Sunday, February 19, 2006


No, I am not referring to the software development lifecycle or SDLC as it is popularly known. I am talking about life going in cycles. When I started this blog sometime back, I was busy with my project work. My posts used to be about working hard and staying at office till 2 in the morning. Once that project got over, I was relatively free and started posting about my crazy lifestyle. Now I am back to the old routine which I am familiar with.

Transported to Pune for being a part of the firefighting team of a project on fire. Two weeks to go for the release and the project is in a chaotic state to say the least. Around 1000 bugs, 260 of them real show stoppers. SOSs are send across org locations. DotNet experts are flown down to pune . 40 member team working for close to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Funny side of the story – I told my close friend that I am traveling to pune for firefighting a project on fire. His reply was this “And I thought you were developing software.”

Update: E-Company is growing. ;_)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Po Pondy

As the name suggests, Po Pondy, latest trip in our Mair-Uth-Anne tour series, was to Pondicherry. Let me begin with a bit of history about the tour series...


We, the CET Bethaninans at Bangalore have chosen this magical name for our tour series, to highlight our never dying spirit. In Spanish, it means 'Bon Voyage'. A weekend, few free hours, a free vehicle – enough ingredients for us to plan and execute a trip. Our previous expeditions include Go Goa, Tour De Coorg, LOC ShivaGanga, Pannies to Nanni (to Nandhi Hills), Bole Tho Bolero (ShivaSamudra/Talacaud Trip), Banyan County Trip and many other smaller trips....

By the way, we have a movie club - Oomph-Ithet-Al, which in Italian means ‘The show must go on’. Ok, now back to the main topic...

Po Pondy
ion: Pondicherry
Voyagers: Sand, Rat, Jins and Geo
Ship: Sand’s Indica
Started on: 26th Jan 2006 morning.
Wound up by: 29th Jan 2006 evening.
Onward route: Bangalore (10:00AM), Kolar (11:00AM), Palamner (12.06PM, 141km), Chittur (01:00PM, 186km), Ranipet (01.50PM), Chennai (04:00PM), Thiruvanmyur (05.10PM, 351km), Pondicherry (09:00PM).
Return route: Pondicherry (10:00AM, 596km), Tindivanam (11:00AM), Ginjee (11.17AM, 655km), Thiruvanmalai (12:16PM, 704km), Chengam (12:50PM, 740km), Samalpatti Rlwy Gate (01:50PM, 777km), Krishnagiri (03:33PM), Toll Road (05:05PM), Bangalore (06:12PM, 903km).

We started on 26th morning, with the car stereo playing the official tour anthem “Dil Chahtha Hai”. Kilometers and hours flew by fast... ride was smooth... Sand and me alternated our position behind the wheels. An uneventful journey with planned halts, lunch... by evening we reached Chennai. From there, through the much hyped ‘East Coast Road’, which is known as the ‘Scenic Beach Highway’, to reach Pondy. Didn’t find the Scenic Beach way that attractive, may be my expectations were a bit too high. Reached Pondy by 9 in the evening.

Our MUA series is world famous all over Bangalore for its lack of planning. We do a lot of planning sessions before we start; in fact, our planning sessions are sometimes more exciting than the trips themselves. But planning is one thing, and sticking to the plan is an altogether different ball game. Adhering to the tradition, we ditched our well-planned-out-strategy this time too. Since initially we had some confusion regarding the timeline, we had booked train tickets for onward journey and bus tickets for return journey. At the very last moment, we cancelled all the tickets and decided to hit the road in Sand’s Indica :_)

Thus the unplanned awesome foursome reached Pondy in the night and started looking for a place to stay. After unsuccessfully checking out each and every hotel near the beach, we finally managed to get a room, which was a bit away from the sea, somewhere towards the heart of the city. The hotel had a nice suite for four, and we were more than pleased. End of day one, which was dedicated for travel. FTV followed by sound sleep.

Pondy doesn’t have too much on offer when it comes to sight seeing. There are only 2 beaches, one of which is rocky and hence inaccessible. The other attractions around the place are Aurobindo Ashram, Botanical Garden, Pondicherry Museum, a township known as Auroville, which houses Matri Mandir, a boating center cum park known as Chunnambar Resort.

Because it was mentioned as the main attraction in travel guides, we visited Aurobindo Ashram on Friday morning itself. Suffice to say we emerged in record time, after covering all those photographs and artifacts of Aurobindo and ‘The Mother’. It was on our way out from the Ashram that Jins asked the million dollar question “Actually, who is this Aurobindo?” All of us were ‘blissfully’ ignorant. I leave it to you to guess the duration for which a botanical garden or a museum can hold the attention of 4 s/w engineers who are on a long weekend trip. Covering spots was never faster!

One of the activities we enjoyed most was the time we spent in the Chunnambar park. A memory trip back to childhood with swings, seesaws, ladders, cages and all. Loads of photos with each of us trying all sorts of monkey tricks on those children’s toys. Forgot to mention the toy train ride we had in the botanical garden. Believe it or not, it cost us just 30 Rs to get the entire train rolling for us.

Auroville is envisioned as a universal town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. The construction of this 'universal town' was started in 1968 under the guidance of ‘The Mother’, a Paris born painter-musician who become sri Aurobindo's disciple and close companion from 1924 till his death in 1950. The development of this Utopia is still in progress. Several countries have offered to set up permanent pavilions, reflecting the culture and ethos of their countries. The Matri Mandir is the spiritual center of Auroville. It is a domed structure, which has a crystal sphere in the meditation room. An open air Amphitheatre in front of the Matri Mandir has a lotus stem like structure built at the center of it, which contains soil from 126 countries, the representatives of which attended the inauguration of the Matri Mandir way back in 1968.

We visited the Auroville beach on Friday evening and returned on Saturday evening to hit the beach, and had a nice time swimming, diving and doing general masti...

Started our return journey on Sunday morning. Since we had already covered the ECR Scenic Beach way, we decided to take the direct route form Pondy to Bangalore, which turned out to be just 300 kilometers. A wrong turn at the exit point of Pondy, a U-turn near the signal at the junction to get back on track, an intervening traffic policeman – all these when put together meant Rs 150 more to the tour expense. That was the only time we were stopped by a uniformed gentleman. At around three in the evening, we had a 1 hour halt to fix a flat tire. Apart from these two incidents, even the return journey was smooth.

I particularly liked the last stretch of the journey, which was from Krishnagiri to Bangalore, through the tolled highway, from 5 to 6 in the evening. Man, it was just too good... sun pouring magical colors on the horizon on its way down, long stretches of perfectly laid out highway ahead, and a vehicle to glide, it was complete blisssss. If you enjoy driving, then please please take ur vehicle to Krishnagiri in the evening twilight and come back, I promise you will love the trip. Its just 80+80 kilometers.

Taliender:The most popular Indian blogger (no-controversy-section) has quit his ATK job and decided to be [in hisown words] “a free bird and will immediately embark on a book, freelancing, columning and anything else I can force people to hire my writing skills for”. I guess I should take a cue and start doing what I really like to do. This I realized when I was driving through the last stretch of our trip. I enjoyed the two days when I was driving more than the two days we spent at Pondy. Guess I should become a freelance driver, test driver or anything else I can force people to hire my driving skills for. :_)