And now, for something completely different

Those guys the Python language was named after, was how I knew Monty Python as. And that was all I knew of them till Version One Dot Oh came along one evening to our office (yes, really) and staged a few hilarious Python sketches. I really did think VODO were fundo thespians, until I watched their Harvey, which can actually manage, on a scale of one to ten, a respectable minus two, if the rating process had been fixed, in VODO's favour (Well, actually it was passable - you know how it is, na - calling something crap can be delightfully hedonistic).

Leh: Back

Surprise, surprise - we made it. Safe, grinning, and rather impressed with ourselves.

And we did manage it a lot better than I would have expected. 0 casualties, 1 injury, 1 puncture, 2 damaged clutch plate sets, 1 cut clutch wire. All seven of us doing fine. All bikes in riding condition. Yeah, looks like we were really safe drivers.

With zero out-of-the-city biking experience, it does take some nerve and a bit of audacity to take on this route. And the reward is a whale of a time. The drive alternates between exhilerating, dangerous and tricky, as fast as the scenery changes between green slopes of grass or pine, cold desertlands and barren mountains in wild dashes of colour.
One avid biker (well, he just became one) in our group, Sriram, has finally started blogging all the nitty-gritties. Hope he manages to finish it too.

So there. Riding a ~200kg cruiser for ~2500kms, about a thousand of that in the Himalayan roads, is fun, back-breaking and perfectly doable. Nothing audacious about it, really. Trust me, I know.

Photos from this trip: by Shanthi and Jomy, and by Roop (my camera conked early on)

Leh: Flag off

It all starts tomorrow. The road trip. The third best, say some, but possibly the best we might get to do.

We're catching a flight on Saturday to Delhi, renting some Enfield Thunderbirds there, and biking off to Leh. Going a clockwise round trip of Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Manali-Delhi, about 2500kms in all, and will also be paying an exclusive visit to Khardung La, north of Leh, arguably the world's highest motorable road.

Abhi is just back from a biketrip to Leh, and between the five of them on seven bikes over 14 days, they had 15 gigs of photos, 1 puncture, 1 burnt sprocket, 1 damaged suspension, 1 hairline fracture and about 15 minor injuries.

Unlike Abhi's gang, we seven are a somewhat odd lot, without much biking experience (does trekking experience count?) With a who's who of riders looking like this:

The number of riders
who have fixed bikes before: 1
who ride a bike regularly: 5
who have ridden bikes regularly: 6
who have ridden an Enfiled for >10km: 0
who have biked on long trips: 2
our plan does look rather audacious, don't you think?
Wish us luck. We'll need it.

Ponniyin Selvan: The First Floods [ 0/5 ]

You don't get good Tamil books in Bangalore, and I've always picked some whenever I go to Tambiland. Last time, unusually, I picked up something in English - a translated version of Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan (a 5-part novel in Tamil about the Chola dynasty, set in 10th Century Tamil Nadu - arguably, the popularest Tamil novel ever). Gulti had asked me to pick it up for one of his friends. Girish, did you tell me you'd read a bit of a pathetic translation of Ponniyin Selvan? Was it by one Karthik Narayan by any chance? It must be, because it's the only one I found on the stands. And because it fits your description well.

A wisp of Lisp

Lisp is a funny looking language, with a scary deluge of parantheses. Some of you might know it as Scheme (it's different, but not very). I had loved it in college days - the Lisp questions were all like puzzles, and all you had to do to solve them was keep recursion in mind (efficiency can go to hell), and most importantly, none in my class loved it, or that's what I think - many could barely stand it. I remember a particular class test since it was probably the only one I actually enjoyed writing: it had ten questions each of which required you to write a small Lisp program that did arcane stuff like computing x power y and inserting into a list and stuff.