Off to Sakleshpur, again!

Its been over 2 years that I parted my ways with Software AG but remained friends with many of my colleagues (even till today). We had one group of ourselves consisting of 7-8 people who used to go together for breakfast, lunch, tea break. It was such a fun hanging out with them and we use to discuss many things: from office gossip to share market conditions especially at Tea break. We had been to a couple of trips when we were in the same office. Now, that I was the only one who separated from the group, we were planning for a trip since 6 months now but one or the other guy wasn’t able to turn up due to their family commitments.

A week back, Harsha had called to ask if I’m up for the trip to which I replied “Tentative” because I wasn’t in a mood to go. After discussing with other people, they picked SAKLESHPUR for the weekend trip. I had already been to that place a couple of time now which demoralized me more not to go but my wife persisted to go and have fun (as she knew them from a couple of years now). They booked a homestay called “Mystique Falls” which was outside the city and somewhere inside the jungle. Travel date was set to Saturday, 21st July and pickup time was 6 AM. Everyone had their pickup points planned accordingly the previous night and decided to meet at Nelmangala-Hassan flyover.

At Mayura Veg Hotel

As planned, everyone reached the first meeting point to have tea and snacks. From there on, we drove for an hour before stopping for breakfast at Hotel Mayura Veg (near Bellur cross). We quickly filled our stomach and were back on the road in order to reach the homestay on time for lunch. After stopping once or twice in the middle, we reached the designated place as informed by Homestay owner. We were informed to park our vehicles there (as the road is not suited) and from there a jeep picked us up and dropped near the homestay. In order to reach the homestay, one should cross the bridge.

My first impression of the homestay was negative and it wasn’t nowhere what I had expected (even others to some extent). We dropped our bags in the room provided and went for lunch. Lunch was OK with not many options for Veg or Non-veg. We had our lunch and were back to our room thinking what to do next as it was raining outside. Staff informed us that no water activities due to heavy rainfall and rise in water levels. Everyone was dejected and there was nothing else to do apart from relaxing in the room. After much deliberation, we went to play mud volleyball. It was a thrilling experience as guys were excited, fearful (due to leeches), feeling cold (due to continuous rain). Everyone had a great time for an hour before we decided to go back to the room and rest for a while.

It was just 5 PM in the evening when I, Prashanth and Harsha went to the common area asking staff to prepare for snacks, coffee & campfire. They were kind enough to prepare hot snacks (Mirchi bajji) with coffee and lightened the campfire for us. An hour passed when other friends arrived and sat around us. Everyone was making their body warm around the campfire, chatting and discussing various things. It was drinks/dinner time and we were still there chilling ourselves. We moved our ass only when the wood turned into ashes (time was around 11.30 PM) and retired to our room. The staff informed us that they would take us to the trek tomorrow morning around 6 AM, so be ready.

Next day morning, most of the guys weren’t ready for the trek but we pushed them to come. In order to not get drenched, the staff provided a plastic sheet to cover our body in case it rains. It was hardly 10mins of the trek, there were leeches on everyone’s feet. A couple of guys frightened and returned back whereas others continued. We tried to apply salt as and when leeches were on our body but later on, it didn’t matter as we ignored and kept trekking. The last part of the trek was difficult due to the steep and slippery nature caused by continuous rains.

After an hour, we reached the top and the view from it was just refreshing. The wind was breezy and the clouds were moving with such a rapid pace.  On reaching the top, everyone’s phone was buzzing as there was network reception. They called their respective families to inform about their whereabouts. After that, we sat there changing our positions every few minutes in all directions to catch the glimpse of the forest. The climate was changing drastically, that’s when the guide signaled us lets get back to the camp. The trek to down was even more dangerous as there was no support to lean/catch. At one point, one of my friends slid down taking another with him but luckily the guy in front balanced somehow and they stopped after a few meters. It was such a scary sight to watch and everyone’s heart was in their mouth. In an hour, we reached back safely.

Breakfast was ready and everyone was hungry. We had our stomach’s full and went for our room, got fresh in no time to travel back to Bengaluru. We had planned many activities but nature played its course and we ended doing nothing but eating & talking about love stories, linkups, family responsibilities, and many other idiotic topics. Even though it didn’t go as we planned yet it was fun and relaxing with such friends.

Getting There:

  • By Road (Preferable)– The road condition from Bangalore is excellent till Sakleshpur. It is at a distance of 230 KMs from Bangalore taking Bangalore-Nelmangala-Hassan-Sakleshpur NH.
  • By Train – One can get down at Sakleshpur when traveling from Bangalore. From there, one has to reach Hanbal in order to get picked up by Homestay staff.
  • By Bus – There are direct buses to Sakleshpura from Bangalore.

Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit – Monsoon (July – August).
  • Carry extra clothing, shoes, umbrella/raincoats etc.
  • Carry a medical kit in case of emergency as its remote place.
  • Download the maps offline which is very important as the network signals become weak.
  • Keep contacting the homestay staff in case of confusion/dilemma. [sometimes address in the google maps is wrong which is informed by the homestay staff prior]
  • If you have friends who booze, it is recommended to buy it en route or at Sakleshpura.
  • Pack food items of your interests as it will be needed due to various activities.




Happy New Year – 2016

As december approaches, every youngster thinks of where and how to celebrate New Year. I’m in the phase where in I have realised New year doesn’t change much in your life expect you age and resolutions which you make (which we tend to forget sooner or later). But why are friends for?! They always come up with something and we end up doing that in one way or the other. This year, we didn’t have to plan something because one of the our friend  (PRASHANTHA KUMAR EMMADI) was getting married on 1st day  of the year.

We among few of friends decided that we will attend his marriage and celebrate the new year at a new place outside bustling Bangalore city. We were 8 friends who were travelling in 2 cars to KARATAGI (The famous, as exaggerated by Prashanta) which is near to Hospet. All of them applied leave on 31st Dec so that we can start early morning from Bangalore and reach Karatagi in the evening to attend the reception. We decided to start bit late in the morning around 10 AM taking Bangalore-Chitradurga-Hospet route to reach the destination. Mahesh, Chandra, Bharath & Shivaraj were in one car (i20) whereas Harsha, Meer, Sumanth and me were in the other (spark). Mahesh and others started early which I wasn’t aware of and by the time, we started from bangalore they had already crossed tumkur, thanks to Sumanth for his late entry. We had our breakfast at SHREE RATHNAM and resumed our journey. As we were running behind the schedule so we opted to skip chitradurga fort which boiled Sumanth because he wanted to visit it. We met i20 guys outside Chitradurga in order to move forward together. It was around 4 PM when we stopped for our lunch at some Bar & Restaurant. One of the funny moment I still recollect is ordering Tea/Coffee in bar :).

After filling in our stomach, we were on road again travelling towards Karatagi. The road was narrow and was busy with trucks passing by. It was around 6.30 PM when we stopped at back waters of Tungabhadra for one scenic view and the tunnel which captured everyone’s eye. We stopped there for few mins and started but not before boys started taking pics behind the orange sky. It was around 8 PM when we reached Karatagi. Me and few friends quickly got freshen up and reached the marriage hall to attend the reception. Other friends join us bit later. We all had light food so that we can party at night. Drinks were arranged by Prashant’s brother. We reached our hotel around 11 AM and within no time, table was set. That night was one hilarious night which I will remember for very very long time. Sumanth made that night unforgettable with his talks, actions and words. As usual, once the clock hit 12, all the lights were shut down for few seconds and were turned on. I seriously don’t know why do they do that? welcome new year with darkness. After wishing their family, friends, girlfriend etc. we bid adieu and slept.

Mr. & Mrs. Prashanta Kumar Emmadi

The next morning, we were all dressed up and attended the marriage. The arrangements were good as any indian wedding, people started pouring in at lunch time. We sat there watching people go by, discussing things and sometimes quick nap. After a while, we got up and had our lunch as we wanted to reach Hospet for night stay. After taking the picture of the group with the couple, we took leave from the place and started journey towards Hospet. This time, we once again went to the backwaters to enjoy the view and also to take pictures. I didn’t disappoint them this time and clicks came out really well. From there on, we went to Tungabhadra gardens to see the dam and gardens (especially the water show). The water show was much to our disappointment which made us not to wait till it finishes. We checked in at BILWA RESIDENCY and had food in the same restaurant. It was around 12.30 AM when Harsha comes to our room and says its his birthday. We woke up our friends and Meer decided to get take at any cost in the middle of night. We roam around the city and got cake pieces inside the Bus station. We celebrated his birthday and wished him again. It was around 2 AM when we fell asleep.

The next day we travelled to HAMPI which was very near to HOSPET.  We reached Virupaksha Temple around 10 in the morning after having our breakfast in the local hotel. After spending some time in the temple, we went to visit VITHALA TEMPLE. Its one of the must-go place in hampi. We reached around 12.30 and took a guide who explained some of the sculptures and things about the temple which made us admire the talent and skill people had ages back. We went around the temple and took few pictures here and there.

It was 2 PM when we decided to leave the temple and start our journey back to bangalore. We have our lunch at a Punjabi hotel in HOSPET and resumed our journey.  The return journey was much quicker as the road was not busy and there was some healthy competition between the drivers :). We decided to stop at Cafe Coffee Day, Peenya to celebrate Harsha birthday. There was only one hour left for his birthday to end when we made him cut the cake. We took few photos and get diversified as we needed to drop Sumanth to Jayanagar whereas Mahesh, Shivaraj & Bharath took Hebbal route to reach home. I was the last person who was dropped at my room at 12.15.

Birthday celebrations @ CCD, Peenya
Birthday celebrations @ CCD, Peenya

A ride to Istakameswari temple

It was bit time that I haven’t gone anywhere which is very unorthodox. There were many plans which were made but were dusted in the wind at the very last moment. Then, in some conversation in the office, we (Mahesh, Harsha and Me) decided to go to Srisailam for a 3-day trip. We planned the itinerary for the trip and then from few of our friends got to know about “Istakameshwari Temple”. I never heard of this temple before neither my parents who visited Srisailam many a times told me about it (I guess, they also didn’t knew about it). Friend’s who had heard about this place and who visited the place, told us not to miss this temple. It would be one a kind off road drive which everyone SHOULD experience in their life time. After searching more about it in google, go to know that the temple of Istakameswari is located in a dense and picturesque forest environment about 21 Kms to the east of Srisailam. I was looking forward to visit temple and had kept huge expectations on it.

We started our 3-day trip early in the morning around 4.30 AM on 25-Sept and headed towards Yaganti. We reached Yaganti around 12 in the afternoon and visited couple of other holy places. As the sun was setting down, we headed towards Nandiyal, where we had already booked a room. Day-2 started with visit to Mahanandi and from there, we started our journey towards Srisalam. We reached Srisailam around 4.00 PM in the evening. We had already made arrangements for the room in srisailam. We got fresh and first thing we inquired was about travel to Istakameshwari temple. To our disappointment, we got to know that last Jeep travel ends around 2:00 PM in the afternoon. After hearing this, we went to visit Patalaganga and return back to our room. We planned to go to temple early in the morning and catch the first Jeep which goes to Istakameshwari temple.

We got up around 3:00 AM in the morning and were standing in the line around 4.30 AM. But then we got to know that, the temple opens at 5 AM. As we were standing in the line, rain started to pour heavily. We moved slowly and finally completed our darshanam around 7:00 AM. We were happy that we made it in time but bit worried as the rain didn’t stop yet. We hurriedly come near Nandi Circle to enquire about the Jeep and they said, first Jeep starts at 8:30 AM. we had approx 1 hour, so we decided to have our breakfast and come back. After having breakfast, we came back and inquired and luckily the first Jeep was available to travel, we hopped in the back of the Jeep which was not good in condition.

At exact 8:30 AM, driver started the engine and we were on the way. As the Jeep was not in condition, we swapped it with better one and resumed our journey.  The driver needs to sign and enter the vehicle number before entering into the forest area. We are so excited that, Me & Harsha were giving expressions to each other such as “Yes! Yes!”, “Yeah! Come on” etc. At first, the road bit bumpy but than came the surprise. We were continuously jumping in the Jeep. There were incidents where in the vehicle was stuck between stones and children in the jeep started sobbing. I still remember, Mahesh (Goudru) asking the driver “Shall I get down from the jeep?”. The road such a bliss and entertaining that it always kept on edge. After loads of jumping and moving, driver stopped the jeep and said us to walk for 10 minutes which will take us to the temple.

As we started walking, we saw Ganesh Idol against the rock, we took the blessings and moved forward. After walking for few more minutes, we saw the first glimpse of the temple. We took coconut and washed our legs to enter into the temple. The temple has small opening to enter inside it, one has to bend or crawl to go in it. We went inside and first saw the idol, I was mesmerized. The Goddess has a serene and beautiful smiling face which at once captures the attention of one and all. It is believed that by having the darshanam of Istakameswari Devi one can fulfil all the desires. This temple is an ancient structure datable to 8th – 9th centuries A.D. The sculpture of the deity is very unique and have no parallel any where in India. After performing Pooja, preist informed us to put vermilion on the head of the idol. When we applied the vermilion on the head, it felt like skin touch even though the idol was of stone. Couple of friends did tell me about this thing but I didn’t give much attention to those words then. We sat there for good 10-15 minutes and started our journey back.

Trip Information

Location Istakameshwari Temple, Srisailam
Distance from Srisailam 21 Kms (Approx)
Pickup Point Nandi Circle
Drive time 1 Hours (one side)
Best time to drive July – September (As the weather is cool and there is so much greenery in the forest)
Jeep charge 750 per person
Journey duration 3-4 Hours

     The trip was such a awesome fun with lots of memories and moments. The journey to Istakameshwari Temple was more than we expected and will be one of the best journey’s I have made so far. Looking forward to much more such journey’s ahead :).

Day 3: Trip to Srisailam

It was at 3.00 AM in the morning when my sleep broke and I woke Mahesh to have bath (so that I can sleep for some more time). We all got ready and stood in line for darshan at quarter past 4.00 AM. We decided earlier we wouldn’t go in general line as it would take much more time and we couldn’t make it up for Istakameshwari temple. We were among the first few people standing in the queue of Rs. 500 per person. Rain god was behind us wherever we went. It started raining when we stood in line. As the line started moving slowly, the raining was getting heavier. We were partly drenched until we reached the main temple. We finished the darshanam and visited all the temples which were in the vicinity. It was still pouring when we came out to take prasad. We hurried back to the room to get our belonging to confirm the seats for the jeep ride to Istakameshwari temple. It was 15 minutes to 8.00 AM when we reached the place where jeeps were parked. After Enquiring, we were told which jeep goes first to the temple and we informed the driver that we would finish our breakfast and come before 8.30 AM.

It was exactly at 8.300 AM when the driver started for the temple. The experience about the ride to Istakameshwari Temple is written in another blog, link here.  We returned back to hotel around 12.30 PM and quickly wrapped our clothes and belonging. We settled our bills at the hotel and were on our way back. Just before you reach or before you leave Srisailam, you have to make an important stop – Sakshi Ganapathi Temple. Lord Ganesha, here, is believed to be the record keeper at Srisailam. People give their Gothra and name and Sakshi Ganapathi records them, the belief is that your visit to Srisailam will go unrecorded, if you don’t stop and visit this temple first. The temple is a small shrine on the highway.  After a quick visit to the temple, we were back on the track. Harsh took the wheels as Mahesh was bit tired. As we were going through the dense forest of Nalla Malla forest, I asked Harsh to stop at one point where in we can take some pictures. We parked our vehicle aside and clicked few pictures and moved on from there.

We reached Kurnool in no time and that’s when we hit the NH-7. As Harsh was on the wheels, we wanted to experience the thrill of speed. We were constantly hitting 150+ which brought the heart in Mahesh’s mouth. There were couple of cars which were in race with us which frightened Mahesh even more as we were increasing the speed. After lots of persuasion by Mahesh, Harsh  gave up the race. We stopped at a Punjabi Dhaba to stop our carving for food. It was such a mouth-watering food which we haven’t had from a long time.

Mahesh took control of the wheels from there on and Harsh accompanied to sit beside him. After such a meal, what was required was a good sleep which me and Harsh couldn’t resist. I didn’t remember when I was asleep but when I got up, I saw Mahesh driving the car very carefully and it was raining heavily. Harsh was also in deep sleep and after looking around, got to know that we were nearing Hebbal. We reached Marathahalli around 9.00 PM and got down at Harsh’ home where my bike was parked. We bid bye to Mahesh and walked. I took my bike and reached home at 9.30 PM. It was such a fun filled, amazing, adventurous and cool 3-day trip.

Day 1: Trip to Srisailam

        The trip to srisailam was always a jinx to me. whenever my parents or family members planned to visit, some or the other thing would happen and I wasn’t able to make go for it. My parents visited it many times, my sisters visited it couple of time and I, none. People say “God calls you when time comes” and mine haven’t come yet. And the call came in a jiff. It was yet again in the cafeteria that the plan came into action. After checking with all our friends,  only 4 of them (including myself) agreed for it but Shivaraj opted out at last minute due to some personal work.  It was 3-day trip covering places en route to srisailam such as Yaganti, Nandyal, Mahanadi etc. Below is the route map planned for Day-1.

Day 1: RouteMap
Day 1: RouteMap

We decided move forward even though we were only 3 in number, and as planned, started our journey on early morning of September 25, 2015.  We drove for nearly 2-3 hours and stopped nearby outskrits of Anantpur for breakfast. After a quick breakfast, we were back on the highway. We missed to take one turn which made us take other route i.e. via Dhone to reach Yaganti. We reached Yaganti  well ahead of schedule, around 11.30 AM. We decided to get into holy pond and refresh ourselves from the scotching heat. After the bath, we headed towards the temple. One interesting thing about the temple is its “Nandi” which grows 1 inch every 10 years. There is another temple of Lord Venkateshwara inside the hills which has a small opening between two massive hills.

We left Yaganti around 1.30 PM and headed toward Ravalkonda. It’s the place where Veera Brahmendra Swamy wrote “KALAGNANAM”, a book of prophesies which predicted the arrival of Kalki in the form of Sri Veera Bhoga Vasantha Rayulu. Most of His predictions have exactly happened such as Collapse of W.T.C. towers, Birth of M.K.Gandhi in North India, Ruling of India by other countries, Introduction of people’s rule(Democracy) etc. Way to go inside is a steep down way where in you will find tunnels to reach Mahanandi, Srisailam etc.

By the time we came out of the temple, we were damn hungry. We stopped at nearby village to have our lunch and resumed our journey. On the way to Nandyal, we visited Chowdeshwari Temple. Weather along with the lush green paddy fields were breezing through our windows, that’s when we stopped at one point and captured few moments from there.

                 We reached Nandyal around 6 PM in the evening and stayed at Hotel Shobha where the reservations were already made by Mahesh. We got freshened up and decided to stroll around and have some snacks. We walked around for a bit and sat down at a place discussing personal matters. It was around 8.30 PM when we went to nearby restaurant and had our diner. Harsha and Mahesh were tired as they drove the car and went to many places. They both needed rest as they have to drive tomorrow again so they both stayed in one room where as I stayed in another. The plan for tomorrow was discussed again and we all went to sleep. That’s how the day-1 of the trip concluded at Nandyal.


Visit to Vellore Golden Temple

      The plan for vellore Golden Temple was out of the blue. It all came into picture my brother (Praveen) said us about the temple. We checked with our friends and none of them said yes. So we planned to go ourselves where in he will catch  the train from Chennai and I catch a train from Bangalore. I was discussing the same with my friends and at the last moment, couple of my office colleagues (Mahesh and Bharath) said yes, when having tea break in the office cafeteria. It was decided that we will go by i20 car (owned by Mahesh) and return back the same day to Bangalore. Praveen would meet us near Katpadi and from there on, we could go to temple.

We (Mahesh, Bharath, Ram and Me) started from Bangalore around 5:30 AM in the morning from HSR layout. We stopped at Dabba Express to have our breakfast but to our disappointment, the food was not good. We were hungry wolves, who had even though it was not good enough. We resumed our journey and were going slowly so that we could pick Praveen from the station. We reached Katpadi  station around 1 PM in the afternoon and parked waiting for Praveen to arrive. In the meantime, Bharath, Ram and Myself wanted to explore the vicinity. We strolled around and had some snacks in a bakery and went back to station. Praveen reached around 1:45 PM to Katpadi station. Once all were in, we headed to our destination. We reached golden temple around 3:00 PM and went straight for lunch. We finished our lunch and visited the Narayani temple. The entrance gates were ornate and imposing and we looked forward to stepping inside as quickly as possible. At first, we were all set to go in the general line to visit temple. Once we crossed the maze steps and were about to reach the sections where people were waiting, we decided not to opt for it. We opted for “Seva Darshnam” by paying INR 250/- per person.  The provision  of taking this ticket is that you can skip all the waiting part and directly reach half the way.

After taking the tickets, we had time to pass on that is when our eyes fell on the 7D Cinema. We took photos near the parking area for a while and went to watched two 7d cinema’s (The Forest and Ghost rider) at the price of Rs. 100 per person. There was a time when a thought occurred to my mind that the sole purpose of the visit was to visit temple but we were doing everything other than that. After coming out, it was around 5:00 PM and we decided to move into the temple. We  were immediately whisked in to the spiritual park and reached the main temple around 5:30 and the security in-charge told us to take round of the temple from the outer circle and come back to perform “Go Pooja”. It was around 6.30 when the pooja was completed and we were taken to the main temple which is completely made of GOLD. I have heard of the spectacular view of the temple at night but words couldn’t define it.

The only words that I breathed on seeing the opulent structure was – architectural marvel . The golden temple is surrounded by lush and scenic landscapes with a variety of flora catching our attention.  It is  amidst a natural ecosystem and is the Pride of Tamilnadu. The 100 acres of land on which this Lakshmi Narayani or the Mahalakshmi Temple stands is a sight to behold.  The park is shaped in to a star shaped path in which the visitors have to walk to reach the temple. The pathway is dotted with resting spaces & recreational facilities. The temple itself is situated in the middle of the star surrounded by a holy pond (Sarvatheertham) which contains the Holy waters of all major rivers. The star shaped path is said to represent Sri Chakra. The temple has a gold covering all over and uses more than 1.5 tonnes of the precious metal. We sat before the idol for 10-15 minutes and then walked our way back to the car. It was 7:00 PM when we reached outside and started our journey back to Bangalore.

How to reach there:

Route taken: Bangalore > Hosur > Krishnagiri > Ambur > Vellore.

Total Distance: 209 Kms (one side)

Toll roads: 4



Volleyball Championship – 2015

      Many months passed and no games/tournament was held in the office. People constantly kept me asking when and what is the next tournament being conducted (as I’m part of Employee-Club). Many people suggested different sports such as Football, Badminton, Volleyball, cricket and many more. After checking and taking feedback, we decided to opt for volleyball. Software AG Bangalore never organised an volleyball tournament prior to it. As the first mail was sent to all the employees, most of them were thrilled to hear about it. After checking with the Tech park people, we were informed that there is a volleyball court behind one of the buildings which we weren’t aware of. Ravi (Facilty director of Software AG) did take permission to use the court and we started using the court every day.

      At first, only handful of people joined (friends of mine) but as the days passed by, people starting coming by and showing interest in it. We used to go around 5 PM in the evening and come back at 6 – 6.30 PM. Seeing us play, many other companies joined the line. As the survey was sent to register the teams, we decided the team for us. Players included in our team were Ajoy, Sachin, Meer, Prajwal, Nabin and Me (being the captain). Everyone was good at it except me. In fact, we had a very good player in our team who played in state level (that’s what I was told). Coming to me, I would say I suck at playing volleyball, big time. I’m not such a good player of volleyball but managed it somehow.

    The date for the tournament kept postponing due to interviews/walk-ins being scheduled every weekend, HQ visitors, Project completion, Technology session etc. which resulted in people losing their interest in the tournament. So, we had a meeting and date was finalised for the tournament after taking conformation from all the 8 enrolled teams, the venue and date was decided. It was at Ekam sports academy on 4-April, 2014.  There were 8 teams running for the title out of which only 6 teams turned up on the match day (other two teams didn’t turn up due to walk-in’s). Out of 6 teams, we have 3 winners and one lucky loser who would play in semi-final. The winners of the semi’s would play for the title and become the first ever Volleyball champions of Software AG. I was pretty confident that if we played well, we could atleast make it to top 2 and we did accomplish that by some smart play (not by me). We had reach finals to play against ”. Both the teams had good players and bad players. Final round was best of 3 sets, which could give fair and equal chance of showcasing the skill and winning the title. We thought we would have tough fight for the finals but it was a straight 2 set win which made us the first ever VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONS of Software AG.

Team @ Ekam Sports Academy
Team @ Ekam Sports Academy

     From the prize money received, we planned to go for lunch. Two months later, the plan was put into action.  After going through so many options from zomato, we clinched to “Black Pearl” @ Kormangala on 10-July, 2014.  The restaurant theme was Pirates (from Pirates of Caribbean). It was such a fun time where we wore pirate caps and posed for the pic (below). I still remember one moment, Sachin’s desire to eat rabbit which I fulfilled forcefully :).

Volleyball Team
Team @ Black Pearl, Kormangala


        Every year in Software AG, a cricket tournament named CRICKETSHETRA is held. We were looking for the St. John’s grounds, Koramangala where previous year’s tournament was held. The ground needs to be booked a month prior because many other companies or other colleges book for the same. Luckily, somewhere in the first week of October, we got the ground for 14 November 2014. We sent out the survey to the employees and in a span of week, we had the list of people who wanted to participate in the tournament. After looking into the count, we randomly divided them into 8 teams with 12 players each. Every year we tend to do something different than the previous year, we (Employee Club members) decided to meet and discuss. After loads of discussion and options, we opted to have different colours caps for 8 teams.

In the meantime, teams started jelling up with their team mates and came back with their captain names and team names. I was a part of one of the teams i.e. Team 7. My team has couple of oldies and new players whom I haven’t interacted with. I self nominated myself as captain of the team as no one responded to the mails 😉 and I named the team as CRAZY 11. As days were passing by, cricket mania was taking people’s mind. Teams started going to practice by 4.30-5 PM. My team was still not active where no one showed interest in practising except couple of guys. At last one fine day, we all team mates met for a brief moment and discussed the game plan. Also discussed that we should go as a team to practice atleast once but as expected it went into vain. Also few of team-mates expressed to change the team name so I renamed it to SAG THUNDERBOLTS. There was something which I felt might go wrong or felt suspicious, so just to keep my mind calm I dropped a mail asking if someone is dropping out at 11th hour and quick came a reply from one of my team-mate who won’t b able to attend the match day. I thought, it’s ok we shall play with 10 guys in a team.

Finally, the Match day arrived and our team’s match was scheduled at 9.20 and team were informed to be atleast 20 mins before. I reached the ground around 8.45 AM. But as it’s customary in India that, time is never to be followed. It was around 9 that I started calling up my team-mates and to my horror they said they won’t be available for the match as their answers were something like “not ready”, “just woke up”, “leaving now”, “not well”, “doctor’s appointment” etc.. I don’t know which of the excuses are true but frankly speaking, I believed none. It was 9.20 and only 4 team mates were present on the ground. Call it high spirited or adamant, we wanted to play with 4-6 players. Luckily we lost the toss and opponent team opted to field. Haran and Naga went as openers from my team but bad luck was still lingering on our team and we lost the first wicket in the first over of the match. Saurabh was one of the key players of our team and he played in for couple of overs before he got out. We wanted to play all 8 overs and we did that and managed to get a defendable score of 66 with some late hitting by Haran. While play was in progress, we got couple of new players and late comers and joined in. We now had 10 players and it was up to bowlers to win the match and we did win with some strategically game of play. We pulled up a win and surprised everyone.

The next match was semi final which was scheduled at 2:40 PM and we were waiting for our opponents which will be decided in the last league match. We expected GANGS of SAG to take the fourth semi final spot and it happened as expected. The first semi final was between SAG RIDERS v/s SAG WARRIORS. Warriors were more balanced team than their opponents and they won comfortable chasing the score. We (Azhar and Me) were the captains of GANGS of SAG and SAG THUNDERBOLTS respectively. Azhar won the toss and elected to field first. We were happy to bat first and piled up a huge score of 100 in 8 overs. We knew that the score could be chased easily as they had good strikers of the ball but we bowled to our plan which was not to give anything leg-side. And we got the desired result i.e we won against the last time champions. The match was set for the finals against SAG WARRIORS v/s SAG THUNDERBOLTS.


        We were high in confidence and wanted to win this badly. We won the toss and elected to BAT as it was working for us. We started very well and put up a score of 101 runs at the end of 8 overs, thanks to Surajit who played a gem of an innings. SAG WARRIORS were awarded 10 runs as bonus as per one of the rules wherein if a lady is in playing XI and the opponent doesn’t then team which has lady cricketer gets bonus runs. So it was 91 runs for us to defend. We were bowling well and keeping them at bay which pulled us close to be the champions. But as they say in cricket, nothing is over until the last ball is bowled. We were in such situation where in 29 runs were required in last over. We thought we have it from here but what followed shook us. One of our surprise bowler (aka PUNEETH) gave away too many wides and boundaries. It all came down to 9 runs in 3 balls, yes you heard it correct. 20 runs were scored in last 3 balls, we were dumbstruck at this. We quickly gathered and gave encouragement to the bowler. The penultimate ball of the match brought us a wicket of one of the key player of the opponent team which brought was a big relief. They still needed 7 runs from  1 ball and we told the bowler, it’s ok to bowl as he feel because even if he hits for a six, it doesn’t matter. It was a dot ball and we were jubilant with the result. We are the NEW CHAMPIONS, it felt great having won the tournament from a nowhere team to top team in the tournament. Everyone was surprised and happy seeing us win the tournament. Even though we weren’t strong team of the tournament but still managed to clinch the title and display great dedication, passion, strategy and grit, which yielded great results.

Trek to Chembra Peak

About the Trek:

  • Location                                    : Chembra peak >Meppady > Kalpetta > Kerala > India
  • Distance from Bangalore   : 320 Kms
  • Trek starting point               : Chembra peak foothill
  • Trek difficulty Level             : Moderate
  • Trek distance                           : 14 Kms (round trip)
  • Peak height                              : 1790 Mts
  • Time to trek                             : 3 – 4 hours (one side)
  • Camping site                            : Not Allowed
  • Best time to trek                    : Post Monsoon (August – February)
  • Permission                                : Required, should be taken forest office
  • Trekking time                         : 7 AM to 2 PM (After 2 you wont be allowed to start trek)
  • Visiting time                            : 7 AM to 5 PM (You can latest return by 5 from the peak)
  • Guide                                          : Given at the VSS office
  • Entry fee                                   : Around 500 (group of 10 persons)
  • Guide charges                        : 150 per group
  • Camera/Video Charges      : Rs. 25 per camera
  • Parking charges                    : Rs. 20 per vehicle
  • Things to carry                       : Lots of water, biscuits, fruits, energy drinks, high energy snacks etc.

Chembra peak is one of the beautiful hill located near kalpetta in wayanad district of kerala. Kalpetta is situated at a distance of 150km from Mysore and 140kms from Coorg. Chembra peak (7000 feet) is the highest peak in wayanad and also one of the best tourist attractions in wayanad. Foothill of the peak is covered with beautiful and landscape tea estates. In order to reach the starting point of the trek, one has to reach Meppady, which is 8km from kalpetta. From Meppady, you have to travel for atleast 8km to reach to forest check post. We were 11 in number, so paid around 550rs as entry at the forest checkpoint and a guide will join the group at the checkpoint. At one point, no one is allowed to take the vehicle inside even though there is a provision to take it inside. We parked our vehicle in the parking area and begin our trek.

Initial trail begins with plain walk through tree estates for 15-20 minutes. Then you reach a checkpoint. There is a watch tower located at the starting point of the trek where you can you view the forest. The real trek starts from this point where it becomes bit steep and covered with big trees. As we went in the monsoon season, the trail was slippery but weather was our favour. We trekked nearly an hour or so where in we found a flow of water which was as fresh as it can get. We took rest for a while there by drinking the water and cleaning our faces. We filled up our bottles and resumed our trek. The steep becomes more and more as you climb further. There were trails which were as narrow as 2-3 feet with other side being down slide. The trail becomes itchy as its completely covered with grass reaching till your hand’s height. Having said so, it was completely a different experience for all of us walking amidst of those green trails.

After trekking for more than 2 hours, we reached the much awaited-magnificent ‘Heart shaped Lake‘. When I first saw the glimpse of the lake, we started running towards it as there was no tomorrow because we just want to get that feel first. I had no words after seeing the lake. At this point, we were completely confused on what to see, beautiful heart shaped lake or chembra peak covered with fog or the stunning view of valleys. If you gonna propose some one, then this place is the ideal one :).

Heart Shaped Lake
Heart Shaped Lake

We sat near the lake for an hour or so enjoying the air hitting you face with its cold breeze. Few of them took a quick snap, few put their legs inside the water and relaxed etc. We did take so many pictures in and around the lake with many poses and the peaks behind it. If you really wanna enjoy the view of heart shaped lake, then it is recommended to trek some distance uphill. As per the guide’s information, animals like elephant, tigers etc. are often seen her. One more interesting fact about this peak was NAXALITES. The place were shut down in between as there were naxalites who were residing somewhere in the peaks which was very hard to believe at first but later got confirmed by forest officials.

There is a small trail which takes you side to the cliff where in you can sit on the rocks and enjoy the serene view of the wayanad district. It was one of the views which makes all of your stress and tiredness go at one instant. We all sat there for sometime chatting and trying to scare each other.

View of south wayanad
View of south wayanad

 It was around 3 PM when the weather was changing a bit, that’s when we decided to trek back to the base. The trek down wasn’t tough and we reached to the bottom in an hour. Me with couple of my other friends trekked down in an hour and were waiting for others to join us near a small waterfall at tea plantations. It took them almost half an hour more to meet us at the place where we were waiting. There was one concern which creped in when three people didn’t reach the point yet and upon enquiring other friends, they informed “haven’t see them ahead and might be behind”. We waited, waited and waited. Minutes were moving like ages and we were getting tensed every second being passed. When we thought, few of them trek and check them out, then appeared the three guys Ajoy, Harsh and Sumanth. That was a relieve moment for me. We sat back for 10-15 mins and walked to our vehicle. This trek was by far the most difficult and longest (in terms on kms) I have experienced and will suggest my friends to go for it.

Happy Trekking!!


       There is a ritual at our office where in every once an year we conduct “POTLUCK” event. It is something which is been followed from few years few years. I wasn’t aware of such event untill it was announced. After enquiring with senior staff in the office, me and many of my friends got to know what exactly was the event. The event was basically cooking food in office or bringing it from home and selling it to office staff. The amount collected by selling the food items prepared would be given to charity. Its was fun and also had a cause in it. All the people were informed that, the event would be among various teams and whatever amount is collect by the teams would be summed up and the exact amount would be contributed by company and given to a charity. Every team had a specific date to prepare food items and bring it to the office and sell it. The date would be announced soon.

       Few days later, we got a mail from our HR Shanthi informing us in which team we are in and date of the eventfor teams. Event was among six teams and i was in TEAM 1 aka WINNING TEAM :). We had 60 people in our team and was scheduled on 23rd July 2012 . I personally wanted to participate in this event and give the best as there was a cause behind it. We needed a team leader for the team and Appu nominated me for it. At first, i was not in favour of it but agreed to it later. We decided to meet and discuss what we can prepare for the event. But many people didn’t turn up for the meeting. I was bit dejected at first but it was just 1st meeting and people tend to ignore it. We planned for another meeting soon and again only few of them were present. It was Appu, Me, Abhishek and Anuj available and we decided few items among ourselves such as Aloo paratha, Samosa Chole, Fruit salad, Mirchi, Bonda etc. Later Anju (one of our team member) informed us of her bringing cake and kheer. Slowly, everthing was falling into place and people were responding to it. We later decided to postpone the event from 23rd July to 25th July 2012 so that team would get more time to prepare.

       We were only 6-8 people who were actively participating in the event and didn’t have proper response from all the other team members. So, Abhishek decided to check out the names of the people and pull few of them to participate. And he did convince (or i should say pulled few of them) to participate in the event. We had a group of 15 people now, so we called a final meeting to finalise the food items to be prepared, what are the things required for it, who will be bringing which items etc. Once the meeting got completed, we decided to prepare Aloo paratha, samosa chat, fruit salad with jelly/custard/ice cream, mirchi, onion pakoda, wada, two varities of cake, tilli ladoo, kheer, khakhara and lassi. Every person had a task/job to be done. We were ready for the event and everybody was charged for it.

      It was 25th July 2012, Shanthi (HR) made sure everyone knows about the event and sends out a mail to staff. We were ready for the show. We were told to use the cafeteria space for the event. We dedcided to meet around 2.30PM in the afternoon in order to setup, prepare dishes and arrange all the items prior. Everyone was busy in preparing or helping others. Appu was choppping the vegetables with Azhar helping her, Benita was busy preparing batter for mirchi and pakoda, anju and aditi were helping her. Abhishek, Anuj and me were preparing aloo paratha, Anjini and Abhimanyu were preparing lassi, Amit and Ashwini were cutting the fruits, Akshay was getting ready to sell his khakhara’s and Bapi and anuj were not doing anything :). We placed each item for display for the viewers to have a taste of it before they buy. Event started around 3.30PM. We had priced the food items on the higher side in order to contribute more to charity.

My Team

         I was with abhishek preparing paratha’s, the first order we got was for the mirchi. Slowly, orders increased and people started taking items but no one had taken paratha. We waited for nearly half an hour for an order. Abhishek used to call people personally and tell them to buy it. We also gave many combo offers to attract more people so that they would more items. It was such a fun seeing that. I and few of my team mates used to have a bite of each item when nobody was watching us. Many people liked almost all the items and appreciated for the good work. Slowly, the crowd was disappearing as time progressed and around 6 in the evening we stopped and most of the items were sold out. Then we all the team members gathered around to taste few items. MIRCHI and ONION PAKODA were flavor of the day. We were very satisfied with all our efforts that we had put in. We collected handsome amount of money for the charity. All in all, it was such a great exprience and fun-filled event. Loved it!

Dance, not my area

          It was birthday party of month june 2012 in the office. Before starting the party, Azhar had already informed us that there will be a quick group dance in the birthday party so make pairs by yourself so that you people might have chance of winning a gift voucher of Rs. 500 from flipkart. Akshay and Bapi were also there when azhar was sharing this information with me. The moment they heard about it, they backed out.

Birthday Cake for the month June 2012

           Birthday party announcement was made by ravi and informed all the people to join in the caferteria for party. We wantedly didn’t go early as azhar would catch us and make us participate. Me and Akshay went to party 10-15mins late and by the time, we entered cafeteria freshers were introducing about themselves (including the new bird). As the introductory part was finished, it was time for dance competition. Akshay and pradeep heard about it and vanished in a second. I was standing behind a bunch of womens and azhar looked at me and called me up. I was hesitant at first but eventually particpated. The other participant were Rohit aka Roti and Pandeji :).

Pandeyji initiated the moves
Rohit with his tumka’s

    When the song started, i had no clue what steps to do for the song as it was some bihari song. Pandeyji started with an girly move and thumka’s but the show stealler was rohit. The steps he perfomed were awesome and were syncing with the lyrics. The quick dance competition lasted for less than 1 minute and i haven’t done atleast one dance move. I knew, dance is never my cup of tea. Its was the time for the winner to be announced and the winner was none other than ‘ROHIT’ for his jhatka’s and matka’s. After the dance, I knew people would say you didn’t do atleast a step but i was happy by myself because i had the guts to face the audience and still do nothing. Atleast, i gave it a try even if its not my area. Then we had cake cutting ceremony which is kindoff ritual in our office. People whose birthday was in the month june were told to join in cake cutting ceremony. We then had cake and sandwiches which were arranged by office to all the staff. It was all in all, a good day which came to an end.