Apr 26, 2010

Almatti Dam

...driving on NH13 from Kudala Sangama, my next destination was Almatti Dam. The highway was covered with pot-holes. Give the traffic I had to be really alert while dodging pot-holes. The worst part of the highway was the drive across this bridge with Almatti just across the river. The surface across the bridge was in even worse condition, I could see steel rods poking out under the concrete. I was driving and shooting a video same time... I could feel everything going up and down. It was scary!

I was dreaming of a walk on the dam but security would not even let anybody near the gates. I saw few people walking towards the reservoir and followed them. It looked as though the reservoir was filled to the brim.

I got bored and decided to head to Bijapur. I stopped for few minutes to get one last glance of the highest dam in Karnataka.


Apr 19, 2010

Industrial Tour

Industrial Tour as a student of Industrial & Production Engineering (1987 - 1991), BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore. I cannot recall the exact dates but it was sometime late 1989 or early 1990.

Places visited-
  1. Kuduremukh Iron Ore Mines
  2. Badravathi-Shimoga - VISL
  3. Gajnur Dam
  4. Jog Falls - Mahatma Gandhi Hydel Power Plant
  5. Pune - Kirloskar Cummins
  6. Karla Caves
  7. Mumbai - Premier Automobiles Limited
  8. Goa
Project Tour Guides
  1. Mr. Jagannath Rao
  2. Ms. Shylaja
  1. Sateesh Kavi
  2. Shetty Rajesh
  3. Siddeshwar Prasad
  4. Sudhin S Kumta
  5. Swarna K
  6. __________
  7. __________
Departure from our college around 9 PM. Two buses, 70+ students + 2 faculty members.
  1. Abdulwahab Kataraki
  2. Ajay Lalchandani
  3. Amrutha
  4. Anand K
  5. Anil Rayappa
  6. Anju
  7. Aruna H
  8. Arvind Shekar
  9. Dharamendra
  10. Gagandeep Singh
  11. Harikeshavan G
  12. Harish
  13. Jamunabai
  14. Kannan
  15. Manjunath Urs
  16. Nadim Alam
  17. Nagendra Kumar L K
  18. Naveen Singhania
  19. Nazath
  20. Padmini
  21. Prasad C H S
  22. Raghu Varma Sagi
  23. Rajesh Shetty
  24. Rakesh
  25. Rakesh
  26. Ramesh Sundaram
  27. Ravi K L
  28. Raviprakash
  29. Reena Gupta
  30. Sandeep Lodha
  31. Sanjay Dugar
  32. Sanjay R Shastry
  33. Saravanan B
  34. Sateesh Kavi
  35. Satish (Jandu)
  36. Saurabh Shukla
  37. Seshadri C B
  38. Shankar G R
  39. Shankarnarayan M K
  40. Sharad C
  41. Shuaib Khan
  42. Sheshadri Raman
  43. Shivakumar K R
  44. Siddeshwar Prasad
  45. Sindhu
  46. Srinivas Reddy
  47. Sridevi Desai
  48. Sudha
  49. Sudhin S Kumta
  50. Suneel Gandham
  51. Sunil Muthuswamy
  52. Sunil Rathi
  53. Swarna K
  54. Varma
  55. Venkatesh (we never saw this guy again after the tour)
  56. Vijayasimha
  57. Vinay B
  58. Vishnuchittan S
  59. Vishwanath Reddy B T
  60. Andy (not real name)
  61. __________
  62. __________
  63. __________
  64. __________
  65. __________
  66. __________
  67. __________
  68. __________
  69. __________
  70. __________
Day 1
Reached Kudremukh early morning, could not find accommodation nor permission to visit mines. We took a ride in the bus up a hill and back down, we got a good view of ore processing plants. A massive tipper passed by us while we were going down hill, the engine noise was deafening.

Reached Shimoga evening and we checked into a lodge. A small fight between Bhayankara and Masale, nothing serious. Usual stuff with a bunch of rowdy guys. We had dinner at Kavi's home -that's according to Ravi.

Day 2
Visit to Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited, Bhadravathi. We got an opportunity to see a blast furnace and molten steel. Apart from that I do not recall much about this visit. The small between Bus1 and Bus2 problem has grown bigger, lot of rumblings and threats. Off goes Bus2 to a garage for some minor repair. We had nothing else to do so we took off to Gajanur. It was dusk when we reached, no playing in water. Back to Shimoga, we had dinner at Jewel Rock, hosted by Kavi's father.

Day 3
Jog waterfalls was the destination for the day. Some of us traveled roof-top, got whacked by low hanging branches. We visited Mahatma Gandhi Hydel Power Plant - I do not remember much about this place. In the bus, trouble started between Shetty and Raghu & Anand, punches were exchanged and tension prevailed till the end of the day. The gap between Bus1 and Bus2 widened. We had a good time playing in a lake created by the head-stream. Our senior guide Mr.Jagganath Rao joined us in the water and someone shot a picture of him from the back... Absolutely no respect for teachers!

Day 4
Morning we stopped at a highway hotel on the outskirts of Belgaum. While we waited for some of the slower guys to get ready... Someone stole one coconut from the hotel's trees. More people joined and more cocnuts found their way into our hands. The bus roof-top coconut party came to an abrupt end when one of the managers/owners gave us a tongue lashing. We resumed our journey towards Poona.

Day 5
At Pune. Bus 1 gang moved into a choultry, while Bus 2 gang moved into hotels. We were supposed to visit Kirloskar Cummins because of bad communication we ended up going towards Kirloskar Oil Company. Three fourth way down we realized our mistake and we had to change our course. Kirloskar Cummins was on opposite side of the city... Finally we did reach the factory. We got to see the air-conditioned machine shop, latest CNC machines (I was blown away seeing at the number of tool posts one of the machines had... 72!), engine testing room, staff canteen, and a prototype Neoplan, a hi-tech bus with custom controls for every seat.

Enroute Bombay our bus driver (one of the drivers names was Rodrigues and one of the bus numbers was NLQ 7) mentioned Karla Caves. We stopped at a dhaba for lunch, some of us had beer and some got drunk. We had do a bit of climbing to do... we had some major photo shooting sessions and finally we got down back to the bus. Exhausted. We reached Bombay evening and moved into a choultry.

We visited Premier Automobiles Limited better known as PAL. We saw Premier Padmini assembly line. We also got to see how new cars were tested. Test drivers would pickup speed and brake hard!! That was testing. So much for our educational tour. We went sight seeing and our some of our boys went on adventure trip in special parts of Bombay with Sudhin leading the pack and dealing with... Sunil and Shetty were our guides. We saw Gateway of India, VT, shopped cheap shirts, sun glasses, music cassettes, got zapped at food prices in restaurants, amazed at the number of Kannada speaking guys in restaurants. Ravi, Shetty, Raman, Anil and me went to watch Tridev. We slept through the movie and later on the way back to the choultry we had pav-bhaji.

More sight-seeing and fooling around. We left to Goa. The highway was full of pot holes and our bus bounced like crazy tossing us from up and down never letting us sleep.

Day 9
The highway got even worse. We stopped for a short break. This is one of the few groups pictures. We reached one of the beaches, I cannot remember which one. Could be Calangute. We checked into a resort right next to the beach. Bus 2 people decided to head Panjim. Night we went disco dancing... Suneel went little wild with his camera and one of the locals started a row over it. Somehow we managed to settle matters and our drinking and dancing went on late into the night. We- Sudhin, Sateesah, Sunil, me -sang Kishore Kumar numbers all the way back to the resort.

Day 10 (must be a Sunday)
More time on beaches. Some of those Bus 2 guys ran out of dough. Neither did we have extra cash but we did have banker's cheques. Bad luck, it was weekend. We moved to Panjim and reqrouped. Manju had got permission to visit MRF factory but some how we were not in a mood for anything educative and the visit got cancelled. Booze was lot cheaper in Goa, most of us kept guzzling and many of us bought bottles of wine, including me. We ere also supposed to buy permits for booze abut none of us did. Later in the night, at Karnataka-Goa border at the excise check-post, we tried to hide our bottles but most got fished out and we had to cough up fines. So much for cheap booze.

Day 11
We stopped at Davangere to freshen up and breakfast. Our guide Ms.Shylaja happened to have relatives there and visited them, with few of us in tow. That's where I learnt that our HoD Dr.K G Chandrappa was related to me. On with our journey back home... we reached Bangalore by 4PM. The next few days we ran around preparing a report of our tour. It consisted mostly of photo-copied brochures.

My arms and fingers are tired of typing this blog post. I expect my lazy friends to fill in gaps or make corrections if any.

Apr 13, 2010

my Kinetic Honda is 20 years now

I got my Kinetic Honda on March 26, 1990.

Some of my friends and BMS classmates teased me for choosing a ladies vehicle but I did not care; what I wanted was a multi-purpose vehicle. I really liked the self-start feature, the lighting, the instrument panel, seating comfort, the acceleration, the braking... and I could keep riding in rains without getting my feet dirty. I nick-named it 'WIFE'. We have traveled 120,000 kilometers; within city and out station trips put together.

Some of places visited are listed below (start & end point is Bangalore)-

It has served like a goods carrier to move load cell elements and other items. I remember carrying close to 120kg on the floor board. The front wheel would start wobbling if I tried pushing beyond 35kmph and the rear wheel would lift off the ground every time I braked hard. Basically the scooter is rugged, it could take rough usage.

Right now it's not in running condition. I wish to get it back on road... lot of work to be done.
  • engine work
  • replace tires
  • replace battery
  • repaint body


Apr 6, 2010

Chilamkur to Kurnool

Our maiden visit to Chilamkur Cement Works one of the many cement plants of India Cements Limited. It is located in Andhra's Kadapa district, a dry and hot place. Dad, Praveen, Anish and I in our van. We reached ICL around 1-30AM. The factory and the staff colony are near-by. Mr. Sastry of Instrumentation Department looked pretty patient even though we disturbed his sleep. He arranged for us to be put up at the guest house. We were at the guest house annexe, a sparsely furnished two bedroom house with big lizards crawling on it's cracked walls.

Later in the morning we visited the factory; instrumentation department and the plant weigh bridge were our destination. We got an opportunity to see the control room of a cement plant ...it looked pretty sophisticated. The weigh bridge was not in working condition and we were supposed to give a quote to rectify it ...make it work. It seems the system had hardly worked since the day it was installed. We studied the weigh bridge and suggested change of load cells ...overall we would be simplifying the entire mechanism. The platform was a cement cast deck and it looked real solid. If I'm not mistaken the 9m x 3m platform weighed close to 10 tonnes. The meeting was over and our next destination was Kurnool.

We left Chilamkur after breakfast and our route as suggested by local people-
  • Chilamkur
  • Proddatur
  • Jammalmadugu
  • Gollapalle
  • Kolimigundla
  • Owk
  • Banaganapalli
  • Betamcharla
  • Orvakal
  • Kurnool

We heard about Owk reservoir and decided to visit it. I remember it was Sunday but cannot recall the name of the place we bought warm beer bottles. I was the only teetotaler of the group. I wondered how these people would be drinking in hot and sunny weather. On the way to th dam we stopped at a stream to freshen ourselves. Dad put the bottles in the stream bed and let them cool. About the dam we were heading to; it was a minor river hence the dam was not a big one. The dam was open to public and we could see people all over the place ...no restrictions, no security, nothing. As we drove up the dam to get a better view of the whole place, we were shocked to see dead fish floating in water, silvery and white, lots of them ... in hundreds. We drove our van right up to the crest gates... point where cement structure meets the steel structure of the crest gates mechanism. Several steel plates were missing exposing huge gaps in the floor. One careless move here could send the person down into the reservoir. We spent some time looking around. The wall was narrow and we tried reversing the van but we could not so we went back in reverse all the way back. We picked up Dad and resumed our journey.

We stopped for lunch at a khanavali (family managed joint which serves home made food). On the menu was rice meals, chicken dishes and mutton dishes ... all in typical Andhra style. While Dad, Praveen and Anish ordered some chicken dish I settled for a veg meal. Andhra meals are spicy by default with options for extra spice. 3 types of chutneys were served, made of green, red and white chillies. Going by the colors, red was hot, green was hotter and white was guaranteed to make a turn your mouth into a blast furnace. I did not want to try out any of them ...the after effects can be ... what do is say ... mouth is not the only part that would on fire, even the stomach would be on fire. By the end of the meal Dad, Praveen and Anish were gasping for air and gulping down water.

We resumed our journey towards Kurnool. Small hills are scattered over this region with roads running through them. The journey was quite interesting ... a short stretch of road was carved over a rocky hill ... effects of light and shadow was something to be photographed but unfortunately those days we never used to carry cameras with us. We placed through many villages and small towns. One of the towns name was Owk ...I liked the name. Towns and villages between Owk and Betamcharla are full of stone cutting mills ...mostly Cuddapah stone slabs. We reached NH18... Kurnool was another 40 kilometers or so.

Years later, I realized Andhra was close to my heart ...it's people and culture are close to Karnataka's.