When I heard from my friend Sunil about IISc Science and Technology run to be held inside their campus, I was all too excited. The registration was free and running inside IISc was going to be one heck of a route as it would be encompassing the entire green campus that IISc was famous for. I would also be traversing through some of the memorable building where in I had spent 6 months of weekends few years back (I had taken up a course on Image Processing there). So it felt like going back home after many years. The building where we used to have our classes, the hotel, the place where we used to have our samosas brought back fond memories. Felt nostalgic to be back!
The run by itself was great. Took me about 45min to cover the 10K. And this was after I had jogged from my home to IISc covering a distance of about 10K in 50 min. I took about an hour to come back home. So overall ran about 30Km and the best part was at the end of it, I didn’t feel tired at all. Maybe it was because of the two breaks I had before and after the actual race. The race was very well organized and despite the registration being free each of us got a free T-shirt (better than many of the corporate T Shirts we get). The route was very scenic with canopy of trees all through. There was hardly few seconds in the entire route where we were exposed to direct sunlight. I knew that the IISc campus was huge and it was green inside but I had never imagined it to be this huge (there was hardly any repetition in the 10K route) or for that matter that lush green. It was definitely one of the best places to be for a Sunday morning run. And I just hope this race will be the beginning of my preparation for my Athens Marathon.
My snap at the start of the run..:D
For those of you who haven't been able to spot me, i am in 7th Row, 6th Column..Just behind the lady in pink T-Shirt..:D
Heartfelt thanks to all for the overwhelming response and support to my Athens post. I am truly touched and honored. From people who wished me to people who actually made contributions to the sponsorship I am truly grateful. Special thanks to the two people who contributed 100 Euros and 80 Euros each as sponsorship amount. The amount represents much more than just money to me. It’s a kind of encouragement that makes the entire experience even more memorable.
The idea is to get some sponsorships from the corporates too – hope to start from the company that I work for and then maybe move on to Sports apparel manufacturers or Mobile service providers. Or maybe even write articles in magazines about our experiences, in exchange for sponsorships. Any help in terms of ideas or contacts from any of you guys would be appreciated. Hopefully, this experience of getting sponsorships would be as good as the Athens marathon itself (I have no doubts about how good the marathon would be..:)). Will keep you all updated on my progress!!
Have you ever wondered how entrepreneurs succeed and make money? Have you wondered how one can start a business from practically nothing? Have you ever wondered how your actions (past or present) will help you someway or the other in the long run? Well, for some of these answers I recommend reading Captain Gopinath’s autobiography “Simply Fly”. Nope, I don’t have the habit of writing book reviews and so will not dwell too much into the details of the book. But believe me when I say it is one truly amazing story.
I am a sucker of good autobiography books but this one takes the cake! It’s not because he is better than most but it’s just that he hails from a very familiar background - with a middle class background from Karnataka he went on to do amazing things. He made such a big impact to the aviation industry that he is considered as the father of the low-cost airline industry in India.
I had always wondered how he made millions from nothing. But I never knew how he got there nor did I know what he had to do to get there. When you read the book you will realize it was never a walk in the park. But his perseverance and his ability to keep trying various things has taken him where he is now. My respect to him has increased manifold after reading his life story.
Hailing from a remote village near Hassan he became an army captain. Fought in the Liberation of Bangadesh war and was later posted on the Sino-India border as a ‘watchman’. After all the spiritual enlightenment he could get there, he took early retirement from Army because he got bored with it! This was not before he extensively traveled across India and also went on a backpacking trip to USA on a meager $500. At the age of 27 he suddenly felt the urge of becoming a farmer and invested heavily on farming. He had to take a huge loan and a much bigger risk to start this venture. The breadth of his experience in these activities, his learning and his achievements is simply astounding.
If one has the notion that one has crossed the age of taking risks or one is too old to try new things, then just throw that notion away. He demonstrates how foolhardy it will be to think like that. All one needs is to have the will and desire to achieve success and wok hard towards it! From farming he goes on and tries his hand at garage/motor workshop business, dealerships, hotel business, agriculture consultancy and even politics before plunging into the aviation industry. One must hear from the horses’ mouth to get an idea of what he learnt, the risks he took and the success and failures that followed. Half the book tells you the story of how Deccan Aviation (the charter company) was born and how it gave rise to the more famous/publicized Air Deccan (LCC – Low Cost Carrier).
The book gives a very deep insight to the life of a first generation entrepreneur and it is Simply Amazing! A must read for anyone and everyone who can appreciate grit and valor, risk, disappointments and rewards - especially for all the future entrepreneurs out there!
Visitors who flock to India’s tiger reserves have only one question on their minds: "Will we spot a Tiger?" The meager number of Tigers, leopards and panthers left in India makes sure that most leave disappointed. Never mind the herds of elephants, deer and other ungulates that crowd the verdant forest floor, only if one of the big cats was sighted is the trip deemed a success because they have so become few and far between.
Having been on 3 such trips to wildlife reserves before, my expectations was rock bottom. I hardly cared. I had convinced myself that there was nothing special about watching one of the big cats in the wild. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We (friends from office – Mani, Srini, Ramdu and Ranga) landed at Pollachi (TamilNadu) on Thursday midnight. This was one trip in which we had no reservations anywhere and to be honest we didn’t even have a plan! The only thing we wanted to do was get into the Tiger reserve and spend some time either at Topslip (Tamilnadu) or at Parambikulam (Kerala). Thankfully we got a decent room and we hit the bed straightaway. By Friday afternoon after a lot of negotiations and influence we got permission to stay at Parambikulam. They didn’t allow our Scorpio inside and hence had to use their transport. The idea was to spend a day there and then decide on our next plan.
After a heavy lunch we relaxed in the forest cottage for sometime and then left on a safari to the forests. We went to the Parambikulam dam and had a bamboo boat ride where we spotted wild elephants. After this we witnessed a tribal dance (I don’t wasn’t to talk about this!). By the time we headed back to our cottages it was almost 7.30PM. The forest was pitch dark, but it seemed like it was the most active then. For the first half of our journey nothing major happened. We flashed our torchlight in all directions, but to no avail. The maximum one would see were bright shiny eyes with none of us having any clues as to what that animal was.
But just few minutes before we reached our camp, everything seemed to happen at once. Suddenly we saw a flurry of activity. We spotted a wide range of animals from bison, wild boars to herds of deer. Even some sambars crossed our track. But none of these incidents came anything close to what we were about to witness next.
Just couples of seconds after all these animals were seen, someone exclaimed that there was a leopard in the bushes. It took me few seconds to get the direction right and then I saw it! It was one of those amazing moments in your life that will be etched in your memory forever. Even now when I think of it, shivers run through my spine. The leopard was hardly 10 feet away and it was standing majestically and was staring right back at us. There is something about a wild cat, with its tail held high, that can never come when we see them in cages or in tamed conditions. This one had an aura around it as if it was the master and we were its subjects. The vibes are just too much to bear even for someone who was sitting inside the comfort of a vehicle. The driver used a flashlight to focus on the animal and we were able to watch it for a few seconds. I tried capturing the moment with my camera but everything came black.
In the thick forests of southern India, leopard sightings are rare. They are extremely shy animals who run away from everything other than their prey. So spotting a leopard, especially the ones lasting more than a few moments are rarer still. After sometime we could only see two shining eyes and that was the end of the most glorious moments of our trip.
Only when we reached our cottages (less than a minute away from the leopard!) did I realize how tantalizingly close the leopard was. In a matter of seconds it could have easily come over to where I was. The thought made me feel extremely happy to have witnessed such an animal in its true environment but also made me sad that the future generations may not even have this small opportunity.
After a thankful night in the cottage we went trekking the next day morning to the forests. After the previous nights experience we had some expectations. But a three hour trek didn’t yield anything and we headed back to our cottage.
We were back to Pollachi by afternoon and with nothing much to do we headed to Ooty. Reached there by evening and the weather was splendid. It was so cold that we had to use rajai/blankets in the night! That’s summer at Ooty for you!! The next day I and Srini got up at 5.30 and went for a hike for about 2 hours. It was a satisfying walk considering the amount of food we had the previous night..:)
We left Ooty around 9.30 and were back in Bangalore by 6. We made several stops in between enjoying the journey on the way. Sadly we didn’t spot any major wild animals both at Mudumalai and Bandipur. The only major incident was the sighting of a rouge elephant (if an elephant is not part of a heard then mostly it’s a rogue elephant and it’s considered to be dangerous) next to the road at Bandipur. A maniac/drunkard actually stopped right in front of it and was taking snaps. He was making loud noises and the elephant was visibly irritated. It was disgusting to see such irresponsible people. The elephant took two steps back, shook its head vigorously and made a trumpet noise!! It should have charged him and beaten him up. Would have served him right!!
Anyway, the entire trip was a satisfying experience with spotting the leopard being the highlight of the trip. The group was great, the humor was awesome and all the narration of exciting stories of Kenneth Anderson from my friends (I should make it a point to read hisbooks) was the icing on the cake.
Some of the snaps from the trip can be found here...