Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Idea # 1 - Adventure Company in Chennai

I've been thinking about Entrepreneurship since the school days, dad being the initiator and the inspiration! Have thought of a number of ideas and i thought i would share some of them here. If you plan to use the idea, feel free do so - Just contribute 25% of the profits to my running group's social programs!!!
So here we go
Idea # 1 - Adventure Company in Chennai
What will it do: Make people experience "fun" and "adventure" in Chennai.
Need: Having lived the good part of last 2 and a half years in Chennai, i see a lack of entertainment options for the people. Beyond the multiplexes and the drive down the ECR or the cheaper option of spending the evenings at the beach or the "healthier" [pun intended] option of pubs, there isn't really much to choose from, to spend the weekends or even the weekday evenings.
How will we do it : Organise some fun and adventurous events - Catamaran rides into the sea, deep sea fishing experience, night stays in tents - on the beach, group cycling rides and many more.
Most organisations in Chennai have a 2 day weekend and this should help.
Also, the company can look at providing these experiences for Corporates!
What do you guys think?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I had a chance to spend a weekend each at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Coimbatore in the past 2 months. I made this observation.
Hyderabad - At HYD, women have gone into "HYDing" [hiding]
Bangalore - Women don't want to hide!
Chennai - Some want to, some don't want to
Coimbatore - Women are hidden in private bungalows!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memories and Slambook!

I was arranging [after ages of procrastinating!!] the bookshelf at my place today and my eyes fell on the school "slambook". And my hands naturally followed and i quickly re-read the book. Some lines written by a pal in that book, left an impression [from the time i first read it].
"Never hurt a heart that likes you
Never give it needless pain
For a heart that likes you , is like a flower
That will never bloom again"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sooper fun - Sooper Run - Bangalore Midnight Marathon

Sooper is the only word for this run. I decided to run the half marathon [21.097 km] this time [my first one at that]. After finishing 2 marathons [ the 42.195 km ones in Bangalore and Mumbai] in intense pain and agony, my goal here at the bangalore midnight run was to "enjoy" the run and finish the half marathon in 2 hours and 10 mins without any injury or pain.

Weeks before this run, we [chennai runners] trained hard for this one. Usually, i run atleast 3 times a week, for 3 months leading up to the marathon. But this time, i was in the worst fitness state when i started practising in feb/march. I soon realised that if i ever want to get better at running long distance, i need to start on Yoga. Yoga lessons clearly helped and the benefits are so obvious - from the days of heavy breathing at 30 minute mark, i was able to comfortably run for 1:30 at the midnight run.

Running - alone is never fun. The run is always fun, with a gang. Training runs with Chennai Runners have been a lot of fun. The bonding that happens over an intense activity is very difficult to explain. Meeting up at crazy hours and running in pain - this gives a "high" that is understood easily by the "clan"!

I was looking forward to the run at Bangalore since many of my pals were running along. Its an "energising" thing when you recoganise a pal running along - we push each other and help each other to exceed limits. The running course at Bangalore wasn't exactly runner friendly , what with some steep and gradual gradients. It was 5.5 km lap, run 4 times for the half marathon.
Lap 1 was a comfortable one. Did it in 26 mins. It was a comfortable run and i mentally noted down the stretches where i can run hard and where i need to slow down, in the next few laps [ though should've been donw before the race]. Lap 2, i was running along with Balaji [ first timer and was pushing himself to run quick]. Saw a few pals running in the opposite direction and shouted the "go get it's" and kept running.
Completed lap 2 comfortably by the 59 min mark. Lap 3 was the slowest. I was running hard on the flats and down hill section but was reduced to a very slow jog on the uphills. Sometimes near the steepest gradient, i walked a wee bit to the top and started running. Completed lap 3 by 1 hour and 38 mins.

I was not in any pain and i was really enjoying the run, like never before. I was in the zone and wanted to finish the race strong and hard. 200 mts into the run, Abhi told me that another of the chennai runners - Sandy was just ahead. This gave me the motivation to run hard in the last lap. Switched music in my IPOD to Joe Satriani's. I always ran fast and hard to his tunes. Just the perfect song for the fast last lap - Ran the flats hard, paced the uphills and soon had Sandy in sight. I was picking up speed and went past Sandy, about a km from the finish. One of my wishes has been to sprint to the finish line in the half/full marathon - I just did that in this run. Sprinted to the finish line ! Did a 2:15 half marathon. There is some joy in finishing a long run in a painfree way and strong and hard - the high after... is truly HIGH.

Finished behind the target time by 5 mins, but the course was a bit on the tougher side for a better finish. But the end was a happy one - never was in any pain, sprinted to the finish, had some juice left to run more and importantly, lot of pals were around to celebrate. Each of them had a terrific run themselves. Boston had a fantastic run, so did Bajji and Abhinav. Shumit, Hari, Mahesh, Dayal, Vignesh, Aja, Ravi, Collins and Sriram formed a part of one real happy midnight's dream.
P.S. 3 weeks ago, after my runs in Coimbatore and Blore, ran in Chennai after a 3-4 week absence, on a sunday. Finished last! [ One of the fellow runners jokingly remarked that i need to be fast]. For some reason, i took this seriously. At the next run, i didnt want to lose to him. We did a 10k run and i was leading him till 9.8 km but lost out in the last 200 mts. A week before the big run, on a sunday morning, again, led him for most part but he took over. But at the Bangalore run, i didnt want to lose. Probably, losing a lot of times had me crave the little victories. And this time, i did finish ahead. A full 15 min ahead of him. [ If you are reading, no offense meant to you. A very good friend, you have become].
Running with a group, truly is .. FUN and still, you run your own race...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Will to move on.

I came across this piece at the discussion forum on running - . I shamlessly reproduce here because the whole piece resonated in some way deep with me.

Quoting the illustrious bard,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, (1.5.16)
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end, (1.5.19)
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
Indeed, I will.

As an ultrarunner I have often seen and felt moments of extreme distress due to exhaustion. When I was injured in a race and walked back 25K to complete a race; the famous scene in the Hawaii Iron man Triathlon when the lady runner was crawling to the finish line even though she was almost senseless from extreme effort; Cyclists in the Tour du France struggling towards the end after grueling races, etc. I have also questioned and examined where the will comes to keep moving when the easiest thing to do would have been to quit and lie down or not to start in the first place. I have given answers to this in a part serious and in part facetious vein in the my top 10 reasons to run. Yesterday an event happened. As I was returning home from work I turned off the Kanakapura main road towards my home when I vaguely saw a half bent old lady stumbling along the middle of the road oblivious to the perilous traffic swirling and dodging around her in annoyance with the truck drivers grinning malevolently at her. I stopped the car and my driver and I got out to examine the situation. What we found was shocking. This bent form was an old lady of uncertain age, shriveled, toothless, hair a-mess, in rags, foot lacerated with open wounds perhaps due to abrasion of slipper and road rash, with flies etc. She was walking (more like stumbling) using a short staff to guide her for she was almost blind and partially deaf and practically senseless. It was like seeing the face of death. It took us a several moments to compose ourselves and to try to help her. This place is outside Bangalore and fairly rural. We guided her to a place of rest on the side of the road at a bus shelter and fetched water and some idli's from a local roadside restaurant. We tried communicating with her but her language was almost unintelligible (we later found that she spoke "lambadi" dialect). Some passerby informed us that he had seen the woman in the morning about 15kms further south from where we were. So she had walked like this all day covering 15kms! We couldn't elicit anything from her as to where she was from, where was she going, etc. When I gave her 30 rupees it was pathetic to see how she ignored the food and water and futilely trying to tie a knot around the money with her sari and failing. We helped her tie the knot. We tried to get some oldage home to take care of her but they refused. We tried to get the local village doctor to come and treat her but he initially refused fearing a medico-legal complexity. After 30 minutes of patient imploring on our part and indemnity he condescended to come with us to see her. He treated her wounds and claimed she was not ill. To his credit he refused payment. So we left her for the night seeing that she had eaten and drank and lay down to rest. In the morning on my way to work we bought some breakfast and visited the bus shelter only to find that she was gone. We went looking for her and found her 2km away with heavy traffic swirling around her. We again got her to one side gave additional breakfast and instructed a bystander to guide her to the edge of the road when she was ready and left to work with a heavy heart that this was all we could do for her. She seemed so near death. With no place to go, no belongings, old age, the easiest thing for her would have been to lie down under some tree and just fade into a coma and call it quits. I would have done this in her place. BUT SHE KEPT MOVING! This surely is the defining attribute of a sentient being. Even at the very end till you have the energy to move even a step you must have the will to move. For that's all you may have in the end like this old lady. Aristotle's De Anima.


Monday, May 14, 2007

I Innovate!!

I've been following this space for a while - . They have very informative podcasts on entrepreunership, innovation , venture capital among others. Easily, my most "visited and listened" to site in the last 2 months. I got hooked on to this one ever since i discovered the site on Kiruba's blog. Am amazed at the kind of people they are able to bring to the show.

The founders are graduate students at Stanford university ! [Wonder where they find the time for this initiative, despite their hectic b-school/d-school days]

Monday mornings!!

Here is something to push us on a monday morning. Check

Friday, May 11, 2007

Chennai Runners - Logo

After spending quite sometime on the logo design for the runner's club i train with, we finally have one to show! We thought the "fire" background will depict our passion and enthusiasm and the men and women running figures will imply that the club has representation of both sexes. Thanks to John for his expertise in Adobe tools and the hunt on the NET. Also to AC for her enthusiasm to help us out and for her ideas as well [though they might have been wierd!!!]
If any of you can help better this logo, please get in touch with me. We are looking to add a chennai landmark as a part of its background. If you want to join the club, please do so at

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Another reason to love marathon running,

" 42.195 km - You run your own race. Take off and speed up past the others if you want to or just simply slow down to walk and enjoy looking around . Just go to the finish line! "


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Grandpa and Love!

It was some 6 months ago - I was just back from UK and going through a phase where real and unreal were too hazy to differentiate. And this happened.

I had come home to Coimbatore on a break and was at a family function. I was meeting the close family circle after a gap of 2 months. I had brought with me, tons of choclates got from UK, to munch on, at the function. The box was taken around the place and was shared with everyone at the gathering - "little" cousins laying their hands on the different varieties . There is something about "phoren" [foreign] choclates that makes it melt away and makes the box go empty.

My maternal grandma couldn't make it to the function. She isn't keeping well for a while [guess, raising 6 children and 9 grandchildren has taken its toll]. She hardly comes out her room, on the bed most of the day and is in quite a bit of pain. In an another time, when she was doing well physically, she is the nicest lady anyone would come across. Haven't heard one harsh word from her about anyone and always helping people around. But the pain has taken its toll - She is still the nicest person, but sometimes takes the pain out on the one closest to her - my grandpa. Sometimes, i feel sorry for both of them. Grandma, for the pain shes is in and grandpa, for the things he takes in his stride.

The choc box was almost empty and in my enthusiam to give away the chocs, i had almost forgotten that i had to send some to my grandma, who couldn't make it to the function.It was then, my grand pa came over to me.

He opened the box, took a couple and said " This is for 'paatie'. She will like them"!
I had a tear in my eyes!