Night Trek to Narayanagiri

November 5, 2013

I have always been an avid would-be traveller. That is to say I enjoy the concept of traveling. Whenever someone talk about a trip they have been or when I see/read about a place, I add it to the list of places to go to and start planning for it. However that is where it ends. Rarely do these well-planned trips work out. Something or other happens and there are always reasons to cancel them.

So if something had to happen it had to be on an impulse. Exactly that happened two days back.

The three months that I have been in Bangalore, I was part of several discussion with different people about going for a trek somewhere around Bangalore. This week, being a long weekend with Karnataka Rajyotsava and Diwali holidays, there were discussions floating around. From 3 days trip to Goa/Gokarna to 2 days trip to Coorg/Bheemeshwari the scale of the trip finally reduced to a 1 day trip to Savandurga.

BMC was organizing a one day trek to Savandurga and we decided to go for that on Sunday. The only requirement I had during the planning phase was that I wanted to be at home/at a place with TV between 11 PM and 1 AM Saturday night. There was the Liverpool – Arsenal Premier League match and I didn’t want to miss it for anything. As this trip was on Sunday morning, there was no issues there. Apart from me, there were Gokul, Sreejith and Vishak who had agreed to come. We met for on Friday night and decided on going for it.

Everything was planned and I was wondering why Murphy didn’t screw up things this time round. But I didn’t have to wait for long, on Saturday morning the news came out. Vishak had misread the date. The trip was on Saturday morning, not Sunday. So the trip was cancelled.

It was then that a new suggestion came up – another trek by BMC. But this time it was at 9:30PM Saturday night.  Going for that would mean I will miss the match, which I didn’t want to. I started pulling strings to cancel the trips (Yes, I am good that way). I started listing the problems with going at night, the dangers at that place, and began throwing out alternatives which are much better. It was already 12 PM and I was also hopeful that nearer we get to the time, there would be more chances for the seats to get filled.

However, they were obstinate and finally I had to give in to logics like “this is the only possible time”, “all others are ready except you”, “how will the game be affected even if you didn’t watch” (people unaware of butterfly effect right). They went ahead and booked the seats.

There were 17 of us for the trek and 2 organizers from BMC. We left in a mini bus at around 10PM on Saturday night from Domlur. The travel was uneventful except for some miserable attempts from my part trying to live stream the Liverpool game in Airtel’s 3G while in a moving vehicle(if anyone is planning to try it, then one word of caution. DON’T).

We reached Narayanagiri at around 01:00 AM on Sunday morning. It was pitch dark and there was just a torch for the four of us and that posed some issues. Other than that the trek wasn’t difficult. We stopped at 2 places to rest and still reached the top of hill by around 2:15.

To us, who were expecting a magnificent view, it was a little disappointing. The sky was cloudy and there was no stars visible and of course the darkness meant there was nothing to be seen around. There was a temple on top of the hill, but it too looked stranded except for a small light that was burning inside. We strolled around the hill for some time. Then we came back to the hill top and settled down. We had carried with us sleeping bags that BMC had provided. After some struggle, we got ourselves packed inside the sleeping bags.

Packed in the sleeping bag

Packed in the sleeping bag

It was then that the first stroke of brilliance in the entire trip till then came up. The clouds had almost completely gone and the stars were visible. It has to be one of the most brilliant  things that I ever saw. Full 360 degrees view of night sky without any obstruction. Myself and Gokul were also fortunate to spot a meteor burning out. We went to sleep counting the stars. I feel that is the way to go to sleep. Will give it a try again.

I woke up at 5:30 AM. The Sun was about to come out, but the sky was cloudy. I decided to get up, but it was extremely cold and the wind was very strong. The moment I got up, I started shivering. I wore a jacket but that didn’t help much. I had already packed my sleeping bag, so going back to sleep wasn’t an option.

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Cloudy sunrise

By this time everyone had woken up and it was starting to get bright. The sky was cloudy again and we couldn’t see the sunrise. The view from the top of the hill was brilliant. There were umpteen number of weirdly shaped rocky hills wherever you looked. Narayanagiri hill that we had climbed was also impressive. There were small pockets around the hill where water had collected. The path to the hill had iron railing at some places and nicely worked steps at the steep areas.

By 6:30AM, as it was bright already, we started our climb down. This wasn’t as easy as going up. There were a few steep areas that one had to be careful. Also as it was rocky, knees and ankles were starting to pain with the impact of each step. But being a short distance, we reached the base without any troubles.

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The climb down

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Steps on rock

The return trip was again uneventful. I slept for most of it. We got down and rushed home. As soon as I reached home, I started downloading the game. Looking back, missing the game wasn’t the worst thing I did. If I had missed the trip for the game and if my decision (coupled with butterfly effect) hadn’t changed the course of the game, it might have been very depressing indeed.

Overall, the night trek to Narayanagiri was a refreshing experience. It was the most random thing that I have done in a long time. Ever since I started working, daily schedule have been getting very predictable. This has at least been a welcome change from that.

P.S. If you are planning to go for trekking around Bangalore, I would recommend Bangalore Mountaineering Club (BMC). They charged Rs 950 per person for this trek. It may seem to be costly for a 12 hour trip, but it would have been very difficult if we had gone on our own. For one, it would have been impossible to find the way. Also, it is highly recommended to carry everything that they recommend in their webpage.

Photo credits – Sreejith Sreekumar https://www.facebook.com/sreejith2904


Who Be Ye!!!

February 21, 2012

Far Far Away in the year 1888. Prince, an unemployed youth is ecstatic. He just succeeded in making what might be the world’s first motion camera. Using it, he creates a picture that moves. He is extremely pleased with himself and wants to show it to others. He tries to find a theater to screen this picture, but couldn’t find any as most of the theaters were reserved for plays and the owners refused to lend it for some experiment.

All he could find was a small shed. There, he sets up his equipments and gets ready. He himself roams around telling people how better movies (that’s what he started calling them) are compared to plays. The people loves it, and by the end of the week long queues are formed outside the shed. Seeing this success, theater owners come to him with an offer to show his movie in their bigger and better theaters. The “film” become a huge success.

This time, theater and plays dominated the entertainment industry. The stories were of poor quality and there were rarely anything interesting that they had to offer. But because people had nothing else to do, they were forced to go for the plays. So plays were still making money. But the invent of cinema changed all these. The number of viewers for theater reduced drastically. The TDA (Theater Dramatics Association) got together and discussed the new turn of events. They all went for the movie to find out exactly what it had that their plays didn’t have.

But they were dumbstruck. The film was just a 5 minutes long, it had no story, the acting was poor, the people didn’t look at all real, there was no sound, it was too hot inside the room and it was straining to the eyes to look at the screen for long. They couldn’t realize why other people liked it. They decided that people are too poor to make judgements for themselves and didn’t know the difference between art and mockery. If some fool came with something different, even if it had absolutely no quality, people would rush to watch that. They decided that they should make some rules to prohibit the exhibition of cinemas that is deteriorating the quality of the audience.

They talked to the dictator-king of Far Far Away and made a law preventing the screening of motion-pictures.

But Prince had began to love film-making so much so that he just couldn’t stop it. He escapes with the camera to another country called Near Horizon. There he made films and screened it. The local people loved it and it grew very popular. With a new medium came new themes and fresh ideas and the film industry thrived.

But Far Far Away had a totally different story to tell. The year is now 1930 and people still watch plays. They are bored by the repetitive themes and stories, but alas they have nothing else to do.

In 1932, a theater actor from Far Far Away got lost on his way to Near Far Far Away and accidentally reached Near Horizon. There, he saw a cinema and was amazed by its quality. The dictator’s tyranny in Far Far Away was over and now there was a government and people had rights. He took back some films back to Far Far Away and screened them there. The people loved them. Soon a film industry developed here, but alas they were beginners and the films weren’t that great. But they carried on making films. Slowly they were catching up with the standard of films made in Near Horizon.

The year is now 1955. Far-far-away, having excellent film-makers now make good films and are not that far behind Near Horizon. At around that time, a scientist there creates a camera that can capture color. He, being ignorant of the techniques of film making, makes a short video of a horse running. He started screening it in a theater. People loved seeing color on screen and rushed to watch that.

As usual the ADFFFA (Association for Development of Films in Far Far Away) met to discuss this turn of events and went to watch the film. They couldn’t believe it. It looked like some 50 year old movie with color. There was no story, acting was below par, the images weren’t clear, it was difficult to make out a person. They felt that people were losing their artistic sense. They realised they should do something to make people understand the difference between good movies and mockery. One of them knew a top official in the government. They bribed him and a new rule was approved by the government preventing the screening of color-films. The police were also asked to destroy any such color camera if found.

The scientist who had spent a lot of effort on making the camera couldn’t bear to see it getting destroyed. He ran away with his camera to Near Horizon. There, he started showing the local people his colour films. They loves it.

The year is 2010. Far-far-away people still watch black-and-white films and the repetition and lack of innovation were making them bored. But lately they have been hearing rumors of more realistic and life like films being made in some distant country. It wasn’t the old hoax about full length color cinema. Now its something about the things in screen being so real that if you wear some magical glass, you feel they are coming towards you.


The Lost Symbol

August 28, 2010

The Lost

Symbol

(Dan Brown)

28-08-2010

The Lost Symbol

Dan Brown continues to amaze. His latest book, The Lost Symbol, is nothing short of a master piece. It thrills you, educates you, enlightens you, keeps you turning pages and makes you so involved in the book that you forget what was around you. Another thing I found interesting about this book was that it kept me refer the dictionary, the bible, some textbooks, google every now and then. It was not because of his inability to clearly describe things, but because of his ability in creating an interest in the subject.

This book, like the authors’ previous works – Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code, has the celebrated professor Robert Langdon as the protagonist.The story begins when Robert Langdon is unexpectedly summoned to Washington D.C. to deliver a talk. On reaching there, he finds the auditorium empty. From there on, starts a 12 hours story that will keep you spellbound. The book deals with Freemasonary, ancient secrets, neotic science and as from the previous Dan Brown books, symbols, codes, anagrams, religions, Bible, and what not.

Especially since the book deals with a theme I love, I place it among the great books I have read. It certainly have kindled in me an interest to read the Bible, Upanishads and other books which have survived the battle of time. Five stars for The Lost Symbol.


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

July 20, 2009

HARRY POTTER

AND THE

HALF BLOOD

PRINCE

Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter

Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince turns out to be the best film of the entire series. This two and half hour movie will be a good watch for all those who have read the book. After first two movies which were good but childish and a ‘disaster movie’ and another two not too good movies, here is one which is appreciable affair.

Like the previous movies, this movie too got some scenes which were not there in the book. The difference is that in this, those scenes have come off well most of the time.

The main cast of the movie are the same from previous movies. Daniel Radcliffe, who acts as Harry Potter, does a decent job. But the picks among the cast are Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Alan Rickman as Professor Snape and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore who have succeeded in creating an lasting impression even with little time they got on the screen. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermoine Granger and Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown have done the love triangle part well. Jim Broadbent as Prof. Slughorn is also apt for his role.

The part where the movie scores is in the cinematography, background score and the special effects. The camera was great in the movie with most shots from rare and unseen angles. The sets too were impressive, but I felt they missed proportion at times. i.e, in certain scenes, the castle didn’t seem to be as large as it was to be. The room seemed to be lower than twice the height of human beings.

The story of the movie by J.K.Rowling is of course the best that can be. But being a very long story, in the screenplay, majority of the scenes had to be cut off or edited drastically. That has not done anything good for the movie. Many vital scenes like the Dumbledore’s funeral, fight in Hogwarts, memories of Riddle, emotional dialogue between Harry & Ginny in the end etc were missing. Actually some characters like Bill Weasley, Fleur, Scrimgeour are completely missing. And those who have not read the book are not going to understand the story, even if they have seen the previous movies.

This movie is not for those who love Harry Potter books, but for those of Harry Potter fans who have been dejected after seeing the initial movies. See the movie for a masalized Harry Potter. I would rate 7/10, 2 for the cast, 2 for the cinematography, 2 for the sound, 2 for the special effects and -1 for cutting out so many essential scenes.


Passenger – Feel the freshness

May 19, 2009

PASSENGER

Passenger is a movie that must be watched for the freshness and for the message it gives. This movie is special because it has nothing out of ordinary. The scenes are all what you see in your day to day life. But such things appear rarely in our movies. It’s that what makes the movie very special. This political thriller has a story that can happen anyday.

passenger

The movie is just 2 hours and it is also very simple. One advantage the director has enjoyed is that the characters are already well developed because they are one of those whom we see around us each day. Each scene is very natural and blends well with the whole movie.

The positives in the movie are many. A good script and impressive direction, excellent performance by the cast, pleasing visuals and good camera works and to top it all humour where ever necessary. Among the cast, Sreenivasan, Dileep, Mamta, Manikuttan and Nedumudi Venu does descent jobs. But the star performer is Jagathy, who delivers a brilliant performance acting as a shrewd politician. The camera has been handled well. Almost half of the story takes place in the train. Those scenes deserves special mention.

Ranjith Sankar, is a debutant director, and has proved his ability. He will certainly be one among the best directors in near future. There are some negatives for the movie too. The movie, though as a whole is brilliant, lacks lustre in many scenes. There were some over-dramatised scenes too. Coming from a debutant, these can be ignored.

The director is also an IT professional. But he managed to make some mistakes technically. The laptop which Mamta used at first was Compaq, but it changed to Fujitsu (I think) in between the chase. THE REST POINTS MAY REVEAL THE STORY. Mamta is shown to use internet while in a taxi and at that time, nothing has been connected to the USB. And the video is shown to be uploaded and sent via email in no time at all. She wants to publish the video as soon as possible and she can’t find anyway to do that. If she HAD such fast internet connection, why didn’t she upload it to youtube. 😉 (If there are any mistakes in these observations, please comment. These are what I felt in the first watch. Maybe some of these can be explained or more can be added.)

These mistakes are only told, just for the sake of it. As far as the movie is considered, these mistakes don’t affect it.

Overall, it’s a different movie and must be watched by all those who love realistic movies. Malayalam movie industry has been going through a very dark period. These kind of movie can help to rise from the slumber. Hope it becomes a huge hit.

I would rate 7/10.


Shashi Tharoor removes his own posters

May 16, 2009

Shashi Tharoor

shashi-tharoor

“This is a beautiful town, and I don’t want politics to disfigure it.” These words come from Sashi Tharoor, a candidate for the Lok Sabha seat from Thirvuvananthapuram.

He came out to the streets of TVM yesterday to remove his posters from the street walls. A very welcoming deed. Kerala state is usually in a pathetic state after the elections with political posters on each and every walls and street sides. Even the roads will have the party names painted on them. The cleanliness of the towns and cities have never been a concern for any political parties.

Another disgusting fact is that these posters are never removed after elections. They remain there till the next elections, when fresh posters are pasted again.

It’s in such a scenario that Shashi Tharoor has set himself a role model for all other politicians.Here is a deed by a politician, we can be proud of. A very rare thing indeed! I wish him all the very best for the elections.


2 Harihar Nagar v/s Bhagyadevatha

May 9, 2009

2 Harihar Nagar

v/s

Bhagyadevatha

This is the contest that is going to be closely watched. This contest will summarise the malayalam movies for the first 4 months of 2009. They are the only malayalam movies to get profits during this period.

The 4 evergreen heroes comes back to Harihar Nagar

The 4 evergreen heroes comes back to Harihar Nagar

2 Harihar Nagar was released on the 1st of April to a thunderous reception by the audience. A good entertainer and sequel of “In Harihar Nagar” was what the audience was expecting for months now. Without having a good movie to watch for about 3-4 months, people now starts storming into the theaters. In TVM, all time records of most successive house full shows was broken by this movie. Earlier this was for Titanic which ran 16 continous days with all shows house full. Now this movie has overtook that record.

This is the first movie by Lal as a director (He has directed many great movies along with Siddique before). Though the movie is not as good as In Harihar Nagar, still it won’t be ever forgotten by the audience because the comeback the 4 friends back to Harihar Nagar has been made supreb by the director. The movie has a good blend of comedy and twists, a nice plot and a good suspense. The cast have done a good job. The camera and location too is good making the movie a colourful treat to watch. And the songs too are good.

One peculiar thing about this movie is that the positive and negative of the movie happens to be the characted done by Jagadeesh. It’s the positive part because he dominated all the comedy scenes. Without him, the movie wouldn’t have been an entertainer. But it’s also the negative because he was made too stupid in the movie. Most of the comedies were based on his stupidities. Another negative of the movie is the second half. Where the first half is very enjoayable, second half is a bit serious. People don’t rate this movie with the rest of the movies running now. But they rate it against “In Harihar Nagar”. That too has led to some negative reviews against the movies.

I would rate the movie 7.5/10.

Coming to Bhagyadevatha. It’s a good “family movie” by the evergreen Sathyan Anthikad. He tells a story of an ordinary family in Kuttanad. The movie intends to give a strong message against dowry. This movie was in midst of good news throughout. It’s the first movie to get profit even before it was released.

Jayaram and Kanika

Jayaram and Kanika

Ever since Sathyan Anthikad has been writing the scripts for his own movies, the standard of his movies have starting coming down. Manasinakkare was the master-piece of Sathyan Anthikad in story writing. After that, Rasathanthram, Vinodayathra and Innathe Chinthavishayam turned out to be huge disappointments. But one thing to be noted is that all these movies were huge hits. That is why Sathyan Anthikad is called the evergreen director. Even if his movies is not a good as what it used to be, it will certainly contain some elements which people like to watch and family audience crowd can be seen in the theater. His movies are the only one where a huge women crowd can be seen for the release shows.

But after three failures in the script writing, in Bhagyadevatha, he has come back a bit. It’s a simple story which is directed well. Each and every shot is in beautiful locations with lavish greenery. There are beautiful songs composed by Ilayaraja. The cast including Jayaram and Kanika have done a good job.

There are many negatives for this movie too. The story is very simple, so at times you feel the movie a bit dragging. The movie was intended to give a strong message against dowry. They wanted to convey a message that relations are much more important than money. But for me, the movie ended on a note that money is the most important thing in the world.

Overall it’s a good family-movies by Sathyan Anthikad and if you are planning to go for a movie, and you have already seen 2 harihar nagar, go for it. My rating is 6/10.

Summing up, 2 Harihar Nagar is a better movie than Bhagyadevatha by all means and both of them are huge successes. But the box office results after the movies complete their run shall be interesting. There is always a huge audience who wants to see Sathyan’s movies. And they shall guarantee this movie a very long run. Which will win over the other? We can only speculate!