Bought a Nokia N-81

An update from my side is that yesterday I bought a new Nokia N-81 graphite gray colour 2GB version. I was eagerly waiting for iPhone to be launched in India. But looking at its current price in India (Rs.31000 for 8GB and Rs.36100 for 16GB) , I had to look for other options and finally decided to buy an N-81. So, far I am happy with its performance….lets see how it turns out to be 🙂 .

Update : Its been just six days since I bought the phone and it had crashed (restarted on its own) twice and hanged once (could not even switch-off and had to remove the battery) 🙁 . Maybe time to go for a firmware upgrade. Apart from this I did not face any other issues as of now. I keep installing new free applications and am loving it.


Another attempt by Ram Gopal Varma to scare the audience. But the fact is that this one isn’t scary at all. All those weird camera angles and sound effects went in vain…….they really don’t seem to make any difference at all. In fact all that made the audience laugh instead…….for a while I was wondering if I came to a horror movie or a comedy movie 😀 . But anyways, the movie wasn’t all that bad and its definitely much much better than varma’s previous movie contract.

The story is a very simple one. It basically revolves around a construction engineer rajeev an atheist and his family. His daughter becomes a victim of black magic (kaala jaadu) and the movie is about how he saves his daughter. The struggle between science and superstitions has always been there and in this movie its the superstition that wins. I would have liked the movie more if it would have been the other way round 🙂 . But ultimately its all about what sells in the market 😀 .

On the whole I would say its worth watching once and definitely not at all scary atleast not when compared to RGV’s movie bhooth. The child who becomes the victim of black magic has perfomed very well. Even the other characters in the movie have given good performances. I think its a good come back by RGV after the hopeless movie contract. Hope his next movies would be of his original standards 😀 .

TRAI allows IP Telephony termination to PSTN in India

Finally some good news for people who would like to use IP telephony to make long distance international calls legally 🙂 from India. You can check out the press release from TRAI here. It was just one year back that MTNL has started offering the VoIP services to its subscribers in Delhi and Mumbai. The subscribers then had to get a Analog Telephone Adaptor which would be connected to ADSL modem. Call rates to US, UK, Canada, etc were just Re. 1 per minute and there were various subscription offers like lifetime plan or pre-paid services, etc. Now, TRAI has removed any sort of regulations on using IP telephony (calls can be terminated on PSTN and not just a pc) by any subscriber. This move is definitely going to slash the ISD rates in India. And to me this SPA3102 from Linksys looks to be one good option to go for as suggested by one of my colleagues. The press release mentioned above has got more details.

Another good news for subscribers:
Very soon we will get to choose the cheapest STD and IST tariffs irrespective of the service provider. The subscribers will be having freedom to choose carrier of their own for making long distance calls. TRAI initially had a plan to implement carrier access code (CAC) but due to resistance from telcos, it wasn’t implemented. With this new directive, the subscribers will have to buy pre-paid long distance package from any of the operators and then just dial-in a set of numbers to get on to that service provider’s network. More details on this can be read from this economic times article.

With all these new initiatives it looks like in the coming few months, long distance calls from India are going to reduce drastically.

What a day it was!!!!

Continuing the previous posts related to my bangalore to hyderabad ticket woes, finally it was august 14th, the day on which we were supposed to leave from bangalore. And as expected before, it was a day full of suspense, tension and lot of drama 🙂 . Nothing was clear till the last moment. Coming to how it all went through………..

I was checking our ticket status from office and till 3.50 pm i.e, 2 hours 20 minutes before the departure time, the charts were not yet prepared. I thought it was time for me to leave office so that if by any chance the tickets would get confirmed, I should be able to make it to the station in time. And being a long weekend traffic at marathahalli was hopeless. Somehow I managed to reach home by 4.20 pm and still the charts were not prepared. I asked the other two of my friends who were supposed to travel along with me to start. I was checking till 4.45 pm and still no sign of charts being prepared 🙁 . So, finally I left home at 4.45 pm and took an auto to the railway station. And I told 3 people to keep checking my pnr status. I was getting continuous updates from them that still the charts were not prepared and on top of that the traffic was too much. It was 5.30 pm now, 50 minutes before departure and it still says charts not prepared 🙁 . And when I had covered more than half of the distance, I get a call from my friend that the tickets were not confirmed and he is not coming to station. Immediately I asked the auto driver to go to kalasipalyam so that I can try for some bus tickets. Then the third friend almost reached the railway station and then I informed her that tickets were not confirmed. So, she asked the driver to go back to her place and I reached kalasipalyam. There I was trying for bus tickets and the situation was so bad that even the place in driver’s cabin was sold out and then they were selling tickets for sitting on a stool in the bus 😯 . Then I got hold of some agent and he said he will try for tickets and that’s when I get a call from the first friend that two of our tickets have been confirmed. It was 5.45 pm then and train was at 6.20 pm.

This is where the real fun started 🙂 . I was at kalasipalyam and had to reach majestic. Another one had to start from his guest house in koramangala and the third one was still in auto going towards koramangala from majestic. I just told them to somehow make it to cantonment station atleast (as the train would reach cantonment by 6.40 pm, they would have another 20 mins) and by that time I can talk to the TC if he would allow 3 of us to travel as we already had 2 confirmed tickets. I took an auto and just told him to somehow take me to the station in the fastest way he can. The station wasn’t too far from that place but there was too much of traffic on the way. Finally I reached the station just 5 minutes before the departure time. By then it started to rain also and I was literally running to catch the train. Finally reached the platform and there was a TC standing over there surrounded by some 12-15 people trying to get a confirmed berth 🙂 . I told him our status and he asked me to get in and we can see what can be done later. So, I told my friends that we can get in and they just need to reach cantonment station in time. Finally, both of them reached cantonment just in time to catch the train. Both of them had their own adventures in the auto 🙂 . Somehow, three of us made it.

Now the tension was about what would the TC say 🙁 . We were eagerly waiting for him and that guy turned up after some 2 hours. He didn’t even care to see if the third passenger was there or not. He just saw that two tickets were confirmed and that’s it. He says if you people can adjust, you can continue. That was some relief to us. He was too busy to say or do anything more. Actually this third person’s ticket is supposed to be cancelled automatically once the charts have been prepared. All the tickets that are booked online and in waiting list after the charts are prepared, will be cancelled automatically and the money would be refunded back to the account. Its almost ticketless travel and on normal occasions the fine would be around 500 or 600 rupees 🙂 . But this day the situation being too bad, the TC didn’t even care about all this. Now, we don’t know if that money would be refunded back or not as two of the tickets were confirmed. Whatever be it we were ready to pay the fine also and were happy that we are going to hyderabad somehow 😀 .

Now comes the worst part of the journey. Two of us sharing the same upper berth 🙁 . I was sleeping in the same posture for almost 7 hours 🙁 and by 5 am in the morning I felt as if my back is going to break. That’s when I woke up the other guy and got down. I couldn’t sleep properly for the whole night and on top of that my back was paining like hell 🙁 . And then the news is that train is late by more than one hour. This was the only thing pending 🙁 . Whenever I travelled by this train, it reached on time always and this was the first time it got delayed. Looks like whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way (perfect scenario of murphy’s law).

And finally I reached hyderabad. Never felt so happy coming here. I feel like I had achieved something this time and that’s true infact. Managing to reach hyderabad in such bad conditions is a real achievement for me 😀 .

Another day dedicated to IRCTC

Looks like my bangalore to hyderabad ticket woes are not going to end soon 🙁 . As mentioned by me in the previous post, I was trying to get tickets from bangalore to hyderabad and finally my friend assured me that we will be getting 3 bus tickets but it was at double the price. We were happy that atleast we are able to go to hyderabad. And today afternoon I get a message from him saying that the agent had ditched us and we don’t have any ticket to go to hyderabad. Getting a ticket for bangalore to hyderabad has never been so tough during the last one year of my stay in bangalore.

Already I had wasted one day trying for tatkal quota and then bus tickets. Today it was another attempt to get a ticket to get it confirmed in emergency quota (EQ). I had happily cancelled all other train tickets that I booked earlier and now I will have to book again for 3 of us to get it confirmed in EQ. And thanks to the IRCTC site, it wasn’t even allowing me to login. And after several attempts, finally I could book three 3rd A.C. tickets and gave the pnr number to my friend. Just then I realized that I had given one of the passenger details wrongly 🙁 . Immediately I called up the IRCTC call centre in Delhi. After a few attempts, I could talk to the executive over there and she says there is no other way except to cancel this ticket and book another one. So, back to IRCTC site again to book another ticket for 3 of us and by then the W/L reached regret status. So, I finally booked in sleeper class for us and gave the pnr number to my friend and the W/L was 298, 299 and 300.

Before all this happened, earlier during the day I had to book a ticket for october 12th from hyderabad to bangalore. And as always, our IRCTC site wasn’t responding and it took me almost 45 minutes to book that single ticket and lucklily my ticket was the last confirmed ticket 😀 . After this exercise, a friend of mine wanted a ticket for august 15th and very few were available and the site wasn’t responding. So, he asked me to try for him as well. That was for some 20 minutes but it was of no use. Ultimately he got a waitlisted ticket.

So, my day started with IRCTC and ended with IRCTC. I would have made atleast 50 attempts today for all the tickets that I was trying to book 🙁 . And the final status is that till the day of journey, we won’t be knowing if the tickets would get confirmed. The status will be known just some 3 hours before the scheduled departure of the train 🙁 .

Will update the status here again……

All for a ticket from bangalore to hyderabad

It all started because of the long weekend of August 15th. Last time when I was in hyderabad sometime during last week of june, I was just checking tickets availability for bangalore to hyderabad for august 15th and by then only it was going in wait list. I booked in two different trains and the status on august 9th was still in wait list. Finally, I had decided to book in tatkal quota.

So, a guy who does not get up early in the morning (early here implies before 8 AM 🙂 ) to go to office only decides to get up by 7.45 AM on a saturday 😀 . And finally I got up at 7.44 AM by a wake-up sms (yeah you read it right…..a wake-up sms) from a friend 😀 . Now without wasting any more time, I opened my laptop, opened irctc site and was ready to book the tickets. And just as the clock struck 8.00 AM, I started trying, but it says not yet opened. By then I came to know that another friend was able to open and was entering the passenger details also……it was from US. So, the next thing I did was to connect on my vpn 💡 and then tried again. In the mean time, I started to try from my second laptop with another user id that I created the previous night. But it was of no use. And just a few minutes later, I get a status update from my friend that only 11 tickets are available and then the next update is W/L 13 🙁 and that’s the end. After that I tried in other trains and other classes but of no use 🙁 . Just within a few minutes after tatkal quota started, everything was in waitlist again.

Then, I checked for buses and ksrtc was full. Then tried redbus to check for private operators and even that was full. Had no other options and booked a ticket for august 15th as a backup. Then decided to go to Kalasipalyam (for those of you who don’t know what that place is……….its sort of Mecca for private bus operators in bangalore….. one can find atleast 100 travel offices at a single point). And as always as a backup plan asked a friend of mine to check in apsrtc and another one for any other private operators near his place. And finally after sometime I get a call that one of my friends could get tickets but for double the price 😯 . We had no other option and atlast we decided to go for it 🙁 .

Now when I started back from kalasipalyam, I didn’t knew the way back. I just knew how to reach the place 🙂 . I was almost lost in bangalore city in broad daylight and this is not the first time it happened to me. The first time I went to Kalasipalyam to book tickets to Pondicherry, me and my friend lost our way and it was around 11 PM. Finally, with the help of some auto drivers and other people on the road, I just reached home 🙂 .

Learnt a lesson now and I got my ticket to hyderabad for October 8th booked already 😀 . And I am going to book the return ticket also on the first day it opens up.

Ultimaltely, after all the pains, I am going to hyderabad 🙂 on august 14th night in a bus (which I always try to avoid) by paying double the normal price 🙁 .

Singh is King – Another hopeless movie

Its been just 2 weeks since I could digest the movie Contract. Being a Ram Gopal Varma’s fan, I went along with 3 other friends of mine on the first day and the first few minutes of the movie itself gave us indications how horrible its going to be. Just to compensate for it we had watched Hancock on the same day within a gap of 15 minutes 😀 .

And now its this much hyped movie Singh is King. This also turned out to be a hopeless one. I was really disappointed. And I had taken a friend of mine who generally does not watch movies at all. I can imagine how he would have felt 🙂 . Except a few hilarious scenes in the first half, there was nothing much in the movie. The story line was not that good and some of the scenes just made no sense. And lots of punjabi element was added in the movie…….maybe that’s just to draw some crowd to the theatres. Maybe the first week collections of this movie might be good as many gullible people like me 🙁 might fall for the hype created. But I definitely don’t see this one to be a big hit.

Some good points about the movie are……… of course Katrina Kaif 😉 , some comedy scenes in the first half and the punjabi dialogues. Apart from this nothing great about the movie. If at all you plan to watch it, don’t have too much of expectations out of it 🙂 .

Kodachadri Trek experiences contd……

This post is going to be the last one in this series 🙂 . I will be writing here the general things you need to take care of, the lessons I had learnt and about the places in general.

The Leeches:
The most scaring part of the trek and the driving force to get to the peak as soon as possible 🙂 . Better carry some salt, tobacco and coconut oil with you. Tobacco and coconut oil mixture is definitely going to be of great help. What we noticed was that though the leeches might get on to you, because of the tobacco effect, they would not have enough strength to start sucking your blood and ultimately after sometime they are going to die. And salt would kill them instantaneously but you cannot apply salt on you feet and then wear shoes. That would cause blisters. So, use salt whenever a leech is stuck to the body tightly. Just a pinch of salt would do the trick. Also better to carry some clotting agent. It took quite a while and lot of efforts for the bleeding to stop.

The conclusion is that you need not worry much about the leeches…….they are not going to be too dangerous. Its only that you would be short of a few ml of blood 🙂 . And its absolutely painless when they are sucking the blood. Its just the size of them after sucking the blood that makes you paranoid.

Food during Kodachadri Trek:
The food at Santosh tea stall is good. You can get idli, upma and tea over there. Also you can get some salt here to save yourself from leeches and you can buy some orange candies as well. Food at the kodachadri peak is good. Its a nice home made food and tastes good. You can get tea/coffee, rice, sambar, rasam and curry. All this at reasonable prices. They even provide accomodation at a very nominal price. You can book a jeep to Kollur from here. Only Airtel has got network coverage at this place and that too you won’t get it all over the place. You will have to go and talk at a particular point to get decent signal quality.

Food at Kollur:
We were expecting to get some good food over here. But food at Santosh tea stall and the peak was much much better than food at this place. The strange thing is that you don’t get idly thoroughout the day. Generally whenever I go out, I prefer idlis as nothing can go wrong with it 🙂 . But at this place I was surprised to see that they don’t have idlis……. they have them only for breakfast. And then this being a temple area, we don’t even get non-veg. One of the guys was very desperate to have non-veg. So, after asking some people we came to know that there is one place some 1 – 1.5 km away from our hotel and we went there and it turned out to be a small bar 🙁 . So, atlast no non-veg…… later when we were about to catch our bus, we found someone making omlettes and that’s where we had our dinner for the day 🙂 …….two omlettes each.

Arasinagundi falls:
If at all you plan to go to Arasinagundi falls, better take a guide. That’s one thing I had learnt after our experience.

Finally, this trek had everything in it………lot of adventure, leeches, mutiny, scenic beauty of the mountains, the streams in the forest and especially the view of the mountains in the midst of clouds was awesome. On the whole it was an amazing weekend.

Kodachadri Trek experiences contd……

Day 2:
I thought of getting up by 8 AM but ultimately the guys who had been to the temple came back and woke us up at around 9 AM 🙂 . We quickly got ready and then back to the same tobacco business 😀 as on the trek to Arasinagundi falls also there would be many leeches. Once we were done with applying tobacco, we had our breakfast and started walking towards the falls. What we heard from the locals was that it would be 8 kms on the main road and then 2 kms in the jungle, making it a total of 10 kms one way. We were happy to know that it was just 2 kms through the jungle unlike the previous day’s trek.

After walking for some 2 kms I think, we found a bridge and we were asked to take right near the bridge. But we were confused whether we had to take right before the bridge or after crossing it. After a while, one of the guys saw a sign board over there and could recollect that he had seen the same one in some blogs before coming and we were supposed to go that way only. And you know what that board was saying “TRAKKING IS STOPPED” . You can see my friend pointing to it in the below picture 🙂 . That blog said that we have to take that particular way only. The gates were all closed but there was a opening on one side through which we went inside. First wrong information we had was that it was 8 km on main road and then just 2 km in jungle. But here the jungle started immediately and also the leeches. In fact this place was much more damp than yesterday’s and the leeches were also more. We just continued to walk without any doubts in our minds. We found some small streams also on our way and this jungle was much more dense. The ascent was also quite steep. After walking for some half an hour I guess, we saw a small sign board and something was written in kannada. It was mentioning about some place 25.0 kms away. But we did not give much attention to it. Then after a further 0.5 kms, we saw a similar board and it pointed to the same place 24.5 kms. This is when we thought there must be some famous place ahead and when we looked at it closely, we realized that it said the lake was 24.5 kms away from that point 😯 . We started off thinking that it would be just 10 kms one way and two way it would be 20 kms and we would be on time to catch our bus back to bangalore. But this is where the problems started. Some of us said it might be something else and the others started worrying. In fact, looking at the dense jungle and the number of leeches on our way only, few of the guys were already scared 🙂 . But me and two other guys were determined to go ahead and we didn’t even stop. The others were following us and still trying to argue and convince that we have to go back now. That’s when we finally announced that we are going ahead and if anyone wants to go back then may do so. So, at last there was a mutiny over there and two of the eight guys went back. Now we were six of us and just a few minutes later we realized that two others also left. So, the head count is just four now.

Determined to go ahead we didn’t even care about them. After going a little distance further we realized that the food bag was with those who had left and we were left with very little food and just 2 litres of water I guess. Even that didn’t stop us and this time I was the one leading….so, I had to take care of clearing the path from spiders and cob webs (remember me mentioning about it in the previous post). So, we were happily going forward enjoying the surroundings….the path we were going on looked to be not used for a long time. It was not the case with the kodachadri peak’s path……there we could clearly see the path. When I was just at my peak pace and going ahead, I got the shock of my life after seeing what was in front of my face. I was barely a feet away from it and about to move forward and realized that the whole path was covered by a huge cob web with a king size, multi-coloured spider at the centre. I was so scared at the first sight of it that I just screamed and the people behind me thought that I had seen some wild animal 😀 . Then the second guy who came saw it and just ran away a few feet 🙂 . This is the point where we were also doubtful. Looking at the way the whole path was blocked by the web and no clear path on the other side of it, it appeared as if its been a long time since anyone had used that path. If you can see the picture above, there are just dense trees all over and no proper way ahead. So, atlast after this point we had to call-off our trek as none of us dared to clear the web and go ahead as we were not sure of what other surprises might be awaiting us 😀 . So, finally we could not see the falls 🙁 .

On our way back as we had enough time, we could spend a lot of time in the stream on the way back. After coming back to the main road, we found two other guys who left later under the bridge, near the stream. Here the flow was more and we had spent some one hour over there. Then had food by the side of the road itself 🙂 .

Finally, I had no leech bites. There were 3 – 4 leeches that crawled upto my legs but even before they had sucked my blood, I had noticed them and removed. So, escaped without any leech bites 😀 .

After going back to room, four of us who missed going to the temple thought of visiting it once. One strange thing in this temple is that once we are inside the actual core part of the temple, we have to take off our shirts……that was quite surprising for me. As I said before, there is lot of influence of Kerala culture over here and this tradition also looks to be a Kerala one. After having darshan over there (luckily as the chief minister had left by the time we went, there was no queue at all 🙂 ), came back to our hotel to get ready to catch our bus. The bus dropped us in bangalore by 6.15 AM and we were back home by 7.00 AM. That was the end of our weekend trek.

This was the overall big picture of our Kodachadri trek. In the next post of mine, I would be writing about some other minute details and some lessons that I had learnt in this trek.

Kodachadri Trek experiences contd……

Continuing from the previous post………Once we started back to Kollur on the jeep I thought it might be just another ghat road with lots of curves, etc. But once we started going down, that’s when we realized that its not at all a proper road. That was just a jeep track and all over the path there were so many twists and turns with uneven suface and rocks that none of us inside could sit properly. I was sitting on the back side of the jeep and the guy beside me was almost crushing me and on the other side was the seat with some nuts projecting out. My knees were continuously hitting those nuts. The drive was too scary and sometimes we felt as if this time the jeep is going to topple for sure and the next moment we see that we are still safe and sound 🙂 . On this particular track, its only those experienced drivers who can drive. And once we hit the main road, just after a few kilometres, the gear box became loose 🙁 . Luckily this guy knew someone who was just one or two kilometres away and somehow they fixed it. Thats when we started back towards Kollur. By the time we reached Kollur it was around 8.45 PM (don’t remember exactly).

We started our search for accomodation. After searching for some 15-20 mins, we could find a proper accomodation suitable for us. Then had our dinner and back to rooms. Dinner was a major issue. These people don’t have anything except dosas and this being a temple area, there are no non-veg restaurants also. I thought idlis would be the safest bet but surprisingly they don’t have that also 🙁 . Finally had a dosa for dinner. The place appeared to be predominantly inhabited by Kerala people. Though it was in Karnataka, one would feel as if you have entered Kerala.

Next day we were supposed to get up by 5 AM to visit the temple. Unfortunately the chief minister of Karnataka was also visiting the temple the next day and lot of rush was expected 🙁 . So, I decided that I won’t be going to the temple and would directly go to Arasinagundi falls 🙂 . At that point of time, for me getting proper sleep looked to be the top priority 🙂 . Finally I think only half of the 8 people decided to get up by 5 AM the next day to visit the temple. I was not the only lazy guy 😀 .