Friday, December 12, 2014

Roads - The Beast Within

For a normal guy, the “aam-aadmi”, I’m a very frequent traveller. I relish every opportunity to pack my bag and go on a trip, be it for work or personal purposes or on a holiday. The road excites me always. It inspires me, gives me joy & tells me stories. Irrespective of the destination, I look forward to each journey for the time I get to spend on roads.

The thrill of speeding away on a highway, negotiating tough twists, turns & hairpins are as important to me as the scenic/cultural experiences and adventures at the eventual destination. It’s no secret that any riding enthusiast would love to test the power of the vehicle when cruising on a long highway. I feel most powerful, alive and in control of life when I’m in control of a vehicle that is zooming past others and cruising at high speeds. So in these conditions, how do we ensure that safety is integrated into the whole equation? How do we make sure one reaches the desired destination in one piece?

To understand this, I believe it’s firstly important to list down the major concerns & dangers constantly faced by drivers/riders on Indian highways & city lanes.
  •  Lack of lane discipline - One of the biggest challenges on Indian roads is the undisciplined jumping from one lane to the other, often without any indication. This holds true even in heavily congested city roads. This is not only dangerous to self & co-motorists, but also contributes heavily to traffic congestions in cities.  This is especially dangerous when an overtaking manoeuvre is performed through the left side of a vehicle. This is the cause of numerous accidents, and sadly, the Indian driver never learns.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road - This one is especially truer in Tier – II, III cities and smaller towns apart from highways. While on a highway, how many times have you noticed a two-wheeler/tractor/mini trucks/cars/rikshaw driving on the wrong side of the road to save a few minutes/meters instead of using the appropriate U-turns?    
  • Unprotected highways – couple of years ago, one night while traveling by car in the Surat – Baroda stretch of NH 8, I saw a black cow lying dead in the middle of the road. It must’ve been crossing the road and must’ve been hit by a heavy truck, the driver of which may not have spotted the black animal crossing road in the dark night. Most sections of Indian highways pass through fields and a simple barbed wire fencing on both sides of the road is all it takes to prevent such avoidable incidents.
  •  Relentless use of high beams - a good percentage of high impact accidents on road happens as a result of driver being temporarily blinded by extra bright headlights from the vehicles on opposite side. How much effort does it really take to dim your light while on road. I believe it is high time manufacturers included automated systems on all vehicles to dim the headlight upon sensing vehicles approaching at an appropriate distance from the opposite direction. 

The list is non exhaustive and the idea behind this post is not to list out the existing challenges and problems, rather to share my suggestions to enhance safety on Indian roads. Many of these are well known to all, but out of stubbornness and “I-can-do-no-wrong” feeling, they are just plainly ignored. So this post is a way to reiterate these points again and again and again until they are registered as critically important in every driver’s minds.
  • Wear a seat belt/helmet, always! This is applicable not only to the driver, but all passengers.
  • Never ever drink & drive. You might feel invincible & awesome for a moment, but NO!!
  • Give proper indication prior to any manoeuvre, be it taking a turn, an exit or overtaking another vehicle. Use your lights & indicators intelligently to convey a message.
  • Maintain your vehicle in good condition. Go in for timely services. Ensure your brakes, lights, indicators, wipers, horn and everything else are in proper working condition.
  • And for god’s sake, please use the dimmer appropriately while driving in the night. This ignorance kills.
  • Calls, Whatsapp & Facebook can wait. Keep your phone away while driving.
  • “Taking a leap of faith” is a good topic if you are an inspirational speaker. But while on road, be 101% certain before attempting anything. Be careful, always!
  •  Respect the pedestrian & respect the road.
As Gandhiji once very famously said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”; take pledge to never go on the wrong side of the road or make an improper exit or pass on through the left side. Follow the basic rules of road and be a good example for your kids & juniors to watch & learn.

Every one of us has bare minimum common sense and knows the basic rules & regulations to be followed, but many of us lazily ignores most of them. We follow rules only on strict police monitoring to avoid paying a penalty. Why don’t we realize that life is worst penalty we will have to pay for our ignorance?  We have all witnessed a big accident on road at least once. We all read about them every day on papers. Yet while on road, many of us deem these regulations pointless and a few unlucky ones pay the price for this ignorance every day. 

…be the change you wish to see in world…
…be compassionate to your fellow motorists & pedestrians, for its not always you who pay the price for your ignorance…
… follow the basic rules & enjoy the road …

A big shout out to the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF), organizing road safety campaigns nationwide. This year alone, their initiative have reached 2 lakh drivers across the country spreading the message of road safety. As a passionate rider, I recognize that Safety begins with ME and support Nissan wholly in their initiatives. Let us join hands with Nissan and spread the message that road safety is each and every driver’s responsibility and your one unfortunate ignorance/mistake could lead to loss of lives.

Happy & Safe driving

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Page from the Rajasthan Dairy!!

A slow moving desert delight with a hump in its camel.
The rhythmic bumpy strides of a camel is one thing you should try at least once in a life. I took my chance during my visit to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. In the picture, two locals on their camels in the Great Indian Desert, the Thar!
I hope you like these pictures, give me your feedbacks. Link to my Facebook album -C.l.i.c.k.e.D

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Abandoned! A bundle, a bag, an axe, two beedi’s and two human souls.
When I clicked the above picture, little did I know that I would speak to those two, a few seconds later. They conveyed the following story, in part hindi and part gujarati.
“They had cooked Roti for the man in the Rickshaw for years & now the man had abandoned these two in the highway claiming that they had stolen some money. They showed me a Rs.100 note, which he said the man in the rikshaw had given them for their survival. On my question of what the bundle in the lady’s shoulder contained, I was told, the bundle contained all that they possessed. The man turned philosophical when he said, “We come here empty handed, so do we leave”.”
Possessions of a lifetime in a bundle. Can you imagine yourself being in a similar state? Pray! You are Fortunate.
I hope you like these pictures, give me your feedbacks. Link to my Facebook album -C.l.i.c.k.e.D

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eclipse, A Spectacle!

Lunar Eclipse, a Celestial Magic, a True Spectacle!
Sadly, I couldn’t capture better and more photos of the event.
I hope you like these pictures, give me your feedbacks. Link to my Facebook album - C.l.i.c.k.e.D

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finding the Feet

If the ball pitches short of length, you will need to rock back onto the back-foot to adjust to the bounce. If it is pitched full, you move your feet to the pitch of the ball to place it in the gap precisely. If it’s on middle and off, you shuffle your front foot across to play the ball into the midwicket region in leg side. If it is a spinner tossing up the ball, you might judiciously jump out of the crease to the pitch of the ball and loft it over the infield. The longevity of a batsman’s career at helm depends on how well he moves his feet to counter the fearsome balls thrown at him, but it’s not just the life of a cricketer that depends on the rule of finding your feet.

The story is similar for every one of us who ventures into a new thing or another almost every next moment. It might be a gadget that you just brought, a course you just opted for, a new person you just met up with, a relationship that you’ve just entered into or a new job you just got appointed for.

Just like the T-20, ODI& Test variants of the game, the above mentioned moments also classifies itself into various kinds, based on the significance and influence those events are bound to make to your life and into your foreseeable future. Some of them are like the normal T-20’s were you don’t waste time trying to find your feet, rather just go after the bowlers from the word ‘Go!’. You just go by trusting your instinct or hunch were in you might succeed or may even lose, but who cares, it’s just a T-20 and not the end of times. Then there are others like the 50 overs a side ODI matches, were you can’t afford to throw it away right at the start. Again, you wouldn’t want to waste a hell lot of time finding your feet, because then you’ll be lagging behind your mates with the task at hand.

Then comes the very random, occasional opportunities or events like a test match, were you are completely new to the situation and have a lot of time to compromise and be content with. The successful ones here are those people who accumulate the crease the longest, survive the most, for which you have to find your feet and get it moving exactly at the right times. First days of a job is one of those big opportunities and I am now padding up for that big test of mine. The conditions are totally unlike anything that I’ve seen ever before. It’s a challenge, but also an opportunity.

Many of the so called big problems in life may seem gigantic to many of us, but in fact it’s just a matter of finding the feet, changing our attitudes or perspectives of how we look at it. Picture them as challenges like seeing off the new ball in a test match and it is surely going to be an interesting chapter of our lives, which we are bound to come over with valuable investments of our time and our efforts.

Friday, April 29, 2011

~CoLoUrS~ A Photo-Exhibition.

… Colours when portrayed in the right proportions has a magical effect in soothing your eyes…

… here is an exhibition of random snaps clicked by a friend of mine, Shiva Krishnan. This is only a tip of the ice; catch the complete collection in his facebook album “CoLoUrS... My PhOtogRApHiCaL JoUrNeY”. Leave a comment to describe how you liked the pictures. Add on this guy in facebook for more of his photographs later on

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reflections, of a life…


How often has it occurred to you; while having a coffee, while walking beside a lake or through a paddy field, while enjoying a silent sunset; that you start wondering about your past, when you feel like your past reflecting upon you, right there!

I do. I often get this feeling. The past 21 years of my life, it always appear before me as two distinct halves. First, there is the first ten years of my life, when all I can remember about is that of a guy, a shy kid who for most of the times rebelled when it came to staying away from his mother, his parents. Somewhere around the age of 8, I must have started to change, or I wouldn’t have been so happy and jubilant when I came to know that I had gotten entrance to Sainik School at a tender age of 10, into class 6, more than 300 miles away from my hometown.

The turn of the millennium marks the beginning of the 2nd part of my life, the more colorful one, the more happening & eventful one. As my past reflects itself, I may have been a crying-baby at times till say, age 6 or 8, but then there was this change and I haven’t cried since 10, never have I wetted my eyebrows. Well, for the same reason, my close friends at the end of 7 years of school life refers to me as an emotion-less guy; one who never got sentimental. They still do, and throwing out any emotions other than joy, I must admit is a bit of a foreign land for me.

Every one of the 7 years at Kazhakoottam was one of its own kind. Early morning wake up calls at 5.30 in the 6th standard, at the age of 10, and all I used to think was I shouldn’t have chosen to come here, and I could’ve been sleeping to the comforts of my bed at home. The numerous rounds around the parade ground, the strict P.T and the hard punishments that followed so early in the dawn at times reminded me that I always had a choice, that I could quit Sainik and go back to Palakkad any time I wanted. It may have been the inspiration from quotes like “Winners never Quit, Quitters never win” on placards all around the campus, it may have been the fear of telling my father that I can’t adjust to the strictness and hardships anymore, but I guess it was the sheer ego of me being a cool guy who wouldn’t flutter under any hardships, that took me forward in those hard initial years. The other consolation was of course the faces of my classmates, who are all far away from their homes just like me. I shall never forget the fun & horrendous days I spent with them, the people whom I grew up with.

I used to initially consider Sainik School as a huge mountain, a Mount Everest perhaps. Thousands of people try their hands and luck climbing it, but only a few tough and courageous ones make it at the end. I always take pride from the fact that of those 1000’s who wrote the entrance exam from Palakkad District, I was the only guy who made it to Sainik School in my batch. The thought of me climbing the rest of the mountain, and passing out one day just like all those respected seniors before us, it actually never crossed my mind in initial years. But as truth shall have it, one fine day in 2000 I was buying my uniforms, my first hockey stick, my black and white shoes and my big black trunk box from Trivandrum with my parents. Few moments pass, come another evening and I was at Trivandrum bus station with a bunch of suitcases & airbags waiting for a bus back home late in the evening all alone, and I was leaving a city which had been my home for the past 7 years, as simple as that.

… ‘Farewell to Dons 2k7’. Our ceremonial Dining Out at school mess in march 2007…


One thing, one lesson I had learnt at kazhakoottam is that men, people unite the most and best in troubled times. True unity comes not in happier hay days, but in the times of horror and sereneness.

The six months out of Sainik School was the weirdest days of my life. I had gotten a decent rank in state engineering exam, I had almost gotten through an exam and interview for merchant navy. That was when as if joking, my father asked me if I wanted to go to china to do Mechatronics. In a few days, mechatronics changing to aeronautical engineering was one of the few changes that happened, but I had decided in my heart that Nanjing was going to my home for the next four years, a city I hadn’t even heard of ever before. Questions were asked, stiff opposition persisted from relations and many other known people, but none of that wavered my thoughts one single bit.

With a seat booked at my current college in Nanjing I was bored to hell in the months of July, August & September. If not for my admission to Nanjing, these months would’ve been the most tensed ones filled with counseling's and admission procedures to the college according to state ranking. But I had already booked my place and had nothing better to do, as I mentioned. I tried my hand at learning Chinese by bits, but failed terribly. Those were the days when I became addicted to computer, internet and the then new social networking craze, Orkut. I began my life in cyber space during those days and that addiction to internet and social networking sites continue to date, and have made some marks in my life, which may very well remain un-erasable.

Just like the Mount Everest at Sainik School, I am about to reach the summit of another peak in a couple of months. The journey from that peak will be a hell lot different one. For the first time in my life since a few months after my 3rd b’day, I will not be a student going to learn anymore. The backpack which once was filled with books and tiffin boxes to school will now be replaced with great hopes about a life to follow and the pressures of finding a suitable job first hand. I’ve always thought till a few months ago that school and college days are going to be the days of pressure, which once completed opens out your flood gates to an eternity of life which is to be casually lived, enjoyed. But I now feel that my days of life & enjoyment may have already come to a halt, and in a few months from now, I will also be pushed deep into the real darkness of life; the pressure cooker situation of deadlines & compromises and what not?

Now I feel how true the term Reflection is, for life is always a reflection of your past and your future, with the you of present being the still water in the lakes or the shining mirror in the wall.