Friday, December 26, 2008

On Entrepreneurship - #1

I've been talking to b-school students in Chennai in the past couple of months on Entrepreneurship, thanks to TATA NEN Hottest Startups nomination of our company, Excedos. The creativity and energy of the students during these sessions shows a lot of promise for entrepreneurship in India, in the near future. In a series of posts, now on, i will share my experiences ( limited!! ) on Entrepreneurship.

Read up - Before i started up, i had spent hours reading about startup experience of others. Blogs are a great resource - they help us to learn about the entrepreneur's personal life ( helps to build the skillsets we need to have ) , in addition to their startup experience. Here are some great resources to learn from, before starting up - 

Alpine, a budding entrepreneur, posed a question on Entrepreneurship to me - When is the right time to startup ?
Its a tough one to answer , mainly because, every possible answer can be justified :). There are so many experiences of people starting up and go on to succeed because they 'just' wanted to ( and they didnt have a great idea ) and also experiences of people who had a great idea /saw an opportunity ( Jeff Bezos - Amazon , for example ) to implement, before starting up. My 'philosophical' answer here is - we need to have the passion for whatever we are doing. Its just a question of how much we want this / do whatever ( within the framework ) it takes to achieve our goals / vision

The philosophical part is the easiest one - everyone thinks this way. Companies actually succeed because they filled a 'real' need / solved a 'real' problem for which someone is willing to pay. Most startups fail to transition to a successful 'revenue' model. At a conference i had been to, before i started up, someone mentioned an interesting line - ' Is the startup's product / service , a 'fevel pill ' or a 'Vitamin pill ' - Not many customers buy vitamin pills. Fever pills have the most possibilities of success.

Here is a great post by Fabrice on 'business selection criteria' - - Brings a rational way to arrive at a startup idea.

Family Support : I had a phenomenal family support. My parents were completely supportive of my venture ideas ( Helps, when your dad is a biz man, himself! ). If family is a bit reserved about your move, don't worry too much - as they see us succeeding , they will come around.

If you want to 'create' something , if you get bored doing 'normal / routine ' job , if you want to make an 'impact', if you think learning from mistake is 'fun' , if you want to 'change' things in the world for the better, if you always look at a 'better way' of doing things, if you love taking initiatives and 'implementing' them, if you are 'DO'er and many more , startup is where you need to head!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ultimate Frisbee Nationals - 2008

Nov 29 and 30, 2008 was a fun-filled weekend - 2 days of total beach frisbee in Chennai. It was the CUF Nationals 2008, organised by the Chennai Ultimate Frisbee club ( ). Manu , Mama, Abhi , Subbu and others had put in a lot of effort to organise the tournament - Got permission to play on the beach under lights , overcame a bad weather bout when the whole city was under the water and many more. Ultimately, the tournament turned out to be a super hit, with teams coming all the way from Colombo ( Serendiscity ) , Delhi ( Stray Dogs with Sweaters ) , Mumbai ( Stormchasers - hats off, they came over just after the Mumbai shooting incidents ) and Bangalore ( 2 teams - Learning to fly ( LTF ) and Disc o Deewanae ( DOD ).
There were 2 teams from Chennai - CULtimate ( i played for this team ) and Live-wire. Everyone enjoyed immensely, made friends and all went back with great memories.

I enjoyed the games immensely, myself. We had an easy first round - we won 2 games Vs Delhi and Mumbai comfortably but lost 1 game to Bangalore ( Learning to Fly team ).

The semifinal between Cultimate and DOD was the closest game of the tournament - we led 7-3 and DOD climbed past us and were up 8-7. It was an intense 1 hour+ game, under the lights. We managed to win the game, though, by a whisker. Manu / Abhi / Mama / Subbu pulled a miracle of sorts - they managed to have the semi-finals under the lights at the beach. That brought in a lot of crowd and hometeam ( us!!! ) got a lot of support. Over 500 people were watching us play and it sure was an awesome experience!

LTF played against the Serendiscity in the other semifinals. It was a close one as well - Colombo fought hard. But the lack of subsititutes proved costly - they ran out of gas and LTF won the semis. The finals was played on Sunday morning - LTF won this game against Cultimate. We started off well, scoring a point more than the LTF guys at each stage. But they took off after 4 points and eventually won the game 9-6.

Overall, a fantastic weekend - Great people , awesome games, lots of fun !

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cricket and Emotion

Once in a while, when i question myself on 'commitment' levels, one answer helps me feel better  - Cricket. I've played that game for 20+ years , though i have not progressed much beyond the school /local league games. Cricket in general and Indian cricket in specific, defined my english vocabulary. I made most of my school pals on the cricket field. I played cricket all weekend long when i was growing up, even at 1 am, when the sun was burning us.  Fought with any one / anything, to allow me to play a game of cricket. Have had a broken nose and fractures, playing cricket !!! To improve my bowling, i used to bowl against a brick wall - Result : Ball marks all over all the walls around our house!!!I used to practise my batting stance and bowling run-up, all day and night. The mind ran the bowling run-up all the time. I still have the earliest cricket bat my dad got me. I've played cricket games the day before big exams, watched Sachin smash the aussies , the day before my 10th standard board exams. Listed to India cricket games on radio restlessly, on the journey from school to home and rush to switch on the TV. Felt depressed when India lost and like a conqueror of the world when India won. 

Suddenly, i stopped watching cricket. I was losing the 'emotion' i attached to the game. It became just another routine - to see the scores of India games. Winning / Losing not doing much to the feel.

When Anil Kumble and Saurav Ganguly decided to leave the game - the 'feel' which was missing for a few years, re-appeared. That seemed to be the emotion one feels on the departure of a friend, after a fantastic holiday at one's place. I grew up as these guys gave their best for India. Anil seemed to define intensity and commitment. He showed how much 'attitude' can do to anyone especially, if they lacked talent. Saurav taught us 'attitude'. He taught us to be 'aggressive' , paving way for the current assertiveness of Indian cricketers. 

These guys made my day happy, so many times. 

When i read about their departure on Cricinfo, it brought out the emotions hidden deep below. It made me think about the possibilities that lay ahead. I decided its time to recharge my 6 month- unusedTATA SKY cable box. Its time to watch every game that Sachin plays now on... 

When he leaves, am certain , its time to 'move on' ..

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Been at it since the last 18 months - Having the time of my life! Haven't made a better decision than to 'take the plunge'. Come here and you won't regret...

(Via : Meera )


East Coast Run 8

Date : 19 October 2008
Start / End Point : Mayajaal
Distance : 0 to 5 km , 10 km , 15 km, 20 km, 30 km and 35 km

ECR 8 was by far the best organised run from Chennai Runners - We had an event director in Vidyuth who led the show and a bunch of us played the support role ! We had a few 'firsts' with this event - First time we had a sponsor ( in Apollo DKV Insurance ) , First time we had the ambulance support ( from Chettinad Hospitals ), First time we had water / Gatorade support points ( thanks to Pepsi / Gatorade for joining in as the 'Hydration Partner' ) every 2.5 km all the way ( 0 to 35 km route ) and the first time we were on air spreading the running movement in Chennai ( Thanks to the 'Chennai Live' radio station ).  

Despite the very heavy overnight rains, over 50 runners turned up for the run. They were supported by about 15 sooper enthusiastic volunteers! Their energy and encouragement helped a lot of runners stretch beyond the limits.                                                                                             

Here are the 35 km runners, at the start point                                                                                                           

The runners at the start point at 4:45 am

Some of the finishers at the finish line. Enjoying the 'runners high'

Thanks Nithya, Shyam and me at the 15 km point. Nithya ran the 20k along with us ( she went from running nothing at all  to 20 km run , in all of 4 months )

Thats me at the 5 km point..
Personally, i had a good run - the longest since the chennai half marathon. I had only run 5k runs since the chennai half but the weather helped my 20 km run. It was a 'fun' run for me - i started last, after all the groups left and i stopped at all the water points ( every 2.5k ) to chat up with the volunteers. From the 10 km point, i ran along with Nithya and Shyam and exchanged a lot of stories ! We managed to finish the 20km run in 2 hours and 44 minutes. 

After the 'catching up'  with all the runners at the finish line and an 'ok' breakfast at the On-Shore resort at Mayajaal, it was time to head home. Another ECR run down and the run gets better with every edition. All this experience will help us at Chennai Runners to organise our own ' Namma Chennai Marathon' ... very sooon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

East Coast Run 8

Am running this one.. Are you ???

Chennai Runners presents ECR8, in association with APOLLO DKV.
Register Now at (Last date for registration is October 15, 2008) 

ECR 8 Details.
Date: October 19, 2008 (Sunday) 
Start Time: 5:15 am 
Start point: On Shore resort inside the Mayajaal compound 
End point: On Shore resort inside the Mayajaal compound
Assembly time: 4:30 am
Events: 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 30K, 35K 
Entry Fee: Rs.250/-
Hydration Partner : Pepsi ( Aquafina / Gatorade )

This event is organized by runners. Runners will be taken care of well. Well stocked water points along the route. Breakfast @ On shore Resort inside the Mayajaal Compound for Runners and volunteers

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cell phone towers, Wind Turbines and a 4th std govt school kid

A Guest Post by my Brother Vishnu..

Hello people,

Cell Phone towers with wind turbines. I came across this idea about a week before my departure to US at NGRI (Govt School – near my home at Coimbatore). There was a science competition for govt school students. A 4th std boy from Dharapuram (small village in TN) came up with this idea and I was impressed at his out of the box concept. The sad thing was when the judges came to examine his idea; they thought it was a joke. I told the teachers about the creativity these boys had shown but they mocked at it and left.

 Came across a link, yesterday – Ericsson (Telecom Major) is developing cell phone towers fitted with wind turbines.

 We should have a platform to bring the innovative ideas of these children to life. Especially in a field like clean tech – were out of the boxes are need of the hour. If the same boy was here in NYC - he would have won the best innovative idea competition under any age group



Friday, September 19, 2008

Idea 5 - The Real Need ..

The last driver we had at my parents' place, was a very special man and when he decided to quit, it must be a very special reason that made him to. He was more an extension of our family than a 'driver'. Though his primary 'duty' was to help with my mom's transporation needs, he was a passionate 'gardner' , helped my dad's office with some odd jobs , helped my bro with the aquarium 'maintenance' and many other things. I had lessons to learn from him - i still remember the times when he used to push my dad into buying more saplings and make the little space around our house GREEN !!! He was always treated well - his kids education expense were taken care of and my mom would treat him, the same way he would treat his sons.

So, when the special man decided to quit, there must be only reason - Entrepreneurship. Yes, he is an entrepreneur now !! He got some money coming his way and he decided to 'start-up'.

When asked what he was going to do , his answer was to supply drinking water to some areas in Coimbatore. He had planned to buy a mini delivery van and get a contract with one of the drinking water bottlers.

But what struck me was his answer to the question 'why this business ? ' - " Water is a basic need and people will always buy water. There is a REAL need for water and i can satisfy this need. "

He, sure, has thought hard about solving a 'real' problem - Simple, responsible thinking. Not a surprise.. coming from him.

Having known him, am sure his new venture will be a huge success. 

Friday, September 05, 2008

My Best 26th B'day Gift

The greatest satisfaction and happiness comes out of making some real impact with the things we do - Ever since i quit my regular job, the need to make a real impact is what drives me largely, to do things that i do now.
So, when Meera , an active volunteer at Deepam, e-mailed this on our e-group, it was a huge boost to the small effort a bunch of us had made thus far at Deepam ( Despite, me knowing that Meera was being a bit nice to us :), given her talents )
Here is the mail
Subject : How Deepam landed me ( Meera ) a scholarship
The interview went well, but there were a couple of determining factors. Here's how - 
Interviewer- So Meera, your work ex all seems ok. Also, we sometimes need to use complex software which is unknown to us. Right from our faculty, to the staff and students, we might need some instructing to use the software.
Have you ever had a chance where you taught people to use new software or technologies? 
Meera -This is really exciting. I, in fact really love teaching, especially computers/software. 
' I gave them a brief gist of Deepam and what we do here. I told her that we are a small group working to make literacy for lesser privileged children a reality. That we, apart from teaching them to use computers,also try to work on so many concurrent things like building their english, trying to get materials ready,and setting up a system for them, give certificates, encourage them to questions, read up on news.. etc '' 
She ( Interviewer ) was very impressed. 
Finally, this is what she ( Interviewer ) said - These kids, am sure are smart, and catch these software and concepts real quick. If you can teach lesser privileged kids, you surely need to stretch a bit more and be patient with our faculty and students here, and I'm sure you can teach them too. This is a really good job you are doing here. 
This came from the head of the department! Considering that this department is a behavioral science department, they were all the more impressed, and knew the impact of such voluntary work in the society. They told me they'd keep me informed about the position after the weekend. But, they gave me a call 30 minutes after the interview and told me I got the position. I was elated. 
The Deepam factor sure gave me a definite edge over the others.
I know working in Deepam gives immense satisfaction, but additionally for me, it helped in landing me a job + assistantship :) :)  "
Thanks Meera !!
That was the best b'day gift i got , this year ! ( Yes, i turned 26 last week :) )

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chennai Marathon 2008

Some months ago, i watched a short clip of the 1982 Boston marathon - Alberto Salazar won that closely fought race. What stayed with me was a line from the commentary - " Salazar runs longer than anyone else at the 'red line' - the point of pain. He continues to run at the red line longer than his fellow runners "

That line was a big motivation for me when i started training 3 months ago . I wanted to run for a good amount of time at the 'red line'. That was the goal, since, i had always given up at the red line.

I can see some improvements - I ran for 2 hours continuously on 2 sundays in the last 1 month (Before this, the longest i've done is 1:35 , for a non-stop run ). My breathing which was shallow, has improved as well. And importantly, i've become more regular at the runs and i run atleast 4 days a week - whether it is at 5 am / 8 am / 1 pm / 8 pm or 1 am ( Yes, i've run at all these times in the last 2 months ).

So, with all of this behind me, i ran the chennai half marathon last sunday - I finished the 21 km in a disappointing 2 hours and 38 mins. Disappointing, since i was targeting an under 2 hour run.

The heat was not the excuse since i was all ready for the big day – I even ran from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm , one of the Sundays. I trained for the hot conditions. But, i just couldn't change into 'overdrive' mode because of a mild fever i was carrying.

The first 40 mins of the run was smooth for me and I ran at 10+ kmph. Around the 40 min mark, I started to walk... That was the hardest part of the race – the mind playing games and suggesting that I quit the race ( I always had the ‘fever’ excuse ). I decided to walk for a while and shut those thoughts out. It was hard when a fellow runner ( ofcourse, he was being nice :) ) , asked me not to ‘give up’ and run… just the other week, I ran a 2 hour continuous run…

I just decided to finish the race and 2 hour target had to wait for another day. 

I kept walking for another 10 mins and i had a chocolate bar. I decided to walk the ‘shade’ part of the course and run in the sunny parts. Soon, I started running and ran the next 4 km. From then on, running in the sunny parts and walking the in the shades, I managed to complete the run in 2:38. 

It was a great feeling, running the ‘home’ marathon – knew lots of people who were running this one and the encouragements and simply, running with a ‘known face’ kept me going. Towards the end, I ran with Rekha – Shes a mom of 2 and used hit 81 kgs on the scales 3 years ago. Currently, she is possibly one of the fittest women one would meet . Despite the hot conditions, she was pushing herself and we finished the run together.

About the run,


  • Great participation - it was a nice feeling to see so many runners on the road
  • Closed roads - the roads were closed for vehicle traffic for over 3 hours
  • Organisers didn't have a clue on conducting this race - From the BIB distribution, water points, route planning, volunteer involvement and many many more
  • Poor crowd participation ( except for a few sections ) - Run the Mumbai run, to experience the crowd participation
  • It was sad to see the water bottles / polythene covers strewn all over the roads and 'kid' ragpickers going after those - afterall, a lot of us were running to raise money for those kids..
It was clear that the Chennai Marathon has miles to go, before it can hold a world-class , runner-friendly marathon. NOBODY cared about the runners - they are the focus of the running events. The focus was on ' getting the attention' than ' doing the job '.

P.S Thanks to Karthik at chennairunners for the photos.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Runs and Podcasts!

I stopped listening to music during the long runs - I used to listen to music mainly to keep the boredom of a long run away and distract my thoughts on 'stopping'. But, i figured out that listening to music held me back from improving on my run performance. Without the Ipod , these days, am able to focus on keeping myself relaxed , maintain posture and importantly, work on my breathing and keep it steady.

Last sunday was an exception - i listened to the interview of Intuit's Founder and CEO Mr.Cook ( ) . One of the best interviews on starting up, i ever listened to. Very honest and very real life !

I was into the podcast so much, that i ended up running for close to 2 hours, despite running between 1 and 3 pm on sunday ( and the cool weather helped :) )

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

2 for 4

"If you want to run, run the 100 metre race. If you want to experience something, run the marathon" - Emil Zatopek

Can't agree more with this great Czech runner's words. The marathon experience , when contrasted with my 100 metre experience, has so much more to offer to life - the friendships, the lessons, the 'collective' high's , the opportunity to run and raise money for a cause and many more. The last aspect of Marathon running is something am mailing on here -

A bunch of us are working on 'Deepam' - A program to take computers to underprivileged kids in Govt. Schools , Slums and Orphanages. More about the group can be found here . It has been a fascinating journey for us in the last 7 months - Taking 'Deepam' from just an idea to teaching 40 kids every weekend in Chennai, right now. Personally, the class is something i look forward to - 2 hours of being friends with the little kids, answering their questions , learning from them and experiencing a high - to witness 'Deepam' connect with the kids and seeing them take to computers with curiosity !

Am running the Chennai Half - Marathon on Aug 31st 2008 and the Singapore Marathon in Dec 2008 . In addition to finishing these runs in less than 2 hours & 10 mins and 5 hours, i wish to raise money for the Deepam activities through these runs.

2 for 4 : Through these 2 runs, i wish to raise 4 lakh rupees - this money will be utilised to get computers, Internet connection and reading material for the kids. We wish to place the computers permanently at the locations we teach - Govt. Schools, Slums and orphanages.

I request you to support me in this effort - If you can donate / spread word about the program, i would really appreciate it.

Please do get in touch with me, if you can support in some way.


( karthikeyan dot vijayakumar at gmail dot com )
+91 9884217276

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Connect !

The Connect is a 'high' - Like the dancing the right moves to the beat , timing the ball perfectly well with the cricket bat , Pacing a 15 km run well over the course and sprinting to the finish, picking the right song for that car drive at night, packing the right "to-do's" in a day - never too much or little , business meetings going the way we'd prepared for and many more.

Yesterday i found a few more connects and high's during the Deepam class at Olcott School.

  • The kid we taught at the school trying to reply in English - His Tamil response and the sentence being translated and formulated in English by him ( and the joy on his face when we said he was right !! )
  • This other kid ( after being "talked to " by me ) going back to his computer and working along with his team mates and helping them with tricks of using Word processor
  • The class listening to Basu teach them and stopping him to ask questions !
The little joys on saturday afternoon !

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Deepam on Times of India !!!

It was nice to see Deepam featured in the Times of India paper on 14th July 08. The big goal for our group is to positively affect 1000 kids by 2010. Media mentions such as this will surely help us gather more support in the goal chase !

Here is the online article. If you want to know more about Deepam, please go to

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Idea # 4 - The Village Potter

Before I begin - Am just "reporting" here -

A few months ago, i met this guy - An Indian, born and brought up in the US. He had returned to India to do social work for a year. He is my age ( young !! ) and had travelled to a village, about 250 km west of Chennai, India. This village was in the middle of hilly terrain and hence, a trip to the grocery / vegetable store takes more than a day. And none in the little village could afford a refridgerator. Result - The food that people ate usually was devoid of vegetables and most of them were undernourished.

His solution - Low cost "refridgerator".

He designed a "system" that would lower the temperature inside the "system" by 10-15*C compared to the outside temperature.

The System - 2 pots : a large and a small one. The smaller pot is placed inside the larger one and the space between the two is filled with sand. Sand is always kept watered. The resulting evaporation through the pores in the pot caused the cooling and lowered the temperature inside the smaller pot by 10-15*C .

Since the cost of this "system" is just Rs.80 , all the household in the village could afford this system, store the vegetables and eat healthy food.

and.. the village potter is having the time of his life!

(P.S. I meant to write this one months before - but completely forgot about it. Thanks to Abhi for the link to Guy's blog, where he had written about the pot idea ! )

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sports Story #5 : The Pull

It was more than a year ago - i would put on my running shoes and head out for the usual run. I succeded, as far as getting on the road. Most days, i ended up walking and in the few, i did run, the run would stutter to a stop and a walk, in a few minutes. Physically, i could've run a marathon ( which i actually did, at Mumbai in Jan 07 ). But it was the mind - a thousand thoughts . This was right after the Mumbai marathon finish ! I tried - to not think at all. To break free - of the thoughts. I wanted to wake up fresh. I wanted to sleep. I wanted the energy. And i almost gave up on my runs.

Between the mumbai marathon finish in Jan 07 and March 07, the shoes just gathered dust , from my house, not the road. The shoes, btw, were new - a 6k adidas ( new shoes usually don't have try too hard to get dirtied ).

And i did run in May 07 - the midnight marathon - managed my best half marathon timing so far - 2:15 .

Sometime in March, this guy took a liking to call my phone at 5 am in the morning !! I ignored it a for few days ( well, can't go running, having not slept a wink ). He decided not to give up ( just like me ! ). He threatened to come home ! And i did turn up for a morning run - when everyone else had burned the road and got ready to go home . Walked for a bit with him and i went home. In a few days, his calls woke me up on time and my jogs took me across a few km. He would run with me , get me immersed in a conversation and take me away from the 'thoughts'. Soon, i was running with him for a good 45 mins.

For more than a month, he would run with me on most days. This guy runs the fastest in my running group, but for a month, he ran at my slow / steady pace. He pulled me out ! Thanks Coach ( Hari )

This post is dedicated to his dad and mom, both of whom passed away, recently.

I guess , it is my turn to take a liking to call his phone at 5 am...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Any Given Sunday - Peace

This one gets me all the time ! Even now, after a few years and many hundred times of listening . When i was a part of Frost cricket team, we used to listen to this one before the big games / tournaments... :)


Monday, June 16, 2008

Moview Review : Dasavatharam

I have not taken the initiative to watch a movie in a long time - I blame my friends for all the pampering - the pull, tickets, pick-up and more :) . But for some reason, i was bent on watching Dasavatharam last weekend. When the first "source" didn't work out, the fall back was my usual guy - Always got tickets from him for weekend shows / 'closer to painpoint' shows. The 30+ calls i had to make, all of Saturday to get the tickets to watch Dasavatharam was definitely worth the time. A case of making up the mind to do something ( watch the movie ) and doing all it takes to accomplish ( watch !! ).

Plus :

  • The pace of the movie - i thought i was reading a Bourne series book :) ( yess! )
  • "RAW Kamal's" comedy !! He replaced the need for Vivek / Vadivelu
  • Stunts - One of the best i've seen in Tamil cinema
  • Story and the Characterisation of "Flectcher" , "RAW Kamal " , "Scientist Kamal "
  • Brilliant acting by Kamal in each of the roles
Minus :

  • Screeching by Asin - Not to blame her. She hardly had any scope.
  • Music - Could've been a lot better
  • Make-up Mishaps - Some roles had near perfect make-ups but some let down badly
I went in expecting a serious movie from Kamal. It turned out to be an entertainer. Friends and i thoroughly enjoyed the movie !

It is definitely a must watch !

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Choices and Cravings

Choices, sees a few in front of him. Picking 1 has always been easy. When the car has built up speed to the crossroads, there is only one way it can go. The direction and speed , dictated by the events and not really the daily traffic.

Insurmountable want ? Passion ?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Deepam Starts off the 2nd program


Please check , for the post on the latest program.

Am also posting here...

Deepam started off its 2nd computer program at Besant Nagar. Thanks to Nalamdana, we have a clean place (with a great view of the sea ) where we teach the kids, at the Olcott Kuppam area.

Start Date : May 24 , 2008
Place : Olcott Kuppam, Besant Nagar
Class : Saturdays - 2 PM to 4 PM
Duration : 4 Months

Ram lead the class, taking the kids through an interesting path, trying to get the kids to open up and ask questions. He began by getting the kids to talk about the dreams and openly encouraging the kids to go after the dreams.

In a subtle way, he was making the kids think , leading them into areas they have never been before - the master at work ! It was a lesson for not just the kids - for us volunteers as well !! From thirukural to tamil movies, civil engineering to animation, input / output devices to MS Paint, the kids were taken through an interesting session.

The kids then had their "hands-on" session - they let their creativity free on MS Paint. It sure was a happy feeling to see the kids hooked on to the laptop, exploring MS Paint - they probably know more tricks with the tool than many of us do !!!

Personally, the class is a source of great joy . The times spent with the happy kids just whizz past ! Every time in the last 2 weeks, i had gone on near empty gas ( late night work .. ) but came out of the session charged up. The kids' energy levels rub off on us !! Their smartness keeps us on our toes . The class' also serve as a way to discover myself as a person - it teaches me to be patient all the time . This is a class where learnings happen both sides - both the volunteers and the kids learn :)

If you guys have the time, just feel free to drop in during the class / volunteer to teach .



Friday, June 06, 2008

My Favourite Writer !!!

I wish i had her ability to express thoughts... Like she did here

" For the chronic traveler some journeys end and some others begin. The feeling of standing at the very brink of a new world always seems to persist. Maybe that is the drug, his only known addiction. His face, like worn leather, looks hardened by the sun and toughened by the winds. The scars on the other hand, marks from another world, tell vivid stories. His skin is by no means flawless........

.....Defeat is his when another journey, another trip, another mad plunge seems beyond his mental fiber.... "
Exactly what was running through my mind ! Thanks Anu !

Monday, June 02, 2008

ECR Cycling

After an absence of almost 4 months, i rode my bike - thanks to the ECR Cycling event organised by Chennai Runners and TI cycles. The participation and the ride was just simply awesome!

We had over 40 people cycling and many of them had never attempted the planned distance - 30 km !

I was very happy to see some pals cycle all the way to the finish. Having never cycled this distance before , they were apprehensive at the start. The finish line was one joyous scene - everyone on the finisher's "high" and lively !! The excitement, positive energy and the "high" was visible on every single finisher ( all of them cycled the entire distance ).-Archu / Amie - the 2 sports who had never done endurance sport before ! Both completed the distance easily !

Personally, i had a great ride. I started off pretty well and led the group for about 10 km, before i was overtaken by guys riding in TREK's ( Some day, i will get a TREK too ). At the 15 km turnaorund point ( crocodile bank ), TI had had a pit stop with refreshments. I had much needed energy bars and water and decided to chase the TREK's to Mahabalipuram.

A stead head wind kept coming at us right through till Mahabalipuram. I loved cycling the stretch between Crocodile bank and mahabs - we did 28-29 kmph . At the mahabs turnaround point, we had done 27 km in little over an hour.

The ride back was made easy by the tail wind. With speeds around 26-27 kmph, we were cruising until a puncture stopped a friend's ride. We lost 20 mins , before the backup vehicle picked him up. Then on, it was a smooth ride to the finish line.

A big thanks to all my pals who waited patiently at the finish line !

Ride stats :

Total Distance - 55 km
Route - ECR from Toll Booth to Mahabalipuram and back
Avg Speed - 25 kmph
Top Speed - 29.5 kmph

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Runs N Wickets

It has been a good start to the year ( late start as well.. ) for my cricket team - Runs N Wickets. We won by 150+ runs in our 1st 25 over game and in the 2nd won by 5 wickets with 5 overs to spare. If you enjoy playing cricket and stay in Chennai, you are welcome to join the team. We play matches and do "NETS" in the weekends. Just head to and join the group by providing your mail id.

Our team has just enrolled for a local T20 championship. Scores and more will be up on the site now on.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Deepam off the Blocks

It was in Jan 2008 ( 15th to be precise ) that Ram ( My mentor at Chennai Runners ) suggested that we do something like Deepam. It took almost 3 months and lots of discussions over coffee and email , to action the idea. A bunch of dedicated volunteers ( Special mention about Archu's efforts ) enabled Deepam see the light of day. Please do take some time and go over the site ( ) .

If you can help us in some way, i would really appreciate it. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Addiction - But I won't Complain !!

Oflate, am addicted to a practise - Whenever i come across any company that pricks my curiosity ( happens most of the time ), i immediately start clicking to reach the founder bio's !!! It's really an addiction !! But i don't plan to quit this anytime - i only seem to benefit from this :)

During one of these "trips" , i landed on the justdial page and happened to read about the company founder's bio - extremely impressive !! Someone like you and me going on to build a fabulous company !!

He started out with just Rs.50,000 and right now JustDial is valued at 500 Crore!!!!

What is even more impressive - He actually worked at one of the Yellow pages companies, which was rather a commodity market ( lots of directories providing the info ). He then thought of a more customer centric business model for the directories, which didn't exist then and relentlessly worked on executing it. Quite a learning on differentiation in a commodity space.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kodaikanal Cycling Trip

After a long break from cyling, i decided to join the Madras Bike Hash ( the group that bikes 100+ km every week ) in their cycling trip at Kodaikanal in the last week of 2007. Though i had been off the bike for more than 2 months, the cycle was in top condition . So far, i've spent 10k on my cycle. Thats not much in absolute numbers but consider this one - the cycle just costed me 3k - 7k has been spent on doing up the cycle ( electronic speedo ) and maintenance !

For a long time, i was eyeing the cycle - carrier , to transport the cycle on the car. It was time to buy that one . The cycle below on Indigo Marina is my mean machine !

Day 1 : After a 500 km drive from Chennai to Kodai the previous day, i was all set for the day 1 of the cycle ride - From Kodaikanal town to the start of the forest near Barijam lake ( 34 km ).

After a breakfast of hot idli's, vada and dosa, we started our ride from the guest house, which is very close to the kodai lake. Once we hit the roads, the low gears immediately came into play. I was riding a 6 gear cycle, with 1 large crank and 6 sprockets at the rear. Straightaway i had to downshift to gear 2. The climb was a gradual one and i was quite comfortable doing the uphill. But the uphil just kept getting longer and in short while, i had to shift to gear 1 to overcome a pretty steep uphill. After about 6-7 km, we reached the end of the uphill stretch. The next few kms were a riders delight. The road sloped down , thickly wooded sections on either side of the road, smooth pot hole - free roads and the cycles were the only traffic on the road. Soon we were doing 40 kmph on the downhill section and all the eyes were only on the road and the fingers close to the brake lever.

I couldn't resist the temptation to up the speed and soon i was doing close to 50 kmph. Thats when this huge curve appeared ahead. I pressed the brake levers with all my might but couldn't over do it since the rear wheel was skidding away. I tried to sway my body to the right ( the road curved to the right ), trying to keep the cycle on the road. Soon i realised i had carried a lot of speed into the curve. While i was braking and bending my body to the right side, i was also making a promise to god - if i ever got out of the curve safely, i would never speed again. For a few moments, i thought i may live to keep that promise. But thats when the water bottle fell off the bike and the rear wheel went over it. The cycle went down with me on top ( turned out to be lucky ). I clung on to the handle bar and as a result i didn't fall hard on the road , but the cycle took me down gradually. I was sliding along with the cycle ( i was on top of the cycle ) for a brief while and finally my body fell on the road and the photos tell the rest of the story ...

Both wheels were bent and thanks to the mechanics we brought along, that was mended. The initial few mins was the most toughest - i was hoping i hadn't broken something and thankfully, i didn't. I decided to tear off the lower half of my pant and take off one of my fav shirts and continued biking.

The next few km was downhill and i slowly was recovering from the fall , mentally and decided to go the full distance.

The only woman cyclist - Nidhi. She was awesome on the bike - did the 34 km !!

The next 5-10 km was a steady effort on the bike as we went through some beautiful stretches.

The uphills are sometimes, very cruel - i see a 40 m climb and cycle up, in the hope that the uphill stops there . If not for a downhill, i would be happy with flats from the summit. Once i reach the 40 m summit, that is when i realise the uphill stretches another 50 m . I engage the lowest gear and just pedal the hill away. I absolutely loved the uphills - it took some effort, suffered a bit but the ride was worth everything.

25 km into the ride - most of us were exhausted by now. I missed bringing the energy bars. Especially on one long climb - we were riding up and up and up for about 5-6 km. I really wished someone had a banana or a choclate bar. So, next time, i will never miss taking an energy bar along.

We did about 34 km and decided to stop biking - we almost reached barijam and we had to get permission from forest offices to enter into the reserved forest area.

We biked a km into the reserved forests and turned back - the metal road was easily the most beautiful stretch we biked in. Maybe, someday i will get the permission and ride into the forests.

After a testing day 1, we decided to take it easy on the day 2. We went up some serious inclines and but decided to do some easy riding , a few km into the ride. No more suffering during the trip !! We still did some uphills but these were gentle ones.

Some lessons learnt

  • Get a mountain bike, to ride in the mountains. Roadbikes can go out of control
  • Take energy bars along while riding in the mountains - we won't come across shops to buy on the road
  • I am tempted to say " don't speed" on the mountains - but i think i will surely do these high speeds next time am at kodai :)

Smoking to Killing

He smoked the sticks earlier , he kills people now

I mean, he stopped smoking and started killing - yes, play a game of ultimate with this guy and try to keep up with him. I did and i suffer.. all the time.

Sooper work Abhi - salute !

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chennai Marathon 2008

Finished - Half Marathon ( 21k )
Stupidity - Missing dinner on Saturday night ( Run was on Sunday Morning )
Forgetable - Slowest ever run . Completed in 2:57
Mistake - Should've stopped at 10 km point. The heat and lack of water stations sapped me of energy.
Lessons - Train regularly :)
Happy - Finished strongly. Infact, took almost equal times for the 1st and 2nd half of the run, despite the 2nd half being the toughest.
Goals - Train for 10k runs and do a strong 21km run by the end of 2008.