. Then the interesting bit - the smart auto driver got off the "main road", drove through the narrow lanes ( sometimes just the width of the auto) even though it costed him more to ferry me, once almost did a 90* spin trying to avoid a careless driver , went out of his way to keep me and my bags shielded from the pouring rain , asked for just Rs.100 from my house to the Airport ( the usual price i pay, without any bargaining from my side and despite the rain) and ensured i caught my flight on time. All this because i mentioned that i might be running late to catch a flight. I gave him an extra 30 bucks ( only because i just had a 500 on me . He deserved atleast a 50 )
  • Have flown by Paramount Airways flight twice so far. I'm IMPRESSED. At the cost of the economy flight ticket fare charged by other airlines, Paramount offers amazing service. The airline is miles ahead of the others operating in the country, currently. Jet Airways in its early days ( it is still going strong ) is the closest match to Paramount's service. Surely, if Paramount comes out with an IPO, i will fight to be the first in the queue ( if i have money, i.e )
  • Bro, another cousin R and I were talking about the profits of some industries located in Coimbatore. Another cousin S ( who has no access to the business world, no financial reports, no one talking serious business stuff around him ) was listening in to our conversation, butts in and tells a figure. We asked him how he got this number, since it was so close to the actual profits of the company. His answer " Probably about 2000 people are working in that company, each of them will contribute about 20,000 Rs in profits , so the total profit might be about 4 crore ". I was stunned. He is only in class 9.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Runs N Wickets

If you want to score your runs and take the opponent's wickets, join RunsNWickets.

That is the cricket team i play for. We are a bunch of passionate cricketers who meet up every weekend for a hit in the NETS or play a match. We also meet online using the google groups where the finer details about the game are shared and discussed.

Some photos from a recent game at Madras Christian College ( MCC) ground at Tambaram - One of the most scenic grounds i've played .

The green ground..


Vinoth ( Our keeper-batsman, who has played for TN under 17 team ) shows defense..



That is me, going hard after a cricket ball ..

Needless to say who won the game :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

My Paaatiee

She is the nicest lady i've ever met, the most caring person, totally pure - have never heard her say anything bad against anyone , she was almost like a kid - very innocent ( managed to take her innocence to the grave, quite an achievement considering the world she was in ) , she gave the best of education to her 6 kids ( all this despite being an ordinary worker in a textile mill ), sweated it out all her life ( if i was awake, i have never seen her sleeping after 5 am and she was always wide awake till 10 pm ) , went out of her way to feed a hungry soul , Never said NO when asked for any help, had amazing energy all her life (during her active days - she worked from morning 6 am to 4 pm and held the fort steady at home till 10 pm and she also walked from Coimbatore to Palani ( 150 km ) every year), brought up each of her grand kids in the best possible way, told us the stories - ( I looked forward to her stories of "those days" during bed time, whenever she stayed with us ) and she always had a beautiful smile on her face - My Paaaatieee, she was the bestest...

May her soul rest in peace.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

ECR Run # 3

ChennaiRunners had the big run for the quarter on September 16th.

No of Runners : 36
Total Distance : 26 km approx
Route : Toll booth on the ECR to Mamalla Beach Resort at Mahabalipuram

We called this event 40 x 30 - 40 people attempting 30 km run and we almost met the target. Runners met at 3:45 am at Dimensions Gym in Alwarpet and car pooled to the start point ( Toll Booth).

We had 2 cars that worked as mobile water points - they stopped every 5 km for the runners to get hydrated. Thanks to volunteers Savitri madam ( she is 50+ and her energy is amazing. She wants to finish a marathon very soon ), Ravikrishnan, Srivats, Jayant, Ramesh's driver and Bhargav's pal. They egged the runners on and supported us all the way to the finish line.

Weather aided out efforts - We never saw the sun till we reached the finish line. The finish point ( Mamalla Resort ) had ample space for us to walk around and some of us even took a dip in the sea. The weightlessness in the sea after the 26 km of pounding the leg received is just heavenly.

After a sumptuous meal and a fanatastic time with the runners, we left back to the start point. The runs always bring out great camaraderie at the finish line. It is almost as if the runners want to break free and make up for the "lonely" running moments...

Some photos

Ravi and Sundar at a water point. Savitri and Srivats , the enthusiastic volunteers.
Ram speeding away on the ECR ...
Shiva - 0 to 30 km in 3 months!!


Relaxing at the Mamalla

Sumptuous breakfast at Mamalla !!!

Hope to target 50 X 30 for the next run.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

T20 - Some thoughts

Totally enjoyed watching the T20 final ( Finals and the semi's are the only games i watched ). Some thoughts about the game, Indian cricket and more..

  • T20 is surely cricket's answer to the basketball challenge. Americans went the basketball way since the game offered excitement and uncertainity every second of the game and the game itself lasted only about 1.5 hours. From, what we saw in the worldcup, T20 can clearly match up to the "American" challenge
  • T20 world cup in 15 years will surely see stiff competition from the countries in the Americas
  • T20 worldcup in 15 years will probably structured the same way as the football world cup ( regional level competitions and then the world stage )
  • Bowlers need to be accurate all the time and have 2-3 types of deliveries to keep the batsman guessing. The 07 T20 finals saw Harbhajan being smashed for sixes. Harbhajan was attempting to just bowl 1 type of a ball ( fire the yorker in ) and the batsman can, by default, wait on the front foot to smash him. This puts the bowler under a lot of pressure to pitch on the right spot , ball after ball. On the other hand, Irfan Pathan kept mixing the balls - one was a slow offcutter, another was a quicker one, a short one ( at Afridi ), a fuller one and he was clearly successful
  • Also, the T20 worldcup clearly showed that the batsman has to have solid batting skills to excel. The batsmen who smashed - Yuvraj, Hayden, Misbah and others had a clear method to their hitting. T20 may not bring out the same grace from the batsman as a TEST match does, but it will surely match up to the One day international levels.
  • As a result of T20 games, if the One day international games are played ( i see the one day games dying out very soon ), the 50 over a side games will see totals of 400+ being scored regularly
  • Lastly, i couldn't feel more sorry for Sachin - He gave his everything for the Indian team for 17 years. Sometimes, it was as if he was the only guy who was playing straight - literally and otherwise. He deserved that world cup the Indian boys won as much as guys such as Yuvraj, RP Singh and Dhoni, if not more. He should have been a part of the team. That cup should be dedicated to his contribution for the Indian cricket. ( Joginder must be one lucky guy on planet earth. He kept bowling at all places on the pitch and still managed to be a part of the world cup winning side). Sorry Sachin - Life is really cruel sometimes

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Things i will do before i kick the bucket

Here is a dream "to do" list - things i will do before i kick the bucket ( have more to add than that appears here and will do so at an appropriate time )

  1. Finish a Marathon ( Finished the Bangalore 2006 and Mumbai 2007 marathons )

  2. Run a Marathon in under 3 hours and 30 mins

  3. Take a cricket team to tournament victory ( Corporate league or local divisional league )

  4. Write a book

  5. Play the guitar

  6. Learn to dance comfortably ( move away from my current embarassing moves on the floor!! )

  7. Keep playing active sports ( run marathons, play cricket, badminton , tennis etc ) even after 70's

  8. Have a house by the beach

  9. Have a house in the hills

  10. Build a lasting entreprise

  11. Drive on an F1 track ( If not an F1 car, atleast a Ferrari )

  12. Do cross country biking ( Atleast 1000 km )

  13. Learn to cook !!!

  14. Learn to speak Hindi and French ( at the least! )

  15. Read biology lessons again ( i sucked at it at school and want to have a another go !! )

  16. Win a competitive 100 m race ( Have won at school, college levels )

  17. Set a record in Athletics at a competitive level ( 400 m junior Coimbatore record is in my name J )

  18. Finish a triathlon race

  19. Travel to all the continents

  20. Explore a rain forest

  21. Travel around India on a Rs.100 a day budget

  22. Ride through the tour de france mountain section

  23. Read the college physics book again ( and understand the concepts )

  24. Build a car from scratch

  25. Become more energy efficient ( thanks to my bro's inspiration )

  26. Fly an aircraft

  27. Learn to be efficient when working 14+ hours

  28. Use few words to convey a point and do so convincingly

  29. ....

This will be a rolling blog post - will update when the time is RIGHT to add to the list / crossed the action.

Am tagging my buddies below, to come up with a similar blog post

  • Amie
  • Anu
  • Nithya
  • Sumi
  • Abhinav
  • Arvind / Neeru
  • Boston

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Children !

Went to a pal's place recently and spoke to his kid( who is in LKG) for a short while. I realise, as i write now, that the last time i interacted at length with a small kid was when my cousin brother ( who is in class 6 ) was 6-7 years younger!

The innocence, their questions, their answers to our questions, their tone, laugh, walk, interests, experessions, actions... one will only fall head over heals for those, like i did

Some memories...

I asked the kid , what his favourite colors were - he said " i like whyteeee and bleeuuu ( expression being happy excitement and wide grin... ). I like my shirts to be whyteeee... just like my teeth ( he had a wide grin... and pointed to his teeth and told us how white it should be..) "

He was playing with his toys, mainly cars. He fished out some toys, from the bag, which included a dump truck. His dad tried to join his "play" with the dump truck and his typical kid response "Appa, don't play with the dump truck. The dirt ( since it "carries" waste and not the toy being dusty ) will enter into your eyes... "

Thoroughly bathed myself in the innocense ...

This kid is super active and super smart.. someone to watch out for !!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chennai Runners on India Today

India Today has a piece on Chennai Runners in its edition dated 17th September 07. The "Simply Chennai" section has this piece. It was 2 weeks ago, when the runners met with the India Today Photographer and the correspondent at Anna university grounds. After a number repeated routines to get the right picture ( and spending an hour in the process and having fun.. ), the memory card in the photohrapher's high tech camera gave up!! and we did the same routine again a few days later.

Here are the scanned pages - Thanks to Ram for these!

Hope more of you join us for the early morning runs - 256 is current group size. Check www.chennairunners.com



On Turning 25...

Have gone past a yearly milestone for the past 25 years, but the last crossing ( just over a week ago) is clearly taking me into a new world . I can clearly see the transition, with its hazy beginings 6-7 months ago, becoming more clear. If look back at the last 25 years, i had 2 BIG dreams - One was to play cricket for india ( Day dream, as it turned out to be... ) and the other to be a successful entrepreneur.

Though i have played Cricket at reasonably competitive levels, i was far away from the dreams. Never worked towards it - Spent the extra 3 hours required everyday to hone the cricket skills in studying !! The fear of falling flat on my face made me take a safe decision - to study. The trade offs we make always takes to the point of no return. Yes, i do play cricket still ( it energises me everytime i play - its my recharge point ) but far far away from where i wanted to be ... it turned out to be an unreal dream !

With the entrepreneur dream, having learnt from my previous mistakes, am putting myself on the line. Am not going to be safe and i hope to be doing a "turning 50" post with more positives to it than the current one. It sure will be an exciting next 25 and more...

And for the crossing itself, it turned to be very memorable - thanks to some thoughtful pals !

The surprise landing at my place with the cake was easily the best - thanks :) ( best surprises come cheap !! ), the chirpy afternoon/quiet evening drive to mahabs and back, the calls at the stroke of 12, calls and messages on "both days" ( if you know what that is ), the calls from London, Bombay, Bangalore, TN and Costa Rica, the many messages on orkut, the sms at 3:06 pm on 29th , the dunking into the sea at besant beach after the frisbee, the mails and the quiet dinner and the breakfast and many more - It sure was a memorable "crossing" !

Thanks for making me feel really special .

Update - Apologise to the person who called up at 6 am on 29th and sang a beautiful " Happy B'day" song . Am really sorry to have missed this out.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Shauk Hai - Rahman's best!

Anu has an amazing ear for music - digs out some brilliant ones from the repository, every now and then! Am hooked to her latest discovery - Have been listening non-stop for over an hour before this post! Thanks girl !

Surely, this song will rank as one of Rahman's best.

My hindi "Knowledge" required that i google for the translation of lyrics - Lyrics are beautiful
Thanks to Arvind, for the lyrics and translation.

( I have an mp3 version as well. Mail me (karthikeyan.vijayakumar at gmail.com) if you want this one).


Raat ka shauk hai

I aspire of the night

Raat ki saundhi si khamoshi ka
That earthen silence of the night

Shauk hai
I aspire

Subha ki roshni
That light of the morning

Bezubaan subho ki aur gungunati
Humming toward the mum morning

Roshni ka Shauk hai, ho shauk hai
I aspire of light, oh…I aspire

San sani anwlon ka
Of those pungency of amlas (I aspire to taste)

Ke ishq ke banwlon ka
Of those crazyness of the lovers (I aspire to have)

San sani anwle
Those pungent amlas

Ke ishq ke banwle
Those crazy lovers

Barf se khelte badolon ka
Of those clouds playing with the ice

Shauk hai
I aspire (to touch)

Kaash ye zindagi Khel hi khel mein kho gayi hoti
I wish this life were a child's play

Raat ka shauk hai
I aspire of night

Neend ki goliyon ka
Of those sleeping peels (I aspire)

Khwab ke loriyon ka
Of those lullabies of dreams (I aspire to listen)

Neend ki goliyan
Those sleeping peels

Khwab ke loriyan
Those lullabies of dreams

Bezubaan aus ki boliyon ka
Of those (unsaid) words of mum dews (I aspire to listen)

Shauk hai
I aspire

Kaash ye zindagi binkahe binsune so gayi hoti
I wish this life had gone to sleep without saying or listening
anything

Subha ki roshni
That light of the morning

Bezubaan subho ki aur gungunati
Humming toward the mum morning

Roshni ka Shauk hai, ho shauk hai
I aspire of light, oh…I aspire

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Man who Moved the Mountains..

"Every morning, for 22 long years, a frail, diminutive man, barefoot and clad in a loin cloth, would trudge two kilometres to a hillock of solid rock and chip away at it with a hammer and chisel. Bemused onlookers thought he had lost his mind, and he was an object of great fun for village urchins. But the women of the village, young and old, admired him, for his was a labour of love "

- You can be rich, you can be powerful, and you can be famous, but you won't amount to much of anything until you change the world-

"Dasrath Manjhi was building a memorial to his wife Phaguni Devi—one that won't ever find a place in hallowed global must-visit lists, but can well be passed down from this generation to the next as a monument of love. A poor man's Taj, literally. Not for its aesthetics, but for the way it symbolises the human spirit's capacity to endure, its indomitability. Dasrath had undertaken a Herculean task, perhaps unequalled in recent human history. The direct beneficiaries may be few—the residents of Gelaur, a remote hamlet in Bihar's Gaya district—but the act itself is a gift to us all: a fable for our times."

More here

Its really amazing, the extent a human being can go to conquer something .. if they set their minds to it ...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sports Story #4 : Spectator and more

Of the many gripes about sports in India, there is nothing more damaging than the lack of spectator interest in the games beyond the national stage. Support and encouragement to the sports and games played at the local level will be a big boost to the sports in general and players in specific. My friend in the US regularly talks about going to watch his local football team play. He and his friends take a picnic meal along and enjoy the weekend supporting and appreciating the local league games. In contrast, the only people who turn up at the local games in India are the player's family.

Can this situation change ? ...I don't have an answer. But i do know of someone who stands by a cricket team like a rock in India - In an earlier life, i used to captain the cricket team of Frost & Sullivan in Chennai. This highly enthusiastic team used to play competitive cricket against other corporate teams almost every other weekend. We always could count on this person to turn up and support the team - whether the game happens at the easy to access, in-city grounds such as St.Bedes or the grounds that are miles away and have to be reached through "national highways" ( Yes yes, grounds beyond Tambaram in Chennai ).

She has played the role of a 12th man taking water to the thirsty souls in the burning heat in May, been the cricket scorer when the players dumped the work on her , team's photographer clicking away the snaps and promptly mailing it to the players for "keeps", Run around and organise farewell gifts for players moving away from the team ( Cricket and Frost ) and importantly, cheer the players ball after ball ... For over a year now.

If only we had many more of her tribe, am sure there would be some positive change in the sporting culture in India.

Thanks AC !!

Here is a video she put together ... That was one of the best teams i've been a part of and it shows in the photos!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spyware , Adware, Spybot , Ad-Aware and More

Am trying to show off my knowledge on computer security here - Recent addition to my knowledge repository . When you spend all Sunday reading and working on straightening out the security bit , you are allowed that freedom to show off, even if thats not the intention. If you are reading this piece, you must do the following to save your Sunday for other things..

  • Install Spybot and Ad-Aware .


If you are using XP or Vista, ensure the firewall settings are resonably tight. Both are free to install legally. Inaddition to the regular anti-virus, these are must-haves. They help to identify any spyware, adware or malware in your computer.

My computer was accessed into and the hacker had left "Key logger" and "Adwares" in my laptop. All my key strokes were stored and sent to the hacker. Thankfully, my bank and credit card accounts are safe, though i have been using online banking quite often these days. Am no longer the administrator of my computer and don't have access to Control Panel, Registry Editor etc.

Was working long days for sometime now and was looking forward to this Sunday to take it easy. But, to waste a Sunday tending to the computer, killed me. I could've done fun things .. like a neat blog post, play cricket or read - things i really was looking forward to. Things happen , when you least expect them to - both the good and the bad .

And am going to spend all of tomorrow on formating the hard disk and reinstalling millions of applications. Great start to the week !!

(And all through this , i never lost my cool - Something i worked on , in the past few months! )

Monday, August 13, 2007

John D Rockefeller

Sorry guys. Not finding time to post often ( Best excuse for not being productive !! ).
Found the following piece here ( Fabrice never ceases to amaze with his range of thoughts, must read for everyone! ).

All the while, John Rockefeller, with the dogged patience that would defeat scores of embattled competitors, waited determinedly in the wings. …
Rockefeller succeeded because he believed in the long term prospects of the business and never treated it as a mirage that would soon fade.

Thrift:

Again, like Weber’s ideal capitalist, “he avoids ostentation and unnecessary expenditure, as well as conscious enjoyment of hispower, and is embarrassed by the outward signs of the socialrecognition which he receives.”

By avoiding talk of money as unbecoming, Rockefeller concealed from his children the magnitude of his fortune. When Bessie [daughter]enrolled at Vassar in the mid-1880s … she went on a shopping expedition with some classmates to purchase a Christmas present for a favorite teacher. At a Manhattan store, they found the perfect gift: a $100 desk. Since Bessie and her companions had only $75, they asked the merchant if he could wait a fewdays for the remaining $25. He agreed to do so if a New York businessman would vouch for them. “My father is in business,”Bessie offered meekly. “He will vouch for us.” Who is your father? asked the man. “His name is Mr. Rockefeller,” she said. “John D. Rockefeller; he is in the oil business.”The merchant gasped. “John D. Rockefeller your father!” When he agreed to ship the furniture, Bessie imagined he had merely changed his mind to please them.

Dislike of show-offs:

Rockefeller and Morgan were antithetical types, offering a vivid contrast between the ascetic and the sybarite, the Roundhead and the Vavalier. As the chieftain of the Anglo-American financial establishment, the wellborn Morgan, expensively educated in America and Europe, was a consummate insider inthe business world. … Blustery and theatrical, Morgan was impetuous and hot-blooded… At his headquarters at 23 WallStreet, he often seemed harried, ruling by brilliant snap judgements. Fond of luxury, Morgan inhabited the world of the ultrarich, with their gargantuan cigars, fine port, and oversized steam yachts.
For Rockefeller, Morgan embodied all the sins of pride, luxury,and arrogance. When they first met … they took an instant dislike to each other.

[Rockefeller’s] retirement was equally remarkable for its omissions. For instance, he lacked the wanderlust that infected other rich men, such as J.P. Morgan, in their later years. He never collected art or exploited his wealth to broaden his connections or cultivate fancy people. … He showed no interestin old-money clubs, parties, or organizations. … When someone expressed surprise to Rockefeller that he had not gotten a big head, he replied, “Only fools get swelled up over money.”Comfortable with himself, he needed no outward validation of what he had accomplished. We can criticize him for lack of imagination, but not for weakness.

True philanthropy (as opposed to self aggrandization in the guise of philanthropy):

Before Rockefeller came along, rich benefactors had tended to promote pet institutions (symphony orchestras, art museums,or schools) or to bequeath buildings (hospitals, dormatories,orphanages) that bore their names and attested to their magnanimity. Rockefeller’s philanthropy was more oriented toward the creation of knowledge, and if it seemed more impersonal, it was also far more pervasive in its effect.

“I had no ambition to make a fortune. Mere money-making has never been my goal, I had an ambition to build.”

“The person who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed; you must have a larger ambition. There is no mystery in business success. If you do each day’s task successfully, and stay faithfully within these natural operations of commercial laws which I talk so much about, and keep your head clear, you will come out all right.”

“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”

“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”

“Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.”

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.”

Monday, August 06, 2007

Change the World..

"You can be rich, you can be powerful, and you can be famous, but you won't amount to much of anything until you change the world"
( And i want to do just that.... )

Monday, July 30, 2007

Senji Fort Hike

Went hiking today and explored the 2 forts at Ginjee - Raja and Rani Forts ( Senji Forts). I almost wanted to skip it - Had "work" to do . But the good weather and thought of hiking up the fort enticed me into the plan. I am glad i did the hike!
The drive to the fort was quite scenic and smooth - An experience that is not expected in a drive out of Chennai. The fort is a 3 hour drive away from Chennai that took us through NH 45 speed way till Dindivanam. From Dindivanam, we were on the much smaller and less traffic country-side road to Thiruvannamalai which took us to the Fort, 15 km into the road! For someone who has driven a bit in India, the NH 45 speedway from Chennai to Dindivanam was a pleasant experience. Roads were wide ( 3 lanes each way ) and small hillocks by the road side were green topped. Driver had the "driver's" high on the drive and the passengers had a high on the visuals. Its a tribute to the roads and the scenic roadside that we went on driving and missed the turn towards thiruvannamalai at Dindivanam!! The road from Dindivanam to the Fort ( on the way to Thiruvannamalai ) passed through the small villages and was thickly tree lined. These trees had a "hood" formation on top of the road. Reminded me of my days in Coimbatore and the million road trips through the villages that dad has taken us through! ( Pic below is my first ever "click" using a pro cam! and am hooked!! )

We eventually reached Senji fort ( There are 2 forts - Raja's and Rani's and am not sure why they both lived seperately!!! ). We decided to go up the Rani's fort first. Rani's is a shorter climb to the summit and probably has an elevation of 600 feet from the base to the top.

We climbed up at a slow and a steady pace, hiking through the beaten steps and also through off beat path over the rocks. Sometimes we were on all fours, trying to climb up a steep rock.


It took us 20 mins to reach the summit. The view from the top was fantastic. We explored the fort at the summit. The climb down took a longer time since the steps were not broad and we had to slow down the pace and watch our foot placement. In all, we took and an hour and 10 mins from the car park to the summit and back.




It was 2 pm and we drove back to Ginjee town for lunch . After spending time to hunt for a "decent" place to eat, we realised the restaurant had a long queue of hungry people. We decided to have a "fruit-lunch" and got apples, grapes and bananas to have them on the way up the Raja's fort.
Raja's fort is a longer climb to the top - 4 km and about 1500 feet elevation from the base. The base was a long walk from the car park and we guys enjoyed the conversation and the fruits. It was 3 pm when we reached the base and were informed that the fort closes at 4:45 pm. We were tired by then but decided to tread along for the next 30 mins and turn back.
This place is filled with monkeys and you are advised not to carry any eatables with you. As Karthik realised later, he literally had to wrestle with the monkeys to carry the fruits safely ( Yes, made sense to give the fruits away to the monkeys but Karthik had a logic - Monkeys just "learnt" to scare the humans into giving up the eatables).
At this point Karthik and I decided to run up the steps ( that made up for my morning run-miss). Both of us were panting hard in a short while . We managed a clean run for 8 mins and waited for the other guys to join us. At this point , we finally called the hiking quits, some distance from the summit and turned back.

We were exhausted. Sat at a "view point" for a while soaking in the view and the conversation. The bunch was largely enthusiastic and pushed each other to move out of our comfort zones, though the exhaustion was clear. Thanks guys, for a fabulous day!

We were famished by now and wanted to drive to the nearest "decent" restaurant. But decided to keep the hunger at bay and drive to the SRM hotel which was an hour's drive away. No prizes for guessing that we finished off the plates clean at the restaurant!!

After a great day outdoors, all of us drove back to chennai with tons of pleasant memories... if only we had completed the second climb as well, the day would've been complete. The unfinished climb will surely make me go back very soon...

Planning a run here sometime. If you are keen to do a run ( 2 laps of 8 km, a clean 16 km of climb) do get in touch with me. This pic sure is inviting for a runner. Thanks to Manu for the snaps. He is a pro photographer works magic his Nikkon D70 and really got me hooked to photography. Some day soon, will get my hands on a Nikkon D80.

Dashboard
Place : Senji Fort
Route : Chennai - Dindivanam - (15 mins on the Dindivanam - Thiruvannamalai road ). 3 hour drive away from Chennai.
Infrastructure : There is none at the fort. Please carry water along and leave behind any eatables in the car.
Rating : A for the roads to the fort , B for the climb and the view from the top!
P.S. "Kid" if you are reading this, don't kill me ! Will surely plan a hike there soon!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Autorickshaws - The lessons i learnt

Last 3 years in Chennai has been a very interesting period - Learnt tons of lessons ( some of which i learnt on my own and "life" taught me most of them). From the "lesson" repository, i bring out the guide for anyone attempting to use the 3 wheel - scooter ( Autorickshaws ) in Chennai.

Rules for Rickshaw Passengers :

  1. Never go to the "Auto Stand" to get into an auto. Demand-Supply economics don't work here. Too many autos and only you around - you expect a clear bargaining power. But it just doesn't work here thanks to the Unity of autodrivers.

  2. So, always try to get the attention of an "empty-passenger" auto guy who is passing by on the road. Empty auto's that follow the stopped auto will provide you with a favourable demand-supply scenario. Besides, the stopped auto guy will rather have you in his auto than go empty.
  3. Never give a "big name" destination. Period. If your actual destination is Taj Coramandel, then your "Auto destination" is Nungambakkam church. If the destination is Park Sheraton, then "Auto Destination" is Amma Naana store. Once an auto guy reduced 15 buck on his own when i told him i was going to Raghavendra Mutt!! He told me that he won't charge unfairly since i was going to the "mutt"!! ( In reality, "Mutt" was a mere landmark for a meeting with a pal !!! )

  4. If you take an Auto at some unearthly hour, this is how a typical Auto guy would negotiate and the counter. "Auto Guy - Its too late and i can't get passengers after dropping you and you pay 1.5 x the day time rate . You - Roads are free without any traffic and you can ride freely and save on petrol ! "

  5. If your destination is a congested location - "Auto Guy - Traffic is very dense and you can pay 20 buck on top of the usual charges . You - You drop me at the destination and tons of new passengers swarm around you at my destination.
  6. If you see a passenger getting off an Auto, that is the Auto you must take. Auto guy would be pleased to keep his "meter" ticking and would be willing to make a trade-off.

More when i "experience". If you know any, let me know!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Saturday Ultimate Frisbee - Photos!

Some photos that Manu shot during the practise session before the start of the ultimate frisbee game. This guy has an eye for the "moment"!
Nanditha showing off her clean throwing skills!!

That was a neat catch, on the toes!!


Anu and I discussing the nuances!! ( probably discussing about the Dosa at Murugan Idli after the game ) . This fit girl ran up and down the sandy playing space ! Some girl this one!!

Going after a frisbee throw that went wild !

Manu's shooting skills on display!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Another ride into the sea!

The sea is inviting. Period.

For the entertainment starved Chennai makkal, sea offers the best escape route for fun and adventure. Needless to say, my pals and I are totally in love with the catamaran rides !

Here are some pics from a recent ride into the Bay!

Pals with the lifejacket strapped on and rushing to the sea!

We jumped into the catamaran and rolled over the waves for about 3-4 km into the sea . Catamaran was stopped and rope was thrown in and the guys followed, dived into the inviting sea! After 45 mins of peacefully floating around, swimming, ducking the pals, splashing the waters and more, we turned back to the land.

Personally, i find that these rides "complete" my weekend. It refreshes me and helps me unwind!

I know i will go back again... very soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Marathon" by Rush

Rush performs "Marathon" here .
Found the lyrics to be pretty much in-sync with the marathon spirit. Here it is
"Marathon"
It's not how fast you can go
The force goes into the flow
If you pick up the beat
You can forget about the heat
More than just survival
More than just a flash
More than just a dotted line
More than just a dash
It's a test of ultimate will
The heartbreak climb uphill
Got to pick up the pace
If you want to stay in the race
More than just blind ambition
More than just simple greed
More than just a finish line
Must feed this burning need
In the long run...
[Chorus:]
From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes
One moment's high, and glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades in the summer sky
Your meters may overload
You can rest at the side of the road
You can miss a stride
But nobody gets a free ride
More than high performance
More than just a spark
More than just the bottom line
Or a lucky shot in the dark
In the long run...
[Chorus]
You can do a lot in a lifetime
If you don't burn out too fast
You can make the most of the distance
First you need endurance
First you've got to last...
Via Jacob

Monday, July 16, 2007

30 X 30 - Fun Run and a real HIGH!

30 X 30 - 30 runners doing a distance of 30 km. Chennairunners came close to doing that yesterday.
Route : Toll booth on ECR to Mahabalipuram
Participants : 24 runners sped away from the start line
Distance : 27.6 km
Thats the running gang at toll booth on ECR, starting point ( Reflecting stickers on every runner's shirt was an nice idea by Ramesh)
We woke up at 2:45 am, met at the in-city assembly points at 3:45 am, drove to the toll booth on the ECR and started off at 5:30 am. Sunday was a perfect day for running - Sun hiding behind the clouds and the cool weather helping the running efficiency ( or energy will be wasted trying to cool down the body ).
Personally, it was a mixed day for me - Ran at a good clip in the first half of the run. Smooth and steady and always had my heart beat under 164 beats per minute ( Averaged 147 beats per minute). Shahid and i ran together during this part of the run and we really cruised along. We did some 16 km in 1 hour and 40 mins, non stop. I stopped at this "support point" to tend to the blister on both my feet - Result of using a "stiff" pair of socks. The volunteers helped with the some band-aids and i started off again. But the run was never the same - i did run/walk cycles here on and finally finished the distance in 3 hours and 37 mins. Was a bit disappointed since i was targeting 3 hours and 10 minute finish.
Volunteers - Aravind, Satish and Abhinav ( and Jaykanthan in his Bullet ) readily volunteered to be our support crew for this run. They loaded Satish's Maruti 800 with water bottles and first aid .

That is the support car, with Satish at the wheels, Abhinav - the other guy at the front and Aravind hiding in the darkness, at the back.

"Mobile support" came to our rescue at 30 min intervals and ensured that the runners never went "dry". Their help with the band-aid for the blisters, was timely for me! They did the difficult task of helping the entire pack - which meant that had to stay with the lead pack who were miles in front and also aid the trailing pack. Hats off guys , for missing your Sunday morning sleep and helping us! and btw, all these guys are regular runners. Aravind and Abhinav have completed a half marathon and Satish has done 3 full marathons and 8 half marathons!!!

We completed the run at Coral Surf Restaurant at Mahabalipuram - These guys at Coral had the best welcome for the runners - Buckets of ice, refreshing towel, a lawn to stretch and space to move around, besides a sumptuous breakfast with Idli, Vada, Masala Dosa and Pongal!!.

Runners enjoyed the hospitality and the experience. Only miss was the "swimming pool"!!
The gang at the Finish line, Coral Surf Restaurant.
Highlights of the run
  • 20 Runners finished the distance
  • Some guys were so determined to finish the run, despite the physical discomfort they were in. Hats off guys.
  • Since we always ran facing the traffic on the right side of the road, we had a "safe" run
  • Amazing camaraderie amongst the runners. Always wondered why most sports "teams" displayed this trait which only a few "corporate teams" did.
  • Some of the runners finished the race only because they ran/walked in "groups" and pushed each other to reach the finish ! If you want to experience group fun, join the group.
  • ECR route beyond toll booth is one of the beautiful routes to run in Chennai with the sea close by and not many people on the roads - Its just you, your thoughts and the sound of your foot steps (or music on the IPOD).
  • Fastest runners ( Karthik "kallu" and Hari ) finished the run in 2 hours and 35 mins !!!! Serious running that.

Chennairunners is planning to have this run, once every quarter. Don't miss the run next time!

Thanks to Ram and Satish, for the photos!

More accounts of this run :

Ram on 30 x 30 at Chennai Living.