Friday 20 November 2015

A Click With Mr.Thalaivasal Vijay.

I have seen the wonderful movie Thalaivasal many number of times. That was two decades ago. I was studying in school at that time. The year was 1992.
Vijay Sir made an impressive debut in that movie Thalaivasal.
Though it had happened two decades ago, he still comes to my memory whenever I come across the word "Thalaivasal".

Lucky is me, when I got a chance to get myself clicked with Thalaivasal Vijay Sir, at my cousin's wedding reception on 17 Nov 2019.
He is a good friend of my uncle

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Missing Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam

These were some memories that remain a great treasure when Dr.Abdul Kalam visited Cuddalore.
Its a big loss to our nation India. We miss him badly.

Here is a write up :

Sunday 5 July 2015

Cuddalore Biker's Club - First Meeting on 22 Feb 2015

The Cuddalore Bikers Club is a community that has just got started off in my town. All the back and forth communication happened only through the WhatsApp group wherein my friend Sumthi Mehta has suggested me be added to the group. Apart from Sumthi, I do not know any other members of the group. There were about 50 bikers in this WhatsApp group. 

The meeting was coined by Kaviarasan Thirugnanam who had fired up the idea of congregating bikers living here in my town Cuddalore. The meet was scheduled at 7.30 a.m. on Sunday, the 22nd Feb 2015, @ "Devanampattinam Silver Beach". 

As of me, I am a newbie in this group, do not know anybody other than Sumthi, I was not that keen to go for this meet. But the word "Biker" was always chiming in me. Since the evening of 21st Feb, continuous updates by Kavi arrived in the WhatsApp group, all those pings were in a professional attire, something pulled me to go for the meet. 

I confirmed myself to go to the meeting only 30 minutes prior to the meeting time. It should be a great time to bump with like minded passionate bikers. 

My elder kid had a practice session for his TaekWonDo session, so I dropped him at Koothapakkam and set my next sojourn to Devanampattinam Silver Beach which was about 4 kms away.,

I never expected more than 5 bikers. Once I arrived there, I was in for a surprise to see this. What stumped me was, many premium high speed bikes were lined up. There were 30 bikes lined up in area earmarked for the club. Some four Royal Enfield bulls were there to give a company to my bull TN45 4732, a 1990 STD350 workhorse.

Little into the meeting, we all got introduced. There was a surprise with a guy from Chennai arriving at this meetup. Something is special to this meeting.  I shared my little knowledge of group riding, safety gears, safe riding tips, group ride formations & rules, ... Glad that I got positive feedback from many of the members after I finished my short 10 minutes talk ... 

This club is open for anybody who has vehicle with two wheels and is driven by an engine and no restriction on the bike's engine power.

Just bump in and enjoy., 

In the end, as I eyed-in to Kavi, all bikes were linedup in the open ground and had a good photo op.

Doing this is usually a time consuming process, but all bikers understood the need for a pic and assembled their bikes in the lineup within 10 minutes.

Have a nice time watching this half minute video. After finishing this video, I thought its over and time to leave.  Another surprise awaited. Kavi made the next interesting announcement. There would be a group ride around the town. I was in for a joy.  I opted to be a sweeper for the group and wanted Kavi to lead the convoy. But, after dilly dallying, I was made to lead the convoy of 40 bikers. 

I was never a lead in any of the moment so far in public life. Leave alone my family.  But an astonishment awaited when I was assigned to lead the group . Its not a small group, there were nearly 40 bikes and all were to go through the public roads that is amply filled with morning traffic.  Though I know the Ins and Outs of a group ride, it was a butterfly in the stomach moment. I made sure that the ride is at a slower pace. 

Once we clocked past one kilometre, when I was watching the fellow bikers on my side mirror, all were exactly in a single line, that too no one was honking, no one was overtaking, as was advised, I was engulfed in goose bumps.  Wow, what a great moment. We started off at Silver Beach, reached Woodlands hotel, turned right, reached Post Office, turned left and then moving on the road leading to Govt Hospital. 

All these moments, I was keenly watching my rear view mirror. All the bikers were sticking to the left most end of the road. This is to avoid any disturbance to the public traffic.  That was a nervous moment when I noticed an ambulance in my rear view mirror. It was coming at a farther end, though without the siren, making its way forward. As exactly while we were nearing the hospital, the ambulance was nearer me with its left indicator to turn. it was a dilly dallying moment since our convoy was going to be stopped.  

But as I pressed my brakes, so was all the fellow bikers... All of them stopped in precision. That was another goose bump moment. No one went to the side ways, all stopped in line.  Then we all moved past after the ambulance turned into the hospital which was on the left side of the road.

Then we reached Semmandalam, turned left and went into the Kammiampet road. As we touched past the Gadilum bridge, we dispersed as planned.  

No hiccups... Wonderful experience. First time in my life.  There were more trips being planned. Interesting updates are in the making...  Click here to visit the FanPage of the Cuddalore Bikers Club.  Have a look. Like the page and Come join for an upcoming meeting and then for a ride... 

My kid's - Do it yourself - On his little old cycle

 My elder kid Surya busy painting his dismantled tricycle in red colour.

After finishing paint job, its now refitting schedule
 Some pride of having finished a job which is first in his lifetime

The tricycle is ready after do-it-yourself paint job and refitting done by Suriya.
My younger kid Lokashyam joins the elder one Suriya and the joy ride goes on in this little tricycle

Wednesday 31 December 2014

My Times 2014

It was an awesome thing to just click the button and get back an year's highlights of yourself on your FaceBook. Posting it to recall the memoirs of the year 2014....

Wish that the new year would be great one ahead for everyone of us.

Friday 26 September 2014

Jaguar Land Rover Offroad Experience

Thursday 18 Sep 2014
It was evening. I was back to home from my office. As usual it was time to beat the tiredness. What I usually do? After a refresh, turn on the Music on the home PC, hear some melodies. This usually goes for half an hour after which I move on to other routine.

But on Thursday evening, as I was switching on my home PC, my phone ringed. The person on the other end was Shrinidhi, my long time blogger friend. "Hey, are you free this Sunday, 21 Sep? Jaguar Land Rover is sprucing out an Offroading Experience." And, this was a music, more interesting, than what I was going to hear in my home PC!!

"Yeah!! " said me. Offroading that too on a luxury SUV!! I replied him that I would be there for sure. Then the process started with couple of calls and emails from Blogadda who are coordinating the bloggers coming for this event.

The event happened on Sunday afternoon. We needed to be there by 12.00 noon, start with the lunch and go on with the off roading event.

Shrinidhi, Ashwini and myself were to go in a cab for the event venue. We fixed 11.30 a.m. as the the ample time to catch up together at Shollinganallur junction on the ECR and continue the journey in a cab and reach "The Farm" a specialty restaurant at Semmancherry Village on the OMR in Chennai.

Sunday 21 Sep 2014
Yours truly started off from Cuddalore by 7.30 a.m. While I crossed past Pondicherry, I confirmed my coordinates to Shrinidhi.

As planned, I joined Shrinidhi and Ashwini awaiting with the Innova cab exactly at 11.30 a.m. at Shollinganallur ECR junction and we all started off to "The Farm" the venue for the Jaguar Land Rover Experience.

As we already planned, we were on time. We arrived at 12.00 noon.

As we entered into the precincts of the restaurant there was a big change in the scenario. The environment did not seem to be a "buzzing Chennai" but an ever green atmosphere prevailed around. After a photograph, we went in, to join the folks of the JLR India as well as Blogadda.

After a few minutes of getting introduced with the people, I was in for a surprise to meet Tinu Cherian. I have felt his online presence, more than once, be it twitter or facebook through retweets made by others. Met him for the first time. Happenings like this do get me joy which are hard to forget in life. Its a first meeting him.

We all then had some fruit juice. The previous session of off roading was going on. We were told that The Land Rovers have gone into the off roading terrain, which is nearby and should be in the middle of the session. We understood that, it would take more than half hour for the session to end. It was felt that we all can go and have a look.

So, we all went in to the big private farm land by walk...

The big farm land spruced up on more than 60 acres.

There was a big water pool and we got to see a Land Rover entering into it.

It was interesting to see the big SUVs in action at such challenging conditions. The vehicles then went into a bit far place. So we came back to our restaurant area.

An ambulance along with a doctor was available throughout the event. The JLR folks need to be saluted for taking so much of care for their creed.

Pizzas were served hot, we finished our lunch and were ready for our driving session.

The experience was facilitated by Cougar Motorsports, specialists in OffRoad events in India, from "Tata Motors Full Throttle" to "The Himalayan Dash".  After lunch, briefing session by experts from Cougar  as well as JLR started off.

We were explained of the advanced features of the Rovers. We were in for a surprise to know that the vehicle has features such as Hill Descent Control - prevents the machine from slipping / skidding due to hard braking while going downhill. Another control - Terrain Response - can change throttle response and a million other parameters based on the terrain such as sand, rock etc..,

Clear instruction were given to us. As each car was driven by us, there would be an expert driver sitting on the left seat. We should follow our instructor’s command to the letter, if we don’t, the drive experience was bound to be taken over by the expert. Ofcourse, all of us enjoyed the drive, no one was taken off.

We were in for a surprise to have Mr.Vicky Chandok, the scion in the Indian Motor Sports scenario. He too explored the off road terrain during the event along with his son Suhail Chandok. It was great time to bump with him here through the LandRoverExperience.

There were 7 SUVs ranging from Land Rover, Land Rover 2, to Range Rover. There were 7 explorers. Each of us were assigned a vehicle along with an expert driver. The people were assigned sequentially from car number 1. But as all the people got off their chairs and went off, I was the only one to be seated and waiting to be called out.

 Ofcourse, I was the last one to be assigned. 

I was the last driver in the convoy. It was a surprise that a top of the class Range Rover Evoque came in for me. 

Sitting inside the cabin, a surprise was that, there was no key below the steering wheel. There was no gear Lever. There was no Clutch. Only two pedals were there - Brake and Accelerator. A rotatory knob on the panel in the left, sufficed a gear lever. A small switch near the knob sufficed the hand brake lever. I was then given instruction to press the left pedal "Brake" with my foot, then press "Start" with my hand. The Rover roared in some sweet music. 

The convoy started off. After driving the RangeRover on the pits and small mounds, the big water pool came in. There were clear instruction on how to take this nearly 5 foot deep water pool. As we needed to drive on a nearly 200 feet long periphery of the pool, it was a quite challenge. As I was guided to turn accordingly along the periphery of the pool, I drove it without any hiccups. 

So far I have been in some car or even bus, plying above stagnant water pools,  I would be sitting inside it though. Water would be splashing off to heights in some rare cases. That looked cool. All those experience was just for a short length of 10 or 15 feet. But not this long.

But, now, I am driving the vehicle and the water is nearer to my hip level on the outside, as I was inside of this RangeRover. 

As my vehicle was into the pool, till the water is 2 feet deep, I was in as usual. But, as the depth increased, the SUV seemed not to be driven but seemed to be sailing. 

I was awestruck a bit on what will happen if water entered to the insides of the cabin. I had brought a spare set of clothes though, my usual practice, whenever I go in for any off roading. But, nothing bad happened. Not a drop of water creeped insides the cabin. ENGINEERING MARVEL!!

After the car was driven to the plains, I was instructed to open the doors, to feel the amount of water that have come in. Some 2 litres of water came out from the insides of each of the doors on the right side. After all the water seeped out, I was instructed to start the journey further.

The next trail was a mud slush. Then a mound came in. Then came a slush. The vehicle was put in different modes. All the controls were taken care of by the computers in the vehicle. Barely the skill of the driver is put into play.

Then there was a stretch which was bit longer and I got the chance to push the accelerator bit harder. It was a good experience. There was another descending mound to be taken now. This was a bit challenging one and so it took more time for the three vehicles before me to queue out.

So far so good, I was rotating the pod in the vehicle to "Drive" and moving the vehicle as needed. Whenever the vehicle wants to be stopped for a long time, I switched the pod to "Parking" and waited. So, I was in the "Parking" mode for a longer time. Since I was the last man in the convoy, a fire lit in me. Why not try "Reverse"? I asked my instructor. He nodded. I then turned the knob to "R" and drove the RangeRover for some twenty feet in the reverse. Ofcourse I was the only person in the group who roved the Evoque in the reverse. A gift for this last man in the convoy!!

Then the Queue in the front had moved out. It was my turn. After climbing down the last mound we came back to the starting point.

Since the RangeRover experience was so awesome, I missed to take a selfie. There was also an instruction to not use our cameras while driving. So, after coming back to the start point, I got my instructor to click me a pic. But, there was a two wheeler guy who was honking continuously from behind. So was the result in my facial expression. After moving the vehicle a bit, he went off, I was bit relieved. My instructor took the vehicle as I came out.

We came back to the venue, filled in our feedback and started off...

This was the fare well click for we the bloggers. The session meant for us was over. But, just having finished our driving, me and Shrinidhi felt something missing. We have never clicked the action packed Rovers to our appetite.

We asked the JLR folks for taking us in some other vehicles during the next session. There was communication back and forth, in the end, we realized that we can't be accommodated in the vehicles. 

We were also told that we can venture into the terrain and do our photography. So we two ventured once again into the terrain to click the next batch of explorers who came in driving into terrain.

The line up of the Land Rover India SUVs for the next batch to set sail into the off road terrain

The pit to test the capability of the SUVs
 The marshals awaiting for the next batch to come into the terrain for the offroading.

The first sight of the Rovers coming in to the offroad terrain.

Rover on its three... !!

 The smoke from the vehicle bubbles out of the water.

This is the steep mound with loose mud. The car has a Hill Descent Control to overtake the braking done by the driver. In case the driver over steps the brake pedal, the computer takes control and prevents a skid.

It was a great time seeing all these advanced machines in action under controlled environment. Learnt a bit of intricacies in these machines. 

By end of day, me and Shrinidhi left in the taxi. I got dropped at Shollinganallur junction and caught a bus to Cuddalore. Reached home by 10.00 p.m.

Here is a video made by Shrinidhi...

Don't miss some more interesting photos at my FaceBook album here

A great experience. 
Thanks JLR, Thank you Shrinidhi, Thank you Blogadda.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Tractor Experience

Driving a tractor is easy. My first ever experience of driving a 4 wheeled motor vehicle was a tractor. It happened on a mid of a night at my grand pa's village some fifteen years ago. There was a need to go to the rice mill to grind the paddy. It was usual that the rice mill works 24 hours and it works in full steam during the night due to power cuts in the day. A tractor with a trailer, almost full of paddy bags, needed to be transported to the mill.

Since it was a midnight, roads were empty. I was at freedom to try. The curious me made a pleading to the driver to give me a chance. It was almost 11.30 p.m. when we all started off. The passage was a mud road with bends coming up often. The tractor belonged to my uncle. The driver Rajnikant immediately offered me after moving past three bends. But I asked him to wait till all the bends pass by. Then the main road came in. I was readily offered the driver's seat. After knowing the gear shifting and the clutch, I drove it. It was so easy. That half hour driving experience did give me more confidence. Still a memorable experience in my life time. But, those days, cameras are a rarity and I never had a chance to capture the moment. The driver Rajinikant had passed away few years ago. I badly miss my four wheeler guru.

Two weeks back, I was back at grandpa's village, it was time to up my learning curve. Over a decade have passed and I have driven many of the four wheelers. Having experienced off roading with Audi cars and with recent visit to the toughest offroading event of India  "The Palar Challenge", my inner voice questioned me, why not try something different with this tractor ? Its rather boredom to drive this vehicle in the usual ways !
So, tried my bit to place the vehicle on a slant gradient. Since its a farm land, there were no other vehicles, it was easier to try the gimmick.

A goose bumpy moment though of having made the tractor climb the small mound. 


Also succeeded to get a video recorded during the experience.