sports travel

Let me start this year’s marathon story with Goa

I missed running last years’ Goa half marathon. For lack of practice (didn’t feel comfortable taking up the challenge on the race day). That wouldn’t happen this year. Although after having been dormant for like 4-5 months, I finally went running at least thrice this week (easy 6 Km jogs). Today was the first time from the new house that we have moved to. Following was the running route (from west to east and back). Though the sea is almost parallel to the route, you can’t really see it from the road. Irrespective of that, Goa is an awesome place to go running with all the greenery around.


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 10.34.18 am

The race is on 9th Feb. So technically I have around 21 more days to train for it, which is more than I need really. However, let’s look at my travel plans. I will leave for Nagpur tomorrow evening and then come back to Goa only after a week. There are two different weddings to be shot there. And then I am shooting back to back from 31st Jan to 8th Feb (31st-Chennai>> 1st-Mumbai>> 2-3-4–Udaipur>> 5-6>>Chennai>> 7-8-Goa. That’s a lot of work and I will need to garner all the discipline that I can, to be able to keep running regularly. Given that I would be running in so many different cities, it would be fun to share all the running route maps from here on.

Happy running everyone! Do consider running in Goa on 9th if you can – would be fun.


Yo baby. Dhingchak Dhingchak.


No. HMI/ XXX/XXX/ XXX/10-11 Dated: X XXX 2011

Mr Amrit Singh
c/o Ak Jha , hill top house
srikant Road , Belabagan .B Dewghar
Pin 814142


1. 01 vacancy on BMC Course Ser No …283 is confirmed to you. Duration of the Course is from 07 April to 04 May 2011 should report at 1400 hrs on 06 Apr 2011. Trainees reporting earlier than above day and timing will have to make their own arrangement for their boarding and lodging.

2. Receipt of Rs 4000/- paid vide online dt 26/11/2010 is hereby acknowledged. Trainees without a confirmation letter or reporting late by more than 24 hours will not be accepted.

3. Refund of Course Fee : Deductions applicable on receipt of application for cancellation of seat are as follows :-

(a) 2 months prior                                – No deduction
(b) 01 month prior                               – 10 % deduction
(c) 21 days prior                                    – 20 % deduction
(d) 14 days prior                                   – 30 % deduction
(e) 07 days prior                                   – 40 % deduction
(f) 03 days prior                                    – 50% deduction
(g) After course commencement   – No refund

5. Transfer of Vacancy to another student is not permissible.

6. Transfer of vacancy to another course is permitted only in most exceptional cases, If the application with reasons is received at least 14 days prior.

7. Trainees are forbidden to bring families, orderlies, pets, valuables, jewellery, arms and large amount of cash. They may bring Cameras and Small Transistor if they wish. Trainees are strictly forbidden to consume alcohol or indulge in any kind of addiction during the course.

8. On arrival trainees are required to report to the Training Office and obtain the Hostel Slip before going to the Hostel. Trainees should enter their names and address in the Arrival Register kept in the Hostel.

9. Medium of Instruction : The medium of instruction in this Institute is Hindi and English only.

10. Fitness Level Test: A test will be conducted in case of Basic Course trainees to assess their mental & physical fitness to undergo the training in high altitude areas/ mountains of the height of 18,000 ft. The test may be held in case of Advance/ MOI & Adventure Course trainees too.

11. Equipment and clothing required : This Institute provides Mountaineering, Clothing and Technical equipment. In case trainees possess some equipments of their own, they are welcome to bring the same with them. However, all trainees (both male & female) must ensure that they bring the following :-

(a) Light hat/cap for trekking – One
(b) Scarf – One
(c) Underwear – 2-3 Sets
(d) Light weight rain coat, Poncho or a small – One
(e) Cotton socks – Two/there Pairs
(f) Cotton shirts and trousers – Two each
(g) Sports Shoes/Jungle boots/Trekking boots – One pair
(Avoid PVC soles)
(h) Small torch with cells – One
(j) Writing material (ball point pen and diary) – As required
(k) Sun Glasses – One set
(l) Waterproof cover for turbans (for Sikhs only) – As required
(m) Swimming trunks – One set
(n) Small nail and tin cutter – One each
(o) Anti Chap Cream e.g. Vaseline/Boroline – As required
(p) Small Lock – One
(q) Track Suit – One set (at least)
(r) Repair kit i.e. needle, thread & buttons – As required
(s) Cap balaclava (woolen) – One
(t) Water bottle – One
(u) Pen Knife – One
(v) Toilet requisites – As required

11. Trainees will not leave the Hostel after completion of the course without depositing the items issued to them and obtaining a clearance certificate from the Institute. Trainees leaving the Institute without obtaining a clearance certificate will not be given Course Certificate and the matter will be reported to the appropriate authority.

12. Trainees are supposed to leave the Hostel at the earliest, after the Graduation Ceremony on the last
day of the course. It would not be possible for the Institute to accommodate for the night.


HMI Darjeeling Postal Address
Pin – 734101(WB)

Telephone : 91-354-XXXXXX
Fax : 91-354-2253760
E-mail :,
Website :

14. All queries be addressed to the Principal only and not by name to any Officer / Staff of the Institute.



PS: I love you MRP.

events sports

My Mumbai marathon story

The Mumbai half was scheduled just three weeks after the Sabarmati full. I was too fucked up after the Sabarmati to try running for the first week. And for the next two weeks, I was too busy working for an important event (associated with an ongoing assignment here in Gujarat) to find time to run. In the third week, every day that I could not go running, I wondered if I should drop the idea of flying to Mumbai to do the half. Because was it really possible to do a half with zero training? To be frank, I did do a 5k once in the span of three weeks. But that was all that I did.

Bunking the Mumbai half by the way, was not as easy as you may think. Let me tell you why. When I had first tried registering for it months ago, some crappy lottery system had rejected my request. But suddenly, one fine day when I was in some random city, Karnavati called me to ask my date of birth and stuff. He said that another office-mate had jugadoed entree in Mumbai half marathon for some of us from the firm, through some NGO. He also said that he could fill the form on my behalf if I was interested. Of course, I was interested. I was elated. I provided Karnavati with all the details that he needed.

So Karnavati filled the form for me. And others in the office filled the form for themselves. And  then the bad news came – it was informed later that only one person could be accommodated. Eh.

I was touched when Karnavati informed me that the office guys had decided that if there was going to be just one person, it had to be me. And they went ahead and got me registered. So you see, bunking the Mumbai half was not easy because that would have meant letting down these wonderful folks.

After all my apprehensions, I finally did book a return ticket to Mumbai. It just didn’t feel alright to not even go to Mumbai. May be if I really didn’t feel great about trying a 21k after three weeks of slumber, I could just skip the run – and return to Ahmedabad just like that. So I thought. I could cook up some excuse may be. MRP joined me in this weekend trip and that was comforting.

The day we landed in Mumbai, MRP and I went to Lower Parel in the evening. To meet Tiwari. Together we chatted and ate something. And then MRP left for Bandra for a hair-cut while I dragged Tiwari to Churchgate where I would get my bib and timing-chip. Except that when we reached Churchgate, it was 0520 PM and the guy at the entrance of the expo-centre, told us they had shut shop by 0500. Wasn’t the closing time 0700 PM? No sir, five pm sharp – we have been here for three days, where had been you? Shit, shit, shit.

But truly speaking, I felt happy in a way. I didn’t have to run anymore! This was like a bloody God gifted excuse, wasn’t it? I could party in the evening, and then again the next evening. And then return to Ahmedabad on Monday morning and tell the wonderful guys at office how I messed up with the closing time and hence could not collect my bib and chip and hence could not run.

But before we could leave that place, Tiwari asked the guy at the entrance when could we collect the stuff next? Next year, the bastard replied. This really heated up Tiwari and the two of them started debating. Seeing Tiwari trying his best to ensure that his best friend get his bib, it felt wrong to walk away from that place. I pleaded with that bastard, explained to him how I had travelled all the way from Ahmedabad and how I was running for an NGO (even when I did not know the name of the NGO). The sadist relented and I did get my bib and chip finally.

When I got up on Sunday morning, I felt too sleepy and weak. I wondered if I should just go back to sleep. Wouldn’t that make you feel guilty – MRP asked me. Not a bit – I said. But I got up and got ready anyway. And then Subbu dropped me off at Bandra Fire station. Where I met Moli and KG and Anti – insti mates. Finally, I was going to run. For as long as I could. Finally I ran. For as long as I could. And that happened to be long enough to nail the 21k+ in 2 hours 3 minutes. Sometimes I seriously amaze myself.

Chutki joined MRP, Subbu, his flatmate and myself for our beer party that night and we danced like crazy. We celebrated my first Mumbai marathon.

PS: Mumbai half offered one of the most scenic routes as compared to the other marathons I have run. And it was very well organized in terms of availability of food and water and in terms of control over traffic. Wouldn’t say the same about the full marathon though. I am sure that the very fact that full for most started all the way at 0730 AM (I and others doing half had started an hour before), must have had fucked up the participants in the sun.


Vadodara Marathon 2009

Vadodara Marathon was too full of people. I think Baroda is full of Agent Smiths who can multiply into a million Agent Smiths because how else can there be 30 fucking thousand people present in a place like Vadodara for a marathon! But then this is what happens when you have a hundred categories the same day – a half marathon, a 15k,  a 5k for under 19, a 5k for above 19, a 3k for kids, a 0.01 meters for retarded aliens and likewise.

Just like in Hyderabad, the half-marathon group was full of men from Police academies. All of them looked the same to me with their cropped hair, full length khadi trousers and orange brownish coloured canvas shoes. Agent Smiths. There was hardly any place even to stretch in the holding area. There was no toilet that had been erected. Agent Smiths don’t need to pee.

The race was supposed to start at 7 but it started only at 7:45 because the CM came late. The other celebs that showed up were Paresh Baba Rao Rawal, the Pathan brothers who play cricket and the out of shape and full of paunch Kapil legendary Dev. There also was the flying Sikh – Milkha Singh but I had only heard about him and never seen him so he didn’t matter. He wasn’t flying anyway. His red turban was kind of cute though. Finally when Godi’s speech ended, the race began.

The first five six kilometers were terrible. I felt very weak. And I wanted to pee. And since I wanted to pee, I didn’t feel like drinking water even when I got thirsty. I felt like giving up. But then, in some time, I found some Agent Smiths peeing here and there and I joined them. By 10k, I was feeling better and finally like the last time (in Delhi), I did the 21 point something kilometer in about five minutes less than 2 hrs.

I had inspired Hanuman to come along who ran in the 5k category. Ali had accompanied us too, even when he was not running. I am sure he would start running soon. I am very contagious.


Mt. Abu and running

I wouldn’t say I lost my way while running today in Ahmedabad. I have never lost my way while running. Nobody loses his / her way when running. You have to be a loser to lose your way when running and loser’s can’t run.

What I would say instead is that I couldn’t take the path that I had earlier marked on gmap. I realized this after like forty minutes of running. So I had to ask for directions. You don’t ask for directions only when you are lost. Sometimes it’s important to be sure. Especially if you are running.

I could reach back the hotel only after one hour fifteen minutes of running. Had I been able to stick to the marked track, I should have reached in 50 minutes. I have no idea how much I ran. The good thing is, I finally ran in Ahmedabad.

I know that I had declared that I would go running last Friday itself. Like an asshole, I just gave it a miss and then next day, I and some of my colleagues were off to Mt. Abu. I didn’t really know Mt. Abu was so close and all that to Ahmedabad but hey, it is! I remember being there a long long time ago when Papa had taken the family on a tour of Rajasthan.  I also remember that it was in Mt. Abu that I learnt what OMNI was. It was a white coloured taxi and I asked Papa what the word OMNI written on the front of the van meant and he told me it was the name of the van. It’s weird why I remember such vague things but I do. I need to dig out my baal-awastha ke pictures from Mt. Abu the next time I am home. It’s been a long time since I have been home. Om shanti Om. LOL – just like that.

I probably would have given running a miss today again had LoLy not called up early in the morning. She called up and told me she was off to Chennai from Bangalore. It was quite some time after six and I told her I found it funny that there was no sun outside. I was thinking more on the lines of an out of a blue ‘solar-eclipse’ but she was quick to make me realize that unlike Orissa, Gujarat was on the west. Finally, decent light showed up only by 6:45. Roads gathered decent traffic by seven. I am shifting my hotel today and I hope that the new running route that I finalize is a little devoid of traffic in the mornings. Let me tell you something about the way traffic moves here in Ahmedabad.

The city is full of intersections. Many cities and towns are full of intersections – so nothing special there but the funny thing about Ahmedabad is that most of the intersections neither have a signal nor traffic police-men/women. All vehicles rush towards an intersection at the same time and yet, there never is any jam or clog. The trick is in the eye-contact. You have to win the first right of way by the sheer intensity of your gaze clubbed obviously with the size and speed of your machine. And the city is so good at it that vehicles seamlessly pass through each other at all the intersections. Even when they don’t actually pass through each other, the effect is the same. I was reading a ToI front page article today that praised the recently introduced BRTS. The article used a phrase that best captures the traffic flow in Ahmedabad – ‘bumper to bumper’.

Alright, before I stop, here is a link to some ‘bumper’ pics from the Mt. Abu weekend trip.


Delhi marathon and all that

Yo maan! So I ran my second half-marathon (Delhi) and pretty much lived up to my expectation. My expectation was a sub two hours run. The exact timing shall be issued (and so would the pictures) in a coupla days but from what I noted, it took me somewhere between 1 hour 55 minutes and 1 hour 56 minutes to finish the race (21k).

The sweetheart that Neelabh is, he accompanied me (even when that meant getting up in the morning at a bloody insanely time of 4:30 AM) with a tripod and his Nikon to which was attached his latest baby – a Sigma 70-300mm lens. He got this super cool zoom lens only the day before. I picked up a lens myself for my 450D – a Canon 50mm f1.8. Yeah, alright, I don’t really intend to freak out all ya is-there-anything-more-to-a-camera-than-the-click-button folks. So no more lens talk. I shall let the pictures speak.

Bloody 8000+ people ran the half marathon but I doubt more than 500 did it in less than 2 hours. Once again, I shall get back to ya guys when I have the results. I really am curious to know where I stood. Real kick-ass frenzy prevailed all through the run-route! Dilli-vaale kept cheering the runners throughout and flocked the entire route, standing on both sides of the road. In comparison, the Hyderabad run had been so dry. Here in Delhi, they had rock-performers, bhangra dancers, dholaks, a multitude of still and video cameramen and Shahrukh Khan. Happiness was in the air and I loved every breath that I took that morning.

Later in the evening (after the race), I had some amazing time having pasta and beer and conversations and laughs and sparks with a beautiful lady. The nice little dinner, no wait, candle light dinner ( 😛 ), with her in CP pretty much made my day. I was the ‘knight’ in the castle.

For the first time I noticed how much do the metro stations and the metro train-coaches here in Delhi look like carbon copies of their brethren in London. If there was any difference that I observed, it was in the number of passengers. In London, it hardly got crowded while here in Delhi, it was always stuffed. LoL – kick me in my ass if I sound like an ass-hole trying to tell the world how pathetic India is. I like Delhi 100 times better than London man. But more on that later. Some other time. There’s some news here for ya folks here.

The news is: I have been moved out from Bhuabneswar, at least for a while. Miss short-story had her budday the very day I had to leave for Delhi. I was informed about this moving away thing only the day before. So when I called up Miss short-story to wish her happy budday, I could not gather the heart to tell her that I wasn’t going to come back after my Delhi marathon. I couldn’t tell her that I was flying straight to Ahmedabad. So I left her a mail later, telling her about my new plans. I think I should have at least met her before leaving.

Anyway, off to Ahmedabad tomorrow. New place. New work. New life. Crazy life man. Crazy life.

PS: link to pictures clicked by Neelabh on the half-marathon day



My bike still does not have any rack. I need one in the rear over which I can place a pair of panniers. Bro – in Delhi – has been assigned the task of fetching a rack that can be fitted on my bike. They didn’t have racks in Hyderabad when I bought the bike and in a search operation conducted yesterday in the streets of Bhubaneswar, I could find only one cycle shop which again could not supply me a rack that could fit. One doesn’t even find panniers anywhere in India – the only option I have is to get two bags and get them stitched together. Let me do that the coming Saturday.

Morning”s plan was to take the NH5 and keep cycling for about an hour. I did that and crossed 20k. I cycled faster while returning saving myself five minutes (could have saved more had there been no signals) and thus covering 40k in a little less than two hours. I was so hungry that I skipped gymming after that (shall work out in the evening now).

I find cycling a lot less demanding than running. May be I have been cycling too slow. Of course I overtake every cycle that comes my way but then, so far, I have hardly encountered anyone rolling a geared cycle in the mornings – so comparison is not justified. The ones cycling are either students or folks who simply cannot afford any other mode of transportation. Sometimes I think that they need my Trek more than I do – the ones carrying those orange coloured huge plastic crates of milk – the ones carrying hazzar aluminium kadhais and tumblers for selling from house to house. Whenever you feel bad about life, hit the road, walk, run or cycle – and look around. You will find more reasons to feel good about your life than you ever thought existed.

First few days of cycling made me realize how badly I needed gloves. The palm (and especially the right one) started getting all slippery with sweat – badly affecting the grip on the handles. Yesterday I got a pair. I like learning things this way – rather than buying all the mumbo-jumbo in one go. I am sure all of us have seen or known one of those over-enthu rich folks who suddenly decide on joining a gym to get slim and then go ahead and buy a dozen Reebok t-shirts, half dozen Puma tights, an unreasonably costly pair of Adidas shoes, branded rist bands and head-bands and of course – if they don’t already have one – an ipod – all at once – and then they are no where to be found near the gym after a month. That’s definitely not my style. I ran on a borrowed pair of shoes for about an year before I decided I ‘needed’ my own. I rode 65k before I decided I needed gloves. But then, to each his own.


Adventurous September?

When people like me are asked to develop a strategy for the development of adventure-tourism in a state – they often get lost in their own dream world. This is exactly what I am going through these days.

To be able to advise the government of Orissa, I need to know vatsap in the rest of India – and that means loads of secondary research (alright – Google). My only problem is that when I am say pondering over the possibility of including a rock-climbing schedule in a possible Orissa Adventure Tourism itinerary – I end up jotting up a plan to indulge in rock-climbing myself! Same goes for everything else – kayaking, rafting, cycling, para-sailing, para-gliding, sky-diving, scuba-diving and on and on. I think that by the time I prepare a draft Concept Note for Orissa, I would have another one ready simultaneously – titled – “Concept Note for Vatsap? for indulging in crazy adventure tourism activities without fucking up his job”.

While working on my note, I noticed that Tushar had shared a YouTube video showing him skydive in Houston. I checked out his video and was blown over by it. I decided to check out if such jumps happen in India as well. To my surprise, I stumbled across  skydivingindia that announced that registrations for skydiving were open. I forgot all about Orissa and straightaway registered for a Tandem jump on the 20th of September (yes it’s a Sunday) in Indore.

At 330 dollars this is definitely costly compared to what Tushar had to shell out in US (and given that I would have to shell out additional money just to reach Indore and then return to Bhubaneswar). But then I don’t want to wait till I go to US or NZ to sky-dive – it’s here in India and it’s happening and I am going for it. Anyone wanna join me? Logistics wise, it’s easiest for junta in Mumbai – so if you are in Mumbai and want to sky-dive, all I have to say is: DO IT!

The beautiful thing about September is that it is full of holidays (at least here in Orissa). I mean think of this: between 18th September to 4th October (i.e. 17 days), there are only six working days – isn’t that like insanely awesome? So I need to finalize plans on what else to do after I have sky-dived. So far, a biking (read: bicycle) trip from Srinagar to Leh sounds exciting. From Indore, I can catch an overnight train to Mumbai where I can then buy an MTB, get it packed and fly to Srinagar from where I can commence my journey to Leh. I need to figure out the intricasies of carrying bikes on planes and even before that which bike to buy – but then I have the rest of the day for that. Until then – happy Janmashtami!

PS: Given that September is going to be so hot for me – I might give the Kaveri Trail Marathon (that is on 13th) a miss (I have already registered for it). Can’t spend all my money in just one month – can I? 😛

senti sports

Songs, 15k, news and vacation

The songs that play in front of me on V or MTv in the mornings when I am running on the tread mill depress me a lot. Most of them are love songs. Others show friends hanging out in the sun – happy, buoyant and jumping away to glory. They never show any song where a guy reads books, draws cartoons, runs, gyms and has as his clients – senior IAS officers. When they do show someone running, he is always running for a reason – to catch the rapacious goon, to reach his voluptuous girl friend, to become fit for some upcoming brutal battle and so on. Actually I can recall only Akshay Kumar who sprints now and then in some songs. The only song where they show people drawing cartoons is that cute song from Tare Zameen pe – but then that song is hardly played in the mornings. The songs that play in front of me on V or MTv in the morning when I am running on the tread mill depress me a lot.

Tomorrow I plan to do a 15k. It is not a very long distance in general, but for me,  I would be running so much in one go after more than an year. In fact, I have run 15K only once so far – when I ran with the Chennai Runners on the East Coast Rd in Chennai. Treadmill is going to be so much boring and less inspiring compared to the road-run. Road run in Bhubaneswar at this time of the year is still a no-no. Monsoons are yet to arrive. They might pop up any time. Everyone is waiting for them. Oh, by the way – there is a news: I am going to be here till December now! I don’t know how to react to it. So I won’t. Let me not fret over the depressing aspect of this news – it’s pointless. The brighter, shineir aspect is – upcoming July vacation is no more going to be the end of the ongoing one-vacation-every-two-moths lifestyle. Very very shiny I say. If only I can now soon learn to live comfortably away from friends, family and something known as a social life – I am going to like my life a lot. If not, I will keep running more and more till the feet bleed or till its time to pack up bags and leave for some nice destination. So far I haven’t yet decided where I want to fly to in July. The best place to go to in July is a hill station but since I just returned from Ladakh, I am sure I cannot like any hill station for quite some time now. It would be raining in the rest of India. Very tricky month for a vacation – will try to figure out some place soon. Any suggestions anyone?

PS: Update (14 June 2009) – Ran a rather slow 15k in the morning in 94 minutes and 24 seconds.

humor sports

Mostly on Manish Pandey

The Goldia-Aandhi look-alike in the new Virgin Mobile ad is kick-ass – nice catch! She looks so much like Mrs. Aandhi. Virgin Mobile ads are usually kickass. This happens to be the best Virgin Mobile Ad so far in my opinion – simply hilarious. Oh suddenly I remember, the real Mrs. Aandhi must be busy distributing portfolios in the new sarkaar.

Manish Pandey is suddenly a super-star. I don’t watch these IPL matches all the time – I mean they play four hundred games every week. In fact I watch them only for those few minutes that I spend eating in the guest-house hall. As I filled my plate at dinner yesterday, Pandey was at 80 something. I said wow! I asked G how many junta had scored a century in this IPL. G (colleague) follows all IPL matches and keeps a track – like most men, he likes cricket. He told me – only one. I said WOW! And then soon Pandey cracked the century – the second dude to do so in this IPL and the first Indian. I am sure Lays must have jumped with joy and would have taken more than 600 seconds to touch back earth. But in spite of all this good show by the Bewdas – I still think that Chennai will finally beat down everyone. Won’t you Dhoni? This anchor in CNN was telling Cyrus that he wouldn’t even have known who Manish Pandey was till yesterday but he replied that actually he did. He explained – he had dated a girl called Manisha Pandey at the age of 20 – so such a similar sounding name had made Pandey stand out to Cyrus even before he stood out to the rest of the world, courtesy his century yesterday. Cyrus is so fat and funny. Is his movie already out in theaters?

Guess what – I outperformed myself today in my 10K run. Not that I am a great performer and all that (I am talking about running you perverts :P), but it felt so much nice to finally crack 10k in less than an hour – in 56 minutes and 50 seconds. I am so proud of myself.  LOL – that was so narcissistic! Of course I still suck at running but I am so glad I am picking up speed. More than that I am delighted that I met the target set for today’s run. It was a simple strategy today – to keep covering at least 2.5k in every 15 minutes – and it worked like charm. Of course, I got heated up and all that at the end of it but after the run was done, I felt like a hero – no less than Pandey himself. 😛 I think I will run in insti  (IITM) on Sunday morning and woudl especially love it, if it rains by any bleak chance.

In few hours I shall leave for Bangalore where the evening and night shall be spent with long-lost friends who are not sure whether to love or hate the rains happening in the Kannadiga capital. Leela has instructed me to carry a rain-coat and Caesar has promised me to drop to the station later in the night from where I should catch my train to Chennai. It’s party time in Banglaore. By the way, today would be my ‘second’ official leave in my company – the first one I took last year when I had to attend convo. Ha, ha – what fun! Chalo, all you lovely readers – you all have fun too.