Friday, March 01, 2019

What's in a name

Family names that identify one's caste may, indeed, be double-edged swords. As per my wife, family name in India recognizes the person with a caste and in her experience a person with a surname will have a superiority complex. But in my case, I always feel a family name is very important and I always wish I had one. And while one could argue that the influence of the caste system will never wane till we attach family names to our own, it is worth noting that even in the West, the
family name continues to be used in spite of its seeming redundancy.

Perhaps for all the drive towards individualism, nothing terrifies us more than the idea that we are truly individual. To be alone in the world, to have come from nowhere and to leave behind nothing that we can put a name to is a thought of unbearable isolation. We need family names because we need our past, not as a memory but something we live inside of. Our family name creates a little world into which we can snuggle up, however unconsciously. We need family names because otherwise we would be nothing but individuals and that can be very lonely indeed.

The family name becomes in this instance a counterpoint to the first name, and is used more as a mark of identification rather than uniqueness where it is extensively used, especially in military or office. But then again, "Whats there in a name" ?

Friday, February 03, 2017

Orthorexia Nervosa

Funny, there is even a term for a condition like this. It is not a disorder but at times it will have a profound impact on the person with Orthorexia. Those who have an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.” Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity. They become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with “slip-ups.” 

Orthorexia is a term coined by Steven Bratman, MD in 1996. He began to use it with his patients who were overly health-obsessed. It was not meant as a diagnosis; instead, Dr. Bratman used the term to help his patients entertain the possibility that this “healthy” eating may not be as beneficial as they presumed.

Orthorexia appears to be motivated by health, but there are underlying motivations, which can include safety from poor health, wanting to be thin, improving self-esteem. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships.

Its important to realize that food will not make them a better person and that basing their self-esteem on the quality of their diet is irrational. Their identity should shift from “the person who eats health food” to a broader definition of who they are – a person who loves, who works, who is fun. They will find that while food is important, it is one small aspect of life, and that often other things are more important.

I have met people from both the spectrum, a person with limited knowledge of diet who is culturally conditioned to believe that their way of unhealthy eating is perfect.  And an other one with early signs of Orthorexia.

Eating healthy is very important but  there should always be some room for junk food or at times no food.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kudremukha Trek

Kudremuka. The name Kuduremukha literally means 'horse-face' (in the Kannada language) and refers to a particular picturesque view of a side of the mountain that resembles a horse's face. However, we will not be able to see the horse face view from the trek path. 

The sun is still overhead as we arrive at Rajappa Gowda's house. As I breathe the hot air in and out, my mouth becomes as dry as dust. We decided to stay at Rajappa Gowd's house so that we can wake up early and start the climb.

Note: There are two houses meant for accommodation (Either Rajappa Gowda's house or Satish Gowda's house). I would suggest go for Rajappa gowda's house if the accommodation is available. Better among the two. 

The smells of chilli, garlic and ginger were sharp and powerful. Lunch was ready and I found it bland, insipid, uninspired. "This is . . . very nice," I said, referring to the meal. I can't complain while on a hike. To be fair, I loved the breakfast and the pakodas that they prepared with the tea.

We started the hike at 7AM. Rajappa gowda took care of the permit and the guide. Luckily weather was cold and I could feel my feet tread on the damp grass and the sky is almost cloudy. I move forward in a daze. The ground gets wetter and wetter. Through the green grass ahead I glimpse the peak. Hurriedly I drop my pack, pick my camera and walk through the grass and start taking images.

A while later, we came across a cold sweep of water. There are 10 such streams on the hiking route. Let me plunge into your waters! Trying not to fall and sink into the mud, I stamp to the shore, throw myself down and scoop the water into my mouth. Its potable, clear, cold and even tasty.   

 After an hour's ascent we reach the plains. A welcoming committee of Pond Herons meet us at the flat lands in their finest breeding plumage. What we saw were patches of land that was being cultivated. The rice paddies are now replaced by wild weeds. A quick dash on the grass would startle the pond herons. It was beautiful to see the white bird take a flight amidst the red weeds.

 A horseback rider wouldn't have too much difficulty getting past the blisters and eruptions that scarred the sholas and forests here. Stories of how Lobo came on an horse and built his house and cultivated the lands are still alive. We passed the abandoned Lobo house to realize nothing lasts forever. 

Breasting the regular swells of land, on a dirt track as true as a line of longitude, we were like a boat at sea. Finally we reached the first pit stop after many pit stops to reach Onti Mara (The Lonely Tree) 

The breakfast was simple. Idli with leftover sambar from yesterdays dinner. On a regular day, we would have complained. But not today.  

 But the land was still bad enough but the views were magnificent. Is it a ragged mallow ? I'm not sure but the yellow flowers were everywhere.

Suddenly it dawns on me that distances can be deceptive. The peak that from the starting point seemed so near could be few kilometers away.

The ruined walls of an abandoned church was a testimony to natures resilience. Nothing is permanent. Nevertheless we got some surreal backdrops for our portrait photography. 

As the sun climbed up, the peak reappears at last, lying still at the edge of the sky. I am on course, but my legs can barely hold. At nine in the morning the sun was already hot but the clouds were in full flow. Must say, this is the most photogenic peak in Karnataka. 

We soaked up the sunshine and listened to the silence, silence broken only by the occasional gust of wind through the grass, or the call of a pair of eagles that floated in the sky. All too soon, it was time to packup and head back. After customary refreshments, we headed back. Its unfortunate that the camping is not allowed on the peak.  

Hiking is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having completed a trek and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon--even if it's just for a fleeting moment.

Here is a link to our trek video put together beautifully by fstopro

Monday, February 22, 2016

How can I grow sandalwood tree in front of my house or backyard ?

This is a small effort by us to push people towards gardening and planting trees.

Instructions to plant the sandalwood seeds that you received.

1) Soak the seeds in water for 3 days.
2) Select an area with good sunlight, free without plants ( as much as possible)
3) Dig a pit, for a  10 cm deep. Clear the hard rocks which might obstruct the plant.
4) Get some wet mud and cover the pit.
5) Take your seeds and press them into the mud ( General rule: Your thumb depth would suffice)
6) Give it water or plant it during the monsoon
7) Enjoy

The packet also contain seeds to grow a small-space edible garden. Growing vegetables can bring out the farmer in you. You till the soil and tend the plants, then reap the rewards when the plants bear fruit. Even if you don't have much sunny ground, you can still experience the pleasure of harvesting your own vine-ripened tomatoes and other crops. We hope your experience will be positive and start a full fledge garden at your home.

Following are some links to get you started:

Info on Urban gardening:

The Seven Easiest Vegetables to Grow for Beginner Gardeners:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Better Sore then Sorry

Good things comes to those who sweat, literally and figuratively. After a brief stint in working out, told I felt like I should start working out again. Was going through some of images I took before starting a work out plan and after 3 months of intense work out. The transformation is phenomenal. Fitness is not about being better then someone else but being better then you used to be. And the best project that you will ever work on is YOU.

When I was young I was lean and was doing YOGA. Later included swimming every week. Some of things that I realized with experience is, Yoga is for flexibility and it is essential to build strength and stamina along with flexibility. Irrespective of what you select, it is essential to stick to your exercise plan no matter what. Its all about managing your time and not to blame others  for not sticking to your exercise regime. 30 minutes of intense work out is just 2% of your day or 10% of your facebook time.

It has been very long since I started updating my blog. There are many important life updates and was buzy managing multiple things at a time. I fell in love, got married. I'm looking forward to spending time with my daughter. I'm sure it will be hectic but realized I should be fit to match the energy levels of my baby. Together, there are lot of places to see, explorer and learn every thing all over again. It will be a very interesting phase of my life and  will try to make it count as much as possible.      

Just around the corner

Yesterday, just had my real taste of drifting while was I was heading back to Bangalore on Shiradi Ghats. In this case, the maneuver was not intentional. I had to come down a slope and had to take a hairpin left turn to proceed with a steep climb. I was on third gear and was confident that my car would make it on third gear, only to realize(no road sign) that it was not just a left turn with gentle slope but a hairpin bend with a steep up-hill incline. A Renault duster was tailgating my car and I felt it would not be safe to slow down to a manageable speed. I was over confident that my car would manage the climb on 3rd gear. I had to over-steer causing loss of traction in the rear wheel. The rear wheel started to drift right while I was in control from entry to exit of a corner. This are time when you realize how important a sedan is over SUVs. As my previous article was about the review of Honda Amaze, I just wanted to add this experience so people looking for firt hand experience about drivability can understand what an amaze is capable of. My car and the boot was loaded and with this load the car is capable of handling most of the curves on 2nd gear. Existing 165mm with stiff suspension is an excellent combination. I recommend a tire upgrade to Michelin Energy XM2. In summary, 120 kmph on highway should not be a problem. Touched 150 kmph for a brief 10 secs. But for a car without ABS, I strongly recommend 90 kmph for a good mileage and better control on highway. In city have the tire pressure set to 30 psi for better mileage. For hilly terrain from now on i'll reduce the pressure to 28 to 29psi. In rains, on highway, 60 kmph would be an ideal speed for a car without ABS.  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 overview

They say, the way to enlightenment is by reading books or by traveling. You can say the year was good if you have read more books or visited more places. 2015 for me was special in many ways. This year started with a late night birthday party at Monkey Bar. Danced till I was tired and I knew something exiting was in store for this year. Started the year with a small trip to Hyderabad, followed by a trip to mettupalyam and Ooty. Visited Coimbatore for few days. Attended a naturalist training course followed by a trip to Hampi and a trek in Tadiyandamol. Concluded the year by trekking Balladrayana Durga hill and a road trip to Gokarna. The year was peppered with lots of birding session. Read Batman Begins and Dark knight Returns. As a cherry on the top, we were blessed with a little angel. Its really nice to be with someone who supports my passion for travel. All this was possible because of Shyla who does not stop me from going out while she manages things at home. Looking forward to 2016 with more books and travel plans. I'm sure it will be exciting with the little one around. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Honda Amaze | Petrol EX Varient : Ownership Review

"If you drive a Honda, seldom you'll switch your brand during your next upgrade" a good friend of mine who is driving a Honda from past 20 years said this to me. I was contemplating on buying a car from past one year and had set my eyes on Volkswagen Polo. Even when I was handing over the purchase order, I was not sure if I should take it back and go to VW dealer. My mind said Honda but my heart was set on VW. It is not easy when this is your first car and also a major investment for the first time. To begin with, I was not sure if I should be investing 7 Lakhs on a car. But in country like India where inflation is high, its worth the investment because in next 1 year the same car may cost another 1 Lakh extra. Its better to pay the extra 1 Lakh as interest and enjoy the car.

I took test drive of Brio, Swift, Polo (Both Petrol & Diesel), Felt Brio had too much glass and the gears were stiff, VW people had an air. When I called them for a test drive, they asked me to come half way as my house was far away. They even asked how much my salary was to confirm if I could afford the car. What bullshit. For every question of mine was met with "Its German Engineering" statement. So far the best service experience I had was at Maruti. They spoke my local language, not too intrusive nor distant. They came to my house three times with three different models. They handed over the keys and just allowed me to experience the car to my hearts content. For a second I felt I should just go ahead and buy a swift. But the looks were outdated and I like the old model better then the new one.

I wanted the title of this blog post to be "How Volkswagen sold me a Honda". No doubt VW has some good cars but they also have some worst dealers.  With all the recent VW scandal 'm happy with my decision to buy Honda.

Let me go ahead with the likes and dislike about the car so that any one reading this can make an informed decision:


1. Build Quality. It is always nice to hear the reassuring thud when you close the door which is missing is this car.

2. Rubber housing around the windows. When the windows are half open and you drive on a rough road, windows shake and make noise. (I did not face this issue on test car)

3. Rear window can be opened upto 90%, not a major issue.

4. Panel Gaps.

5. You can see the wires when you bend and look below the steering.  They could have used some clever engineering hacks to at least clamp the wires.

6. Buy an S Variant instead of going for E or EX variant. I made a mistake picking up the EX variant. If you can afford, go for the model that has an ABS.

7. Option to use the key only on driver side. Hence I had to install a remote lock.

8. OEM Horn: Stopped working in the very first month


1. iVTEC Engine: Single most reason to pick a Honda. Recently took the car out to Ooty and it just handled the curves beautifully without slowing down to catch a breath.

2. Handling: With short turning radius and stiff suspension you will feel confident handing the car. Just responds the way you want it to.

3. Mileage: 17 - 18 KM/Liter on highway with AC

4. Its Spacious.

5. I like the way the steering is designed. You just feel like holding it.

6. OEM front speakers are very good. Do not change the front speakers

7. I'm satisfied with the OEM tires and 165mm width. May change them to Michelin XM 2 during my next upgrade

Despite cost cutting being evident, its a good car to own if you live in a big city. Its almost two years and this is a late post. I have heard that the Honda has increased the base price as the model became popular. When I purchased, interest rates were very high but the interest now is slightly less. On a side note, i would like to add that I drove Hundai Xcent and was impressed with the power and the build quality. It was a brief 5 minute ride and it is difficult to judge a car in such a short span of time.

Cost of Car (On Road): Rs 6,75,760/- (I have not included the interest that I'm paying.)
Remote Lock + Mud flaps + Rear Speakers: Rs 8,300/-
2 Din Honda OEM Head unit: Rs 4000 + Rs 500 as fitting charges
Under Body Coating: Rs 3596/-
Fabric Seat Covers: Rs 3400/-
Better Horn: Rs 1200/-

Total Cost: Rs 6,96,756/-

Savings for not going to next model is Rs 26,976/-
But you will get a seat height adjuster, Steering audio controls, No need to cut wires to get the remote lock and wheel covers.

First Service cost : Free
Second Service cost: Free + Rs 1268/- Cost of Engine oil
Third Service: Rs 1413/-
Fourth Service Rs 2183/-
Replaced a broken mirror which costed: Rs 2504/-

If you notice the service bills are rising steadily. I do not own any other cars to know if the service charges are reasonable. Company had recalled my car to find out if the braking fluid distribution unit was defective. It turned to be OK and they gave a free wash when I left the car for inspection. I'll keep updating this post as and when some thing interesting happens with my car.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Inheritance Tax

We require re-introduction of inheritance tax. Inheritance tax was known as an estate duty in India but was abolished by the Rajiv Gandhi Govt. This is being levied in the US, UK, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland and Germany. This will bring down the legal disputes on property. This will lower inequality and will boost government revenue.

Non existence of inheritance tax/estate duty has resulted in wealth accumulation, increase in property value and the most dangerous one, unwanted legal case. This legal cases has slowed down our judiciary and decreased the progress of people involved in the case.

I would strongly recommend people to have minimum property that is essential for there survival. People deciding to invest in property to safeguard there bloodline are brewing a situation which may break their children. They will surely fail at a latter point of there life. Instead, if you have money, please invest on books, travel and education.

Saturday, November 07, 2015


I wanted to write about this from a very long time but could find time only today. Internet is such a democratic medium, Uninterrupted access to first hand knowledge irrespective of where you are from. Of-course there will be some exception if you are from China or North Korea. Internet is being used, abused & misused in all possible ways. Its funny how patients google there prescription to check if the doctor is right. We just have a new breed of generation who know it all. On the side note, I believe,  future is for people who has the capability to manage the information which is readily available. I have few friends who call me up for advise/suggestions and argue with me with the same points that I have posted on the internet. My opinions online has more value then the opinions I give them in person. And I had to coin a new term for this characteristic. Hence the term Netherent (adjective) is a characteristic attribute for a person who is more inclined to arrive at a decision based on content available on internet. 

If a person is Netherent and not careful, there are limitless possibilities for social engineering. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Even on my worst day, i still want to smile.

This post is a call for people to be happy no matter what. Happiness is contagious, so spread it. Never let them see you fail. Too often people use Breakdowns in their life as a reason to play victim.

NO ONE wants to hear you crying.  Breakdowns remind you, that you've been ignoring the warning signs! Breakdowns are a blessing, a opportunity to take a honest look at how you have been operating. A slap in the face to WAKE the HELL UP!

Don't let it get you down, break you, or make you give up. Celebrate! Dance! Be excited! You are now aware of what didn't work, So now you can shift into what does work. Breakdowns are a setup for a BREAKTHROUGH. You come out stronger and wiser than before.

Put your best outfit on! Put a smile on your face! Forgive yourself! Then get ready to crush your breakdown! Let loose with positivity! Radiate a new air of confidence! Seize the day... Kill it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back Again

After a very long hiatus, I'm back again. I'm not sure if there are still any readers left but I come here once in while just to write down whats going on in my head. Recently completed reading a fantastic book on evolution, the greatest show on earth by Richard Dawkins. The topics are all laid out with that combination of clarity and verve. The author has left no stone unturned in explaining evolution. After reading this book I realized, even thou the so called homosapians are evolved (at least intellectually) they still exhibit animal like behavior frequently. They are hard wired to do certain things the old way. To name a few, we still have borders, draw a line across the country and fight for the territory. Just like an alpha lion, successful people have multiple affairs. They just want to plant their seeds every where. Clinton can always say "Blame the evolution, we are still not evolved". This may be an obvious trait but there are more subtle things that go unnoticed and we should be extremely careful about. 

Do you know about the new alpha lion that defeated the aging lion to take control of a herd, the first thing that it does is to kill the cubs that were born to the ex alpha male. Similarly you cant expect your children to be treated equally under some one else supervision. Sub consciously the care taker will consider the kids as a threat to their blood line. Either because of jealousy or they would prefer to increase the chances of their offspring. They even consume the resources you supply to better the chances of their family. The intentions of sending the children out may be good but the outcome will always be bad. I feel religion is a good attempt in keeping people in line but it does not work with every one. Parents alone can ensure proper grooming of kids and no one else. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


There is a reason for why they call generation gap. It exist, that too in a very big way. Parents have strange way of deciding things on behalf of there children. They take decisions with all good intention and impose it on there children to accept the decisions that they take. Personally, if the decision they take would directly impact us, they should inform us before doing something that cannot be reversed. Why cant they trust us, why cant they understand that we can do a better job in bringing more value for the same amount of money that is being spent.

There are few things that I have learnt lately. There is nothing called as "good value for money". You get what you pay for. Always assign a job to a person who is always busy, you have increased your chances of the busy person to match your expectation. Never assign a job to a friend or a relative just because you know him, you cant fight with him if they end up doing a crappy job. Also you have taken away your chances of a good bargain. Always do your research even if there is delay in initiating the work.

I spend hours at a stretch just to decide a color that I want use for the websites that I design. But my parents wont ask my suggestion before a paint job is initiated to paint my room. I have NO say on this as it is there house and they have all rights to decide what they want to do with it. My reason for frustration is entirely different from what i have discussed above. But I'm helpless. I just wish, that all parents trust there children and allow them to make there own mistakes. Such a simple philosophy but so difficult to follow. But this leads to a different topic that I want to discuss at a later time, and that is "Indian have strange ways to complicate simple things in life and make there life miserable".

Friday, November 02, 2012

I Know it all

Once upon time, in college, I knew a person who knew everything. He always had an opinion on every topic under the sun. Though irritable, we used to put up with him and listen to every possible, plausible trivia he told about every thing we discussed.Only when he took me to his home I realized that he had access to most news papers, various magazine and a cable connection. He had cousins in US who were telling him on what was trending. Initially I were in an impression that he was the smartest person in our college, but by the end of term he became the most obnoxious person in our college. This was one thing that he never knew.

I always marvel  internet and how democratic it is. Thanks to it that we now have the new breed of "I KNOW IT ALL" people around us. I'm meeting many such people every day who are just like that. You tell them some thing and  next thing they say is, I know it. They can even explain why the inflation is so high, or how Mallaya duped the banks, or even talk about quantum teleportation. Few days back I saw a beautiful Egyptian Vulture flying and pointed that to a friend, next thing he did was to Google and verify if I was right. He was such a dumbo, i was trying to appreciate the way it was flying and i was not on a fact checking nature audit. He was trying to experience something that was in front of his eyes through an LCD monitor. It does not stop at that, we google the details of drugs prescribed by a doctor and verify if the doctor is competent. Watch a movie based on review written by an unknown person. Not that it is wrong, but it will be very wrong if we do not use the information we have access to in the RIGHT context.

I have even coined a term for such people and call them "NETHERENT".  They are such people who use you tube to solve a Rubik cube. Convincing such persons to make a decision is very easy. Write a nice detailed review on net, use some clever tricks to increase the page rank, time it and publish your(anonymous virtual expert on that topic) opinions, they will stumble upon that link and will in turn call us back and explain about the same review as if it was there own. As I said, borrowed opinion is such a dangerous thing and many don't realize that they are becoming that obnoxious person I was referring to. As they say, the smartest person today is not the one who can solve a problem but the one who can control the flow of information. 

Take such people on a long trek to a mountain that has no connectivity, when they are completely tired with no electronic gadgets with them and are sitting all by themselves you will hear them say, "This Sunset is soo beautiful"  instead of  "Do you know why the sun is red ?


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sound of Silence

Silence is not necessarily something without noise, you can find it amidst chaos. Have you ever noticed that there are pockets of silence amidst a busy mall, or a crowded convection hall or your office that is always full of activity. Its a about finding that perfect place where you can stand without being disturbed, a vantage point where you can see/feel the chaos around you but you are invisible to others. This isolated pockets gives you a strange feeling of being in peace. I have noticed this after a hectic day on a out station business trip standing in the balcony of my room watching the traffic move. After a busy day organizing a event. Its about finding that place where you cannot be disturbed and for this to work, you should be tired. It soothes the soul, quiets the inner beast, brings out the goodness in you, allows you to hear yourself. Having a moment of stillness in your life is wonderful.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bridging the Gaps

Was listening to a very old song "Everybody is free to wear Sunscreen" . The lyrics goes something like this:

Understand that friends come and go,
But a precious few, who should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get, the more you need the people
You knew when you were young

I have listened to this song a hundred times and had never thought about those lines. No matter how easy it is to communicate with friends over internet, it cannot replace the actual touch or the actual interaction. It is very much necessary to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle. We should be in a position to go to the place where they are and meet them. Now I understand why my grand mom always gets exited when our relatives drop in from the village where she grew up. I'm sure we will not understand the importance of meeting old friends until we grow old.