Sep 18, 2021

a minor road accident

September 7, 2015
I was at office when a phone call from Pushpa gave a shocking, sad message. We had to rush to Mysore immediately. I went home, packed our bags and started our journey around 1-00 pm. Distance between Hyderabad and Mysore is 700 km, around 11 hours journey. We decided to stop over at Bangalore and leave the following morning. We reached Bangalore around 9-00 pm. Morning we were up by 4-00 and heading to Mysore by 5-00 am. We were at Mysore by 7-30 am where we met a few relatives and friends. We all were here to perform the last rites of a close relative. The cremation was done by 5-00 pm. Pushpa and I left Mysore, reached Bangalore around 9-00 pm. We were tired to travel back to Hyderabad, we decided to rest a day and leave 10th morning.

Sept 10, 2015
As usual, we started our journey early, around 4-30 or so. While cruising on a flyover towards Devanahalli, we heard a screeching sound from the rear wheels. The noise would go away, and start again... this happened a few times. I normally drive between 80 and 100 kmph, due to the noise, I reduced the speed to 70 kmph. At one point the noise was too loud, I stopped and inspected the wheels, the left rear rim was hot. I thought the wheel bearings were gone, may be I can get them replaced at Anantapur. The journey continued... we were 80+ km away from Bangalore, a few kilometers from Bagepalli when the left rear wheel came off. Car was moving at 80 kmph, the rear left sank and scraped on the tarmac. Fortunately we were on a straight & wide stretch of the highway, the road was clear, no vehicles parked on the side, no vehicle behind us, and I was alert, I steered the car to the left and stopped just inside the side marker. 

The loose wheel was lying on the side, its center on fire which I stamped out. The grease in the bearings had ignited due to heat caused by intense friction. The brake pads were exposed since the drum was still attached to the wheel. I checked the issue and guessed the axle tip had cut. No way I could refit the wheel on my own. What a mess.

I called mom and brother to let them know about the incident. Then called my friend Satish. After few rounds of discussions with brother and friend, I still hadn't decided the next step. Meantime, a man approached us inquiring about the incident. He was a farmer living close by, his field was a few minutes walk away. He knew a mechanic at Bagepalli, I spoke to the mechanic on the phone, he came down to inspect the damage. He suggested that the axle be removed, taken to Bangalore for repairs, get it back and refit it. That wasn't a viable solution since we would be on the road until the car was fixed. The other thing- these guys weren't Hyundai authorized mechanics... no guarantee on quality of work. Forget it! 

Around 9-00 am I got in touch with Advait Hyundai service, requested for a towing vehicle. Then told by friend about us returning to Bangalore. Satish said he would be coming too. While we waited, the farmer took us to his fields and offered us tender coconuts. It was nice to be cared for. 

The tow truck arrived by noon. The operator was efficient, he quickly attached the tow dolly to the rear axle, all firm and secure. Threw the loose wheel into the back of the truck. We were almost set to leave, Satish arrived in his car. We gathered our bags and stuffed them in Satish's car. We thanked and said bye to the farmer. Our journey resumed, in the opposite direction, following the tow truck for a few kilometers. My poor injured car, moving backwards on two wheels at 70 kmph. Crazy!

Satish dropped us home and left. I rushed to Advait Hyundai service center which was close by. The mechanics inspected, even they were baffled by the issue. The best guess was that a loose metal piece somehow made it's way to the axle and worked like a cutting tool in a lathe. The only solution was to replace the axle. Lead time for axle is two weeks. Hmm. I didn't have a choice. I agreed, the job card was made. The service team assured they would keep me informed.

The following morning we traveled back to Hyderabad by a day bus. During the journey I was thinking of the incident... the mistakes made... we were just 40 km when the problem was first known. Even at that point the problem was obvious but I pushed on. Had I turned back and got the car checked, the issue might have been minor. May be the axle wouldn't be damaged to his extent. And, we were lucky when the wheel came off the road was clear. I said a silent prayer for keeping us safe. And my heartfelt thanks to Satish.

Lesson learned: fix issues when they are small, its a matter of safety, take no chances. 

Sep 11, 2021

trek to Hanumana Kote - part 2

...continued from barefoot trek to Hanumana Kote - part 1.

It was an hour long trek from Lalguli to Hanumanakote. This place gets its name from the idol of Hanuman and remains of an incomplete fort here.

This idol is said to be installed by the XV & XVI Century Madhwa Guru Vysatheertha. The idol is made of dark stone, its about 4' tall. Do see the description of this idol my friend Ravi Varkoor in this post- Hanumana Kote.

After paying respects to Lord Hanuman, we go the other side of the gateway. The place was covered with lot of vegetation, no point going into the bushes. Deepak wanted to see river Kali. The conditions weren't favorable to explore river Kali... 1. difficult to find the way through the vegetation, 2. even if we found the way, the rocks would be too slippery, and 3. water from the dam can be released anytime which flows down here. The other thing was insects, we'll get taunted by jungle pests if we hung around long. We decided to head back and spend time at the stream.

We crossed the bridge and came down to the stream bed. I went down little further to escape the bright sunlight. This jungle is so thick, air hardly moves in here. Not a good idea to remain stationary in sunlight in sultry conditions. Rest of them were sitting in the sun close to the water, they too moved into the shade.

Raghu had got homemade jackfruit chips. They tasted so nice, not like the ones available at shops. I don't know if its way its made or because of the ingredients. Raghu and Deepak's were still engrossed in their talk about stocks. Pushpa was busy munching chips. Durga was sulking after a talk with Deepak. Our little friend Partha was lost in his own world, he never once bothered Raghu or anyone else.

I walked further down checking out the rocks. Lot of interesting shapes. We found one that was shaped like a pickaxe, not sure if its natural or if its a manmade prehistoric tool. Pushpa too had found lot of stones shaped like this or that. However, we took just three of them.

It was noon. Heat and humidity was rising by the minute, which can cause dehydration. We decided to head back so that we be home for lunch. The return trek was kind of faster because all of us wanted to reach home quickly and rest. On reaching Lalguli, we stopped at Raghu's cousin Sriram's place. I'd met Sriram in 2010 when we went in search of Lalguli waterfalls. A glass of butter-milk felt so refreshing after the trek. A picture together before we said bye. 

At Raghu's place, we freshened up, had a tasty meal of rice, sambar, curds, pickle and hapla. Hapla were two types- white and yellowish, jackfruit pulp was the basic ingredient for both. Partha barely ate. Wondering where he drew energy from. After lunch we sat down for a session of yeli-adki with Raghu's grandfather. During the previous visit, Malatesh had tripped on grandfather's belli sunna thambak dabbi. It's a cylindrical box with two chambers and two lids. Sunna means lime and thambak is tobacco. It also had a small poker which was attached to the bod with a small chain. The poker is used to dig out lime. When I sat down for yeli-adki session, the first thing I did was look for the dabbi. Yeah, it was there and I took lime from it.

We rested for sometime. Soon it was tea time. Raghu suggested we all go the stream which was 15 minutes walk from home. The same group headed to the stream, with Partha leading us again.

The trip to the stream had a surprise element. There was a check dam. This channel of water is diverted to Raghu's farm which is supplied to half a dozen homes there.

The dam was overflowing. Raghu and Partha walked on the overflowing part of the dam. Rest of us opted to stay out of water because of shoes. The terrain is rough, see the jagged rocks in the stream bed.

The dam is approximately 200' wide and the hold back quite a pool of water.

Pushpa and I clambered over rocks and got here to see the stream continue its journey. With regular rains, streams had turned muddy.

This pond is below the check dam. A few men on the opposite shore were fishing with wires and hooks. There seems to be a hamlet on the other side.

While we explored the surroundings, Partha was in his own world... I think he was discovering a new genre of dancing. May be I'll dedicate a post to his pictures which are 50 or 60 of them. He's acrobatic. Never once did he slip or jerk. To me it seemed like random movements but he seems to have them planned.

It was my suggestion to leave early so that we reach Dharwad while its still light. We headed back home. Pushpa spotted the dragonfly on the dam and the hairy creature was on a tree trunk.

Back home, I we took a few group pictures. The person on the extreme right is Raghu's uncle.

One shot from the ladies side. The little one is there with her mom.

I thought we would be leaving. Realized we didn't have drinking water, so asked Pushpa to fill up the bottle. She went it. That's it.. instead I went in. Someone called me to taste jack fruit. I go the backyard, the girls have settled down in front of a freshly cut jack fruit placed on banana leaves. Great! I got pulled into the party... it was a self-service system, pull out your own pieces. Sweet and juicy stuff. After a dozen or so, I had to force myself  to stop and get up. Then Raghu went to fetch some more for Dharwad / Bangalore. Along with the jackfruit, Pushpa got curry leaves, pappad and chips. We loaded everything into the Duster. Then we chatted some more. It was past 6 pm when we started the Duster to leave. We promised Raghu to come again for a two day stay here and said bye. We reached Dharwad by 7-45 or so... A wonderful day it was. I felt good to have brought two families together :)

The bare feet trek had had a nice effect on my soles... a mild burning sensation which was pleasant. The skin felt smooth and soft. I felt we must walk bare-feet often. The direct contact with earth is needed for good health.