Monday, October 29, 2007

Wave pools, a waterfall and some great fun!

This weekend, with Pushkar and Jiten, I went on a short holiday to Bangalore and Hogenakkal.

I've been wanting to visit a waterfall for a long time and finally the trip to Hogenakkal materialized. The run up to the trip was not without its share of ups and downs though. From an estimated 7 people, we were down to 3 in the end. But we had great fun.

We reached Bangalore on Saturday in the morning and were off to Wonderla, an amusement park about an hour's drive from Bangalore.

Its really a great place with a lot of water based and dry activities. There's a wave pool that simulates waves on the beach, a rain dance section, water slides and a whole lot of dry rides. I have a video of my favorite ride. You get into a small open car. It goes up an incline and then comes down real fast into a pool of water that splashes all over you!

We returned to the hotel around 7:30 in the evening. Had dinner at Woody's in Commercial Street.

Next morning, we started off at 6:30 for Hogenakkal. We had breakfast on the way at a restaurant (called A1) at a Reliance Petrol Station. Surprisingly tasty stuff.

We reached Hogenakkal at around 10. We almost got taken for a ride when some locals led us to believe that we would need to walk for 3 kilometers to reach the place where we would get on to the boats and be taken to the waterfall.

I called A Srinivas who had been to the place about a month back and he told us where to go. We went there and after a bit of bargaining, found ourselves in a putty (a basket shaped boat) in the River Kavery.

The boating trip was interspersed with long and short stretches of walks (Jiten always had to carry the oar while our boatman, Velu carried the putty, Pushkar carried our bag and I carried myself). We were taken to see some really beautiful waterfalls which had a lot of water because of all the rain that the region had got recently.


Jiten at one of the waterfalls

There was one especially breathtaking view of the waterfalls on three sides of a gorge, one side of which was Tamil Nadu and the opposite side was Karnataka (Velu told us this about 5 times).

Pushkar and I at the 20 fall - wallah gorge

At another place, where the water was a little calmer, I actually got into the river for a swim. This was exhilarating. I've swum in many pools before but there's something about nature that is different. The water was not half as clean as a pool but was very refreshing.

Swimming in the Kaveri

We then went to a quiet part of the river bank which had some rocks and were given a massage by Velu. I went first.

The massage was torturous to say the least. I always thought massages were meant to relax. This was an assault on the senses. The way he hit, pulled and slapped - you could be excused for thinking he is getting back at you for bargaining on the rate.

Jiten went next. As if the physical assault was not enough, he then waged a mental war on me (while Jiten was fighting the physical one). He showed off his body and he told me that my body was horrible. He advised me to go to the gym (adding casually that he got his body without a gym - only by rowing the putty).

He spoke in Tamil (and the only two words of Tamil I know are Anga Ponga - which mean please go there) but I could understand what the scoundrel was saying because it was accompanied by some animated gestures and agitated facial expressions.

I don't take comments about my physical appearance too lightly. I had half a mind not to pay him anything for the massage but relented because I knew he was trying to be humorous.

He then washed off the oil from our bodies and we proceeded to the spot we began from.

The return journey was uneventful. Had dinner at a place called New Shanti Sagar at Koramangala and started our journey back to Hyderabad.

Overall, we had great fun on both days and my long overdue vacation finally happened!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fluid restriction

The human mind is amazing in many ways.

Let me give you an example.

Most patients on hemodialysis are on a restricted fluid diet. They can have only limited amounts of water, juice, drinks, ice cream - basically anything that is water at room temperature. Most patients are allowed to have only a liter of fluids a day.

This is because the kidneys of patients on dialysis do not work as required and do not remove the excess fluid from the body. Whatever excess water collects in the body manifests itself as a weight gain. So, if you have had 1 liter more than what your body has lost, it will show up as 1 kg additional weight.

When I was on Peritoneal Dialysis, I had no fluid restriction prescribed (as most PD patients). This is because PD is good at removing water and it removes it continuously. I used to measure my weight every morning and I never gained any weight.
This meant that PD was removing all the water I drank.

On PD I could also measure how much water was being removed per day and it was never more than 2 liters a day. This meant that I was not drinking more than 2 liters of water a day.

Now, I'm on Hemodialysis. Daily nocturnal home dialysis. I dialyse for 6 to 8 hours every night of the week (Except Sundays). I have to check my weight before dialysis to check how much fluid is to be removed and after dialysis to see how much was removed.

So, there is this monitoring of how much I've gained per day. That screws things up in an unimaginable way.

Let me explain.

Have you heard about Lenz's Law? Lenz's law states that induced e.m.f. opposes the change in flux producing it.

In lay man terms, whatever the flux (don't bother about what this means) tries to do, the induced e.m.f (again, don't bother) opposes it.

The mind follows Lenz's law in a way.

Whatever the mind is told to do, it opposes it. If the doctor tells you don't have sweets, the mind will want to have sweets in a way like never before.

I am not supposed to have too much water. I will want to have water like never before.

When I was on P.D, there was no checking, no monitoring. So, it was all ok. I had only about 2 liters a day.

Now, I'm on HD. I need to make sure I don't drink more than 2.5 liters so that too much water does not have to be removed during dialysis. I cannot drink less than 3 liters and that too restricting myself. Not allowing myself to have water whenever I feel like. And thinking about it all the time.

Can you believe it? I am actually drinking more water than I was when there was no restriction and I still feel terrible about having a restricted fluid diet!

The amazing human mind.

Wasted Weekends

Another long weekend passes by without much ado!

I always look forward to a long weekend. Time to relax and enjoy! But when the weekend actually comes and I do not have anything much to do, I feel terrible. On the morning of the first day, I desperately try to plan something to do for the weekend but rarely does anything materialize.

Some friends are not available. Some are not as adventurous. Sometimes, tickets and hotel bookings are not available.

In the end, it all ends up in a few afternoons of sleep, television (yawn!) and things extremely mundane.

How can I change this?

Of course! "Please plan!" Pearls of wisdom from the wise man! Two words from Dinesh that can inspire generations to come! (I knew I was good at hyperbole!)

Seriously, planning is the key. Look out for that long weekend (or even a regular weekend, for that matter) and plan. You can get travel tickets easier and cheaper. Room bookings are easy. Friends will be willing given enough notice.

I've decided that I'm going to plan a 'weekend getaway' every month. And I'm going to plan in advance.

Let's see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Passion

I like people who are passionate about something in life.

For many people, life is one drab, dull routine. Wake in the morning, go to work, come back, see TV and go to sleep. They have nothing to look forward to, nothing in their life apart from their family and work.

Some people, on the other hand, have a passion for something other than work. The life of these people is enriched by this love.

May be a hobby, a game or something else. They look forward to spending time on that and enjoy it thoroughly. They look forward to an opportunity to spend time on this.

I strongly believe that this passion actually makes them work better, work smarter and increases their productivity. The mind gets a break from the daily routine and when it gets recharged during the time spent on this activity, it can work much better.

It can be something simple as gardening or a game. Some people love to dance or sing. Others like to read. But there really must be something in life that one should look forward to.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dinesh is a father!

Dinesh's wife Yogita just gave birth to a baby girl Niharika!

So, Kamal Kumar and Dinesh are both dads now!

Chetan is going to be one soon too (around January!)

What fun!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Swimming

Swimming can really relax me.

That's one thing that I reeeeeeeeally love.

That is why, even in this weather, I go to the club pool every Sunday morning for a swim. I'm going to try and go on Saturdays too.

There's something about water that I love. Its so refreshing, so invigorating that I can spend hours in the pool doing nothing specific.

Of course, I do swim to get some flab off but I also do a lot of relaxing things like just float aimlessly in the water, just leave my body loose in the water and go underwater just to get my head entirely submerged for a while.

The feeling is heavenly.

Does this have something to do with the fact that I'm on a restricted water diet?

I don't think so. Because I loved the water even before my kidney problem. In fact, just the day before I took my vaccines, I swam a kilometer in the club pool!

But definitely, there's something about water that attracts me. My current obsession is with standing under a waterfall! I badly want to go to a place where there is a waterfall where I can get completely wet. And I'm talking about one which falls with a lot of pressure.

My ideal holiday would be to go to a river, a beach, a waterfall - basically any place where the primary focus is water!

Inti pairs

Inti Pairs or family names are really interesting. Most Telugu people will have an inti pair.

For example, K Venkateshwar is actually Kunta Venkateshwar and Kunta is the inti pair. I love remembering everyone's inti pair.

For example, Lugalupu Nagasrinivas, Adusumalli Srinivas and Shyamala Kalvakolanu. Some people, put the inti pair at the beginning while some put it in the end.

People spell their inti pairs in a variety of ways. For example Pushkar vacillates between Angeena and Angina - oblivious of the fact that the latter actually means a condition marked by severe pain!

Some people also have a surname along with the inti pair, for example, the Reddy Thums - Kartik and Jayadeep. Here Thum is the inti pair.

Some other inti pairs I like - Dindukurthi (Sravan), Dantuluri (Sudheer), Akula (Seshadri Charan), Bawoor (Lagumanna), Palepu (Srinivas / Janakiram), Vadaga (Prashant Naidu), Mahankali (Shravan Kumar), Sandadi (Kalyan), Gunnala (Sirisha), Guduru (Pavan).

Let me know if you come across some interesting and nice sounding inti pairs!

My dream home

For the last few months I've been dreaming of having a home.

A home that is in a place that is very quiet, in a place where there is hardly any traffic and the air is clean and cool.

It is not very big. It has 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, a drawing room and an entertainment room which has a home theatre system. The bigger bedroom opens out into a lawn where there is green grass, in the middle of which is a swimming pool. The pool is shaped like an amoeba and has some rocks at one point through which there is a small waterfall that falls into the pool.

At one end of the lawn is a small temple.

I would really love to settle down in a house like this. A house that is a place where you really look forward to return after a tiring day of work. A place where you can wake in the morning to a cool breeze, sit by the lawn and have a cup of tea. Where every need of yours is taken care of.

In life these days, not only the body but the soul also tires and the house has to be a place where both body and soul can relax.

I really hope that some day I can realize this dream!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Customer Service

Akbar writes in Tata Indicomm’s Customer Care Sucks:

"So, finally the local technician came yesterday and he says that it was the communication gap between the customer service and him that took him so many days to come!!! Fucking kidding me? Communication my ass gap?"

All I can say is Welcome to India!

Customer Service is something which we just don't get here. I have experienced first hand terrible customer service from many of the major brands in India - from Wipro to LG to Whirlpool to ICICI Bank.

And there's no option like switching brands because its the same everywhere.

Companies have scant regard for customer satisfaction. Something does not work as advertised, you call customer care. First of all they speak to you as if they're doing you a favour. Then you have to work according to their timings. They don't care if you're working. They don't care if you have other commitments. You have to leave your work and stay at home at the date and time they've given you (if at all, otherwise its simply a Monday morning or a Wednesday afternoon unless its a in-the-next-two-three-days).

And then they don't come at the appointed time. You've somehow managed to reschedule things at office so that you can be there when the guy comes. But he doesn't show up. Then you call Customer Care again. And ask. Pray, why didn't the technician come. You get a 'held-up-in-another-call' kind of crappy answer. Never mind if you missed office for this.

Finally, when the guy does turn up, you usually do get the work done. But, you feel so frustrated at the effort that went into this that you feel like shit.

I suggested to Akbar to switch to BSNL for his internet connection. But I must really add the disclaimer that I'm not responsible for any problems he might have with them!