Bharath Petroleum Bunk Cheat

Click here to read Kiruba Shankar report of petrol bunk cheating.

Bharath Petroleum Bunk cheat is not just restricted to one city or one bunk. Sometimes one would feel that bunk’s in villages are better.
This was an incident last week in Charring Cross, Ooty. When customer tells a particular amount to the staff they fill fuel to an amount. Then they would act as if they did not hear the amount you mentioned. And would try to fill for remaining amount without re-setting to zero.

If you say fill for Rs.1000/- the staff would fill for Rs.300/- and then would say they heard only 300. I do not know how would a thousand be heard as three hundred. Then they would have to fill for Rs.700/-. What they would do is set the meter now to Rs.700/-. Which means the counter would start from previous amount Rs.300/- This ideally means the staff would now fill for Rs.400/- only. And end result is they would pocket Rs.300/-.
This would be split between the staff of the bunk.

Unless you raise your voice and speak or threaten of taking action they would try to convince you that Rs.700/- on the meter plus previous Rs.300/- is equal to Rs.1000/-.

Whenever you fill fuel in station just keep looking at the meter to avoid being cheated by the staff.

Pizza Delivery Scam or Scandal – Money lures

I am not sure if this scam is restricted to one particular pizza shops.
What is the scam all about?

Every pizza outlet has a time committed for delivery to customer’s place of choice. If there is a delay in delivery then they would pay 50% of the bill to the customer. In greed of making quick money here is how the ring works.

Pizza Delivery boy: Sir, if it is ok with you I can give back 50% of 50% of the bill amount to you. ( If the bill amount of 400/- he would give you 100/-.) 70% of the remaining my manager would take it and 30% I would get. (which means manager gets 70/- and delivery boy 30/- in this case). All you have to do is right in the bill “delayed by 5mins”. You would get a call from our outlet, you tell them the pizza was delayed.

Larger the bill value more the commission for the delivery boy. For sure he is not alone and he cannot do it without managers support or it could also be possible that he pockets all the money and never gives anything to his manager.

Tenali Raman – Movie Review (Tamil)

Vadivelu is a comedian from the time of his entry to movies. One would go with same expectation for this movie and would be disappointed big time except for few shots.
One cannot picture vadivelu as a hero given his stout figure with no proper shaping.
And worst is to see him dancing with Meenakshi Dixit.

Meenakshi Dixit has been added to increase the glamour quotient to bring in more viewers from that angle maybe the director has succeeded. Almost the entire movie she is dressed in a blouse and skirt much to the viewers eyes.

The story is of Tenali Raman, a smart guy who joins the kingdom of Mammanar (again Vadivelu) as as minister. How he outsmarts rest of corrupt ministers and the chinese entry into the market thereby disrupting the local business flow is what the movie is all about.

The songs make you yawn more and more. Lot of times the script is so very weak that one feels like walking out or why did we come for this movie.

In the end Vadivelu Version 2 is a major disappointment.
My rating is 2/5. Giving a higher rating inspite of all flaws for the storyline and the message that was attempted to be conveyed to the audience.

Dwaraka

Not a place for tourists is what it looks like. And neither do the people one encounters makes you change that opinion. 90% of them visiting dwaraka would be for religious purpose.
What have you got in dwaraka, click here.

When we reached Dwaraka we were around 30mins away from mangal aarthi. That is where the stay at Hotel Nand Nandan is recommended. Click here for review of hotel. Clean rooms with A/C and friendly staff and about 200mts from the main temple. When you visit the temple make sure you leave everything back in the room except the wallet. During aarthi time the crowd just goes bonkers. There is a separate section for ladies and gents. Atleast the gents section there is no problem and they just follow the line till front of God, few seconds and out. In the ladies side its actually a made rush.
There is lot of architecture on the temple and some interesting stuff where it looks like balcony areas on the top. There is some work ongoing also. Different denominations available to get prasadam. One thing to remember is people here don’t say “thank you” but “jai sri krishna”.

There are lot of shops around and its pretty old city with narrow streets and lot of shops to eat. Of course one should not miss out “steamed dhkola”.

There are lot of temples around depends on the visitor’s interest. If you want to visit all the temples its a tightly packed schedule. One cannot miss the ride on jetty across to Beth Dwaraka and this should definitely be on the trip chart. Its a short ride and Beth Dwaraka is apparently the residence of Krishna. There are lot more of the city under the sea. Once you get down from the boat to go to temple you could also sit on to the cart and there is a guy who would pull you up. Don’t miss out the food served at the temple “bhojanalya”. In Beth Dwaraka, one could also walk till the other ends of the island. To the end we walked is the crematorium with a temple and a mosque next to it. Its almost like the tip point. Then wait for the jetty back to Dwaraka.

Once back to Dwaraka, head to sunset point in the evening and enjoy watching the sun go down. Then end the day with “steamed dhokla”! 2 plates of that and ones dinner would be done.

For photos click here.

Gir

The royal beast, king of the jungle, lion calling. Not part of the initial plan of the tour was later modified just to see the Asiatic Lions. The only park for lions in India and one other in Africa. To know more about the national park, click here.

This definitely was enough to include in the plan. Did some readings of available hotels on tripadvisor. The entire tour was ad-hoc with no hotel bookings.
From Mumbai we drove and drove through National Highway, State Highway, on wrong route. Till later in the evening re-routed to correct direction towards Sasan Gir. In villages typically by 8:00pm all shops would close down and by 9:00pm there wouldn’t be any soul on the road. Had to hurry up and reached Sasan Gir by 9:30pm. With lot of reviews and quite late went directly to Gir Birding Lodge. Luckily they had rooms available. Without further thought, put all our luggage. The best part is we were damn hungry. They did not have enough vegetables. Still they managed an excellent meal which was way beyond the initial discussion and our expectation. We would have been happy even with curd rice at that time. To read my review of the place you could click here. They cook food right there and three times a day. Evening snacks are also available.

Next day, I woke up to sounds of peacock. I went all over the place and was pleasantly surprised to see that this lodge shares coumpound wall with the national park. With no sightings of peacock, I returned disappointed and when I sat down in front porch of the room they just cross across. This lodge is lucky in that way. Basically a mango farm and with such proximity to national park, animals jump in every now and then. And there are umpteen types of birds. I kept clicking on whatever bird was spotted since I do not know almost all their names.

To visit the national park one has to go to “Sinh Sadan” stand in the queue and get a ticket. There is also an option to book safari online. If you stand in the queue for a ticket, one has to be there good 3hrs before safari time atleast. Safari timings are 6:00am and 3:30pm. We managed to spot 4 lions out of 411 lions which are there inside. All 15 vehicles would not go in same direction. There is also a tribal sect who reside inside the forest.

This is true with all national parks. The safari would not go into dense areas. They would take you in areas which are marked. One reason could be for security of visitors and also prevent animals from getting troubled by over-excited tourists. How much ever is communicated, the tourists loudly exclaim their happiness on seeing lion! Lion being king of jungle does not attack until provoked or extremely hungry.
For a visit to national parks, it would make sense to tie up or get badge from organisations like National Geographic. Atleast for us we were not satisfied with just going around and not exploring further.

Hearing to sounds of birds, bright blue peacock is just enough to spend time outside the national park.

For photos click here.

Mushroom Kuzhambu (Sambhar) – Recipe

Another new stuff that I tried out.

Ingredients:

Mushroom – 300gms
Potato – 100gms
Tomato – 50gms (1 piece)
Onion – 1 piece
Grated Coconut – 1/2cup
Sombu (Fennel Seeds) – 2 spoons
Black Pepper – 1 spoon
Sambar Powder – 2 spoons
Green Chillies – 4 pieces
Turmeric powder – 1/4 spoon
Cloves (Krambhu) – 2 pieces
Cinnamon – 1 long piece
Oil
Salt – (to taste)

Recipe:

Make a paste of coconut, sombu, black pepper and little onion.

Cut onions, potatoes, tomatoes, mushroom (after cleaning).
Slice green chillies.

In a pan, add oil and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pop up, add mashed cinnamon and cloves. Then add green chillies and fry it. Followed by onion, tomatoes. After couple of minutes, add potatoes. Half fry the potatoes. Now add mushroom. And put sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt.
Close the pan with lid and fry till mushrooms become soft.

Add the grinded paste. Mix the contents. Add water and allow it to boil.
Garnish with coriander leaves or coriander powder.
Mix well.

Mushroom kuzhambu is now ready to be served with chappatis or rice.

Run the Rann 2014

15th February 2014 early morning 5:00am, am up and ready dressed for what is probably going to be the toughest run that I would have ever done so far. A quick breakfast, water bag packed and waist belt packed. Few chocolate bars, enerzal, kit for wound. With almost all mandatory stuff packed. By 7:00am all runners, running the 101kms, 42kms and 21kms are ready and getting into the bus to be dropped at start point which is at Dholaveera.
I was in the 42kms category. One of my colleague Gokul and myself have already decided to stay together for the entire course come what may. We heard lot about the terrain for the run and now we were going to experience it. It is pretty much cold in the morning. Nowhere close to Bangalore chillness.

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We start off with the salt lake to the left, sun slowly rising up on the right. A very beautiful ball of sun. We maintain a steady pace on the marsh sometimes leg slipping into the marsh and sometimes hard surface of the salt sand. Little later we go up towards the hilly section. In the course we find not at all places we would be able to run and even if we run not at the same pace. There are rocks or stones and at times leg trips over it.

It is so far not tough to be on the route with red ribbons tied to either the thorn bushes or fixed on small flag posts. Moving further we still trip over stones and keep climbing up and down. Then out of blue we find rocky terrain where we need to climb up holding to rocks. And same is the situation when climbing down. There are water stations at regular intervals within 4-5kms distance. So far so good.
And then starts more twist to the terrain. There is a red ribbon flag post and looking down its like jump down and down and down or scroll down holding to rocks. Around 18kms mark which is where we turn left (101kms and 42kms runners) and the 21kms runners turn right. There are few runners who did miss the ribbons and get into different directions and were brought back on track.
At this around same distance there is a runner from Mexico who also joins us. We three stay together. We stayed together till the end from here on. At a point on top of cliff we scream our lungs out for a short video. Gokul has a problem with his right knee and the way he was running was dangerous for his leg. Our mexican friend had a bandage for the pain and I found a sharp stone to cut the bandage. The pain was more due to constant tripping over rocks. Of course we always maintained not to fall down at any point of time which would have been very bad. I took regular photos to fill memories later date. And there were fossil rocks too.

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We cross some more aid stations and the distance told to us is 12kms to finish line at each station. We are motivated but actually not when the next station also tells us the same. In one of the aid station I give my water bag since it was leaking from both sides and filled with water bottles instead. We maneuver towards 28th kms mark where there is a station and school kids and their teachers standing with placards written ‘Welcome’ and the kids shouting ‘welcome welcome’ beating drums and clapping. We fill water bottles, orange, pour water on head, convey our mandatory thanks and climb up the rocky hill again and turn right, the left turn on top is for 101kms runners.

We could see the salt lake and the marsh and we were like we are almost there. From 12kms to finish line now we graduated to 14kms to finish line. When we got down it was not towards salt lake but rather into sand. Now we were mixing a bit of jog and walk and jog and walk. Not to leave behind the sun is rather sharp on us. 28kms in around 4hours I think. My garmin had got reset at around 21kms and was doing another lap. In the beach sand or river sand we were there and at occasional times found shade from the thorn bushes. Now I was also cramping up. I cannot blame this time that I did not drink enough water. I was drinking water regularly that I was also able to feel my stomach filled with water, enerzal, orange, choci.

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We are again walking and mixing walk-jog. We are getting tired. The only thing that keeps pushing us is the remaining distance to the finish line which would be around 10kms. So, by approximation we are sure by 6.5hrs we would at the finish line. We are already basking ourselves in the proud feeling. At the next station we are told 15kms to reach. Our mind starts acting crazy. Is there any other option. We cannot drop out. Though heat is getting on to us. Some more gatorade, glucose, water. Finally after another 5kms we are onto the salt lake marsh and to the next aid station only to hear another 15kms to finish line.

This is where we 3 being together helped. Either one of used to walk ahead so that none of us would drop out. Lot of times we would be walking together. Heat is on us. And its just plain salt lake with no living being in sight. We try to walk fast but we are also slowing down.
Now I don’t even remember what all we talked about. We talked about our work, our personal life and many things under the sun, literally! Yes literally under the sun. By now, I had taken the hanky from my bag and tied it around my head, was constantly pouring water to keep it wet and wore cap on top of it.
This talking helped us and we were sure that at every other aid station the distance would be still 12kms to finish line. Long stretches of marsh and pits in between, salt deposits, bright sunshine.
With all the struggle we reach the last aid station! What a relief, no words to describe. Now we are definitely going to reach the finish line. Walked again, took some rest, walked again. We had absolutely no more energy to run or to jog. Took another quick break and in the last 50mts, we 3 jogged together past the finish line to all claps and cheers and a medal put on to our neck.

What a feeling. We check the garmin stats and we had run 53kms. We definitely were not going to complain for the extra distance. It was not extra by 1-2kms by 11kms. Why would we complain when we feel more proud of having done the ultra while actually registering for 42kms.
We were not alone in our distance calculation, every other runner had the same stats!

Running on flat roads was good to be fit but am sure only after couple of such trail runs is when I would feel confident. But still there could be surprises!

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