15yrs gone by (Life outside office space) – Part 2 (Travel in India)

Travel is an opportunity created by oneself for self. While traveling with a big group is fun traveling with limited set teaches a lot if your eyes and ears are open.

Something that I learnt are:

1. Planning and contingency planning.

2. Managing with available resources which includes cash in hand.

3. Handling situations and people and stress.

4. Getting out of comfort zone.

5. Admire the knowledge of people around the world and the beauty that nature has to offer.

6. The memories.

While many don’t travel to places considering language as a barrier, I would not agree. I traveled from Shanghai to Xitang none of the people I met in that entire trip spoke English!

From the first trip when I traveled to Waynad via a old Tamil Nadu govt bus leaking of water due to rain spending the journey sitting on the steps, I had shed the comfort out of travel. It does not mean not to do a luxury travel, that helps too!

With 1000/- rupees in hand my friend and myself set out to tour South India. We traveled in night bus to avoid taking accommodation! I think the best was how we got away from cops with a straight face lie! That night the cops were beating everyone who was sleeping inside the bus stand.

Or the night when we landed in Bhopal railway station, every taxi driver wanted a piece of cake and lot of money. When you walk out without hiring a taxi it is not pleasant especially when there is a foreigner and a girl. In the end nobody has touched you or hurt you is a miracle!

Rum and ride, this was a glorious trip by cycle across Goa. It was one hell of trip.

The first ever time I sat on a motorbike as a rider was in 2005, it was RE Thunderbird (my brothers) and we rode to Yercaud from Bangalore. It was annual ride of RTMC. From then on I spinned off with a subgroup RKMC which later became big in Bangalore. I bought a RE STD Bullet for myself and rode through many parts of India, major long journeys were solo.

Bullet and myself rolled through hill stations in the South India during monsoon, trip to Kolkata and back, many trips on West coast, Delhi to Bangalore. Bullet is not bereft of problems. Some times it would stop for no reason, some welding would come off, something would fail. We face the problems together and you learn to fix.

One of those trip was to leh-ladakh from Delhi. It was not smooth sailing trip. I had a fall and limping, bullet was giving up and finally nature also stopped us from reaching the destination with cloud burst but we eased out all tensions for two days at Bathal.

The worst of the problem is when you meet with accident, two accidents both times broken bones! Inspite of many issues, Bullet is so special for me that it was in one of those rides I met a girl, lost my 💓 and we got married later.

Having lived with Bullet the next vehicle was Mahindra Thar. The climax of the trips was month long trip to leh ladakh across mid and western parts of India, driving all the way supported by my wife who sat through giving up on all comforts.

Both Bullet and Thar were used exhaustively but I never forgot Indian Railways or each individual State Bus Transport! If you want to experience a tough journey take the train which travels for 5days starting from southern part of India to Assam.

If I sit down to name some places I would not be doing justice to our country. Each place has something attached to it that pulls you. Some that you could try visiting: Malvan, Murud, Majuli, Srinagar, Kaaladi, Kollam, Tenkasi, Omkareshwar, Valparai, Chambal, Chilka, Rameshwaram, Sariska, Malnad, Daman, Diu, Dwaraka, Machilipatnam…..

India has so much to offer to feel, see and experience. The people, the cuisine…. When I look back I still feel is that all that I have seen.

All the travel across India cannot be written about in one post. Neither have I after so many years traveling through India have seen everything. I am satisfied having seen majority of India but there is still lots more to see. Some time in future I would continue my travel in India!

Athithi Devo Bhava.

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15yrs gone by (Life outside workspace) – Part 1 (Endurance)

It is difficult to write the entire duration of life in last 15yrs in one post. The entire thought of life so far is split into few parts.

To think back load’s of things happened and in these years. It is your life in your hands and how you shape it depends on you. Our parents had done their best within their capacity. While we may not agree to our parents as years go by, they had sacrificed quite a lot and beyond their capacity too. All this to see their children “settled”. I have never agreed to this and maybe not. Life is an adventure and to copy a quote “life is a box of chocolates, you never know what is coming next”. It is never possible to undermine the efforts of parents.

2002 January was the time I moved into Bangalore. Everything looked fine, go to office, come back home, eat, sleep, party, workout at gym. Nothing else. Life went on like a machine. While everything looked to follow a routine there was a need to break free. 2004 was another changing point in life.

The first change in 2004 was joining SAP Labs India (detailed post later). The year that I got into an aeroplane for first time and made a trip to Germany. second change was the first solo backpack trip that I did. I asked a colleague and good friend about Waynad and off I went. Little did I know that it would change my way of travel. That was the beginning and was not the last! I learnt some things from that trip and I started craving for more. It was then I decided that in future trips to Germany I cannot run to places for 1.5days over weekends but rather do longer trips.

Later the next major change happened. Like any other day my brother and myself were running between domlur-koramangala-domlur when my brotherproposed the idea of running marathons. There was no turning back, have been running from then on. Marathons, ultra marathons, long distance cycling and also came in running to office as part of training.

Marathons are an experience. You run and run and run going through physical and mental disturbances. In the course of running you overcome these obstacles. As you drag yourself to the finish point there is a burst of emotions and a smile curves in. There is nothing big that you get except a medal, the value of which only you know. They were also not times when you finish a run, click a selfie and post on social media. Running becomes a drug, you run for the adrenaline rush when you cross the finish line. The body takes a toll not just during the run but also the period of training.

Just when you feel you are doing great you fall down. Injuries pull you down because we have treated body like sh**. Lack of strenghtening exercises, lack of training plan and irregular diet and other habits all merge together to sc*** you up.  After sometime you feel fine and fit only till you are you pulled down by injuries. Lack of guidance was something I felt then.

I am thankful for having met Gladson via recommendation from a colleague. The body weight exercises were just the menu I wanted along with stretches for dessert! 2014 was the peak of my running even finishing an ultra of 50kms at Jawadu Hills in 4.5hrs.

It was not all about running in these years. I also started cycling long distances some time reaching the destination and some time not. In 2005 when few friends ganged up and cycled from Bangalore to Chennai I was the only one who did not finish even though we had a relaxed plan to cycle in 2days time. I had resolved then to cycle to Chennai in under 24hrs and years later it was accomplished with group of guys from SAP! The total distance around 350kms. We did it in 21+hrs.

Similarly we cycled Tour of Nilgiris (organized tour) for 9 days with only aim of finishing comfortably each day and to not get into the support vehicle at any point of time.

The last of cycling tour was from Manali to leh again with a different group of guys from SAP supported fully by my wife. There were lots of emotional exchanges and mood swings given the altitude we were heading towards. Inspite of all that we completed in around 9days a distance of 450kms.

There is one important thing to learn from high endurance activities that is to understand one’s body. At least from my perspective I have a better control of my body and mind. Other thing is failure is part of learning process, either you fall down or get up and succeed. After a point of time you will enjoy failure and success taste more sweeter, nothing comes on a platter! And the finish line is not the same all times.

 

Running in Brno

It took some time with all movement to get into running again.

For now found that Brno is a good city to run around. Big pavements, some trails. I have still not explored much though it looks like there are some nice trails up the mountains.

Before I step over there I need to get in shape and be fit. I wish for that soon!

If you are from Brno and reading this feel free to mail some running routes.

Looking forward to clocking more miles.

Expat in Brno – To be in a community or not?

After a week of stay in Brno and beginning work I decided to join an expat community. I felt it would be a great way to make new friends and share views and ideas. With that intention I found a website (click here). I registered myself and got an automated mail that they would process in 24hrs!

48hrs and am still waiting for their response! If they process in 24hrs at least by 36hrs there would be a mail if they want me in or not. Inter Nations, phew! 🙂

Travel to Brno

Many years ago I got this strange idea of moving to Europe for work. This would also enable travel to different parts of Europe to explore. Though I am percieved adventurous I have my own restrictions.

Last year I saw an opportunity and was not ready to let it go down. Brno stuck on to me. I have not visited Czech republic in the past. Things were falling in place and I got a job here in Brno.

It is not a piece of cake to just move in and join work. There is a whole lot of documentation work. Apostille of degree certificate, police certificate and apostille of same, apostille of marriage certificate (if you are married, for your spouse). It is better to have your spouse name on passport. Once all the documentation process is over then you go to consulate in Delhi to submit the application and relevant documents. The rest of documents include proof of accommodation in Brno and employment offer letter. Then is a process time of 90days. Once the application is approved by end of 90days you need a medical insurance which would have at least minimum of one week from date of travel from India. After which you make another trip to Delhi to collect your passport which will contain single entry visa.

Now starts the next work which is to book a flight ticket. Flights to Brno from Bangalore take 2days with long stopovers. What is the other option? Take a flight to Prague and from there take a bus or train.

I got a ticket via Doha to Prague and the airlines was Qatar airways. I had my own reservation since I have traveled by this. It turned out to be a gentle surprise. It was comfortable journey with only a two hour time in Doha.

At Prague the immigration was another surprise. It took only a minute to get stamped and sent inside!

To let know the immigration process at Bengaluru was also only about a minute. The age old forms which were to be filled in the past are done with!

From Prague (PRG) airport I went to train station and by journey time of 2.5hrs I was in Brno. For booking train ticket click here.

It was a convenient journey.

There are other options to fly in by Lufthansa or Airfrance or by Ethihad or by Emirates.

Paytm can let you down

Last night was probably the worst experience with Paytm and what could probably be many more to come in future.
I did not have sufficient cash in my Paytm Wallet to make a purchase. I added quite a significant amount into the wallet. The transaction was complete. My bank confirmed transfer to Paytm.
All fine. What is the problem?

When I scanned the QR code to make the payment and entered the amount, Paytm gave message “xx.xx” amount less and do you want to transfer from bank account into wallet to complete the transaction.
I agreed with Paytm messaged, transferred the said amount from my bank account. My bank sent a SMS confirming the transfer to Paytm Wallet.
Lo behold, Paytm gave a message still of insufficient funds. When in reality I had made two transfers of more than requisite amount.

This resulted in me unable to pay for the item I wanted to buy. Imagine if this scenario happens regularly.

How can one trust Paytm with these kind of issues. Am rethinking about “Paytm Karo”.

This could not just be problem of Paytm. It could also be of Zeta and many other providers in this area.

 

Men & back slap

In the movie Pink, Amitabh Bachan concludes stating that:
1. Women should not laugh and talk
2. Women should not touch and talk
3. Women should not have a drink

All these are inviting for a man. These are signals sent out by girls.

Today morning while I was returning during my run near Bellandur Petrol Bunk a girl was walking on the service road. Two men on a moped are coming from a distance. Suddenly when they are close to the girl the palm of the guy sitting behind stretches out. The moment I call out his hand goes inside folded. Nothing happened.

What remains in our mind is what our Sultan said “baby ko bass pasand hai”. So conveniently conveyed as “base” with the action and nobody wanted to censor.