Sunday, November 16, 2008

DTH war - brand ambassador missing?

Even with the long list of celebrities in its ad i couldn't help but feel something (or someone) missing in the DTH debut ad of Airtel. I can see A R Rahman, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Madhavan, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir.. its so long list why do i feel so? may be i'l get some clues at their website so i go to their site but only to get even more confused than i already was. i guess you will understand it when u visit this website. anyways so after i finally reach the 'correct domain name' i log into my airtel account and there he is. now i know who was missing. Say hello to Mr. SRK! ofcourse, how could he be part of two competitor's Dish TV as well as airtel's DTH together? How was he to know even airtel will come up with their own DTH service. Lets jus give those two some time to decide it themselves.

With their ad campaign stolen by Big TV, a .com domain of their name redirecting to Vodafone, and their biggest brand ambassador selling DTH service of their competitor Dish TV, i can only imagine their marketing dept screaming out loud "why's this happening to us!" :(

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

khardung la trip, Aug 2008 - summary

i'm back after 15 day long bike trip with Chennai Trekking Club from Delhi to Khardung la (arguably world's highest motorable road). 7 CTC guys including two from Bangalore and one from Gurgaon successfully completed the much awaited khardung la bike trip of chennai trekking club, covering total distance of over 2100kms. for now here are some pictures of the trip
detailed blogpost i'll write and publish soon.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tada, 12th April

after that coimbatore trip with a friend, i started searching for new places to go and ways to go to those places. after googling a little, this is what i came accross SA chennai trekking group. after reading about their past treks and the experiences they had, i couldnt resist into being part of their treks. next trek was on 12th april and i got an invitation to join the trek because i had registered on the website. i was really excited as it would be my first trek ever. peter the chief organizer for most of the treks called me up to confirm the evening before about the pickup points and to check if i had any transport.
next day woke up 0400 in the morning got ready and i was at my pickup point at 0505. i was picked up by peter's scorpio at exactly 0515 as he had told me. after that we picked up few more people on the way and then stopped at koyembedu bus terminus for a few minutes meeting few other members who had come to join us for the trek on bikes and a car. not wasting much time we started heading towards tada which is about 60 kms from koyembedu bus terminus. after reaching we had breakfast consisting of idli dosa vada etc. and also we packed our lunch from the same place, about 40 idlis i think. the place where we were going to trek was still about 20 kms from tada town. the waterfall is actually known as uballamudugam falls. theres a checkpost before the parking area. apart from parking cost we also had to pay for camera. which was Rs.50 for each camera . the checkpost is just a tiny hut in the middle of no where. and we couldnt really figure out why they were charging us for cameras, probably with so little crowd coming in they ran out of ways to make money.the road from the checkpost to the parking is filled with rocks and in some places with deep sands and makes it very difficult for bikes and small cars to go through. amongst the two cars one was a santro and so we parked it near the checkpost. after reaching the parking place we parked the vehicles we distributed water bottles, and lunch which we had bought in tada when we stopped for breakfast. after that we started walking towards a path up hill. on the way we had to cross beautiful streams of crystal clear water. and at another place there was a beautiful pool deep enough to swim (but not deep enough to drown) and we spent almost an hour playing in water in the pool. after that we started climbing upstream throught the stream jumping over large rocks and finally reached a bigger deeper pool and a waterfall on top. very few people climb till the top as it takes almost an hour and half to climb till the top and requires quite a lot of energy to keep jumping over rocks and looking for way to keep going up, as there is no proper path to go up. on the waterfall at the top we had lunch and spent lots of time taking snaps. at the top there were also lots of monkeys who managed to steal few of our snacks packets and coolly opened and ate it all by themselves.

after having lunch and water we started climbing down. took us another 2 hours to come down and by 1700 we had reached the bottom at the parking place. on the way back we stopped in tada to quench our thirsts with some juice and cold drinks, and kept driving back to chennai. reached chennai at around 0800 after getting stuck in traffic while entering chennai. and so here it was my first trekking experience with a trekking group. i jus wish i had googled it earlier so not to have missed earlier treks to beautiful places where they have been before. but i'm pretty sure i'm not gonna miss future treks if i'm in chennai.

do visit for more info and registering yourself on the site and becoming part of the coolest trekking group in chennai.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Coimbatore Trip

Day 1

after our (saurav and me) train arrived in coimbatore station first thing we did was start looking for a hotel room to stay in. took a bus to gandhipuram bus station. mine being in first time in coimbatore, i just went where saurav took me. he had been here a few times before so he knew the main places here. i was just here for fun, just because i couldnt find another place in the state :p. after asking a few places in gandhipuram, we came back to station again and then found a cheap hotel nearby,costing just rs.252 per day, with a double bed. after we took bath, saurav (the one who did have some work here) went out, and after sleeping for an hour even i went to a place called maradhamailai which is a small temple on top of a hill. whole thing took about two or three hours and after that i was back in hotel with saurav and his friend, and we three slept and talked till evening, and then when we started feeling hungry we went out roaming in the market place chat (bhel puri, pani puri etc..) and ice-creams.

Day 2

Watched a hindi movie (Race) with saurav and his friend. after that saurav, puneet and me went to a beautiful dam near a place called pollachi. the name of the dam is Aliyar dam and is located beside tall hills with a beautiful view of the hills behind the huge water reservoir created by the dam.

Day 3

Went to another dam called malampuzha dam, near palakkadu in kerela about two and half hours from coimbatore, with saurav and puneet's friends. We went there by train to palakkadu and the train journey itself was very entertaining with tracks right through dense forests and in between hills. the dam was also quite tall with beautiful garden for people to enjoy on the dry side of the dam. theres also a small ropeway which takes you over the garden, which we didnt go in 'cause it was too short and none of us were interested to go. after that we visited a small snake park near the dam, which was also quite interesting with atleast twenty to thirty species of snakes. scariest thing was watching more than 6 huge pythons on every branch of a single tree, which thankfully for us, was caged from all sides. in the evening we three took a train back to chennai.
coimbatore really is very beautiful and surrounded by beautiful hills and greenery all around. you will only keep looking for your camera no matter which road you take to any direction. there are many waterfalls as well as many dams nearby, just few hours from the city and there are buses to take you anywhere. even the most popular hill station in the south india, Ooty, is only about 3 hours by road from coimbatore. hopefully i'll come back again to explorer this part of tamil nadu very soon again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chennai to Coimbatore in general compartment

Past few days i've been thinking of going to some place outside chennai, to escape, and discover whats tamil nadu actually like, outside chennai. Finally when my project review for final year project in college got over today, i just decided to get out and discover new places around chennai. Soon enough my friend said he was going to coimbatore, and so here i am lying on one feet wide side luggage rack of a general bogie in cheran exp, on the way to coimbatore with him :-D the night should be interesting.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Earthsync music festival

Went to odyssey to buy some painting things (yeah all of a sudden some wires short circuited in my grey and i wanted to paint again after almost 7 years, anyways about that may be in some post later :p ) and saw a beautiful poster about a musical somewhere in chennai so bought the tickets. asked many friends and none seemed to be interested the ones who were had other plans on that day. anyways finally, only one other friend aggreed to come so i wasnt alone :p .

the show was really good. the auditorium also beautiful and sounded amazing. oddly enough the percentage of foreigners in the audience was very high, no idea why. the music consisted of a pleasant mixture of contemporary and traditional with many instruments of both genres. loved the music. here are some pics.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

turtle walks chennai - saving olive ridley turtle eggs

Olive Ridley TurtleI went on my first turtle walks this
Saturday and Sunday mornings (Friday and Saturday late nights). in case you don't know, what people do during turtle walks is collect turtle eggs which are laid by turtles during high tides in the night and then relocate them to a safer location away from public beaches and people in an enclosed hatchery. a turtle can lay up to 200 eggs at once in a single nest. if left untouched usually not even a single one may hatch and reach the shore safeThis weekend i went for my first turtle walks only. its because the beaches around the cities usually have too bright lights and when the turtles hatch and dig themselves out of the nest, the little ones get confused with the bright lights and start walking in opposite direction from the shore and end up away from the beach even on roads. most of them would be easily discovered by dogs because of their smell and become food and so decreasing the chances of survival even more. infact on day 2 we found a nest which was discovered by dogs before we reached and we found only 38 eggs and several broken ones. the footmarks left by the dogs proved it all.
Olive Ridley Turtle Laying eggs
The species of turtles that lay eggs near the beach of my city are endangered, Olive Ridley turtles, who get their name from the olive coloured back which these beautiful sea creatures have. the person who co-ordinates these turtle walks (Mr. Arun) has been doing this from 30 years. although these turtles are at the top of the food chain, we are finding so many of them dead washed ashore, almost all caused by some kind off unnatural end. most of them die because of sea trawlers' nets in which they get entangled in, and then get dragged for a long time with their boats, unable to come up and breathe for too long, they ultimately end up drowning. we found 7 dead turtles in two days i went for the turtle walks which was too sad sight to watch. one was even bleeding from its tail when we found it dead and another had its head chopped off! its just too sad to watch.

Eggs after being relocated

the clearing made by turtle after she finishes laying eggs

On day 2 we found two olive ridley turtles nesting and laying eggs and saw the whole process happening in front of us. Arun said some people walk for years and don't get to see a turtle nesting and here i was seeing two on my second day, talk about being lucky. the turtles lay the eggs about 10 to 15 meters from the high tide line in a foot or two deep nest beneath the sand which they dig with their fins. then she starts laying the eggs for about 45 minutes. after she finishes she beautifully covers the nests and dances over it compacting it and then camouflages it completely by throwing sand on it. its just amazing to watch her beautifully cover the whole nest as if nothing happened. after she leaves the place and goes back to the sea we dig up the nest and keep the eggs in a soft bag, make measurements of the nest and distance from the high tide line and then continue walking and searching for more nests. by the time we reach the end of the walk it became 0330hrs and we had reached the hatchery. where we dug up sand and replicate the nests dug by the turtles and slowly place all the eggs from the bags into the nests we made.

more information about turtles and joining for turtle walks in Chennai visit Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network's website.or contact Arun - 2490 1019 or Akila - 9940 300200, email sstcnchennai{AT}gmail{DOT}com.