Karur- A Lovely Place for some Peace

I am doing this post from Karur, a small town which is a couple of hours from Tiruchi. I had come here for a short holiday, spending some time with my dad, who works here at a bank, and also to attend the marriage function of one of my colleagues at Sulekha.Karur is a very calm place, has an old world charm, and relaxing and being jobless, can actually be a hobby, if you happen to be in Karur. I did manage to visit Yercaud, a small hill station nearby.Though it is not as cold as Ooty or Kodai( where I hear the temparatures are slipping negative), Yercaud can be a lovely place for some solitude. There is no mad rush of cabs or people into Yercaud, even though its proximity to towns in interior Tamilnadu is much closer than Ooty or kodai to big towns nearby.

I spent some time walking in a few gardens and near the boat club. The drive was worth it.I should be back from Karur later this week(possibly tommorow, subject to availabity of tickets to Chennai).I will post a short travellogue on this place and some of the customs of the land of Karur, which I had learnt from my colleague.


Interview with Jimmy Wales-Wikipedia Founder

Since I have little time on my hand, and need to catch a train to Tiruchi in an hour, I have posted the interview with Jimmy Wales on my Sulekha Blog(which is easier than blogger for photo upload).

Check the interview at


Lost in Mumbai

Here is a post about my recent trip to Mumbai.

26th January : 6 30 pm, I was waiting at Bindaas park at IIT Madras, for my friend to arrive. In an hours time, the Sukhwinder singh concert was about to begin. The concert started at 8 and went on till 11 pm in the night after which, we decided to saunter around the IIT woods in the moonlight. It was half past 12 when i reached home, and then decided to pack my baggage for the Mumbai trip. It was half past 2, when I finished packing my baggage and 3 when I went to bed, only to be woken up at 3 3 0 am by my father and had to rush to do my ablutions half asleep.

I originally planned to drive down to the airport in my bike, but given the fact that my Bike insurance papers and RC book have never seen me, my father decided to play it safe, by dropping me in the car.

I reached the airport at 4 55 am and as I was walking after the security check, there came an announcement that shook me out of my stupor "AIR DECCAN FLIGHT DN 613 is ready for departure" , I waited for the announcer to say it again, as I stared in disbelief. The ticket said 5 25 am, but it was just 5 05 am, Could the heavens be falling? How on earth can an Air Deccan flight leave 20 minutes early?

I rushed with gay abandon across the airport only to be sent back by the guard near the security check, as I didn’t have an Air Deccan tag on my bag. I grumbled and after realizing that my antics would not let the man pass the security heck barrier, I ran back to the Air Deccan counter and got the damn tags. The guard allowed me and the next blockade came when the Air Deccan transport vehicle left just before I reached the front door. Pipped at the post was I? I thought was the last passenger to enter the flight, but given Air Deccan's improper flight advancement, there were 20 other passengers who felt the same, whom I spotted while I was waiting for the next Air deccan Pick up bus.

Eventually the pick up vehicle came and I strode like a colossus inside the plane to see images of Koyambedu (Asia's biggest sabzi mandi(vegetable market) in Chennai) on the flight. DN 613 was jam packed with people and resembled a town bus. I searched for empty seats amidst the din, and finally found one near two 50 plus aunties. I struggled my way in, as the poor lady near me was a little too fat for the seat, so I had to jump over her with my legs.

I just about managed to sit in a folded position, as my legs were jostling for space with the hand baggage’s of the women near me. I just closed my eyes in disgust and when I opened it the flight was 30 minutes into the journey and 12800 metres high, as the voice message echoed its way to my ears. I had a few cookies, Lehar Namkeen, and a Cheese sandwich for pre breakfast at this unearthly hour of 6 am.

I reached Mumbai at 7 30 am, and saw a few known quizzing folks whom I had met a few years back.I spent some time with them searching for my luggage that came in the conveyor belt. As soon as I came out the airport, all of a sudden from now where the taxi walahs made me an instant celebrity, by asking me where I wanted to go? I have my relatives in Airoli and since they leave for work in the morning, I didn’t want to trouble my grandfathers brother who stays there. Airoli was a good 50-60 kilometres from Santa Cruz, and I was in no mood to just while away my time there going home. Keshav also suggested that its better to go in the evening to Airoli, as it was tough to go to Airoli and be back in the city within a few hours.

I decided to take a tour of the city as this was the weekend, and the trains would not be as full as it would be on weekdays. I took a cab from the airport to Vile Parle station, and boarded a train going to Church gate.

This is the Vile Parle station, as I walked down the steps. The train was not crowded and I even found a place to sit in the trains(an achievement by itself). I was lulled into sleep by the movements of the train and woke up at Churchgate. I was told by folks that a morning walk on Marine drive is great,so I quickly walked up from the Churchgate station and turned right and quickly reached the marine drive, the portion of the road right between the Brabbourne stadium(CCI) and the Wankhede stadium.

I spent an hour walking on the side path of Marine drive listening to my walkman. The sky was overcast and it was only past 11 am, that shades of the sun's rays pierced Mumbai. I had my breakfast and lunch at a place called Satkar, right opposite to the Church gate station , on the side of the ambassador revolving restaurant.

After lunch , I took the train to Dadar and changed the railway line and purchased a ticket to Bandra where I was to meet Kaveeta Kaul, a person closely associated with the tinsel world(also a Sulekha Blogger). We met at Lucky's, a famous Biriyani joint at Bandra. We then took a rickshaw and went to Paali road( wrong spelling ?? ) and finally went to "Creps joint" a food hangout owned by the film star Dino Morea. Kaveeta and I spoke a lot on our lives, palmistry, tinsel town talk, Mumbai trains and the falsity of life that accompanies some people. She suggested me to taste a dish called Creps, which looked like a cross between an olive pizza and a butter naan, but a tasty dish though. After a few hours at Carter road, we decided to end the meeting, as I had to head home to Navi Mumbai and she to see 'Blood Diamond'.

At 6 45 in the evening, I bid Kaveeta goodbye, after she saw me off at Bandra, and proceeded to take my train to Dadar. At Dadar, I had the first taste of Mumbai train blues. I had to miss 5 connecting trains as the crowd was maddening. People were fighting for dear life in those 15 seconds the train stopped there. Hands, legs and shoulders were the instruments used in the attack. I was standing gaping at the ferocity that was used in the trains. This gaping look lasted till the 6th train came my way.

I finally got a train to place my foot inside and I felt like jumping in joy as I had 16 square inches of place to myself while standing near the footboard. I slept standing all the way and woke up a few stations before Thane. As soon as Thane arrived, I saw people rushing outside, as if the train was on fire. I later saw that these people who ran, actually crossed the platform to catch the next train.

I never knew life was so competitive here. Crowds everywhere, queues everywhere, a mad helter skelter life.... and from Thane to Airoli, an auto guy badmouthed me and cheated me. I was in no mood to complain. All I wanted was to find my relatives place in Airoli, before I hit the sack. I found the place and settled for a modest dinner, before I slept like a log.


It was still dark outside.....more so the 5 am types....but hey this was not Chennai and was diametrically the opposite coast ...and Mumbai was still sleeping to the beats of a peaceful Sunday. It was 6 30 am, and still no signs of the morning sun, pervading through the glass windows lulling you to wake up.

I slept till 7 15 and then did a power ablution (the corporate terminology for doing something quickly for lack of time).I was to meet Ekta at 8 in the morning at Airoli Railway station. My aunt dropped me at the station, and a little distance away was a cute, chubby girl clad in denim all over. I gave it a guess, that it must be Ekta, having seen some pictures of hers on Orkut earlier.

Ekta it was, and it was so sweet of her to offer to take me around the city. We met up and decided to take a bus to Vashi and take the harbour line train to VT. The Airoli bus stand hardly had buses, and it took a little waiting an chatting at the station, before the bus came. During this ride, I learnt that Ekta was a Punjabi, settled in the Central-Western parts of India. Ekta calls it " bak bak" , but I really didnt find her loquacious, but a realy nice person who had a lot to share. Ekta enlivened the conversation by giving me a Dairy Milk Chocolate(surprising she doesn’t like chocolates)and speaking about her life in Mumbai and the Mumbai culture.

In a few minutes, we reached Vashi and helped ourselves to some Pav and idlis, at the railway station, after which we entered the Vashi station. The train that came was remarkably not-full, I as gleaming with joy, .as I had a few inches to park my legs. We resumed speaking about the folks we were to meet in an hour’s time at Nargis's place. The view of the Arabian Sea silhouetted across the din of the crowded Mumbai train, was an image I would have etched in my memory. Standing near the footboard with the whole blue ocean facing you can be quite an inspiring "Titanic feeling" , pretty similar to traveling on KR2(Konkan Railways).

As stations went by, my knowledge of Mumbai increased and so did the crowd inside the stations. The most populous city of India, despite its maddening rushes and crowds, had something that caught my attention. People here are really hardworking, say the cab drivers and never charge a penny extra. I was pleasantly shocked when I had to pay 27 rs for a 3 km ride. I have always paid in multiples of 10 in Chennai, and paid amounts for a ride from home to the station, which would be the 2nd class fare to Bangalore from Chennai :-). The hardworking culture inspires people entering the city also to respect the culture and move up the ladder. Not that other cities are radically different, but having lived in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, I somehow cant see this amount of honesty with the cab drivers.

Another thing with Mumbai, that I noticed was, that however maddening the rush might be for a person, he/she does stop to help you, if you have any questions as an outsider to the city. I was touched by the gestures of SUMBA as well as folks I met in Mumbai.

The best of all was the lack of a economic divide, amidst the citizens. However filthy rich, one may be, they still know about the local trains and don’t mind traveling in it. In any other city, it’s tough to observe a senior honcho rubbing shoulders with a paanwaala jostling for the proverbial inch space. Once in a train, all are equal.. the whole concept sounded really cool, as I have seen a few folks at work, who would make funny faces, if they heard I was traveling by train. The train or the bus is never an option for most senior folks that I know.

In Mumbai, no one seems to feel shy using the train, and that is a very modern society with little materialism attached to it, and it is this culture of Mumbai that impressed me a lot.

Once Ekta and I reached VT, she helped me buy a belt at one of the local shops in the underground subway. I got a 60% bargaining discount thanks to her. We then boarded a taxi and got underway to Colaba. In the taxi, Ekta played the city guide, telling me about a few places of interest during the short 10 minute journey, before we reached Nargis's place.

We received a warm hug and reception from Nargis and sat down in her plush hall. It was an extremely beautifully maintained house that Nargis had. I was in conversation with Mrmullinner who had lots of ideas of Sulekha Bloggers being stake holders in the company.Mrmulliner is a techie with Indian Railways, and was giving me some ideas on how sulekha can learn a few tricks to tackle Tilo.

The Lunch was a lovely spread that had me mouth watering and the Kheer was a perfect way to wash up the lunch inside the stomach. The meet started having mini meets where lots of conversations were going on, and I realised that Sulekha was literally an addiction for most of the folks here. Humor soon found its way into the meet, with Keshav, Pratishta and Naresh joining us. Keshav entertained us with his tales of lifting beer cans with a rope in Bandra, to which the bandra resident and my good friend, Buntys Banter evoked a suprising look. Pratishta gve an account of Saas Bahu converstaions over phone...and bridging the dilli-mumbai feelings. Mrmulinner's cute little daugher also joined in, and was hooked on to Nargis's dog(Forgot the dogs name). It was also good to know that we had 2 professional writers in the midst of us in the form of Annjana Jha and Nargis Natarajan, who have had their works published before.

It was sssssoooooooooo good being there, being a part of these lovely people's lives. but as good things need to come to an end... I bid goodbye around 1 45 in the afternoon, with Keshav and Mrmulliner helping me to a taxi.The whole meeting was lovely simply because the place and the people whom I met, because of the images I had of Mumbai that bollywwod had helped me arrive at, like the following flicks

Bombay to Goa

Baaton Baaton Bein




Munna Bhai series

Traffic signal (recently)

There was an air of conviviality and simplicity in an old world charm that had " there is no need to rush, we have a lot of time for aram chit chat" written all over it. Adding ghee to this lovely fire was warmth exuded by SUMBA and Mumbai in general.

All of this flooded my memories, as I asked the taxi to stop at Marine drive for a few minutes as I felt the pleasant air of the sea hitting me and the huge boulders below me. I then asked the driver to take me to a place called Matunga. In between this I also attended the information session of a SpanishBusinessSchool, so got dressed up all in coats and formal wear.

I reached Matunga after an hour's jouney and landed up at the temple/Mahal where the marriage was to be held. I go there and see that very few people were in the hall.I see a tall burly guy, who's asking a lot of questions to the boys in the hall.I assume he's the bride and ask him "Are You Deepak"? and Bingo it was.... We were meeting after 21 years.... We last played..when I was 3 years old, living in Hyderabad. He had since then passed out of IIT, spent 4 years at Infosys, and an MBA at ISB . I later learnt that my Project lead at Infy was his bosom friend... and Infy batchmate. I learnt that his to be wife i a few hours was an IIM-A passout. I just realised, I was in the "right" marriage, and my GMAT sores or CAT scores were hardly the stuff, I would want to showcase, in case I had to ask them any MBA related doubts.

My mother, had gone with a few relatives to some local sight seeing. It was a home coming for her, seeing Mumbai after 30 years. She had spent 14 years of her life in Mumbai, living in the Airforce quarters in Vile Parle.

The evening was spent going with a few folk at the marriage hall. I visited the beautiful Mahalakshmi Mandir and Prabha Devi beach. During the drive, I managed to get a view of Haji Ali and the famous ShivajiPark, where Tendulkar learnt his trade.

After too much of socialising, and lovely sumptous South Indian Tiffin, I decided to explore Mumbai by the night. I took the train from Matunga to VT,and I remember listening to a song 4 times , on various Radio stations in that one journey.(From Nishabd: " aa jaana " sung by Big B, I guess).The trains were as empty as Chennai, and I revelled in that excitement to have a compartment and a footboard to myself. I called up EKTA for directions and she helped me, by suggesting the Gateway of India and Planet M, for spending some time in solitude. I managed to also go to Tendulkars. I found the lighting very good, but the pricing was a little to high.I decided to invest the money in a movie at Regal Cinemas, which I would live to regret(SALAAM E ISHQ).

Overall the Mumbai trip was cool, and inspiring. Just a pity that I coud'nt see the dabbawallas of Mumbai to gain some perspective. Someday when I am done with an MBA, I just hope I land up with a job in this city. Not that I have anything against other cities, but I SIMPLY LOVE MUMBAI and am bowled over by the city, despite the the ballistic and maddening crowds.

Best Images of the trip

Dining at Carters road , Bandra with the evening sunset on view( was with Kaveeta )

Travelling on Harbour Line, across the Arabian sea.

Fighting to get an inch space to stand in te Mumbai Local trains

The Lovely meeting with SUMBA.

The evening walk along Marine Drive

The Bhelpuri at PrabhaDevi.
The Journey with EKTA from Vashi to Colaba

I have not put any pictures here as some of team SUMBA didnt want me to blog about them with their pictures on Sulekha. Folks who want to see the Mumbai pictures can check this online album

Just hope all you folks are still there....when I come visiting Mumbai next time around... (not immideately though ).


First Quarter Results

Stock Name- Kartik Kannan
Fund Name- February 21
Alternate name- Birthday
Type of business- From cakes and candles to expensive hotel treats

Below is a ledger account of the transactions in the first quarter of my life for the fund called-Birthday

Feb 21 over the years

1983 : Your's truly was born at 12 am in Hyderabad

1988 : I remember celebrating my birthday for the first time,as I wanted the typical conical cap,pink ribbons just like it was in the movies ...and lo! it did happen,thanks to mom and dad with a pineapple cake to boot...and of course a lovely greeting card from my grandfather all the way from Nanganallur to Delhi. The guests for my birthday were only 2 people, My Mom and Dad :-) . I also remember going to Man Mandir in R.K.Puram Delhi for the archanai and puja..that one normally performs .

1989: Spent a 'quiet' birthday not even distributing chocolates as I could'nt eat chocolates during that period,as I had my tooth broken by a punjabi classmate in a mock boxing contest. GRRRRRR.......I shouldnt have watched the boxing contest shown on"The world this week" the previous night.

1990: Again a quiet birthday,but the last one while in school at Delhi, remember being gifted "THE OCTPOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA" by Archana, my dad's colleagues daughter.

1991: This time the birthday happened and so did a small party in my adayar home in Chennai, with all my 2nd floor friends coming into wish me birthday wishes.Life in an apartments was so cool, with me getting to be the centre of attention. After the birthday party got over, I kinda felt bored, so decided to play "Robber and Police" with me taking the self proclaimed privilege of captaining the "Police" team.

1992: Birthday was spent flirting with my first crush (4th standard ), a cute bengali chick called Swati Bukyalkar ...and creating my own colours in felt pens..in what I felt would be the Indian uniform for the 1992 Cricket World Cup..which was to start the next day.Damn....I behaved as if I never knew tamil and I knew only hindi, just to give her the feeling that we have a similar background, and this helps in "cementing" the bond.

1993: After being tired of buying conventional t shirts and shorts, I decide to have an unusual birthday present and decide to paint my own T shirt..with the letters INDIA in front and KARTIK behind..which for the next couple of years made people stare at me.Those were the days when cricket fever was at its max,and I would play cricket with that shiirt, have coloured pads on my leg, apply my mother's fair and lovely cream to resemble the White Zinc cream that cricketers(especially the australian bowlers)used to have when playing cricket.

1994: was in 7th standard... and spent the birthday quietly giving chocolates to my close friends and started a new ritual , the namaskaram to my grandparents which started to be firstsourcce of big time pocet money...of 100 bucks during my birthday.

1995: First time , somebody treated me on my birthday...my mother and I were taken by my mother's sister's folks to a place called Nilgiri's nest for a dinner and I dont seem to realy eat so much then..and decide to finish the dinner as early as possible and get back home to have a early snooze as I need to wake up at 2 30 am the next day to watch the India vs Australia one day match to be played at Dundedin in the New Zealand Cricket Centenary.

1996: It was called Cricket's greatest year by Prime sports (now Star Sports)..and it sure was.I remember giving a treat for the first time after my friends at school literally forced me into giving one .... the treat was 60 bucks worth of samosas,pepsi,puffs among 4 people and I felt like I was a millionare giving away Charity.On my birthday which happened to be my nandhee...(a ritual which is done a day before the upanayanam) I sleepily got up and saw water heater warming the water near the bathroom and sleepily felt my hand into the water to see how hot the water was , totally unoblivious of the water heater and lo....got the first electric shock of my life.Those days the Coke,Pepsi cans were the "in -thing" and with the world cup on .... I decided to treat my cousins to some Coke ..and bought three coke cans ...and had a crazy hobby of collecting many empty soft drink cans...to showcase on my cupboard that I had drunk all of these..and treasured them as if they were vignettes meant to be preserved.This birthday was all the more enjoyable as the whole family was at my place , during my upanayanam and nobody moved out to the kalyana mandapam,untill the India -West Indies match at Gwalior was over.

1997 : Again one of those really cool birthday's spent at Besant nagar beach with my close friends and when I was short of cash my friend Ram pitched in some of his money to pay up the bill...

1998: This was spent just going to the temple and drowning myself in my CBSE text books as the public exams were nearing.1999: A very quiet birthday, with half the people forgetting in my family as it was overshadowed by my cousin's housewarming ceremony.

2000: Again another birthday lost in the din of the class 12 Board exams.All I do is take a darshan at a temple before sleeping into my science text book.

2001: 18 till I die !!! This was the song I heard in the morning on my walkman ...as I turned 18 that year and in typical rebelious fashion...I didnt want to go home and go to the temple and have a quiet birthday.I got off my college bus ......simply roamed around alone....walking across the whole of adayar,with my walkman to my ears ... feeling the self glorified fact that I am no more a kid after turning 18.

2002: Birthday treats become more localized and outsourced...as I treat my friends by asking them to come to a symposium at Hindustan engineering college and enjoy the lunch there. 2003: My first major hole in the purse...treat classmates to a huge bill at Pizza corner in Chennai.

2004:My first birthday spent all alone ..in Pune ... as I Go there for an interview for the MBA program at Symbiosis and treat myself to a Maharshtrian special called SPDP (Sev potato dahi papdi ).First birthday I discover the pain and joy of being alone in a big city.The pain being my health was bad then,and joy being ..Pune was BABE LAND ....

2005: I give three rounds of treats to my college friends, Close friends and then Infy friends at the Dominos outlet in Infosys Chennai and learn how easy it is to get swayed by emotions in giving multiple treats only to see that the bank account is damaged to an extent :- )

Had a blast in office.They give me an impromptu birthday party.Spent the better part of the evening analysing targets and projections for the next month.I was cursing my stars,that the best part of the evening was spent drowning myself in mundane excel sheets.


Damn the whole birthday eve has been spent in deleting the 100 odd spam mails I have recieved requesting for my credit card number to buy VIAGRA and CIALIS at their discounted 4.65$ rate. Thankfully, there's no invitation from a credit card agency to consider me worthy of their next credit card scheme.

I was planning an outing but am reconsidering because all these treats these days for birthdays do not have any outlet for talking and spending a good time remembering the good ol days ...but just a eating fest where people gorge at your expense...and after finishing a heavy meal... they remember to wish me along with all the burps and belches.People and friends start expecting treats in bigger and more posh hotels as the pay cheque increases....but according to me , the star status of a hotel hardly matters.As long as you are able to enjoy the day and are able to feel special on that day with your friends, it hardly matters where you have food at udipi hotel or chola hotel.I realize this , my friends dont .... :- )Ask me and I would love to spend time just sitting on the bench of a railway station or the beach eating groundnuts with masala.Nothing equals the that joy.... and simple arrangement where one is able to converse a lot with his special friends and also enjoy the day.

So Here I am 24 years completed entering my 25th year of existence


Did You Know?

A Few Points

Jammy has been nominated for the best humour Blog on Indibloggies .Jammy has one of the most rib tickling comedy genre of Blogs and its pure fun checking what he is upto. Personally I feel ,its very tough to maintain a genre throughout, but Jammy is one of those folks who revels at it,without any redundant prose or decline in quality.

I am back from a non informed Blog sabbatical. I was away as my mind was going through hell in deciding a few life options, which taken now, would more or less determine a major career path. My mind is more clearer and am feeling at peace now. Not that life is easy, just that I feel more enthusiastic about certain actions of mine.

I have decided to dabble a lot more in my interests, primarily Cricket and travel.I dont have a clear picture of where I want to go, but lets see how inventive I get.

and ya.....

You wont have to come here and go empty handed. Am back to blogging...

Statcounter Tracker