Monday, November 23, 2009

2012 : The Mystery Deepens !

Experts from around the world are predicting that five years from now, all life on Earth could well come to an end. Some are saying it’ll be humans that would set it off. Others believe that a natural phenomenon will be the cause. And the religious folks are saying it’ll be God himself who would press the stop button.
The following are some likely arguments as to why the world would end by the year 2012.

Reason One : Mayan Calendar

The first to predict 2012 as the end of the world were the Mayans, a bloodthirsty race that were good at two things - building highly accurate astrological equipment out of stone and sacrificing virgins. Thousands of years ago they managed to calculate the length of the lunar moon as 329.53020 days, only 34 seconds out. The Mayan calendar predicts that the earth will end on December 21,2012. Given that they were pretty close to the mark with the lunar cycle, it’s likely they’ve got the end of the world right as well.

Reason Two: Sun Storms

Solar experts from around the world monitoring the sun have made a startling discovery. Our sun is in a bit of strife. The energy output of the sun is, like most things in nature, cyclic and it’s supposed to be in the middle of a period of relative stability. However, recent solar storms have been bombarding the earth with lot of radiation energy. It’s been knocking out power grids and destroying satellites. This activity is predicted to get worse and calculations suggest it’ll reach its deadly peak sometime in 2012.

Reason Three: The Atom Smasher

Scientists in Europe have been building the world’s largest particle accelerator. Basically, its a 27 km tunnel designed to smash atoms together to find out what makes the universe tick. However, the mega-gadget has caused serious concern, with some scientists suggesting that it’s probably even a bad idea to turn it on in the first place. They’re predicting all manner of deadly results, including mini black holes. So when this machine is fired up for its first serious experiment in 2012, the world could be crushed into a super-dense blob the size of a basketball.

Reason Four: The Bible Says It

If having scientists warning us about the end of the world isn’t bad enough, religious folks are getting in on the act as well. Interpretations of the Christian Bible reveal that the date for Armageddon, the final battle between good an evil, has been set for 2012. The I Ching, also known as the Chinese Book of Changes, says the same thing, as do various sections of the Hindu teachings.

Reason Five: Super Volcano

Yellowstone National Park in United States is famous for its thermal springs and old faithful geyser. The reason for this is simple - it’s sitting on top of the world’s biggest volcano and geological experts are beginning to get nervous sweats. The Yellowstone volcano has a pattern of erupting every 650,000 years or so, and we’re many years overdue for an explosion that will fill the atmosphere with ash, blocking the sun and plunging the earth into a frozen winter that could last up to 15,000 years. The pressure under the Yellowstone is building steadily, and geologists have set 2012 as a likely date for the big bang.

Reason Six: The Physicists

This one’s case of bog - simple mathematics. Physicists at Berkely University have been crunching the numbers. They've determined that the earth is well overdue for a major catastrophic event. Even worse, they’re claiming that their calculations prove that we’re all going to die, very soon. They are also saying that their prediction comes with a certainty of 99 per cent; and 2012 just happens to be the best guess as to when it occurs.

Reason Seven: Earth’s Magnetic Field

We all know the Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that shields us from most of the sun’s radiation. What you might not know is that the magnetic poles we call North and South have a nasty habit of swapping places every 750,000 years or so - and right now we’re about 30,000 years overdue. Scientists have noted that the poles are drifting apart roughly 20-30 kms each year, much faster than ever before, which points to a pole-shift being right around the corner. While the pole shift is under way, the magnetic field is disrupted and will eventually disappear, sometimes for up to 100 years. The result is enough UV outdoors to crisp your skin in seconds, killing everything it touches.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Himalayan Retreat - The Indrahar Trek !

Living in concrete jungles and toiling away day and night to make that extra buck has become a norm for most of us. Have you ever imagined breaking away from these shackles and exploring the true essence of life? Being highly passionate about travel, adventure and photography I sometimes feel the urge to explore the wild and wander around freely with nothing but pure bliss as companion. Well what's life without actually living it!

As an old 11th century saying goes "Traveler's will cross many rivers and climb many mountains. Plainsmen may always live within a valley. But only those seeking the truth will ever reach the summit". This is a vivid recount of my tryst with destiny.

A few weeks of planning and last minute leave approval meant I was frantically on my way to catch that evening flight to Delhi on a cloudy Friday afternoon in Bangalore. An overnight stay in Delhi and we start off early next morning to catch the Kalka bound Shatabdi Express. The excitement is palpable on reaching Kalka as we brace ourselves to board the "Himalayan Queen". The Kalka-Shimla Himalayan Queen is an architectural gem providing breathtaking panoramas of the Himalayan foothills as it meanders its way through 101 tunnels and 864 bridges on its slow accent to Shimla. An amazing experience as we stay rooted to the doors soaking in the lasting memories.

The next two days are spent wandering about in Shimla, the summer capital of India during British Raj. One can only admire this city for its immaculate planning and architectural beauty. After a brief detour to Kufri we visit the "Kali Baadi" (Kali Temple) and the "Jakhu Mandir" (Hanuman Temple). Legend has it that Hanuman rested here for sometime when he went to collect the mythical medicinal herb “Sanjivani” from the Himalayas to cure the mortally wounded Lakshman and in the process his footprints got embedded here. Soon the time came to bid goodbye to this historic city as we help ourselves to some goodies at the famous Mall Road and take the overnight bus to Dharamshala.

A 9km drive from Dharamshala takes you to Mcleodganj, abode of the Dalai Lama and the epicenter of Tibetan cry for Independence. Apart from being the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile this suburb is the base point for many a trek into the mighty Dhauladhar Range and hence is always bustling with trekking enthusiasts from all over the world. After a token visit to the Dalai Lama Temple we pack our sleeping bags, tents and hiking sticks to head for Dharamkot (a small town 2km from Mcleodganj) next morning. Here we meet our guide, Kuldeep, and he infuses enough confidence in us to be able to complete the trek within 4 days.

The ridges over the Dhauladhar do not lend themselves to easy trekking and the Indrahar Pass is no exception. This trail however is well defined as it is the traditional migratory and grazing route of the "Gaddis", the colorful, semi nomadic Hindu shepherds. Climbing uphill from Dharamkot along a rocky path, amongst the clouds, it took us about 5 hours to climb 800m and reach Triund (2850m). The 9km walk is steep but provides splendid views of the meadows below. Needless to say the vivid Himalayan flora en route caught everyone's eye. At the top, Triund painted a pretty picture with mountain goats and horses grazing on green pastures amidst a backdrop of the mighty Himalayas. We spent the night at the forest guest house here and woke up early next morning to catch the beautiful sunrise above the high mountains shrouded in layers of thick clouds. Words can never do justice to this mesmerizing experience!

The trail from Triund starts to climb gently through oak and conifer forests and after a point the green pastures seem to give way to huge rocks and boulders. We pass through a ridge of prayer flags and descending porters and after a 3 hour climb reach the campsite at Lakagot (3350m), 6km from Triund. The altitude is getting to us by now and our pace has drastically reduced. Snow Line Cafe provides a lifeline here as we fill ourselves to the brim with the basic food available and decide to camp out for the night at near zero temperatures, all the while gazing at the misty mountains right ahead of us and what it would feel like to be on top.

The day after Kuldeep dutifully wakes us all up at 5 am as we start for the final assault to Indrahar Pass, 6km from Lakagot, through dense fog and almost zero visibility. A rigorous trek for 2 hours and we reach Lahesh Cave (3600m), a huge rock overhang adjacent to a "Nullah" (Glacial stream). The legs have started paining badly by now as we rest here to catch a little breath. Kuldeep has words of encouragement and constantly eggs us on. The trek up to the pass involves climbing through rugged and slippery terrain, sometimes on all fours. Holy markings engraved on the rocks by shepherds all along the way help to keep a sense of direction amidst the maze of rocks. As I climb higher I can hear my heart pounding heavily and asking me to turn back with each forward step but the determination to reach the top keeps me going somehow. The last stretch to Indrahar Pass (4350m) is an almost vertical climb and the sun is unforgiving even at that altitude but once there the majestic view of the snow capped Pir Panjal Range and Mt. Mani Mahesh Kailash (5650m) to the north is simply spellbinding.

Standing there on top I had this strange feeling of belongingness and a sense of achievement that I had finally made it to the abode of Gods. Needless to say the pain endured during the last 7 hours was traded for every inch of ascent!
And as the popular Gaddi saying goes "Ye pathar bulate hain!”, I hope to make it back again sometime in the near future!

Friday, March 13, 2009


* "Are u there on Orkut ??"...Yep whoz not ?..."Ok add kar lunga"...Arre bhai contact number to deta ja ??..."Yaar profile se pata kar lunga na"

* "Oye whatz this new Carnival theme?"...Kaunsa Carnival ?...Kahan pe ho raha hai ?..."Yaar em talking about this cool theme in Orkut...Mast hai yaar...Better than the Roadies theme !"

* "Gtalk on Orkut is irritating yaar !...Iski setting change kar sakte hain kya ??"...Honi to chahiye kahin na kahin..."Nahi mil raha hai dost ...Dhond ke bata na plz !"

* "What an awesome party dude...Kya crowd tha...!"...Kahan gaya tha ??..."Yaar there was this special invite only for people of 'Taika' community in Orkut ...Had a rocking time dude !"

* "Tujhe invite kiya tha khelne ke liye...Khela kyun nahi ??"...Kab yaar...Main to subah se yehin hun..."Arre Orkut pe 'Teen-Patti' khelna ka invite bheja tha yaar...U can chat with people as well there...Cool App...I just love Orkut !"

Welcome to the Orkut-age folks ! :)

150 Things To Do Before U Turn 30 ! :)

Came across this list on one of my favorite blogs - Moments Today...Memories Tommorrow

Loved the list and as U would have guessed it ...Here I go !! :)

* The things that I have already done are in green.

* The things which I would love to do are in red

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins (Wow !)
03. Climbed a mountain (Twice !)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive (Phew !)
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (That would be something !)
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped (Want to do this at least before I die if not before I am 30 !)
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (Nandi Hills !)
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg (That would be super cool !)
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower (Remember Hale-Bopp ?)
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (Yup !)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can (U bet !)
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse (Wish I could capture the Diamond Ring !)
34. Ridden a roller coaster (Theme parks zindabad ! )
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (Tried to impress my Language Trainer in office :P)
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (Yup !)
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (Can't live with just one !)
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk (More than once ! )
42. Had amazing friends (Lots of them !)
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip (Love them !)
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach (Don't ask with whom :P)
50. Gone sky diving (Again at least before I die if not before I turn 30 !)
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (Yup !)
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain (Awww !)
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (Goa Rocks !)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date (Wooo...!)
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
93. Been on a cruise ship (Bombay to Goa ...Though I hardly remember much of it !)
94. Spoken more than one language fluently (Still do !)
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived (Bike Trip - Ooty '07...Am lucky to be still alive !)
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show (No millionaire dreams...Just a li'l cash would do ! :P)
113. Broken a bone (More than once !)
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (Not for the wrong reasons though ! :P )
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Para sailed
132. Touched a cockroach (Played with one ! :P)
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (Was fun !)
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (Once !)
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

26% completion rate!! Not bad eh considering the fact that I just turned 25 ! :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Zodiacs n Booze !

ARIES : Impulsive Aries like to party and sometimes don't know when to call it a night. Their competitive streak makes them prone to closing-time shot contests. They're sloppy, fun drunks, and they get mighty flirty after a couple tipples. Getting Aries people drunk is a good way to get what you want out of them, should other methods fail. Aries can become bellicose when blotto, but they will assume that whatever happened should be forgiven (if not forgotten) by sunrise. They can be counted on to do the same for you - so long as you haven't gone and done anything really horrible to them last night, you sneaky Gemini.

TAURUS : Taurus prefers to drink at a leisurely pace, aiming for a mellow glow rather than a full-on zonk. Since a truly intoxicated Taurus is a one-person stampede, the kind of bull-in-a-china- shop inebriate who spills red wine on white carpets and tells fart jokes to employers, the preference for wining and dining (or Bud and buddies) to body shots and barfing is quite fortunate for the rest of us. This is not to say that the Bull is by any means a teetotaler - god, no. A squiffy Taurus will get, er, gregarious (full of loud mouth soup, some would say) and is extremely amusing to drag to a karaoke bar when intoxicated.

GEMINI : Gemini's can drink without changing their behavior much - they're so naturally chatty and short-attention- spanned that it's just hard to tell sometimes. They can amaze you by conversing with finesse and allusion, then doing something to belie an extremely advanced state of intoxication, like puking in your shoe. Gemini's possess the magic ability to flirt successfully (and un-infuriatingly, which is very tricky) with several people at once. They like to order different cocktails every round - repetition is boring - and may create a theme (like yellow drinks: beer, sauvignon blanc and limoncello) for their own amusement.

CANCER : Cancer is a comfort drinker - and an extra wine with dinner or an after-work beer or six can be extra comforting, can't it, Cancer darling? Like fellow water signs Scorpio and Pisces, Crabs must guard against lushery. Cancers are brilliant at ferreting out secret parties and insinuating themselves on VIP lists - and, in true Hollywood style, Cancers are never really drunk; instead, they get "tired and emotional" (read: weepy when lubricated). But there's nothing better than swapping stories (and spit) over a few bottles of inky red wine with your favorite Cancer. Even your second-favorite Cancer will do. The sign also rules the flavor vanilla, and you'd be adored if you served up a vanilla vodka and soda.

LEO : Leo likes to drink and dance - they're often fabulous dancers, and usually pretty good drinkers as well, losing their commanding dignity and turning kittenish. Of course, they're quite aware they're darling -Leos will be Leos, after all. They generally know their limit, probably because they loathe losing self-control. When they get over-refreshed, expect flirting to ensue - and perhaps not with the one what rung them. But Leo's not the type to break rules even when drunk, so just try to ignore it (try harder, Cancer) and expects a sheepish (and hung over) Lion to make it up to you the next day.

VIRGO : Cerebral Virgos are compelled to impose order onto their bender. Their famously fussy quest for purity could lead to drinking less than other signs, sure - but it could also lead to drinking booze neat, to sucking down organic wine or just to brand loyalty. They rarely get fully shellacked -- but, oh, when they do! Virgo's controlled by the intellect, but there's an unbridled beast lurking within, and they let it loose when walloped. It's dead sexy (and surprisingly un-sloppy). As one Virgo friend used to declare, "I'm going to drink myself into a low-level of intelligence tonight." A toast to the sub genius IQ!

LIBRA : "I'm jusht a social drinker," slurs Libra, "it's jusht that I'm so damn social?" Libra loves nothing more than to party, mingle and relate to everyone. Whether dipped in favor of Good Libra (with Insta-Friend device set to "on") or heavier on the Evil Libra side (they are little instigators when bored), the Scales can really work a room. Charming as they are, Libras are notoriously lacking in self-control, however, which can get them into all sorts of trouble - including wearing their wobbly boots waay too early in the evening, flirting with every man/woman in the room or even blacking out the night's events entirely. Oops!

SCORPIO : Don't ever tell Scorpios they've had enough, for they'll smirk at you and quietly but intentionally keep tippling till they're hog-whimpering drunk, out of 100-proof spite. Scorpios like to drink, and screw you if you have a problem with that. Most of them seethe sauce as something to savor in itself, and not as a personality- altering tool - though if depressed, self-loathing Scorps seek total obliteration. But generally, they're fascinating drinking pals, brilliant conversationalists and dizzying flirts. They also remember everything - especially what you did when you were blitzed. Only drink with a Scorpio who likes you.

SAGITTARIUS : In vino veritas - and, for Sagittarius, in booze blurriness: When buttered, they'll spill all your secrets and many of their own. Tactlessness aside, Sagittarius is just plain fun to drink with. This is a sign of serious partying (what else would you expect from the sign of Sinatra, Keith Richards, the Bush twins and Anna Nicole Smith?). They're the people who chat up everyone in the room, then persuade the entire crowd to travel somewhere else - like a nightclub, or a playground, or Cancun. Good - natured hi jinks are sure to ensue (including a high possibility of loopy groping; spontaneous Sag is a brilliant booty call).

CAPRICORN : Capricorn is usually described as practical, steadfast, money-hungry and status-thirsty - no wonder they get left off the astrological cocktail-party list. But this is the sign of David Bowie and Annie Lennox, not to mention Elvis. Capricorn is the true rock star: independent, powerful and seriously charismatic, not too eager to please. And if they make money being themselves, who're you to quibble? But just like most rock stars, they're either totally on or totally off, and they generally need a little social lubricant to loosen up and enjoy the after party, especially if they can hookup with a cute groupie.

AQUARIUS : Aquarius and drinking don't go together that well (except for water, that is). They have an innate tendency toward know-it-allism, and if they get an idea while sizzled, they're more stubborn than a stain or a stone. If they're throwing a party or organizing an outing, however, they're too preoccupied with their duties to get combative - and they make perfectly charming drunks in that case. Fortunately, they're usually capital drink-nursers. They also make the best designated drivers (if you can get them before they start raising their wrist). Aquarius is fascinated by drunk people and capable of holding interesting conversations with soused strangers while sober.

PISCES : If you're a Pisces, you've probably already heard that you share a sign and an addictive personality - with Liz Taylor, Lisa Minnelli and Kurt Cobain. Not only do Pisces like to lose themselves in the dreamy, out-there feeling that only hooch can give, but they build up a mighty tolerance fast. Who needs an expensive date like that? On the other hand, they're fabulously enchanting partners, whether in conversation or in crime. With the right Pisces, you can start out sharing a pitcher of margaritas and windup in bed together for days. The phrase "addictive personality" can be read two ways, you know.

Source : Forwarded Article ...!