Wayanad road trip

With 2017 already knocking, I had already decided that this new year’s eve will not be spent in some super loud, exorbitantly priced pub in the city. Either it will be wholesome and organic else 11.30 pm will be the bedtime. I mean there cannot be a shallower way of celebrating new year with 200 drunk people dancing around you in a closed and dark interior and spending as if literally there will be no tomorrow.

So I decided I’ll spend this new year in Wayanad – camping, trekking and cycling on Day 1, 2017. I looked up on Thrillophilia and booked Asdani Adventures in Chundale for 2 days. I and 4 friends of mine were set for a road trip from Bangalore to Wayanad. Here is the video which I shot during the trip to give an idea what it was like to celebrate new year in a totally different way.

I hope it stimulates you to make some right choices this year!

Do let me know in comments on the video if you like it and where you would have spent your new year had you thought of what I had thought.

Kachow!

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UNsocial

It has been around an year since I last logged into my Facebook account and I can proudly say that I am off social media since then. Well, I am on Instagram but that is mainly for photos and creative inspiration. And boy I must tell you, it is such a relief from constant scrolling and mindless consumption of unnecessary stuff – it’s a detox for my mind in a way. This thing in itself deserve a whole blog but that’s for sometime else.

I tried dabbling with few things since my non-connective phase and one of them was enrolling myself in a film-making course. Since long I had wanted to know about the nuances of film-making and I decided to give it a shot. Following video was my first assignment for which I had to shoot a 1 min, single-shot video.

I present here – UNsocial.

Let me know your thoughts if you connect yourself with this video. And share this video with your friends and on your Facebook wall and where-not and spread the irony and become a hypocrite! 🙂

 

Why EDM is not musicianship

Before I even start my intellectual-in-my-mind titular argument, let’s listen to this digital waveform –

Yes, EDM! No artistry. No skill. No sense of musicianship.

But this article is about EDM and not electronic dance music. Yes! Though electronic dance music happens to abbreviated to EDM, the latter one is like a big, successful corporate construction company which wants to remove an age-old around-the-corner book store to build a mall. Add the market and minus the soul. I am not talking about Ritchie Hawtin or Fatboy Slim. I am talking about ‘DoucheBouy & PoopGod’. A brutal manifestation of music meant for massive consumption, to cater to everyone.

Let me start with this point – from what godforsaken angle can someone call “pressing  a few buttons and turning fancy-looking dial knobs” ‘composing a song’? All an EDM artist (pun intended) has to do is to add a bass-heavy beat and run it in loop; fast, if they want takers to put their hand in the air (let’s do it..lets do it..aan..aan) and slow, if they are building up. Ok, more than that but you got the gist. At least a skeletal EDM track is ready. I was in a band (drummer bwouy) back in my college days and majority of the persistent memories of our practice sessions are about how we five struggled to come out as one coherent unit instead of five individual instrumentalists. Not because of ego or something but it used to be as basic as sticking to one damn dead-hand tempo! Elements like crashing a cymbal exactly on the note, breaking a simple 8/8 into 2 4/4s for variations, not increasing the tempo just because guitar solo is friggin’ shiz – these create compositions and make a player a musician. I remember we used to emphasize on the fact that we wouldn’t mind chucking an 7/8 odd signature segment on the cost of timing and tempo of much simpler intro. The point I want to stress on is that a musician doesnt have a loop or sync button. He has to play it every single time and that too on a tight tempo. That’s where the musicianship lies. Now can you find all these aspects in a one man techno show?

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drop notes vs time graph

This thing sunk to a new low when I read somewhere on the internet that Paris Hilton is also an EDM artist and people are grooving on her DJ beats in Ibiza. Kill me now! You can gauge how much untalented you can be and still be an EDM artist. Anyone can be a four-on-the-floor beat producing, knob-turning guy and claim to be a DJ. No seriously, even I managed to come up with a 50 sec track in 2 hours in my first attempt. Listen to this –

I am sure you will never hear Hiltons or Kardashians playing Jimmy Page solo. They can’t even in their wildest dreams.

Not just pseudo-DJs, even its audience is equally responsible in making this thing such a big sham. These shallow music muggles and urban poor just need something to shake their body on with absolute disregard to what is being played. They line up to slap down their hard-earned money so they have somewhere to pop a couple of pills and dance like no one is watching on a Saturday night. Linkin Park is the limit for them in non-EDM world.

The reason of my ranting is in the fact that The Aristocrats play in a small pub of strength of 100 people whereas Sunburn happens beach-side for 3 full days with daily attendance of more than 5000 people. We are living in the legacy of greats like Jim Morrison, David Gilmour, Jason Bonham et al but what will be leaving behind for future to come – Drop-heavy, stadium-filling, fist-pumping mishmash of sound frequencies!

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Sadness

We can do better than this.

Let’s hope we do!

And before signing off, this beautiful song!

Its green, blue and brown – Chikmagalur

Chikmagalur : Mullayanagiri Peak :: Jon Snow : Nothing


Yeah! You heard me right. If you are visiting Chikmagalur just for Mullayanagiri Peak – you know nothing, da!

When after two days of failed exercise of picking a place to visit for an upcoming long weekend, one of my juniors from college suggested that we should head towards Chikmagalur in Karnataka. Never heard of the name, I googled it and saw that search results were only showing Mullayanagiri Peak, the highest peak between Himalayas and The Nilgiris and under the foothills of which the town is located. I thought this is the only thing to see there, only to be wronged later.

Some 250 kms away from Bangalore, we hit the road at around 2 am with the aim of watching the sunrise from the peak (5 guys, Pink Floyd and roadtrip – sunrise, what?). We were soon on NH48, Bangalore-Mangalore Highway.

NH48, Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

NH48, Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

As obvious, we watched the sunrise on our way only but no experience is a bad experience during a roadtrip – even if its a failed plan!

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Sunrise in the wilderness

We reached Chikmagalur at around 7.30 in the morning and directly headed towards popular Mullayanagiri Peak. Around 11 kms of uphill driving and you reach at the base of the peak. The road is narrow but well paved except for last 3 kms where it gets worse. If you are planning to drive a sedan or a hatchback, chuck the idea and opt for an SUV.

Its a 30 mins climb from the base to the peak via a cemented stairway. There’s a temple on the peak and the view from their is absolutely beautiful.

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View from the Mullayanairi Peak, Chikmagalur

What most of the people do is that they visit the temple and blindly turn around. We started to hike beyond that peak and that’s when we realized there’s much more to Chikmagalur than just this tourist spot. We crossed two hills while hiking, reached a lone peak and soaked in the sunlight there.

Imagine yourself with a book, an iPod playing Eminence Front by The Who in your ears and happy sunlight here. Wouldn’t you want it?

 

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That’s how the view was, my bwouy!

But you must take my word – Mullayanagiri Peak is not everything there. If you have that explorer’s instinct inside you, you must head towards Baba Budangiri Mosque and embark on an off-route hike further from there. Dont care about the direction for beauty is everywhere. I’ll assure you, you won’t regret a thing there.

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Scotland or Chikmagalur?

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The road less travelled (in Chikmagalur)

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Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings? Its Chikmagalur, da!

We had started at 5 in the morning towards Baba Budangiri Mosque. Before sunrise is the best time to reach there and experience the cold morning winds with warm sunlight breaking in the sky. You can see myriad hues of colors and its overwhelming. You can even trek towards Manikyadhara, a waterfall which is on the edge of one of the mountains there.

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Manikyadhara, Baba Budangiri, Chikmagalur

Conclusion

  • You must visit Mullayanagiri Peak or Baba Budangiri Mountain early during the sunrise. There’s no restriction on timings.
  • Embark on an off-route trek further away from Baba Budangiri Mosque. Enjoy the beauty mountains has to offer.
  • Book your stay well in advance if you are planning to visit Chikmagalur on weekends. Though homestays offer rooms at exotic locations but they are expensive( ~INR 1500 per person per night). You can easily get budgeted accommodations in the city.
  • If you are driving, prefer an SUV over a sedan or a hatchback. Basically any high clearance vehicle.
  • I have conveniently skipped the fact that Chikmagalur is one of the highest producers of coffee in India. You must check out some of the coffee estates there. Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) was started from here.
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Exploring new territories

And in the end, a roadtrip saga cannot end without a click of a road ending into the warm and golden hues of setting sun. A befitting end to a roadtrip.

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NH48

A Bohemian Zest, Gokarna!

Gokarna

Ear of A Cow. Trippy Land. Hippies’ Paradise.


Gokarna is situated on the western coast of India in the state of Karnataka. Strictly speaking, it’s a religious town with a central Shiva temple but over the course of time and due to its location and relatively cleaner and quieter beaches, it has gained recognition of a backpackers’ sojourn.

Way to Half-moon beach, Gokarna

                                                                                                 Way to Half-moon beach

Main beaches of Gokarna are Kudle beach and Om beach. You can find beach-side shacks here which provide accommodation too. Best and most popular among them is Namaste Cafe. Situated on Om beach and better-than-perfect location, this establishment boasts a spacious, roof-top, Arabian Sea facing restaurant and cottages for stay.

Namaste Cafe, Gokarna

                                                                                                 Namaste Cafe, Gokarna

Rooftop restaurant, Namaste Cafe, Gokarna

                                                                                         Rooftop restaurant, Namaste Cafe

Further south of Om beach lie Half-moon beach and Paradise beach. Both of these beaches are secluded enough and have no shacks at all but much cleaner than Om beach. You can reach Half-moon beach either via a boat or by hiking along the coast-side on the hillock which cuts it off from Om beach.

Way to Half-moon beach, Gokarna

                                                                                             Hike to Half-moon beach

Paradise beach in particular is the quietest and most serene among all. On its way from Half-moon beach, you pass through a sea-facing, stage-like platform which looks exactly like the place where secret rave parties happen. You will spot trippy, colorful designs on tree trunks and platform. You can even do camping there but do carry food items and batteries if you are planning to stay there on a stretch. Palm trees there have perfect distance between them for setting up a hammock.

Paradise beach in Gokarna from the top.

                                                                                    Paradise beach in Gokarna from the top.

Paradise beach, GokarnaParadise beach, GokarnaParadise beach, Gokarna

The other side of Gokarna, the town side is just like any other small town in India but its old. Its around 6 kms away from coastal area. Majority of local people own small shops and sell things like clothes, utensils and household items. A famous Lord Shiva temple in the middle of the town is the center of all religious activities. Most of the houses are ages old and exude retro feel. Not spreaded in a large area, you can roam whole of the town on foot.

Gokarna houses

                                                                                      Interior of one of the houses in Gokarna

Market, Gokarna Market, Gokarna Market, Gokarna

Grandson of the Head Priest of the main Lord Shiva Temple, Gokarna

Grandson of the Head Priest of the main Lord Shiva Temple

Although backpackers keep coming to Gokarna throughout the year but try to avoid visiting during rainy season (July-August). Best time to visit Gokarna is from October to February.

Pack your sunglasses, sun-lotion and that book which you couldn’t finish. Get Tanned and enjoy this serene beauty.

For more pictures of mine, visit Flickr.

Have you figured it out?

“What do you actually want to do in life?”

My senior asked me. And I couldn’t utter a word for good 10 seconds.


I have been at the receiving end of this question very often since last couple of months. Every time I meet anyone these days, somehow the topic of conversation steers towards what am I doing and what is my future plan. And to be very honest, this question is spine-chilling. At least for me. Because I don’t have a concrete answer to this question and in my head, I think I should have figured it out for good by now.

Is it bad or real bad? Or is it something which is expected from a 25-to-be guy? Is it really the path towards self-discovery about which all these self-help articles on the internet say? I don’t know. From my perspective, it doesn’t look bed of roses.

It seems to me that people around me have everything set in motion. Flying out to some foreign country for work, deciding the specialization field for Masters or switching jobs where they feel their personal goals are aligned with company goals. And recent trend – sealing funding for their start-ups. I fail to understand what piece of wisdom learning I missed and others have.

A chain reaction of thoughts and questions is constantly taking place inside of my head. And out of such gazillion thoughts, one was to have this discussion with all of you – out and wide. I have been talking to people in person, asking about their perspective towards life, goals, experience so far and how they are on-course by doing what they did or are doing and I thought of scaling this conversation by involving everyone. Let’s learn from each other. Write to me – advice, something from personal journey, criticism, pity words, any damn word! If you know me personally, tell me what you observe of me and I’ll do the same for you too.

Let me start this with whatever I have – Ahirnish, 25-to-be, Dual degree in CSE from IIT-BHU. I work as a software engineer in Bangalore. I think I do decent photography and can play basic odd-time signatures on my drum-kit. I like to shoot videos and I work part-time with Myriad Hues, a professional photography firm based in Bangalore.

Please comment or mail me at ahirnish@gmail.com your thoughts. I have also created a form here. I would love to see your responses!

Let’s have a conversation. With all of us.

Connect with me at Facebook or watch my portfolio at Flickr.

Har Har Mahadev.