Saturday, April 22, 2006

Nothing but political wind; this.

There are fanatics, and there are more fanatics. Some actually make sense, the others badly want to make some sense even when they know its non-sense. Environment activists have long been sensible and whole hearted supporters of renewable energy practices like wind farms and other biofuels. The logic behind this being that the overall pollution caused by constructing wind farms is sizeably lesser than when opting wholly for conventional sources.

Wind turbines at the Department of Energy's labs in Texas.

A new breed of 'environ-friends' are cropping up trying to mow down the efforts of stalwarts in this field like those of Denmark who have shown the world what a breeze can do. These self-empowered anti wind groups (like Stop Ill Wind) have had a well established history in their efforts to stop other non-conventional power sources like nuclear power plants from proliferating, and have successfully lynched the chances of setting up of stations which supply liquid natural gas. Agreed that the nuclear plants had a ominous shade to it all due to the 'nuke' in it, but havent the last 2 decades shown the productive wonders that a responsible use of fissile can do?

Now the anti-winders have worked hard in the eastern North America and joined hands with real estate developers and activists to bring the axe to new wind projects. The pains they take to bring out why wind could be dangerous are simply awe-inspiring. Blades killing bats? Sound pollution by rotor hum? Give me a break, more bats are probably killed by cell phone tower emission, and why not try stopping metal concerts altogether?? That would make the world more bearable!

And if they are worried about wind towers marring the scenery, in my opinion, Las Vegas looked much better as an empty desert in the 1900's than it does now with unsightly towers and glitzy water fountains. They would be doing a greater good if they worked on the 'wind people's side, pooled in their criticism and suggestions, and thereby help standardise and improve the whole practise of building wind farms.

It's very clear that guided political motives want to ensure constant demands for oil and coal. Today alternative energy is 4% of the total supply, and they aim to see to it that it doesnt improve, lest it pose a threat to the world's No.1 business - Power. Let's see what they have to say when Sweden hits its target of becoming the world's first oil-free economy within 2020.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Acrobatics on a rocky mountain. (No safety nets attached)

They say lots can happen over coffee. But over chitra anna and curd rice?? This was Sandeep’s mom’s picnic gift to us, as we set out on last Sunday morning to Saavan durga. We knew it was just about an hour’s journey, so we set out well after sunrise. We had on board one doc, 4 IT professionals, and an unemployed youth all set out to kick away the weekend inertia.

Some history:

Saavan durga near Maagadi (around 40 km west of BengaLooru) is one of the historic hill forts of Karnataka. There are many such stone marvels at Nandi hills, Chitradurga, Madhugiri, PaavagaDa of Tumkur, Kavaledurga of Shivamogga.

The Cholas had ruled Maagadi during the 10th and 11th centuries C.E., and had built a town there called Thirumalai in 1139 C.E. In fact the Ranganatha temple there was hailed as the Paschima Thirupathi (Thirupathi of the West).

After the Hoysalas succeeded the Cholas, they added Magadi to the Vijayanagara Empire, and much later Immadi Kempe Gowda (Kempe Gowda the Second) expanded this place by building a palace, the Someshwara temple and of course the hill fortress on the top of the monolith mountain in 1627 C.E. It’s believed that his status of being a Saamanta raaya (tributary chief) of that province gave the name Saamantaraayana Durga to his fortress. Centuries of mispronunciation have rendered it Saavana Durga today.

Back to the future:

Vishwas the doc, Hoba, Nats, Ramp, Sandy and I squished our bags into the car, much the same way we squished ourselves into it too. If you have been counting the heads, it should be quite clear how we all managed it, the car being Sandy’s Santro. It’s best left to your vivid imagination!We took the Magadi highway, cruised beside the TippagonDana haLLi tank (from where Bengalooru used to get most of its drinking water before Cauvery came in). The road at places felt like we were on camel back, but we could ignore it thanks to our Bangalore upbringing. You can get to see some cool spots after T.G. Halli where the traffic is minimal and the narrow road is all yours for the jaywalk.

We parked for breakfast and this is where the chitra anna kicked in. Post breakfast-cum-glucose-shot, we were all geared up for the big climb. Parking in front of the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha dEvasthaana was a good thing, as we could get a peek at the guDi before the uphill task. Coming to think of it in retrospect, it's very strategically placed near the foothills of the mountain, and in that way, as per someone's dark humour, was a boon for unfortunate people who fell off the cliff at one particularly slippery point. Their last rites could be effortlessly completed.

At the beginning, the rock just stood in our faces, with a sharp 60o inclination. I wasnt pretty sure whether this was the right way, but Sandy was leading, and he had done this twice. Ramp and Nats had a mind of their own and decided to take a slightly devious route, and didnt find it any easier! You must have seen that in trailer.

Soon the situation was taken care of as we found arrow marks painted on rocks indicating the 'right' trail. Now try this fact, ImmaDi Kempe Gowda used to take this well worn route to get to his fortress, on horseback! I have to give it to that gutsy animal which had gallop up and (worse) downhill carrying a well built man. Considering that even this trail had some decent - hold your horses- 80o inclinations (our minds were reeling angles!), imagining how the tougher routes could be. The men of history had even carved out small horse shoe shaped niches in the rock, for the stallion's foothold. But it was sheer thrill holding on to ledges, and heaving ourselves across building sized rocks. Small water breaks at every stage were a treat.

The view around the hills just got better and better. We found the fort in the final leg, obviously in a decrepit and unmaintained condition. Atop the peak was an imposing statue of the Basava bull, staring stoicly into the kingdom below. I could imagine ghost riders galloping up the ledges, as if they were riding plain ground; soldiers watching over the fortress with greased and ready archers hidden behind the brick walls; and daring climbers hanging on to their dear chamelons and dear lives.

It was all a walk back into the past, and as I look back, and wonder how much the city of Magadi treasured their city, as the citizens and soldiers fought against the British attack in the late 18th Century. The bloodshed and gore that the mountain witnessed is evident in the the grave sobriquet it earned; Saavina Durga.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tirupati of the West: The rocking place.

What's in a monolithic mountain if you can't climb it on all fours?
What's in the great Kempe Gowda's 1200 mt high granite fort, if you arent guts enough to parasail off the peak?
What's in Saamantharaayana durga, if you never even heard of this Magadi Hill which was the Tirumalai of the West?

Coming soon more on Samantharaayana Durga (Spoiler alert: Also Saavana durga)
Watch the trailer here...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A journey from freedom to liberation: Mukta

T. N. Seetharam's much followed teleserial Mukta's title song Mukta.

ದೂರದಿಂದಲೆ ಜೀವ ಹಿಂಡುತಿದೆ ಕಾಣದೊಂದು ಹಸ್ತ
ಆದೇವೆ ಬಂಧ ಮುಕ್ತ |
ದೂರದಿಂದಲೆ ಜೀವ ಹಿಂಡುತಿದೆ ಕಾಣದೊಂದು ಹಸ್ತ
ಆದೇವೆ ಬಂಧ ಮುಕ್ತ ||

ಕಾರು ಮೋಡ ಮಳೆಯಾಗಿ ಸುರಿದಾಗ ಕಣ್ಣ ಹನಿಗೆ ಮುಕ್ತಿ..
ಮರದ ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಮರಿ ರೆಕ್ಕೆ ಬೀಸಿದರೆ, ಅದರ ಗರಿಗೆ ಮುಕ್ತಿ |
ಎದೆಯ ನೋವು ಹಾಡಾಗಿ ಹೊಮ್ಮಿದರೆ, ಭಾವಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದ ಮುಕ್ತಿ...
ಎಂದು ಆದೇವು ನಾವು ಮುಕ್ತ ಮುಕ್ತ ಮುಕ್ತ ||

ಏರು ನದಿಗೆ ಇದಿರಾಗಿ ಈಜಿ ದಡ ಸೇರಬಹುದೆ ಜೀವ?
ದಾಟಿ ಈ ಪ್ರವಾಹ? |
ತಾನು ಬೆಂದು ತಿಳಿ ಬೆಳಕ ಬೀರುತಿದೆ ಒಂದು ಇರುಳ ದೀಪ,
ನಿಶ್ಚಯದ ಮೂರ್ತ ರೂಪ..||

ಮೊಗ್ಗಿನಿಂದ ಸೆರೆ ಒಡೆದ ಗಂಧ ಹೂವಿಂದ ದೂರ ದೂರ,
ಎಲ್ಲುಂಟು ಆಚೆ ತೀರ
ಮೊಗ್ಗಿನಿಂದ ಸೆರೆ ಒಡೆದ ಗಂಧ ಹೂವಿಂದ ದೂರ ದೂರ,
ಎಲ್ಲುಂಟು ಆಚೆ ತೀರ

ಕಾರುಮೋಡ ಮಳೆಯಾಗಿ ಸುರಿದಾಗ ಕಣ್ಣ ಹನಿಗೆ ಮುಕ್ತಿ...
ಮರದ ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಮರಿ ರೆಕ್ಕೆ ಬೀಸಿದರೆ, ಅದರ ಗರಿಗೆ ಮುಕ್ತಿ...|
ಎದೆಯ ನೋವು ಹಾಡಾಗಿ ಹೊಮ್ಮಿದರೆ, ಭಾವಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದ ಮುಕ್ತಿ...
ಎಂದು ಆದೇವು ನಾವು ಮುಕ್ತ ಮುಕ್ತ ಮುಕ್ತ....||

You can download this beautiful song at Pratap's page

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Too much is too bad.

Well c'mon people, but this is getting just too much. There were the newspapers, and then TV, then satellite, and there's Google now. I mean, isnt there an end to how much information you can have at your finger tips?

The day is not going to be far when people are going to search for the meaning of their lives on the Information giant that Google is. "I am feeling lucky?" is not going to help them!

Fortunately there is a way to escape from all this Information Overload.
See The Cure for Information Overload.