Devkund Trek

November 21, 2020

Not really a span of time to talk a lot about, but we did manage to scrape some dust of gold from it and trek to Devkund after a cool 150km motorbike ride.

We started from our homes around 5.30am and met each other at Vashi and headed towards Khopoli. The route we were gonna take was Mumbai – Khalapur – Pali – Rawalje – Tata Bhira power plant.

The bike ride

We were on our motorbikes, the road to Khalapur was pretty much flawless ( old Mumbai Pune road ), after that towards Pali was a hit and miss, more of miss-miss-miss-few-occurances-of-hit. A lot of construction work is going since 2-3 years, some stretches of only few 100-500m is concrete while other is work in progress, older tarmac or plain old dirt. From Pali, the road is better as there isn’t much of vehicular traffic towards the TATA Bhira Plant. We reached the location by 10.15am.

Trek

We decided not to take a guide and started off by 10.30am. However on our very first fork, we were clueless, luckily a villager was at sight and he helped us through. Further ahead there were at-least 3-4 occasions where we had to move left-right to confirm the path. The Path is more of a trail which at times crosses the water. Whenever that happens, you’re bound to lose it. On our way there was another lonely trekker from Pune whom we tagged along or vice-versa. It took us 12.30pm to reach the destination. The waterfall was a little anti-climatic. The strong flow had reduced to a stream under which one could easily stand although it does fall from quite a height.

After 7-8 months of large inactivity even the simple trek did make us feel tired, especially the last hillock climb. Before heading in the pool we decided to have lunch to prevent cramps swimming through our bodies. The pool water was crisp and cool, it took more than a minute to actually complete submerge ourselves in. After a quick refreshing swim, we were back on our trail by 1.30pm.

At the base, we had a stomach full of anda bhurji, omelette, pav staple and by 4pm the bikes were firing again taking us home.

Route

Changing default hindi / marathi / devanagari font in Linux

Difference between Lohit Devanagari and Noto Sans Devanagari
Difference between Lohit Devanagari and Noto Sans Devanagari

Assuming that you are running a fairly modern Linux distro like Ubuntu or Fedora, most likely you’ll get “Lohit Devanagari” pre-installed and should work just fine.

However if you have an itch to change the default devanagari font (which in most of the systems should be Lohit Devanagari), Then all you need a change in ~/.fonts.conf.

Create a .fonts.conf file in your home folder ie. ~/. Or edit the file and add / write the following contents.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<fontconfig>
  <match>
    <test name="lang" compare="contains">
      <string>hi</string>
    </test>
    <test name="family">
      <string>sans-serif</string>
    </test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend">
      <!-- <string>Lohit Devanagari</string> -->
      <string>Noto Sans Devanagari</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
  <match>
    <test name="lang" compare="contains">
      <string>mr</string>
    </test>
    <test name="family">
      <string>sans-serif</string>
    </test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend">
      <!-- <string>Lohit Devanagari</string> -->
      <string>Noto Sans Devanagari</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
  <match>
    <test name="lang" compare="contains">
      <string>hi</string>
    </test>
    <test name="family">
      <string>serif</string>
    </test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend">
      <!-- <string>Lohit Devanagari</string> -->
      <string>Noto Sans Devanagari</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
  <match>
    <test name="lang" compare="contains">
      <string>mr</string>
    </test>
    <test name="family">
      <string>serif</string>
    </test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend">
      <!-- <string>Lohit Devanagari</string> -->
      <string>Noto Sans Devanagari</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
</fontconfig>

What we are really doing over here is asking the system to use Noto Sans Devanagari font whenever language is hi (Hindi) or mr (Marathi) and consider the same font for both serif and sans-serif families.

Some of the really beautiful fonts that I’ve seen in Devanagari are

Do check the Ek Type Foundry, I’m quite a fan of their fonts!

Note: I’ve tested my settings on Ubuntu 18.04, so anything newer, should work as well.

Update: Focal Fossa (20.04) / GNOME 3.36

I recently updated to the latest Ubuntu LTS, and… the above changes didn’t work. 🙁 After a lot of tinkering (and reading man fonts.conf) I managed to get them working by creating the font config file ~/.config/fontconfig/conf.d/10-devanagari-substitution.conf. The 2 character numerical number is a priority and is a necessity according to Font Configuration – Arch Linux.

Also personally, I’ve found to use just the Noto Sans font downloaded from Google fonts as it tends to include the roman Glyphs along with Devanagari ones.

Mann Kasturi Re – Guitar chords and tabs

This entry is part 36 of 38 in the series Guitar

Another amazing song by the ‘Indian Ocean’ band from an equally riveting movie ‘Masaan’.

The song is in the key of E

Intro Lick

---------5-(chord of E)-----e
---4--5--5------------------B

The E major chord is played with just the E and B strings with strumming pattern – D—-D-U-D-U

Song

Play only the last 3 (thin) strings for the chords

[E] पाट ना पाया मीठा पानी (x2)
ओर-छोर की [B] दूरी [E] रे

[E] मन कस्तूरी रे, जग दस्तूरी रे

[Chorus]
[A] मन कस्तूरी [E] रे, [A] जग दस्तूरी [E] रे
[B] बात हुई ना पूरी [E] रे
(x2)

Interlude #1

e|--------------------------------------
B|-----5-----------5-----------5--------
G|--------3--4--------3--4--------3--4/5
D|--5-----------5-----------5-----------

e|--12+------
B|------12+-

(+ Harmonics)

Play with all normal strings in chords

[E]
खोजे [A] अपनी गंध ना [E]पावे
चादर [A] का पैबंद ना [E]पावे
(x2)

बिखरे [B] बिखरे छंद सा [A] टहले
दोहों में ये [B] बंध ना [E] पावे

[E] नाचे हो के फिरकी लट्टू
(x2)
खोजे अपनी [B] धूरी [E] रे

[Chorus]

[E]
उमर की गिन[A]ती हाथ न [E] आई .. ओ [D][E]
पुरखों [A] ने ये बात ब[E]ताई
उल्टा [A] कर के देख सके [E] तो
अम्बर [A] भी है गहरी [E] खाई
रेखा[A]ओं के पार नज़र [E] को
जिसने [A] फेंका अन्धे मन [E] से
सतरंगी [B] बाज़ार का [A] खोला
दरवाज़ा फिर बिना जतन [A] के … [E]
[E] फिर तो झूमा बावल हो के
[E] फिर तो झूमा बावल हो के
सर पे डाल फि[B]तूरी… [E] रे

[Chorus]

Outro

B|------9-7--------7-5--------5-4--------4-2-
G|-------------------------------------------
D|--7/9---------6/7-------4/6--------2/4-----
(x2)

[A] पाट ना पाया …. [B]मीठा पा[E]नी … [A] (x2)

[Chorus]

Strumming Pattern

D—-D-U-D-U

Conference Calls – Dos and Don’ts

Dos

  • Try to be at the quieter end of your place.
  • If possible, use a video camera.
  • Have a proper agenda, if available, use a bulleted points list that could / would be discussed.
  • Join by default on “Muted” option
  • Preferably use headphones (mic inbuilt)
  • Be loud, clear and slow in communication (There is no Words/min record to be beaten). No harm explaining the point again especially in a patchy connection.
  • Before going ahead, introduce / say hello (specially if its big room 10+ guys with new members) and ask if you were audible
  • Before going ahead with screen-share/presentation, please check once if the screen-share is visible
  • While presenting and talking – Try using your mouse and pointing to the data that you want others to follow.
  • If you’re presenting numbers, worksheets As a rule of thumb zoom 2 points (120% in modern browsers).
  • If there is a long silence, there is a good chance you’ve got disconnected. Confirm with the audience if you’re audible and then reconnect
  • Still a long silence ? if you’re expecting an answer or comment from somebody, ASK THAT GUY/GAL. Or take a lead and ask, “shall we move on?”
  • As soon as you’re done talking, mute yourself (Ctrl+D on google meet) is a nice toggle shortcut in google-meet.
  • If going through periodic/weekly-syncs, it’s good to give a brief intro of the task and then give details on it.
  • Give verbal signals in long conversations that you’re not dead and following the conversation, eg. “hmm..”, “ok…” Backchannel (linguistics)
  • Before the end of the call, reiterate the points finalized and get an agreement from everybody. (I learnt this from Manwar)
    Say a goodbye and then drop-off the call, Don’t just simply exit.

Don’ts

  • As a listener, try avoiding to read / work on something else, it’ll lead you to ask, “sorry could you repeat that ?” (Even I’ve been the culprit many times :/ ). The poor guy at the other end has to reiterate and explain things. You might as well drop-off from the meeting.
  • Don’t have long monologues. Keep your statements short and direct.
  • If you plan to have a longer discussion, others might not be interested. Schedule another call (let’s take it offline) with the concerned person and keep the current meeting light and specific
  • Long distance commn. is difficult. It’s difficult to get emotions across correctly, Please refrain from using accusative language, harsh words.

Colours of the polling station

Doraemon, Chotta Bheem, Motu Patlu, all seemed to have breached the Model Code of Conduct or आचार संहिता. Everyone of them publicizing and displaying their strengths in full color. However the  election officials seemed to have turned a blind eye rather focusing on puny and tiny shards of papers with some silly party symbols. It seemed that the real contestants in the LS polls are these innocent characters and their paintings on school walls resembling or mimicking our aspiring leaders. Only if these leaders could give back to the public the same faith that these characters instill in the hearts of the young.

The typical school venue of an election poll booth venue, an exemplary reflection of our country’s polling and its politics. The walls off-colour with flakes of colour jumping off. The sweaty corridors of an old school reeking of musty damp walls. The only respite coming from a nice breeze stealing itself from crowded lanes of voters and a few unbalanced ceiling fans which were happy to move on to another event of 5-year term polls. These school’s air dispensers probably have witnessed the terms longer than the people it services.

Continue reading Colours of the polling station

Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai tabs and chords

This entry is part 35 of 38 in the series Guitar

The song is in the key of F.
Capo on 3rd Fret

Intro Lick

-----------------------e
-----------3----3------B
--------2---------2----G
--0-0---------------0--D
-----------------------A
-----------------------E

(x2)

Chords / Song

[D] Tu kisi rail si guzarti [G] hai
[D] Tu kisi rail si guzarti [G] hai
Main kisi [Em] pull sa.. thartharata [D] hoon

[D] Tu bhale ratti bhar na sunti [G] hai
Main tera naam budbudata [D] hoon
[D] Kisi lambe safar ki raaton [G] mein
Tujhe alaav sa jalaata [D] hoon

[D] Tu kisi rail si guzarti [G] hai
Main kisi [Em] pull sa.. thartharata [D] hoon

Intra song lick
--------------------------e
--1/3--1--0---------------B
--------------2--0--------G
-------------------4-2----D
--0--------------------0--A

(x2)

---------0--------------------D
--3-3----0--------------------A

(x2)

-----------------------------------e
--1/3--1--0------------------------B
--------------2--0-----------------G
-------------------4-2----------0--D
--0--------------------0--3--3--0--A

(x2), Just above 2 licks in one go.

 

This starts in the higher octave
[D] Kaath ke taale hai
Aankh pe daale hai
[G] Unmein isharon ki chabiyaan [D] laga
(x2)

[D] Raat jo baaqi hain
Shaam se taaki hain
[G] Neeyat mein thodi … [continue strumming G along the extended thodi..]
[G] Neeyat mein thodi kharabiyaan [D] lagaa
Kharabiyaan lagaa

[D] Main hoon paani ke bulbule [G] jaisa strum G just once
[Em, flamenco style] Tujhe sochun toh …
[D] phoot jaata hoon

Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai
Main kisi pull sa.. thartharata hoon (x2)

Thartharata hoon…
Thartharata hoon…

Strumming Pattern

D----D-U-D-U

Quaint European towns and the east coast

Feb 2019

The Indian East Coast was something that was pending on my “been there” check-list. Somehow it had always evaded me. However this time my engineering classmate figured out a time slot and an itinerary in the early Feb. The plan was a road trip from Bangalore, in his humble Wagon-R.

Auroville

First stop was Auroville, the calm green roads of the place were indicative of what was to come next in the Auroville Visitor’s centre. This place was more of a modern temple, with twisting walkways passing through trees surrounded by boards / placards depicting the history of Auroville. This was an extreme foreign visitor magnet along with tourists. Most enjoying the cafes, patisseries and ice-cream bars more than the history and the soul of Auroville.

What amazed me more in Auroville and adjoining places, is the abundance of bakeries, cafes and gelato ice-cream bars. Its not that they are one of ” just another bakery”, No, ie I had breakfast at the famous Auroville Bakery, it was awesome, the price was well with reach of locals, rather the Indian food was cheap and other croissants, rolls were well within the bounds of reality.

Pondicherry / Puducherry

Pondi, the affectionate call for Pondicherry or Puducherry has one major attraction – The White town. The southern part of Pondi has a canal running North – South. The west side of the canal (away from the beach) belonged to the native Indians during the French colonial rule while the East part belonged to the French (the “white”). This was the prime area overlooking the beach lashed by turquoise waters of Bay of Bengal. The white town, had a very distinct feel to it. The first thing that hits you is cleanliness and the roads. Very clean, well paved and clearly marked roads. A lot of trees along the roads, trimmed and flowering Bougainvillea. Next noticeable feature of this part, are its bungalows / houses. All of them clean and white-washed with distinct blue or dark-gray bordering. The houses had either a white or a typical yellow colour, more like chrome-yellow. The bungalows on the junctions had a clear blue colored board with white lettering, “Rue Dupuy”, “Rue Romain Rolland” and so on. For a non-french learned like me, what is Rue? My friend mentioned that its “street” in French.

A typical "rue" in Pondi's white town
A typical “rue” in Pondi’s white town

We had our lunch at the “Le Cafe”. Keeping same expectations of Auroville Bakery, we were truly disappointed. The food was average, it was cold and it was pricey. However it seemed the French had a special love for this one and came in by flocks. Complacency?

While we roamed around and along the promenade by the beach, we saw loads of visitors in awe of the place, snapping at any flatly yellow colored building. I wasn’t sure if its just the cleanliness of the area that fascinated people. Across the channel, the Tamil town, was just another busy day with hustle and bustle of vehicles and people alike.

Continue reading Quaint European towns and the east coast