Trek to Sarasgad – Part II

As described in the earlier post, Trek to Sarasgad, I stopped at the solitary tree and did not go to the top. So obviously, my description and photos do not cover the part beyond there. Vikrant took it upon himself to write the description for the part beyond. Here is what he had to say, and the photographs beyond that point.

We continued our journey ahead to reach the top of the fort where the 1st group (divided by distance ☺) was on the way. We continued on the path.

Second group decides to go to the top

Second group decides to go to the top

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Trek to Sarasgad

Sarasgad seen from the first plateau on the way to the top. There is a set of 100 steps between the two rock faces seen on the left.

Sarasgad seen from the first plateau on the way to the top.
There is a set of 100 steps between the two rock faces seen on the left.

It had been some time since the Trek to Tikona, and it was time for another trek. I had some discussions with Pradeep, Vikrant and Shardul, and we zeroed in on going to Sarasgad.

Sarasgad is a small hill fort, just outside Pali. Pali is known for the temple of Ballaleshwar, one of the Ashtavinayks. The height of the fort is approximately 1400 fet, but since you start climbing from the sea level, you climb the whole height.

The Kids. We had 4 kids with us on this hike, ages between 2 yrs 9 months to 3 years 7 months. Hats off to them and their parents.

The Kids. We had 4 kids with us on this hike, ages between 2 yrs 9 months to 3 years 7 months. Hats off to them and their parents.

Soon, we had enrollment from 35 people for the trek. Enough for us to afford a private bus for the whole day. Pali is about 85 kilometers from Mumbai. One can reach it either via Mumbai Goa highway, or via khopili using the Mumbai Pune express highway. We chose to go by the Mumbai Pune express highway, since it will help us reach fast. I had also announced that young children are also welcome, and there were four children around the age of 3 years were also going to come, in addition to 35 adults. Had I been to Sarasgad before, and had I known how hot it would get during the day, I don’t think I would have announced it. One of the participants was also a friend from IIT days, Naru, whom I was going to meet him after I graduated from IIT 30 years ago. 🙂

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R.I.P. The Resurgent Indian Patriots

RIP by Mukul Deva

RIP by Mukul Deva

The headlines of the January 23rd Times of India were unbelievable.

Gadkari decides to opt out, Rajnath set to be new BJP prez

Chautala, son get 10 years in jail.

They were in fact so unbelievable that Sanjay Mehta, a good friend posted on facebook

What a rare day in Indian history.. Seeing headlines of a CM and his son being sentenced to jail, and a corrupt head of a national party forced to give up his position. I checked outside.. The Sun has still risen in the East only. I had doubts..

Haven’t we given up on our politicians? Doesn’t it look like a hopeless situation. We see our leaders deeply buried in scams worth crores of rupees, but hardly anyone gets punished. We watch all this happening around us, feeling completely helpless. But what if someone decides to take charge of the situation. This is the theme of the book R.I.P. by Mukul Deva.

R.I.P. The Resurgent Indian Patriots. Self appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundation. Vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and colluding civil servants. Even if it means killing them.

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A memorable weekend at Garudmachi

(Warning: Long post)

A few weeks ago, chopper aka Vasudeo Gharpure was in India, and Vasant Vasant Limaye aka Balya had organized a get together at his residence in Pune. Many of us could meet there and we had a pleasant evening. The conversation turned to having a night out at Garudmachi, and I agreed to to enlist people for the same on 26th and 27th January.

Areal View of Garudmachi. On the extreme right is the cliff behind Garudmachi. You can see the tent tops in the middle of the photo, between the road and the cliff, on the right side of the road.The water reservoir in the left of the road is used for electricity generation by Tata Electric Company. You can see the water pipes on the left taking water to the generators.

Areal View of Garudmachi. On the extreme right is the cliff behind Garudmachi. You can see the tent tops in the middle of the photo, between the road and the cliff, on the right side of the road.
The water reservoir in the left of the road is used for electricity generation by Tata Electric Company. You can see the water pipes on the left taking water to the generators.

Before I proceed,  an Introduction is in order for both Balya and Garudmachi. I met Balya for the first time in July 1977. It was my first hike ever, and we were going to Peb. I distinctly remember four people from that hike. Ajit Ranade was a fellow fresher, and I think this was his first hike too. Three senior hikers that I remember were Chopper, Balya and Sanjay Thaurdesai aka TD. Continue reading

Posted in IIT days, Memoirs, Mountaineering, Travelogue | 22 Comments

The Bankster – By Ravi Subramanian


Bankster-Front CoverThis was the book I almost didn’t review. There is a story behind this. When this book was made available by Blogadda for the review under the book review program, I was attracted to the book by the name. Bankster, a banker turned Gangster? The author credentials were impeccable. Wall Street Journal called him “John Grisham of Banking”. I am a big Grisham fan myself, and have read most of his books.

The next thing that attracted me to the book was the cover. It perfectly complemented the title. The mysterious man in the overcoat with a briefcase created a visual image of the “Bankster”

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I wish I had done that!!!

Janell Burley Hofmann with her son Gregory

Janell Burley Hofmann with her son Gregory
She gave him a cell phone on Christmas with a Code of Conduct

Over the years, cell phones have become quite indispensable. In fact as I had written in this blog post, they have almost become our sixth sensory organ.

They have become the most coveted objects for the teenagers. The age at which they want to get their own cell phone is becoming younger.

But the cellphones are also very addictive as we have been witnessing. They may turn teenagers unsociable, lead to accidents or compromise their hearing by giving them iPod-itis.

At the same time, teens face  tremendous peer pressure to posses cellphones. And we, as parents, want to give everything in the world to our children. How do we do it, and minimize the risks involved?

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Everyone loves their family

Pictures of Drivers Family Were Stuck on AP State Transport Buses(Courtesy TOI)

Pictures of Driver’s Family Were Stuck on the dashboard of AP State Transport Buses
(Courtesy TOI)

There is no doubt whatsoever, that love for one’s family (and from one’s family) creates magic. Many a miraculous things happen because of this. Harry potter was saved from he who must not be named as his mother’s love protected him from the deadly curse.

I was reminded of all this today morning by this news item on the front page of today’s times of India. Family pics on dashboard cut mishaps, said the news item.

Drivers of Andhra Pradesh’s 23,000 public transport buses are a lot more responsible now, a transformation that has happened in the last six months. Thats because buses they are assigned to have photographs of their children and wife stuck on the dashboard.

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