Half Marathon for a cause

With some running plan in my mind I checked for running event and I registered myself for this event for a cause.
This was to be my first ever run outside India. Am happy though it was not a properly organised run, it was for a cause.
This was organised by NCT in “Running against Cancer. Due to overwhelming registrations, the run was delayed by 30mins.
At around 6:30pm we started running. I just followed the pack since I did not know the route and following the crowd is best option.
The weather was hot and almost like weather back home. The humidity factor was also there since we were running by the side of river. After few meters we went through beautiful landscapes and through the fields. It was really looking great. I did not carry my mobile to take photos.
The timing of completion did not matter except the update of results on the website. I found my name on registered participants. I did not find my name on the results page!
I was relaxed for this run and this was my first half marathon after December, 2014. I have not practiced in the time since except few kms here and there. Technically I was not fit for 42kms but my body can sustain around 30kms of running.

During the run due to humidity and having got used to water stations at 2.5kms mark, I was looking for one here too. The first water point was after 7th km, I think so.Between 10th to 15th km I was losing my body salts and I could fee it on my face and hands. I was in immediate requirement of some salt based drink and water. Finally somewhere after 15th, I believe, there was a water station. Picked up a cut apple and a drink which contained magnesium and calcium (it turned out to be disaster post run). Later I gulped some more water and a mashed fruit packet. Then I understood why some of them run with water pouch around waist.

Few pointers for improvement:
1. Water stations at every 2.5km required if the weather is hot and humid.
2. Distance marker, especially for guys like me who are not resident here.
3. Run route update on website, atleast day before the run

What made the run great
1. A superb route with beautiful landscape
2. Mix of trail and tar
3. A route with no traffic
4. Arrangement of ambulance
5. People cheering from the sides

It was good one to run after 1.5yrs+. Hopefully more to come.

Raman Raghav 2.0 – Movie Review

A movie inspired by a 1960 character Raman Raghav of Mumbai with no relation to the actual person who died in 1995. <yawn> <yawn> <yawn>
One person is inside the system and another outside the system. Both have similar mindsets. Raman is a serial killer who kills anyone including his own sister when they cross a particular imaginary line drawn in his mind. Raghav the one inside the system is drawn towards this mindset maybe could be referenced to drug usage. He hurts his own father, goes on rampage with his drug supplier and kills the girl with whom his relation is undetermined except that she aborted 3 times.

The shift from Raman to Raghav and how this happens is what this movie is all about. Probably showing different sides in each person. To this extent Raman stalks Raghav at all times.

There are “gorified” music to certain scenes to make us understand the nature of killing.
certain dialogues are crisp and short.
The movie is shot chapter wise a la Quentin Tarantino. Oh no no the class of him is not there. Though direction is definitely better and high for Bollywood standards.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui has infact saved the movie with his acting.

Nothing great about the movie other than this. It would not be you missed a classy movie if you did not watch it.
My rating 3/5.

Anurag Kashyap definitely watches lot of other languages movies, maybe Tamil more! There is a reference to the Tamil movie Angadi Theru!:)

Udta Punjab – Movie Review

Drugs, guns, sex the mantra. Put state of Punjab and a touch to cross border smuggling. Laced with emotions, touch of love and remorse. Thus you get the movie Udta Punjab!
The movie brings certain aspects of reality.
1. How easy it is to smuggle drugs.
2. How they manufacture and sell drugs.
3. The nexus between various people.
4. The usage by singers.
5. The people mindset.
6. Treatment of women and forcing them.

The movie is made well in those aspects without allowing audience to lose interest. They manage to give commercial angle for box office success when Tommy goes to save the girl and a happy ending.

Tommy (Shahid Kapoor) is a stage performer under the influence of drugs and songs with words referring to same which gives him success. If the other jail inmates were not successful in changing him, though they opened his eyes to reality, it is a girl (Alia Bhat) who changes him.

Watch the movie to know how and what else happens. Enjoy the crispy script and some humor and usage of abusive words. Only that I was expecting a non-commercial ending.

In my view it is 3.5/5.

Jan 2012 (part 2) – Murud

One of the unkown and not so touristic place is Murud in Raigad district of Maharashtra. This is only beach destination which is close to a hill station, Dapoli

. From Dapoli, Murud is about 8-10kms away and could be reached in an auto share.
Most tourists to this beach destination are from either Pune or Mumbai. Very peaceful place and few options for stay this is more a place for relaxing.
What to do here? Nothing actually. One can laze around, climb trees, watch birds, play with dogs, observe butterflies.

Month of January is also season when all blooms!
There is a small temple nearby and a village school. One can make a day trip to Janjira Fort in the sea. Also close to is Harnai and Anjarle.

This is a perfect getaway for all those who want to be away from crowds on the beach in Goa and other parts of Maharashtra.

Reflections, Murd Beach

Reflections, Murd Beach

PS: It is possible that the place of stay then is not in existence today.

Jan 2012 (Part3) – Anjarle & Harnai

Further about 15kms from Murud is little bigger village Anjarle.

There are two access to this village which is famous for Kadyawarcha Ganesha Temple.

Taking a ferry after a short distance of travel saves lot of time and distance. Once you get down at Anjarle you are again welcomed by white sands. Get out of the shore, walk a few meters & you would come across a big tree. IMG_2789Taking a turn at the tree marks the climb to Kadyawarcha Temple. I was initially scared that the steps to the temple would be steep making it a difficult & tough climb up.

It turned out to be contrary. Within no time I was up there at the temple.

After my prayers & offerings to Ganesha, I was back down to land in no time! There are buses which go all the way up but its better to walk up. Its refreshing.

Kanakadurg Fort

Kanakdurg Fort, Harnai - 25

Kanakdurg Fort, Harnai – 25

At the ship port of Harnai is the land fort built by the Maratha Empire. On the sea is the Suvarnadurg fort. Kanakadurg fort supplements the one on sea. Currently this is an abandoned structure and is mostly not in use. There are hardly tourists in this part of the map. In those days this served as military camp.

What one can see today is overgrown plants, trees, bird nesting and dilapidated structures.

Two of same flock together!

Two of same flock together!

Harnai

When the evening sets in people gather at sea shore.

They come in autos, bullock carts and many by foot. They have gathered to welcome the boats back from fishing. Once the boats are marooned to land, the fishes are segregated and prices fixed. People buy either in crates or in small quantities.
There is a lot of hustle bustle, bargaining on the prices. The reaction on the faces of people changes and so does the mood. Everyone is there to buy. It is apparently not just humans there are birds flocking around, dogs, cats who all are waiting for their share to drop off and pick some for their dinner.

Eagerly looking cat, Harnai

Eagerly looking cat, Harnai

It is quite a hectic evening and worth watching. This should be on the schedule of a tourist to these areas.

 

Sibsagar

About 90kms to west of Dibrugarh is a town Sibsagar (Sivsagar) which was in the 18th century capital of the Ahom Kingdom. While some say the Ahom rulers came up Thailand some say they came from China.
It is not a very big town rather a radius of 8-10kms. There are some monuments and temples to visit around here. Sitting by the side of the lake one can spend an entire evening supplemented with listening to the chirping of birds. There are two big lakes in this town.
We started with a salutation to Shiva & Devi before proceeding to see some of the monuments.

ShivaDol
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What stands out in this temple is the Shiv linga is reversed. The linga is actually under the ground with a passage leading to end of the wall. Unlike in temples of Shiva elsewhere one cannot go around the linga since you are not supposed to jump across the passage.
The gopuram or the tower is covered on the top with gold. People say that the entire tower was covered with gold and invaders in different forms took away the gold. The gold which is still remaining on the tower top is because they were unable to remove. Some claim that researchers were not able to find what material was used to glue to gold.
Adjacent to Shiva are devi and vishnu temples. Behind the temple is a big lake which apparently is not the biggest lake here.

Rang Ghar
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This was an amphitheater built by the Ahom dynasty for entertainment purpose. What is to be noted is the a boat is carved on top of this structure. There should be something significant in this since I observed similar carving near GanShyam temple.
The material as they say used for constructing this amphitheater is not brick or stone. Rather it is a mixture of rice, pulses, fish, eggs! How did somebody find out such a combination could be used in construction and would stand still even after more than 200 years!

Talatal Ghar & Kareng Ghar (Rangpur Palace)
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One cannot see anything of Talatal Ghar except read what is written. Apparently it is 3 floors under the ground used as a base for army and military training. It has secret tunnels heading towards Rang Ghar and other areas. The locals say that the 3 floors under the ground is like a maze. There were some including Britishers who tried to navigate through and got lost. Seems some people died inside trying to explore. It was sealed off during the Britishers time. (I do not know how much of this is true)
Kareng Ghar is four floors above the ground including ground floor. It is octagonal shaped Ghar surrounded by moats. There is a temple for Parvathi. While trying to understand the structure it is noticeable that lot which were part of this structure is missing. Actually yes, in the years post the Ahom dynasty it was destroyed by invaders.
One cannot but just admire on how in-depth the rulers in those days had thought before constructing palaces or temples.

Joysagar
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It is to date said to be the biggest man-made lake in India. The depth of the lake is about 14ft. There is a restaurant on one side and option for boating (self pedalling boats). The ticket for boating can be taken from the restaurant.
There are three temples here for Shiva, Devi and Vishnu. None of the three have murthi or idols in it. History says the idols were stolen. The temples still stand there.
What is not commonly seen is about 200mts further from Devidol there is another temple for Ganshyam. Here also no idol.
The ASI has taken over the temples and are doing some restoration and beatification work currently.
From here we spent quite a long time by the calm composed water body with cups of tea.

Train travel by lady

This post is dedicated to my wife. It is not that women have never travelled by train. Neither is it that women have not travelled by second class sleeper.
So what makes it noteworthy or special when my wife has travelled by train? The primary reason being she travelled in DBRG Vivek Express. She also boarded the train at start point and got down at last station. Which means she was on the train from kanyakumari to Dibrugarh. The actual duration of travel is 80hrs15mins. With delay the journey was for 83hrs.
To my knowledge no woman has so far travelled this length and this duration. On the 5th day when we land in Dibrugarh she was 1st lady who sat through the entire distance.

One, we did not pack any food. It is technically not possible to pack for long duration except biscuits and breads. All consumption was to be from pantry car and vendors. The stomach needs to take the influx of food both spicy and non-spicy.

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The other aspect being the cooking oil. While at home we use sunflower oil during the travel it varies from ginglee oil to coconut oil to mustard oil. And you get fresh fruits like litchi!

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Two, water. Imagine for clean water we keep buying bottles of water and you end up spending money and wasting plastic. With varying water and degree of contamination the confidence would not be there to consume water from train station platform. One will be the will power to consume water from tap and brave the after effects. Another is a simple buy of purifier water bottle.

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Thanks to this for building the confidence. It has got filter on top and can be used to filter 500lts.

Third, restroom. For people who are sensitive to smell it takes a lot to hold your breath and use the train toilet. A/C compartments get cleaned frequently same is not the case with second class! It does not just smell shit but also the beedi (Indian cigar) and cigarettes and gutka.

Fourth, spending time. Chat for some time, play for some time, read for some time. What else to do? Shopping! Yes actually yes. Shop bedsheets, sarees, mobile chargers, cosmetics, fancy items. Fortunately wife does not splurge on shopping it is good to browse through.

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Fifth, no shower! Imagine 5days without bath! Unless you manage to wipe yourself with a wet cloth. It’s a big deal. The weather changes from humid, to hot, to hot, to humid, to rains and dirt/dust all over.
Sixth, staring/stalking. A girl in train beyond a age that men calculate are bound to get starrrred at. Guys would cross compartments to stare. Some would even stalk by following where ever you go. The dress you wear has no relevance, even if you wrap yourself completely. That is a talent men have to see through how many layers of cloth a woman wears.

Overcoming all these, braving through conditions, wife did really great. She got down all smiles. Just shows train journeys are something not to be afraid off!

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