Moving to www.rohanrao.com

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Ramblings

This is about moving to www.rohanrao.com

I love this place, my wordpress blog. It changed with my moods and read whatever my mind spake. It had ups and downs and through everything it garnered more than 1.5 lakh hits in due course of its journey that started way back in November 2005. A five-year long tryst with this blog. I surely love it and I will never ever let it die.

However, I for all the outdoor enthusiasts, I have started my own website for travel & outdoor centric content, logs and such. All the travel related content will be published there and wont be reduplicated here for the obvious reasons of Google trackers!

I thank one and everyone for being reading my blog posts. I request you all to visit my website at www.rohanrao.com and give your valuable feedback. Hope to see you more often out there too.

Regards,
Rohan

The Sakira – Kirda col trek route

Posted: September 13, 2010 in Travel
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We had unplanned a monsoon trek to Alang. We reached Udadave village, lying just ahead of Bari village at the foothoills of the Kalsubai hill range. The atmosphere was markedly rainy with thick clouds and fog obscuring the landscape and visibility reduced to a few hundred metres.

From Udadavane, we had planned to skirt around the ridge falling from southern end of Alang fortress and ascend over the upper plateau to reach the small patch under the main entrance. A couple of us were familiar with this route and we had done it earlier, albeit in the winters when visibility was clear and all the ridges well demarcated. This time around, rains, fogs and clouds created a problem and we couldn’t spot any ridge whatsoever. Also, the villagers directions were a bit tricky – either he interpreted our query incorrectly or we misunderstood his directions; either ways, we started our trek altogether with the wrong ridge.

We took the rigde falling from the Sakira dongar and skirted it to reach the western side of  the spur. We kept on searching for the references from our earlier trek to ascend on the upper plateau. However, we did not find anything. We were overlooked by the steep and unclimbable walls of Sakira on our right and adjoining ridges of Kirda on our left. We were a bit uncertain about the route, but we had no clues about the ridge we were skirted and the col that we were approaching. In the obscuring fog, we mistook the walls of Sakira for Alang fortress and continued along trail further.

We walked tirelessly for hours to find a way to reach the upper plateau of the hill on our right (Sakira, which we though to be the lower slopes of Alang). Soon, the hills closed in on us. We entered a ravine and we were now quite sure that we had missed the correct trail In our front, overlooking us was a narrow col, demarcated by a sharp V-shape. We stared to ascend the col over the slippery and boulder ridden ravine.

After a steep ascent, we were faced with a 80 degree rock face, with wind-eroded steps, but all dangerously loose and slippery. We had not yet had a good lunch and we all were hungry. We had walked for long, clueless about the exact whereabouts, ridges and col. The wind was strong at the top. The rains. The cold and the shivers. The rock patch.

One of us, Shailendra climbed it, roped it and a couple of us followed him. Then as a reconnaissance, I descended steeply on the other side of the col, amidst the tall grasses and bushes. I descend deep down till a point from where could see deep down the ravine and confirm that we wont be facing steep fall in the valley further down the route. We could see a hamlet deep down.

It was already 4.30 and our going was going to be pegged back by the boulders, rains, slippery conditions. We were racing against Sunset. I climbed back to the top of the col. When the entire team and all the stuff was up on the col, we started on our descent. The descend was the same story, carefully measured steps of the extremely slippery and steep boulder ridden ravine. Many a times, it was a four-limbed trudge. The gushing water was making matters difficult.

No sooner was it dark. The going was further slowed down. After a long and tiring descent, we reached a trail on our right, which helped us deviate from the ravine and walk safely over the well marked trail along the right flank. We continued for another 3 hours before reaching the level plateau of the village, Ambewadi. It was 12.30 AM. The entire landscape was engulfed in pitch black darkness and we could not see a thing, except for tiny fireflies. We were surrounded by a maze of rice-fields and finding our way through it was a difficult task. Finally we resigned, and praying that it shouldn’t rain we agreed on camping under the open skies – open.

We were lucky that our prayers were answered, and it did not rain,. We had a good sleep. Wide awake at 6.00 AM, at the day break we could see the village barely 5 mins away from us. We crossed across the rice fileds over the bunds, across the river and reached the village.

We looked back at the col at the route we had followed and then could exactly understand the state of affairs. We could see that we missed the Alang fortress by some margin. Alang, Madangad and Kulang were seemed to be mocking at us and Kirda and Sakira gleeful that atleast there were 8 of the wandering souls who visited their flanks, which otherwise are completely ignored by the trekkers flocking to the Alang-Madangad-Kulang fortresses.

For me, I had visited the fort earlier and this time not being able to reach there was not such a sour thing. For others who were here for the first time, they were a slight-bit disappointed, but to be true, the things that we had just gone through was tough, tiring and that made the matters so much more enjoyable, exhilarating and rewarding. We moved along the lesser used Bailghat route / Kothala / Dhaman dhara between Sakira and Kirda in the Kalsubai range.

For the record, to summarise in a nutshell, we walked for 15 hours, ascending over boulder ridden slippery ravine, reached the top of the col only to be confronted with a steep 15 feet patch of loose rocks. climbing the obstacle blocking our path and then descending on the other side, again a steep and slippery descent along the ravine, in the darkness. It was pitch dark at 12.30 AM when we reached the plateau on which lay Ambewadi village. We were tired after the day long trudge, our bodies stiff and clueless about the exact location of the village we decided to stay under the open skies and that too when it would have rained any moment, alongside the river and rice fields. By God’s grace it didn’t pour. We woke up to a beautiful Sunny morning and reached the village within 5 minutes.

All in all, it was a wonderful outing, a trek.

Since the cycle ride ..

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Travel

Since the last posted blog entry on my solo cycle ride to Mahuli in June, I haven’t been active on the blogging front. However, travel-wise, it has been a terrific couple of months feeding my outdoorsy appetite.

Since then, I had been to -

  1. Matheran – Mobiking till Aman Lodge (Dasturi) and then walking across all the possible routes  atop the hill
  2. Tavli trek
  3. Ratnagiri tour – Ratnagiri, Ratnadurga, Bhatye, Ganpatipule, Thibaw palace, Marleshwar, Parshuram, Karneshwar, Purnagad, Pavas
  4. Gopya ghat – Shivtharghal trek
  5. Kavlya ghat – Konkandiva trek
  6. Bhimashankar trek

I regret not haivng written about it all, but some pics can be seen here – http://picasaweb.google.com/rohanrrao

A new outing in the pipeline and hopefull will get to write about it next tome around.. till then

Cheers  ~~~

I went for cycling yesterday, Saturday 12th June (my first 100+ kms cycle ride in a day). Looking at the past few days of regular rains and cloudy weather, I was quite convinced that it would rain as I would pedal on the green boulevards. However, Rain-Gods had different plans and the terrible heat and humidity made my outing a .. hmm .. scorcher: Literally!

I started from Kalyan at 10.00 AM, checked up the tyre pressure and started pedalling. Soon I escaped the city limits and once I crossed the Gandhari river, in the breeze, I could feel the freshness that I inhaled. Just a couple of days back it had rained and that had draped the entire landscape with a green cover over the speckled brown earth.

The atmosphere was misty, distant hills appeared hazy, sometimes hiding behind the dark coulds. The cool breeze caused the sweat to evapourate as they formed on my brows. The pedalling was continuous. I corsed small villages at the outskirts and within 45 minutes I hit the NH3: Mumbai – Agra highway.

One side of the road was blocked due to some repair work and the traffic was moving slowly, allowing me to overtake some crawling trilors on down-sloping gradients. I crossed Padgha, Titvala and Khadavali junction and Jindal steel and soon reached Vashind. It was 2 hours now that I did not got my bums off the saddle and was pedalling continuously. At Vashind, I had a flat tyre, that caused me to get off the saddle and look for a cycle shop. I lost about an hour in the process and began cycling. It was 1.00 PM now and the rain clouds and the cloudy atmosphere had given way to bright Sun and scorching temperatures. I began sweating profusely. On the way near Asangaon I had a glass of Neera, which helped me refresh a bit.

Within in 15 minutes I reached Mahuli junction and approximately 8 kms further over some rough roads I made it to Mahuli village. It was 2.15 PM. It took me 4 hours and fifteen minutes to reach here from Kalyan – approx 50 kms. Out of it, I lost a good 50 minutes and added 2 kms of cycling sue to a flat tyre near Vashind.

I paid my obeisance at the temple, rested for a good 30 minutes and started back. My return journey was much tougher due to the fact that – SUn was really getting harsher, lot of sweating and I had already pedalled 50+ kms since morning.

I started back, clicked some pictures. Enroute, I took a detour and rode around a couple of kilometres through the riverbed.. really rough one. My ACT 105 held well over the rough terrain.

I traced back the 8 kms of rough roads and hit the highway once again. However. the heat and water loss began to take its toll on me. I could feel some impoending cramps, specifically on uphill gradients. The gears were adjusted for lowest ratio and the speed ever so decreasing with every passing kilometre. I crossed Asangaon, Vashind and near Khadavali the cramps got to me. Till now I had successfully managed to keep the cramps at bay with water intake and careful pedalling. The cramps caught me on my both legs and I just let go off the bike and slept on the roads.. on the side ..

I rested for 10 minutes on the hot tarmac, with the harsh Sun shining overheadand profuse sweating. I sipped on water from my hydrapack. From here, the cramps were always round the corner. threatening to attack anytime. I knew the going was to be tougher. Also the minor differences in gradients can be best appreciated by a person when he has cycled 70+ kms and has a long way to go before crashing. Such was my condition, even the slightest uphill gradient was killing and even the slightest o downhill gradient was a blessing.

I walked a bit with my bike, but soon realised that walking was more strenous on the calf and so hit the saddle once again and began pedalling. With a mix of slow pedalling, intermittent walking and coasting over downhill gradients I reached Padhga. I stopped over at a restaurant, had a Dosa and a cup of tea. Although the cold drink was much more natural, I decided not to have something extremely cold after coming from such hot temperatures. I rested for around 30 minutes and started back.


I could always feel the strain in my calves and just walked when the terrain got the better of me. I reached the junction, where a board read, Kalyan – 13 kms. I thought one hour more. But to my amazement, it took me 2 hours to cover the last 13 kms. Even the slightest of uphill gradient slowed me down considerably. My thighs, calves, finfers and the forearms all were cramping up. The back was tiff as well. I lost a lot of body fluids and salts. I wonder why our meterological department never get it right.. never!

I finally reached home at 9 PM. I was dead tired. I cooled off under the shower, ate somehting and hit the bed. Crashed!

The ride was tiring, but equally satifying and the feeling of riding 100+ kms (104 to be precise) on my cycle made things cheerful :-).

Waiting for my calves to recuprate quickly before hitting the saddle on my cycle again and hoping the rains Gods show mercy next time around. For more pics – http://picasaweb.google.com/rohanrrao/MahuliCycleRideJun2010#

Went for a small and simple mobike ride on 6th June – Sunday. The trip rounded off to approximately 400Km, so was a nice ride considering the varied essence that the terrain and the surface offered.

It was the smooth tarmac of Mumbai-Pune highwar, the well banked curvatures at Amby Valley & Lavasa that counter-posed the rough roads alongside Mulshi backwaters and the inner arterial kaccha roads.

My rear wheel has a slight play in it and I was well aware of it. Plus the skiddy nature of the new wheels that I had just put on was very much threatening; so sharp cornering on sharp curves required a bit of restraint and slightly early turn-ins that helped me to bank at a safe angle most of the times.

The ride plan was very late, as I wasn’t aware that the TST guys were going along the same route and that I was to join them. Raj, my pillion just got the stuff ready previous night, at 1.30 AM .. the helmet and stuff.

The plus point of the ride was that my bike was very stable on the corners and very responsive on even roads, albiet the steep terrains and pillions added weight caused it to gruntle a bit. But for its power it fared really well.

Clicked some pics, learning a bit of photoshopping on experimental basis, trials and errors that spiled most of my pics and yet manged the guts to upload it on Picasa.

Most importantly, the group and the people were really nice.. Deepak, Glen, Vaibhav, Sanket, Salil, Kanti and ofcourse my pillion Raj.

Was a good ride!

Flipping perspectives

Posted: May 2, 2010 in Ramblings
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Joe is suspended in a chasm between hopes & facts, with hopes forming the lower meniscus. The effervescent bubbly hope keeps Joe pushing higher up the scale; but with the rigid facts unyielding, he find himself in the same chasm, between the two meniscus. Not only is the fact rigid, but also rough and thorny with lot of prickly obstacles and barriers!

What does he do now?

Just change the perspective and way he looks at things. Just flip the planar configuration and he will see the situation in a better light.

Success / Solution

He can now see that the he cannot climb up and succeed in problem solving by grabbing onto the effervescence of the bubbly hopes. He also comes to see that what he perceived to be  a prickly barrier and obstacle of the factual rigidities are actually the rungs of ladder that will take him towards success. He just had to flip the situation.  Change the perspective.

Global trash can named India!

Posted: April 26, 2010 in Ramblings
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The title may seem derogatory, but is a fact. Greece, France, Spain, UK and many such countries are just dumping their wastes;  e-wastes, medical wastes, plastics, papers, metals and all such wastes that we were taught to be recyclable in our school days, in India.

But why are the developed nations dumping their garbage on Indian soil? Simply because shipping municipal waste to India is about four times cheaper than recycling it in their own land. While it costs Rs 12,000 to recycle a tonne of rubbish after segregation in Britain, shipping the rubbish to India costs just about Rs 2,800.

Factories in Tamil Nadu also import toxic garbage on the pretext of using it as fuel. The culprits are mostly cement & paper factories. None of the Indian ports have scanners to detect the actual contents of the consignments. Bloody ever-developing nation!

All these factories should be closed with immediate effect and their owners be publicly castrated! But, even if the companies are caught, they manage to get reliefs and interims stays from the emasculated judicial system of  our country.

Even the State Pollution Control Board’s environmental engineers, who are responsible for monitoring the dumping of hazardous waste, fail to act swiftly in several cases. And why would they? When vigilance and anti-corruption officials raided their offices, one of the engineers was caught with Rs 7 lakh in unaccounted cash and in another district bundles of notes were, ironically, found dumped in the dustbin.

I had written an article on e-waste some time ago asserting proper disposal of mobile phones, desktops and laptops and their recycling processes. Why should I educate people about discarding the mobile phones and old laptops when we are embracing the foreign shit?

Data Source – Times of India report

Sachin, first of all I would like to wish you a very happy birthday. That’s the end of pleasantries for this blog post. Remaining is a request.

Please do not play in IPL. It is anti-national. Playing in IPL tantamount to treason; courtesy the corrupt and delinquent Lalit Modi. If I resort to using adjectival description for Lalit Modi, the topic and space for this blog would be inappropriate, however I am awaiting a chance to construct an elegy for him.

Yes, moving back to the request I have to make, do not play in IPL. Playing in IPL is definitely anti social. Read this NDTV report to know better. Corporates, film stars, politicians and all have they hands in the murky waters of this money spinning extravaganza. On one hand our government is trying to cover the true figures of below poverty line status and on other hand it fails to notice the blaring corruption that IPL, Modi, Pawar and other stake holders have in IPL. BCCI is to be equally blamed.

If you play, the cricket-crazy subjects of democratic India just cannot do anything, but watch. People are even ready to pay tens of thousands of rupee to watch you from a close quarter. Eventually they get what they want, but their money is satiating the insatiable greed of the above mentioned personalties.

This is in addition to millions of other fanatics like me, Ram, Shyam, Ramu & Damus who are glued to their television screens while you wield the divine willow. We also directly contribute to feeding these corrupts. We contribute to the sky rocketing TRP’s of IPL shows, hours of glitterati and eventually the Samsungs, LGs, Karbonns and such big-wigs pay high prices for their commercials.

Please don’t play. Your haloed presence makes us all forget the bastardy acts of all the corrupts and watch your art. Please stay away and help us wean.

All I can do is request. You have had five stitches due to an injury sustained in the semi-finals. Hope it keeps you away from contributing to the grand and farcical stage of IPL, built on the pedestal of corrput desires and wicked narcissistic souls.

Happy birthday Sachin.

The NO hassle

Posted: April 23, 2010 in Ramblings
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Joe has a big hassle in his life, the NO hassle.

He is averse to saying NO to anyone for anything. I WILL TRY is a better leeway, without making him a villain.

Because he considers saying NO is not good. It throws him in poor light and disappoints people.

But saying YES or committing to TRY raises the hopes of others, which when unfulfilled makes him appear in far worse light.

He also doesn’t like to hear NO. Refusal is not digested well.

He fears NO. Hence he doesn’t ask. He doesn’t put forth. He doesn’t propose.

He digs deep. He permutes and calculates within. He measures the balance. Only if he finds YES heavier, he asks.

He rarely asks.

He regrets not asking.

He fears NO.

YES, he needs to conquer NO.

He must say NO and must be prepared to hear NO.

Be it board room discussion, elevator pitch, friends, lecture series, seminars, or the girl you admire. Ask. Speak.

Don’t fear the NO.

Are you Joe?

IBN Live says: It’s official: 37 pc live below poverty line

What about the unofficial data? Have a look at the parameters considered in defining the poverty line and then decide for yourself. India now has a new way of defining poverty which is not based on just access to foods, as it was earlier, but also includes expenditure on health and education – A welcome change; thankfully.

The National Planning Commission, which is responsible for the estimate, currently estimates that a monthly income of about Rs. 356 (about US$7.74) per person is needed to provide the required diet in rural areas and Rs. 539 in urban areas. Beside this, an additional surplus (meager) for factors such as housing, health care, and transportation are now also taken into account in the poverty estimates.

However, there are many activists and NGO’s that are defying the current estimates. The Arjun Sengupta report had said 77 per cent of Indians live on less than Rs 20 a day while the N C Saxena Committee report had said 50 per cent of people live below poverty. However, the Tendulkar report with a figure of at 37 per cent, is perhaps more acceptable to the government.

The authorities must remember that just deflating the estimated figures is not of paramount importance; instead they must be more sensitive to factors in consideration. They mustn’t deflate the numbers by accepting or rejecting the estimates, but by trying to attenuate the factors responsible.

Don’t rely on these figures, except for your documentation. The figures are just indicative. Go out there and let the actual situaiton speak.