Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chennai - Kanchipuram - Gingee Fort - Chennai

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After buying my 100cc motor bike, this is the longest drive so far covering approximately 300kms, in a single day.

There was no plan to go on a trip to Kanchipuram until the day before the trip. My friend had come from Bangalore to attend his classmate’s marriage. The marriage was on Friday. So he had Saturday and Sunday to spend in Chennai. On Friday night we planned to go to Kanchipuram to see some ancient buildings.

So on Saturday morning we started from my house. I’d fueled my bike on Friday itself and the tank was 3/4 full. On Friday morning I’d seen the Google map for directions also. Our first target was to catch the GST road in Vandaloor. Before that in Kelambakkam high way, we had our breakfast. I always have the effect of appreciating most of the food, my friends find bad. I don’t pretend. But most of the time I feel this way. There is a wide band of food varieties I like. So I’m hardly disappointed by any recipe. The same thing happened during breakfast. My friend shared that he felt the food was bad. But even though I didn’t like it very much, I hadn’t disliked it.

Before this breakfast some funny thing happened. We caught the Kelambakkam highway from Mambakkam highway. But when we approached the kelambakkam highway from Mambakkam highway, we had a confussion on should we turn left or right. I regretted not printing out the map with me. Anyway we asked a man in a shop in the corner for directions. He directed us to go left. We turned left but after going some distance, my friend noticed some signs saying that Kelambakkam is few kilometers away.

He was shocked. Because we suppose to join the GST road in Vandaloor. The Kelambakkam highway connects Vandaloor and Kelambakkam. So we were going in the opposite direction. Then we stopped by a bus stop and asked another person. He confirmed that our suspecion is correct and asked us to take a ‘U’ turn. After taking the ‘U’ turn we reached back the spot where we wrongly turned in Kelambakkam highway. That spot is Mambakkam. There only we found the restaurant to have breakfast.

So after this breakfast we started again and reached GST road. I realised when I asked for directions for the first time I asked the person how I could reach GST road. He must have misunderstood GST for OMR. OMR is another highway where Kelambakkam highway joins. Eventhogh GST and OMR doesn’t sound similar, for a person who is doesn’t know english and not familiar with GST and OMR, both should be confussing. Anyway I should have asked him directions more specifically to go to Vandaloor.

After catching the GST road, its a long stretch until we reached Singaperumalkoil. Here we took a right turn (As I've seen in google map). Eventhough its a short cut, the road condition was very poor. My average speed was just 25kmph. After a long and tiresome ride like this we reached SH58 (State Highway). It felt like heaven to ride in that road.

Just before reaching Walajabad, in a road side shop (its a temporary shop with just a table, and the shop keeper always stands) we had "Kepai kool". "Kepai" is a kind of cereal. I dont know the exact english name. Its very cheap, as it can grow in very little water. To prepare this "Kool", they mix the flour of this cereal with water and boil it to cook. Then salt is added. That's all. While serving the shop keeper mixed curd and some raw onions with this. And to spice it up, you can take chillies fried with salt. It was an energy boost for us.

After that we didn't stop anywhere. We went straight to Kancheepuram. First we visited god Visnu's temple. The architecture was awesome. Unfortunately when my friend tried to take some photos, his camera battery was dead. That's it, we couldn't record anything to share with our friends. After this we visited god Siva's temple. Visnu and Siva are the two major gods worshiped by Hindu's. Well everybody won't worship both of them. There are two divisions in Bhramins (These people devote their service to spirituallity and decipline), those who worship only Visnu and those who worship only Sivan. In ancient times these two people fought on the superiority of their gods.

When compared to Visnu's temple, Sivan's temple was very old. And there has been a significant amount of differences in the way these two have been built. Eventhough Visnu's temple and Sivan't temple are basically constructed with different pattern's, the methods used to build would be the same. But in this case these two temples were entirely different. We haven't checked the time when these two had been built. But the monuments themselves were markers in the timeline.

At this point that was around 1p.m. Because of the "Keeppai Kool" we didn't feel hungry. Eventhough we planned to visit the museum in that city, we couldn't find one. We shouldn't have collected more information before starting that trip. That left us only one choice, return back home or visit some place nearby. My friend told me that the Gingee fort would be near by. So we decided to go to Gingee fort. Little that we knew about the surprises we're about to face.

We asked few people inside Kancheepuram city for directions to Gingee (in Tamil its pronouced as "Senji". The information we collected was that it was a 3 to 4 hour journey to Gingee from Kancheepuram, and for directions we needed to reach Vandavasi and then ask someone there for directions. Point should be noted that upto Kancheepuram was the plan we had the day before. Whatever happening hence forth was a completely unplanned travel.

As suggested by the people we started off to Vandavasi. Just after crossing 1 or 2 kms we felt so much thirsty. The water bottle we brought from home was empty. So we thought of stopping by a "Karumbu saru kadai" (Sugar cane juice shop). On the way we found one and had sugarcane juice. We were recharged again and started the journey.

Just before reaching Vandavasi we felt thirsty again. So we stopped by a "Illaneer Kadai" (Tender coconut water shop) and recharged ourselves again. Then we reached Vandavasi. There we asked some people for directions to Gingee. They offered two routes. One was to reach Tindivanam and then head for Gingee. Other was to reach Chetpet (this is different from the place Chetpet inside Chennai city) and then head for Gingee. We choose to go to Chetpet and then head for Gingee. As per the suggestions, both the routes are more or less same distance.

Then we headed for Chetpet and reached it in a single stretch. From there we headed for Gingee. On the way we stopped by a shop and ate water melon. The price was very cheap when compared to Chennai. One piece of water melon was just Rs. 1. And you could make 8 pecies from a melon with an approximate diameter of 20cm.
Sunset from home
Sunset from home
We reached Gingee fort at last. It had too much to explain in this article itself. It deserves a seperate article. Eventhough we were not allowed to go inside the fort, as the time has crossed 4.30p.m., after seeing the fort from outside itself we felt that the trip was worth coming. It was one in a lifetime experience (just to see the work of history sculpturing that grand fort in time).

Then we had the fear of reaching the city before midnight. I called one of my other friends in Chennai and he told me that the trafic inside the city, as Prime minister Manmohan Singh and Cheif Minister Karunanidhi were opening the new parliment building in Chennai. But we thought by the time we reach Chennai, the traffic would have improved. And we reached Chennai faster than we thought. And the traffic was not so bad. We had our dinner near Vandaloor itself.

The thing I regreted most was that we couldn't take any pictures. Apart from that that was a wonderful journey. My bike did great here. I didn't feel any pain due to long trip. I will visit these places again with more planning and post more details of the places we'd seen in this trip.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Office Politics for Dummies

If you're a job going person, you'll definitely talk about the bad things in office and label it as office politics. However politics is defined as "Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions" in wiki. Being a job going person by myself for the last 3 years, I've also been expressing my frustrations about bad things happening in office as "politics". If you're suffering from "Office Politics", the following 10 tips can help you out.

1. If you're afraid of something, learn about it. Darkness brings fear. Enlightenment is the cure. Learn politics.

2. Learn the art of saying "NO". Most of the time we overload ourselves by saying "Yes" to so many things. We lift the expectations up so high that we couldn't meet them.

3. Commit LESS and do MORE. Its not cheating. Its value adding.

4. Accept that people are gossiping about you, but don't gossip about others. You'll build trust among your colleagues. They'll feel safe to share you critical information, which may save your job.

5. More the friends you have, Less is the chance that you'll be fired.

6. Spend more time with your family. They will help you in hard times (at least emotionally).

7. There ain't no free food. If you're appreciated by someone, appreciate them back for whatever small help they've rendered for your success. You'll build good relationships.

8. If you ask, you'll get it. Even though you bear greater responsibilities and dependency, you won't get a promotion unless you ask for it. This is true for 99% of the times. Don't have over confidence that you'll be so lucky to fall under that 1% of exceptions.

9. Lead by inspiration not by authority. Authority works only in your presence, but inspiration works all the time.

10. Be the change you want to see. If you don't like how things are run, run things by yourself. Start a company.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

iPad For Artists

By now you probably would be familiar about iPad. Its a new product line introduced by Apple in Tablet PC industry. Simply put, its a jumbo version of iPhone. It won't fit inside your shirt pocket, but you can carry it where ever you carry a diary/notepad/journal/planner.  For a digital artist, how helpful this technological innovation can be? Let's assess the possibilities:

There is no software comes bundled with the device to use it as a drawing tool. But there are few applications which can be downloaded from the iTunes app store. The iPad SDK being released already, we can expect more applications to come. There are some applications for iPhone like MotionInk, Brushes, Colors and Layers to name a few. As per Apple's claim, these applications should work with iPad also. Let's do some comparisons.

Classical Paper drawing vs iPad drawing:

Pros of iPad:

1. Won't get clumsy with too many tools
2. Can undo if something goes wrong
3. Storage of the work is easy and safe
4. Share easily
5. If digital output is expected, iPad is productive as you don't have to scan the drawing and give finishing touches seperately
6. Easily create wonderful effects
7. Save paper, go green :)
(... It may sound awful to compare paper drawing with a product like iPad. But its good to know the points anyway)

Cons of iPad:

1. Can't feel the texture of paper or the tool
2. Though the display is bigger than iPhone, still its limited when compared to paper
3. If paper output is needed, its hard to determine the output

(...The pros out weigh the cons after all)

You may raise a concern like "The digital artists are saving paper already with other pointer devices like laser mouse, digital pen or digital pad etc. So what is the point?". You're absolutely right. We need to compare classical pointer devices with touch technology in iPad. Let's see that now:

Classical pointing devices vs iPad touch:

Pros of iPad:

1. Like paper you get a perfect feedback on what you sketch
2. Few limitations on expressing your creativity can be lifted
3. The setup is simple
4. With an accelerometer the possibilities are more: you can put a drop of ink and shake the device to spread the ink in the paper... and more

Cons of iPad:

1. The display size is limited. With a classical pointing device you can use a bigger display
2. Processing power of the CPU is limited (1 GHz in iPad). So some complex filter may be slower.

I think in this case the pros may or may not out weigh the cons, depending upon the need of the artist. I believe if I get a chance to lay my hands on this device, I give more points.