Sunday, December 31, 2017

Unforgettable trip

It so often happens, we tend to look far beyond only to miss out on the things near us. I realized recently that I have not taken time to visit some beautiful nearby places which I have read about in my history books and despite hearing wonderful things since my childhood, I haven't been there yet. So I decided to visit most of these places, if not all, which are quite near to my hometown, Hubballi in Karnataka.

During the Christmas vacation, I got this wonderful opportunity to visit these places of historical importance.


Badami:



Badami, which is ~100 kms from my hometown, was the first place and is very well known for its cave temples. The cave temples date back to around 4th century when Chaulukyas ruled and have many sculputres of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Jain Thirthankaras. The caves are situated next to the Agastya lake. There is another beautiful temple, Bhootnath temple next to this lake and I was amazed by the art work and the great effort put in to have temples like these ready and that too during the 4th century timeframe.

Pattadakalla:



I drove to Pattadakalla which is just ~21 kms from Badami and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All the temples and monuments are situated at a single site and display stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. This too dates back to the Chalukya dynasty.

Aihole:



From there I drove to the next town Aihole which is ~14 kms from Pattadakalla. There are many temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Durga along with Jain temples in the vicinity. The Jain temple on the Meguti hill was a beautiful site providing full view of the town. All the nearby temples and museum are quite visible from this place. The sites are surrounded by farms and villages due to which it might not seem posh clean. Having said that, all the temples and sites are kept in best conditions. In fact, I was surprised by seeing the cleaniness maintained in all the sites at Badami, Pattadakalla and Aihole.


Kudalasangama:



I decided to head towards Kudala Sangama which is an important center for Lingayats community. This place holds great importance as this is the Aikya mantapa of Basavanna, the founder of the Lingayats, and also due to the presense of swayambhu Linga. It was late night when I reached there and hence decided to search for a guest-house nearby. I had nice dinner at Kamat yatrinivas and stayed at Jain yatrinivas which are quite close by to the main temple.
Early morning I got ready and visited the Sangameshwara temple followed by the Linga dharshana. The confluence of Krishna and Malaprabha rivers was a nice sight to witness.

Hampi:



Immediately after breakfast, I headed to my next destination, Hampi, again a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi is ~140 kms and I reached there in 2 1/2 hours. Couple of days back I had found that my friends Abhishek and Mahesh from my previous himalayan trek were also planning to visit Hampi. I got in touch with them and decided to roam around Hampi together. On reaching, we hired a local guide who took us around explaining the history and stories associated with the place, about Vijayanagara empire, the kings and etc.

The Vittala temple & market complex, Hazara Ram temple, Lotus Mahal, Elephant stables and Virupaksha temple were the few places we were able to visit in the given limited time. The Hampi experience was enriching, witnessing the grandour of the kingdown, the complexity of the temples and the minute artwork in each of them was amazing.

This was surely one of the satisfying trips I had in recent past and I'm sure I will visit these places again in near future to cover all the temples and monuments which I missed in this trip.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hubballi Half Marathon 2017

Race category: Half Marathon (21.1 kms)
Timing: 2:24:38


I enrolled for the Hubballi Half Marathon mainly because it's in my hometown and to have a practice run for upcoming Mumbai Marathon in which I'm again running a HM.
The route was shared couple of days before the race and this route was something new to me even though it's my hometown. It was arranged in the outskirts of the city and to my surprise I found the route lovely for a long run. It started near the Hubballi Airport and continued towards the by-pass toll and then turn towards Unkal Lake via the outer small village and then back to the start point. Most part of the route was a tar road except a small stretch of mud road, which added excitement to the race. Few ups & downs at the starting/finishing section of the route made it little tougher as well. I liked this route more than the Bengaluru Half Marathon as this didn't have many turns and twists.
The organizers did a good job in having sufficient water points with enthusiastic volunteers who cheered the runners all though. 5K and 10K races were placed in such a way that the HM runners didn't have to go through excess crowd.

One more satisfying aspect was the fact that I paced my race better this time by not running above my average pace during the initial part due to which I was able to better my timing by more than 3 minutes. Yes, this is my PR, yehh :)
Though I was able to achieve better timing, I believe there is more room to improve.

Surely a race to consider adding to next year's calendar as well.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Bengaluru Marathon 2017

Race Category: Half Marathon (21.1 km)
Timing: 02:27:47


Bengaluru Marathon 2017 was my first Half marathon and it was a great experience. I would be lying if I said it wasn't tough. What unsettled me was the fact that it turned out to be little tougher than what I had anticipated. Believe me, I had practice runs of around 17 kms before the race and I was fairly well prepared for the event. Apparently that wasn't sufficient I suppose.

Just a day before the race day, Bengaluru witnessed good amount of rainfall and the weather was good on the race day with little humidity I can say. The race started entertaining the huge crowd with right amount of pomp. I started little slower as per the plan and besides the rush at the start line wouldn't allow even if I had any other plans.
For about 13-14 kms, I was in good rhythm and content that I might finish the race in my target time of 2 hrs 15 mins. But it started getting tougher, my legs slowed down but I continued to run, a little slower though. At 17 km mark, I got tired and I started walking despite all my motivational talk in head. I started getting the felling, "Why the hell am I running a half marathon?".
I resumed my run after a minute or two. As I approached the finish line, I gathered all my energy and will power to run faster. I finished stronger.
After the race, the tired thoughts disappeared suddenly and all I was thinking was how to improve my performance in my next race.

Though the timing of 2:27:47 didn't really excite me but I am thoroughly satisfied with the race and my performance.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Parenting

Recently, I came across a rather obnoxious video in which a kid is being taught in a very wrong way. In fact, she is slapped hard by her own mother while being taught. What was more disturbing in it is the fact that the kid is just around 3-4 years old and all her rage and emotions against being taught aggressively is ruthlessly ignored. The kid turns quite violent too and pleads desperately asking her mother to tell politely but to no avail. Instead of realizing the gravity of the seriousness and the torture the kid is going through, the mother is recording the whole ordeal.
And just guess what the kid was being taught?! She was learning the numbers "1, 2, 3, 4, 5". This is like the first set of lessons one starts with. And how is it being handled? Atrocious!

I'm sure many of you would have already come across this video which I am talking about in Whatsapp groups or Facebook feeds or for that matter in the news articles. [11/09/2017 Updated: I had provided a youtube link to the video which apparently is removed now.]

And today I came across one more article which reported that she is singer Toshi's niece. But his statement about this whole incident astonishes me further. He says (sic):"Ek maa ki mamta hai, judgment nahi kar sakte hain. Jisne usko 9 months kokh mein rakha hai. Ab agar bachche zidd karenge toh unko padana likhana chod dein kya? Bachon ko paalna asaan nahi hota. (One can't judge a mother's love for the child by seeing a short video. If children throw tantrums, then should we stop teaching them? It's not easy to raise children)".
I wonder what's more pathetic, the attempt to convince or the reason provided.

Now, I know many would feel that this behavior of the concerned mother isn't a big deal. They would also say that this is not something unusual in this part of the world. They will even try to further explain that there is a need to be strict with the kids otherwise they would become stubborn, and beating the kids doesn't mean the parents don't love them and etc. But I have to disagree with those opinions. And I mean it.

I had my own share of experience while growing up, both at receiving end and at the other end as well. I remember my mom being strict on occasions but all she wanted was me to improve, to learn and be good at. And I also know her strictness doesn't mean that she loved me any less. On the contrary, she loved so she was hard on me and my siblings sometimes. In fact, I remember myself also being hard and aggressive with my brothers when I tutored them. And I regret being that way. Wish I knew how to be polite and also effective at the same time. In a way, we all tend to pick things from our parents or from the surroundings we grow and that carries through when we become parents. May be or may be not.
But what I know for sure is that this should stop. People should accept the fact that this is not the right way of teaching or parenting. They should try to acknowledge there are better ways do deal and accept that they were wrong. Nothing wrong in it. It only makes them a better person or a parent.

Frankly speaking, my journey as a father so far has been enriching. I surely have learnt a lot from my 5 year old kid than what he might have learnt from me. At times, I have seen myself being tough on my kid but seeing his reactions I have only learnt that my ways were wrong. It made me realize that I can manage things in a better way and be a better father. Someone rightly has said, 'When we become parents we don't teach, we learn'. I certainly know how the kids, being kids, test our patience and give every reason to lose our cool. But these are exactly the occasions which will show us whether we are good parents or not.

Going forward, I certainly wish to see one change in our society. We all should learn how to raise kids in the best possible manner, understand their feelings, understand how their mind works, the ill-effects of our actions and try to refrain from being hard on the kids unnecessarily. This change in society can only happen if we as an individuals try to learn things by watching others, by reading about kids and more importantly by being the best what we can be.