Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: The Comical saga by Mayuresh Pokharankar

The comical saga makes one interesting read. It revolves around a story consisting of couple of school boys who deviate from studies and indulge in various adventures (smoking, drinking, proposing to girl and so on). The first half of the book sort of portrays negative side or how the kids neglect studies and do stuff they’re not supposed to do. The second half revolves around the girl they’re trying to impress and couple of good deeds they do. The end involves some melodrama and tragedy, which is best read on the book.

There’s nothing extra ordinary or sci-fi about the book. But it’s simple narration is bound to interest you, more so if you can position yourself in the shoes of narrator. Unlike typical love stories this book doesn’t start with  college hero and heroine and ending with marriage. It starts with school boys and ends with them being school boys. Lot of humor, creative writing has ensured that simple incidents are made easier and interesting to read.

I learnt from the backpage that the author Mayuresh Pokharankar wrote this book as he was recovering from a  road accident. I assume he has recovered well by now. I wish him all the best for future books and his career.

The comical saga is priced at INR 150 on Frog Books (US$ 12 outside India) ( Would have been nice if publishers could adopt Rupa's strategy and price it at INR 99. But I guess that could be difficult if publishers are not confident of volume sale.

I finished reading this book in 2 sittings over 2 days. Made nice read. Give it a try if possible.

Other book reviews: It happened in India * Raga Chintamani * 2 States by Chetan Bhagat* Not a penny more, not a penny less * Zero percentile -Neeraj Chibba* Colours of life by Ravi Sidula * The 3 mistakes of my life by CB * Bala Takes the Plunge-Melvin Durai * The Incredible Banker * She's a jolly good fellow * Songbird on my shoulder

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chakra River Dam on the way to Sagara

We happened to explore Chakra dam accidentally. While driving towards Sagar we pulled over for a riverside photoshoot. Couple of localites struck a conversation as to what we are doing with a MH registered car. When asked "where this road leads to?" they replied that it leads to a dam. They said it is about 3 kms, so we decided to explore. As we reached there, it was worth the effort as the place was very scenic.

The dam is too small and simple to be of any significance. I read later that this is used only to feed water into Linganamakki reservoir. The dam is managed by KPTCL but was totally unmanned and no personnel were present anywhere around.

Internet literature says Chakra river originates in Sahyadri and eventually merges into Arabian see. Chakra dam made a nice detour in an otherwise monotonous drive. Nearby places are Sagara- Ikkeri, Keladi, Nagara Fort.* Aria Photoshoot set 2 * Tata Safari EX 4x4 Photoshoot *

Friday, November 25, 2011

Markoanahalli dam reservoir photos

While we were heading towards Hasana from Bengaluru, Ravi suddenly remembered that there’s a dam some 6kms off the highway and we decided to check it out.
The place is called “Marconahalli” and has a small dam. Located in Kunigal taluk of Tumkur district and is built against Shimsa river. The dam curator (or care taker) told us “This was built by Sir M Vishveshwarayya in the 1930s”. 
The dam is relatively small in size and caters to irrigational purposes. The caretaker Charged Rs 10 person to show us the “water self releasing mechanism” (may be we can call it auto-siphoning mechanism) which was first in Asia, conceptualized by Dr Sir M Vishveshwaraya.
From what I understood of his explanation:

The dam has several wells, built with spiral walls. When water level reaches critical height (90 feet), water enters these wells and get released to the downstream area without affecting dam’s structural design. There is no need to open the crust gates every time or for any person to be manually present to release excess water. The reason for including this mechanism is to prevent a neighboring temple from submerging.

The caretaker said the spiral walls were built with jiggery and honey for better strength.
 We keep this opening closed with mud (jedi mannu)... he said
 Some more pics
 Below: Aria under a big banyan tree routes
While returning we also stopped at an abandoned building. A local elderly man asked us for lift and we took him onboard. He said he had thought we had come to buy land. He talked about his kids- how everyone are moving to city, how his son in laws are useless fellows, who even after providing with finance for business or helping them with jobs are unable to settle in life and are roaming around doing mundane things. He said life is very difficult in villages due to labor problems and agricultural investments never result in positive return. There wasn’t much we could do with him except sympathize for his situation and drop him off at the main road.
If you’re having a boring highway drive between Hasan and Bangalore, you can consider taking a detour to check out this place. There're few other picnic spots around, including Kunigal lake (have you heard the song Moodal Kunigal Kere...)
Some photos were clicked by Raviraj

Also see: Shetti halli 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Parque Metropolitano, Santiago (Metropolitan Park)

When I was driving Tata Aria in Chile… just kidding- I wasn’t driving anything there, but some Chile related stories are still untold. [Read other Chile related posts here]

Metropolitan Park or Parque Metropolitano was the first place I explored getting off Turistik Hop On Hop Off service in Santiago Chile. The park is fairly large and can take couple of hours to explore in detail. Due to shortage of time, I explored it only in part.
Once I got in, I had to pay 18 pesos (Approx INR 180) to take the trolley (also known as funicular or rail tram)to top and back. While going up, trolley stopped half way and some people got off. I didn’t know at that time that by getting down here one can go to zoo. We were not allowed to get off while returning.
It was a chilly Sunday morning and as the trolley went up, visibility was fairly low due to thick fog. We got off the trolley to explore the place.  One can walk/cycle or drive up till this point. Close to a shop I saw the chilian dogs for the first time. They were furry and appeared healthy. I was tempted to pet them but held myself back as it was an unknown country.

As the name suggests Parque Metropolitano has a park, few shops and a small church like building at the top. It had a statue on top of it, which I learnt later to be of Virgin Mary and is about 100 feet in height. Total height of the hill around which the park is located, is called Cerro San Cristobal (St Christopher's Hill)  is believed to be 869 meters from mean sea level. The hilltop would have offered great view of Santiago down, but for the fog that day. Wide range of flowers and plants could be noticed all around.
Bought couple of postcards and a T shirt in a shop. My first shopping in Chile.

As I prepared to leave (i.e. wait for next Turistik hop on hop off bus), more and more tourists started arriving. A map of the park posted near the entrance hinted me that I have explored only a small section of what the park had on offer. Hope there’s a next time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Casablanca Valley- Santiago to Valparaiso

Casablanca Valley (locally known as Ruta del Vino de Casablanca) is Chile’s popular wine processing centre, located between the Capital Santiago and coastal town of Valparaiso. I didn't have a chance to stopover here, but as I was returning from Valparaiso to Santiago, I had the chance to take some pictures from the car.

The climate is also a factor. The max I ever experienced in my lifetime was 22 degree centigrade- my cab driver told me.
It was very scenic drive. The Hollywood style signage are hard to miss. Don’t have much text to write, just sharing few pics. I’m told it is possible to visit these wineries and taste them/learn more about wine making process. (Similar to Tea Factory visits in Ooty/Srilanka) But this was not on my agenda.

Vina Indomita that you see in pics above is believed to be Casablanca's most conspicuous winery, owning about 600 hectares + . Vina Indomita also has a nice valley view restaurant, if you're interested. Details here  
Vijay Mallya: Are you reading?
A plane had crash landed near Valparaiso hill and it was the talk of the town. I got to spot it the next day, though not a clear view
Related: Valparaiso City Pictures * Petrol & Diesel prices in Chile * Santiago Metropolitan park * Public Transport in Chile *

Malgudi days house Agumbe- a visit

Have you either read the book Malgudi days written by RK Narayan? or seen it as a serial? The serial was picturized under the direction of late Shankar Nag and was shot around the town of Agumbe, near Udupi, Karnataka.

Several popular Kannada actors of yester years played a role in Malgudi days serial. A house showcased in this serial is situated on the main roads of Agumbe and toursists who have the knowledge of this make it a point to visit this house without fail when they pass through Agumbe.

During our trip to Agumbe we did visit the Malgudi days house. It is inhibited but the hosts are more than willing to allow tourists inside. They also run a homestay. 

House has stood the test of time and is going strong, but yes, over the time it has begun to deteriorate. The house is known as Dodda mane (Big house) and is walkable from Agumbe bus stand. Anyone in town can guide you to this house as it is on the main road and hard to miss. We got a chance to explore it 
 The hosts: Kastur Akka and Ravikumar. They briefed us about several places of tourist interest nearby and how to go there. Due to shortage of time, we could visit only few.

Agumbe is a place to be, if you wish to experience down to earth living and great hospitality.

Nearby destinations: 
Agumbe Sunset Point * 
Jogi Gundi * 
Barkana Falls *
Theerthahalli * 
Gajanur Dam * 
Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary * 
Sakrebailu * 
Thyavarekoppa Lion Safari * 
Hebri *
Moodbidre *
Nagara Fort *

Agumbe also has a rainforest research centre.