Thursday, December 31, 2009

Loading in the oil fields

Location : Oil fields off Mexico

This isn't really an ideal sight a captain likes to wake up to. But what we
have up here is my ship loading oil from an floating/storage oil tanker in
one of the oilfields off Mexico. Most places, ships like us tie up at Single
Buoy moorings (or SBM's) and load oil through flexible hoses, but quite
often, we tie up right behind these FPSO's and recv oil directly from them.
To be honest, this way gives me the creeps every time look at it. SBM's are
sturdy stuff. They are designed so that even if the ship rides up to it and
bangs it around a bit, it just moves away. Plus swinging around an SBM as
the tide changes is also a relatively simple matter, much akin to swinging
around on your anchor.

But FPSO's are bigger then your ship. And I don't like getting close to
things bigger then my ship. I find that things bigger then my ship rarely
make way for my ship. So I am always glad to cast off from the bloody thing
and put as much distance as possible between my ship and it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

one eighteen

Location : The gulf of Mexico

I met one-eighteen. Now I have been coming into the Houston ship channel for
more than two years, so it was just a matter of time before I met him, but
the fact that I actually met him just a day after I wrote about him on my
blog did startle me. Since I'm again posting my email, you'll have to go to
my last post to get a link to his pictures (or down on the left to the links
section), but he sure does have some of the best pictures on the Houston
ship channel. Now that I analyze it, there are a couple of reasons why I
thought of one-eighteen in the last post. Firstly I have been thinking of
buying a DSLR these last few weeks and being stuck with an iphone for
photography is weighing heavy on my mind. Secondly, 118 likes Bow waves. If
you go on his flikr pictures, you'll see a whole section on the different
pictures of bow waves. Whereas, me being stuck on the bridge, am a forced
fan of the stern wakes. and writing on the "skid marks", just made me
realize the difference and brought him to mind.

So it was a pleasant surprise when I saw that it was him who had caught the
shift of taking my ship out of Houston. From where we were moored, it takes
about five hours to get out to the breakwater, so it was sufficient time for
me to catch up with him. He remembered my blog. Now there are so few
visitors to my blog that it seems a statistical impossibility that you would
actually meet someone who has not only been on your blog, but actually
remembers it. Next thing you know, I will be taking bunkers from the pirate
or meeting Ken on shore leave!

We turned out to be kindred spirits. Turns out he also has daughters.
Ofcourse his elder is almost as old as me, but I'm sure she burps, doesn't
listen to him and probably keeps him awake in the middle of the night as
well. So we talked of daughters, blogs and photography. The funny thing is,
all this happened in the middle of the night. So I doubt if he'll recognize
me if he meets me the next time. Well, nice meeting you 118. And Happy new
year.

Pictured above is the Bayou city. It is 118's ride.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Skid Marks

Location - Houston

I love the wake that a ship leaves behind her as she swings. An area like
Galveston is anyway shallow enough to churn up the ground and throw up the
mud. We were anchored over in the western anchorage and this snap was taken
as we crossed the fairway and lined up for the channel and the pilot
boarding.

People who also frequent Gcaptain would remember houston Pilot oneeighteen who takes
some great pictures in the Houston Ship channel. I was hoping to bump into
him this time around, but I met another pilot with a camera who was his good
friend. I sent my regards. Hope you got them 118.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Fred Hartman Bridge

Location : Houston

Came into Houston today. The last couple of days weather settled down as the
cold front passed over the Gulf of Mexico and we had better weather today.
The sun shone for a couple of hours and if it wasn't for the chilly wind, I
would have called it fine weather.

Took a snap of the Fred Hartman Bridge as we were passing underneath it. The
bridge named after the Editor of Baytown Sun, is the longest Cable Stayed
bridge in Texas. I am a fan of Bridges and love to take snaps of them
spanning across the ships bows. And cable Stayed bridges are just so modern
and neat looking that it makes it all the better.

You can find more info about the Fred Hartman Bridge at Wiki (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hartman_Bridge ).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Safe & Happy Christmas!

Location : Gulf of Mexico

A low passing over the Gulf of Mexico is tossing us around a bit and I guess
trying to remind us how thankful we should ordinarily be of god.

Well if God is listening, as god inevitably does, I assure you that I am.

I wish you all and your families boundless joy and impeccable health for the
Christmas and new year.

Mind you this wish runs for the whole of the next year. To recv wishes for
the year 2011, please drop by next year.

Finally as Ken commented on the last post, to all shippy's, " I wish you
secure anchorage with good
holding ground, plenty of room to swing and light breezes. " Thank you Ken
for your great comment and wishes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays

Location : Gulf Of mexico

Well the winter holidays are finally here, though we'll be lucky to even get
an anchorage over here so that we can relax a bit. Still, I hope you all
have a great and safe holiday.

Best Wishes!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

a picture for you

Location : Gulf Of Mexico

Finally we managed to leave the port of Houston and get out to sea. Even
though I don't mind a couple of days at anchor, all that fog and cold fronts
had put a damper on the whole anchorage. So its good to be out sailing
towards (hopefully) sunny Mexico.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The fog lifts

Location : Off Houston

Finally, a cold front came down and blew away the fog. It is almost a
surprise for the air to clear up and see the anchorage filled up to its
gills. Of course the cold front did bring about its chilly winds, but after
so many days of fog, pretty much anything seems welcome.

And we can always look back at warm sunny days. This is us leaving the
Mexican port of Pajaritos. Faintly in the distance you can make out the
breakwater entrance (exit in this case), and about two points on the port
bow, is the very same Channel Buoy that featured in this blog a few posts
back.

Hopefully with the fog lifed, we should finish off with deary houston and be
on the sunny shores of Mexico soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AIS Feed into the RADAR or the ECDIS

Of all the crappy equipments that I have seen on the ships over the years,
the AIS by far has to be the uniformly crappiest of all equipment. Its not
crappy because of its purpose - Which nobody clearly understands. Is it
supposed to be for ship security? How is is supposed to achieve that if it
keeps broadcasting your position to everybody? Or is it for collision
avoidance? Does it come under Rule 5 of Colreg? Its not a hotly debated
topic as one might assume it to be. The reason is - crappy equipment. Give
the ships crew a 0.50 Calibre Remington Sniper rifle and they will discuss
the purpose of it late into the night - From Anti piracy to settling
interdepartmental disputes. But give the men an AIS and they will use it as
paperweight. The AIS has to be the most unfriendly equipment to operate
on the bridge. With dull black & white screens sometimes smaller then an
iphones, you are left to make sense of various ships in assorted azimuth,
range and sub-menu selections.

Which is why if any practical sense of AIS information is needed, you need
to give its feed into another equipment. A Radar or an ECDIS.
On this ship, the feed for the AIS goes into the ECDIS and not into the
Radar. This has been bugging me during my hours on the bridge. I know its
probably just me sulking at change, but the ECDIS and the radar are placed
right next to one another and it certainly wouldn't have been difficult for
the chap giving the feed to put in another wire. So someone must have taken
a decision to give only one feed. And that one feed was decided to go into
the ECDIS and not into the Radar. Now that is what is bugging me.

Having an AIS input into the Radar does allow the operator to make better
sense of the Radar picture. Also the ARPA and AIS information when provided
side by side gives better comparison and cross check of Data. For example
Radar Limitations such as Range or bearing discrimination can be better
resolved by an AIS when looking at a crowded anchorage, and ARPA limitations
such as an target swap or time delay in accurate CPA/TCPA can be cross
checked by the adjacent AIS information.

Putting AIS information on the ECDIS is similar to getting a cadet to plot
other ships on
the BA paper charts. While it may give more information to the navigator,
his ability to use the data to full advantage will suffer.

In my opinion, the ECDIS is primararily a Navigation tool, whereas the Radar
is primararily a collision avoidance tool. Whereas I have always used the
Radar also for navigation purposes, it is probably the first time that I am
seeing an tendency to use the ECDIS for collision avoidance. There always
has been a danger of overreliance of the bridge team on the ECDIS, and
giving the AIS feed into the ECDIS and not the Radar simply reinforces that.

I do agree that the solution to over- reliance on an equipment can not be to
reduce the information provided on it, but instead has to be somewhere in
the better training of the operators to deal with understanding the
limitations and proper utilization of that information. But if given a
choice between the two, I would prefer the AIS feed into the Radar rather
then the ECDIS.

A few years back, one of the nightmares of the ships master was that of the
duty officer wouldn't even look outside because of the Radar. Now because of
AIS feeds into the ECDIS, the chap isn't even going to look into the Radar!

Graffiti in Amsterdam

Location : Off Houston

Still engulfed by fog at anchorage, I came across an picture I had taken of
an interesting wall in Amsterdam when I had gone there in summer for a ship
inspection.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Letters to Santa

Location : Off Houston

The fog set in again yesterday and it just might mean another extra day out
here at the anchorage. But the Telly is working here, so not much to
complain. The season to be merry seems to have set in on the Americans, and
crazy sales ads are the only things that seem to be on.

The whole nation seems to be firmly in the grip of the Christmas season,
though nobody seems to be sure of what role Christ had to play in the whole
event. I think this has firmly become an Santa event, with gifts becoming
the main focus. The last time I was in Macy's in Beaumont, TX, they had a
table set up for kids to write postcards to Santa.

I loved the concept. The Kids could write postcards to Santa, and mail them
right there in the Macy post-box. macy promised to donate 1 dollar for every
card that was dropped in their box up to a million dollars. Apart from the
fact of the donation of money, I love the concept of mails being written to
Santa. I need connection to the net to get more figures / fact on this, but
the USPS actually has a process for dealing with Santa mails that land up in
its post-boxes. If you register with the USPS, you can even get the Santa
mail delivered to you so that you can take action on mails that you want.
And be the defacto Santa.

I think its also a neat way to get children to write atleast a couple of
postcards a year. :)

I picked up a couple of cards myself and maybe I'll post one myself. I just
don't know how much postage its going to take to the Northpole!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Pajaritos channel

Location : Off Houston

I like this picture. To go from the Tanker terminal to the city, you have to
take a boat ride for about 10 minutes which takes you across the ship
channel. The boat ride costs five dollars if you are alone, and ten dollars
if you are any number greater then one. It is a calculation that I have
never been able to understand.

And its great to argue over this with the boat man because neither of you
understand each other. Ofcourse that doesn't make a difference because I
guess its the same with any person you argue with even at home. During this
boat ride, the argument we even fiercer because the boat chap was insisting
on charging me ten dollars for the solo trip. In his baseball cap and two
day old stubble, he looked like a character in "Desperado" - the kind that
gets shot in the first two seconds - while he bemoaned the rising gas prices
and the effect of carbon emmission cuts on the Mexican fiscal deficit.

As the couple of Modello beers buzzed around in my head and the cool breeze
whizzed around my ears, I squinted my eyes against the sun and took the
picture of this buoy as it whizzed past. The sun had pretty much blinded me
and in the glare I couldn't even see what the iPhone had clicked. So I put
the phone back in my pocket and gave his great diatribe with the only
sensible retort that came to mind. The first words of Spanish I had picked
up - "Uno cerveza Porfavor!" - " One beer please!". He still charged me ten
dollars.

I like this picture.

A day by the water

Location : Off Houston

The nothern winds have blown the fog away, but nothern winds being what they
are, these nothern winds are cold as an Penguins crap. Makes you almost wish
for the fog to come back in.

But then on cold days you can always remember the warmer days. The picture
is of my lunch appetiser down south in the sunny town of Pajaritos, Mexico.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I had taken up a seat in a quaint
reataurant by the water. They brought around the fare without me having said
a word. I liked that. The day when we can give a stranger a beer without a
word being spoken, will be a day when we will all smile much more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fogged in

Location : Off Houston

Its that time of the year again. No - No holidays for the evil. But the time
of the year, when captains all over the world lie huddled with fear on their
ships engulfed in the evil fog.

Dropped anchor in the night and this anchorage is going to get packed like
sardines with ships if the fog doesn't lift in a day or so.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mexican Graffiti - 2

Location : Off Houston

Here's another example of the Graffiti which is probably from the same
artist, who signed himself as Francisco Gali. I'm not sure what
"Ayuntamiento" means in Spanish, but Coatza is the name of the town.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mexican Graffiti - Jar 8

Location : Gulf of Mexico

I have always liked to take pictures of Graffiti in different places, as I
believe that its a unrefined portrayal of the thoughts of people. Got a few
samples of the Mexican Graffitti during the visit to Pajaritos.

Loved the way the way the women have an almost Jamican look with the Mexican
guy is in an actual Sombrero. Wonder why he's named "jar-8"?

Gulf coast lighthouses

It is always a pleasure when your hobby intersects with your job. So I
though it an amazing coincidence when I found this sheet of the "Gulf Coast
lighthouses in the USPS store - especially when I am going to be on the US
Gulf coast for the next few months.

The lighthouses shown here are the (from L to R) - Matagorda Island - Texas
, Sabine pass- Louisiana , Biloxi - Mississippi , Sand Island - Alabama and
Fort Jefferson - Florida. As you can see, they pretty much seem to have
picked one light house from each state on the Gulf coast. I had not
known till last year that there was also a state called Mississippi.

As luck would have it, the very next port we went over to was Beaumont, TX,
for
which we had to go over the Sabine River. Which ofcourse mandated that we
pass within hailing distance of our Lighthouse No 2. The description behind
the stamp described the lighthouse as follows:

"Erected on soft, marshy ground in Louisiana, Sabine pass light house
features eight buttresses that stabilize the heavy brick structure and give
it a distinct missile like shape. Completed in 1856, the light house was
deactivated in 1952 and is currently closed to public. "

I do like the American method or giving a slight detail behind the stamp. It
is an example that should be followed more by the other countries.

I just had my Iphone to take the picture with, but there certainly was no
brilliant Mississippi sunset in the background or Herons prancing around in
the foreground as in the stamp sheet.

The pilot claimed that someone from Houston had bought the lighthouse for
18,000 dollars. When asked why, he said that he had never owned a light
house before. As per the pilot, " In Texas, that's as good a reason as any."

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another view of Coatzacoalcos

This is pretty much what the same breakwater looked like this time when we
came in the port. We couldn't see the breakwater from a mile away and the
pilot got delayed by some time. Drifting towards the shore in the strong
northerly winds, trying to maintain her position till the pilot boarded - A
few uncomfortable moments back there.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Coatzacoalcos

Location : Coatzacoalcos

The last I had come to this port town was back in the 90's and it certainly
doesn't seem to have changed that much since then. Coatzacoalcos or
Pajaritos as the town is called, is still very much the laid back coastal
town that epitomises Mexico.

The above picture shows the town in the background, while you can see the
breakwater to the port in the foreground with a tiny fishing boat next to
it. The picture though is from last week. This time around, the place looks
depressed with 10 feet waves crashing over the breakwater and rains lashing
the town. Infact, we're having a bit of a holiday seeing as to the kind
harbour master having closed the port for the day.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Back at sea

After a long long time, I am back doing what I do best. Write blogs and
transport a million barrels of oil from one place to the other. From my last
post, you must have realized that coming out wasn't easy this time around.
The picture up there is the last I saw of my daughter sleeping as I left in
the middle of the night.

Still, on the upside, I am back in the part of the world that I have grown
to love working in over the last few years - the US Gulf and the Mississippi
river. Infact I joined the vessel in New Orleans and make a quick run to the
Mexico coast and it does feel good to be out at sea with the slaty wind on
your lips.

But it doesn't compare. Not by a long shot.

Children sure have a silly knack of tossing your priorities all over the
place.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kaya tells a story

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Girl Child - Hooray !!



Hi All

Thanks for the wonderful poke from Vins for making me realize that I have been neglecting this space for the past few days. But some great news. I am now a father. Of a baby girl. :) Mean people insist that she looks like me, but I insist that she is perfectly lovely.

For something to develope from spikes on a scree up there to a live thing struggling in your arms is a huge journey. And when you hold that thing in your arms, is when you realize that the journey has just begun. This is huge for us first-time parents and a bit, no very scary in most respects. So I will take time allocating proper resources to the various parts of my life including this blog.

So while I neglect this space indiscriminately, please don't do the same yourselves. Love, cry, dance and laugh. Especially dance.

Hope you have the most magical year ahead and the best of health to you and your family.

Cheers,
Velu

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Woman - Fiction 55


Born a child and celebrated as Goddess, she was a woman. Clad in pink, frills and bows, she was a woman. Taking care of brothers and sisters, she was a woman. Crawling, crying, caring, bleeding, and with glass ceilings, she was a woman. Exhausted, her newborn child in her arms, she was again a woman.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The empty room - fiction55

The hospital intercom rang.

The pediatric ward had promised to return her baby next day after the infections were removed. Why would they call now? It was obviously a Wrong number.

She let it ring for eight times before it fell silent.

Then she sat on the corner of her bed and listened for footsteps.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The look - fiction 55

Across the room, he saw her, wildly, as if seeing her for the last
time. Startled, she looked back at him, as if for the first time. Then
they wheeled her to the operation theater. As the glass doors shut, he
turned away from his reflection, violently, as if never wanting to see
himself again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life of birth

Sitting down wasn't as easy for her anymore. Her huge stomach made demands on her body that made it easy for her to either keep standing or sitting. She would have kept standing if wasn't for that insane throbbing at the base of her spine. As she lowered her weight, she let out a sigh of relief. It was a long day and she would be glad once it was over.

The end of the day would simply mean that it would bring the day of the birth closer by that one day. Absently she rubbed her fingers over the stretched skin of her stomach. The skin seemed to be stretched to an limit that seemed impossible. It had seemed impossibly stretched two months before, and now even though it seemed physically impossible, it had got yet more stretched. Ruefully her fingers trailed to the side of her stomach, Bunched there were the hateful stretch lines that seemed horrendously disfiguring in a mirror. At least to herself. She knew that the marks would be visible once the child came out, but at present nothing else mattered to her other then this thing in her stomach.

As her fingers traced the counters of her stomach, the baby responded from within. The movements were stronger then they had been a couple of weeks back and though sometimes it hurt, the possiblility of an alternative was too scary for her to contemplate. It never ceased to amaze her that an actual living entity was in her stomach. She didn't bother herself with the modalities of whether the entity had been called in there or if the entity had entered on its own free will. But one thing that was for certain was that once it came out in a few days time, it would be permanently linked to her by an indelible link that could never be erased.

As ever the fact of this indelible link scared her. The doubt inside her seemed to grow at a rate faster then her stomach. Would she do justice to her child? How would this entity kicking inside her now look at the world from her arms. As the entity left her arms and wanted to take steps into the world, where would she lead him? All the tears that she would have to wipe and all the tears that she would have to ignore - would she be able to choose these tears wisely? And what about her tears? the tears that she had already shed for this entity and the ones that it would inevitably demand - would it do justice to them?

But right now none of that mattered. All that mattered to her was the movement seperated by a tautly stretched skin. She shared everything with that movement. Her blood, her food and that desire to scream and kick her way out of its confines so that she could hold it at a distance much closer then it already was.

That day would come soon. In the meanwhile there were things to be done. Painfully she got up twisting and then pulling herself to her legs. The signal had changed and the cars were already starting to pile up. As she approached the first car, the woman behind the wheel saw her approaching and rolled up her window.

It was going to be a long day and she would be happy once it was over.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Indian Truck graffiti


The people driving trucks never let go of an opportunity to convey a message. Much like adding a signature in forums.

This one says,


" may god bless the person who made the vehicle. He has made homeless, all the drivers."

I wonder why this trend of putting messages on vehicle doesn't spread to private vehicles. All we put up are these stickers that are printed by the millions.

A hand for Henna




"Come Sir, sit on the stool while I apply henna to Didi. After all, it will take some time and we can't have you standing on your first visit to my humble stall.

Well it is difficult for me to remember with men sir, but for Ladies, I remember them by their hands. Sir, it is my boast that I can remember a woman's hand even ten years after I have applied Henna to it. Why only last month an Didi came here from Mumbai and I remembered her even though it was more then two years. Even Didi here has not come here after her Marriage to you. Have you taken her away from us? Ah Delhi! yes yes, like that other Didi, people come to my shop from all parts of the country.

What to say sir, about my quality of work, I can only let you be the judge. Like you see these turns that I am making here on Didi's hand now? And this one? these are so delicate that hardly ten people in the whole of Maharashtra can make it. But other then that, it is the other things. I refuse to put any chemicals in my Henna. The oil I rubbed on Didi's hand, it is a secret mixture of five oils I mixed with real Eucalyptus oil so that the Henna catches beautiful color. Though with you as husband, I am sure Didi's henna will color just as well. See how Didi is blushing, I am afraid that the henna will color before even I apply it fully.

Do you know sir, that Henna is used only on happy occasions? Any happy occasion like marriages, celebrations and festivities, henna is the ideal thing. Every part of Henna application is filled with its own Joy. Women get together with their friend and gossip with other, exchanging stories while the henna is applied one after the other. And what to say of the teasing that happens between brothers and sisters and husbands and wives after the henna is applied? Did you know that even lord Krishna would tease Radha with food while she would be unable to eat herself due to henna on her hands? While Henna dries, it cools the hand and even protects it from infections. And once it dries, it makes the woman so beautiful.

Sir if we men even try to dance, it looks like we are swatting mosquitoes, but every movement of the henna applied hand is a dance. If you take my word sir, the Henna is the best jewelery for the Indian Women hand.

There Didi, your hands are finished. Make sure you let them dry for at least thirty minutes or else they will smudge.

You can give the money to my daughter. She likes to use her hand now that we bought her a new one. It is made in Jaipur. Her last hand, i would make nice designs, but since this is new, she refuses to let me near it. That is the way children are.

Please bring Didi again sir. Here only I will be."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tea of life - Fiction 55



Why couldn't life be like drinking tea, he wondered. Relaxing , Simple and without any complications. People could be like Marie biscuit, he thought - there to add taste and substance to life. Why couldn't ... He muttered an oath as the soggy buscuit broke off and disappeared into his hot tea, splashing his fingers.
'
PS : previous fiction55 here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

iPhone Life - From Dada

'
As I was making all sort of shameless efforts to collect sympathy after my Gall bladder operation, (Still accepting sympathies !) , I got this magazine from my elder brother in the mail. He had picked it up during his last trip to the US as he knew how smitten I was with my iPhone.
'
The iPhone Life is a new publication and this was the second issue that they have come out with. You can also find them on the net at their website. If you interested, you can get the soft copy of this very magazine for free at their website.
'
The magazine itself is excellent if you have an iPhone, and has tips for people who are just starting off with their iPhones and also some for people who have theirs for much longer. Apart from these, there are ofcourse many in-depth reviews of various App's and accessories.
For example, one of the tips was that you can now get some great blog or website such as the "Bills of Lading" on your iPhone. To do that, simply open the website in your safari web-browser. Now, zoom in to the website till you get something that you like on the screen. Then click on "+" and the "Add to home scree
n" .

Thats it and now you can view the "Bills of lading" right from your home screen at any time of the day without even going into the web-browser. :)
So thanks Dada!
'

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Dog Saint of Nagpur

Nagpur is still a city of small bylanes and rustic bunglows. I had taken a stroll around Dharam peth area and came upon this statue in one of the bylanes. I an not sure who/what this is supposed to represent, but going by the vermellion marks on the image, evidently it is held in great affection or esteem.

There is ofcourse precedence for dog saints as this website explains, so I don't see why we in Nagpur can't have one for ourselves.

View Larger Map

Giripeth Post office - Nagpur

Below post also included in my Philatelic blog.

.




As I have put up in the title bar, I have a weakness of taking my pictures with post offices or post boxes. I got an opportunity to do it yesterday and I wasn't going to pass up on it. The Giripeth post office in Nagpur has a very rustic look to it, like it might have existed in this state for more then 50 years. And it really might have had. My wife is form the locality and she claims to have seen the post office in the same state since memory serves her. That would put the age of the post office anywhere from five years to twentyfive - depending on who is telling my wifes age!

The Post box outside actually looks like it had fallen in one of the stronger monsoon winds and is now firmly propped up in place with a cement base. But nothing much seems to be holding up the building, with its beautiful tiled roof and wooden latticed front. It is really hot in Nagpur, with temperatures reaching up to 47 Deg C yesterday. But because of the construction of these older houses, it was rather pleasant inside the structure.
The well and the Post office in the background

Another neat part about the post office is that it has an serviceable well of its own! Most houses built in this region had a well if their own dug because there was no piped water, but today, you either have bore well dug or even if you dig it at a side or behind your house. This post office was evidently built during a time and place, where the well was a focal point of the house and was considered important enough to accord a place right in front.

Sadly there were no records or information available in the post office about when it was established. The post master, a helpful man in his forties did chat with me for a bit. This post office doee not really handle the home delivery of the letters for the locality. That is taken care of by the post office at Shankar nagar - A heartless three storied buliding, and the area North of the road is taken care of by the GPO.

The General Post office is an nice building from the British era and you can find it towards the north east of map down below, also I had posted about it a long time back here.

If you have been following my regular blog, you'll know that I am working on Geotagging these days and the map below is from another result of a new application called "Here I am".

I was also able to glean the information that the land is not governments and is leased from the "society" and now it seems that they want it back. Since its the government, we can at least be assured that they will take another five to ten years to vacate the building, but it will be a real tragedy to lose such a quaint post office in the middle of the city.



View Larger Map

The map with the Post office location (GPO on top right)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mr Gorbachev - Tear down this wall


Yesterday I was trying out another GPS based application on my iphone - the GPSLite from motionX. I liked the app from its description because apparently you could mark waypoints on it, simply by clicking photo's on the way, and the iphone would geotag the pictures and save it on your track. Later, when you share your track by email, or on facebook, your whole track would be visible along with the pictures of what you saw along the way.

I did take a short trip across nagpur with the app to try it out, but evidently things didn't work out as expected as the pictures just didn't come up on the map. I'll have to work a bit more on the app, because this is another application that opens new levels on the integration of our everyday devices. Also geo-tagging of pictures is something which I have been wanting to do for some time.

The above picture is somewhere near the end of the track and the writing on the wall says that the wall is about to fall and requests that no one sit below the wall. This writing has been on the wall (pun intended) for the last year or more, but the bloody wall refuses to fall. Also since it not really a park, but the side of the road, its most likely that people who do sit there are most likely going to be backpacking foreigners of destitute people, neither of whole will be able to understand what is written there. Can't we imagine a French backpacker, sitting under the wall, with his lonely planet guide trying to decipher what is written above his head.

PS : Regarding the "tear down this wall "reference, a very nice wiki entry on the subject can be found here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

GPS tracking on the iphone



I have been checking out the amazing applications available on the Iphone for some time, and these days, I am trying out a couple of apps that deal with GPS and other navigation based applications.

One of the applications has been released by the people at Instamapper, whose blog can be seen here , and is called the "GPS Tracker". A very neat application that allows you to share your position or track live to the audience on your website or even on your blog. Not only that, you could even embed the map on your facebook profile.

One of the neat examples for the practical uses of this app can be found on the "Team twitchy blog of its Rickshaw run." Its their blog of an amazing journey from Shillong to Goa in a Auto Rickshaw. These guys have just completed their journey on the 25th of April and are probably getting some well deserved beers on the beaches of Goa.

I'm not planning to venture off on a cross country auto rickshaw journey anytime soon, but the possibilities unravelled are simply too delicious to not salivate over

Monday, April 20, 2009

Celebrating Shit


Today was day 2 after my gall bladder was removed and the pain is much better. I got it removed because of a huge stone that had gotten itself lodged there, "allegedly" due to my unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.

One of the things I learned from this episode was that they remove the whole Gall bladder when you ask them politely to remove the stone. Another thing was that when you celebrate the ability to shit, it makes you realize that there really are a lot more reasons to celebrate in life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fiction 55 - The cobbler


He slipped on the shoe that the cobbler gave back.

"It will break?" She asked

"No madam, my guarantee." Said the cobbler.

"How much?"

"What you feel sir."

"No you tell."

"I can say twenty-five, but you give what you think is right."

"Okay take ten."

walking away, she said, "... should have given only five."



PS : My first attempt at Fiction 55 , inspired by Vinnie.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

India smoke map



A few posts back, I had mentioned a Nasa picture showing smoke from wood and dung chip fires hanging over north India. I finally got around to it and dug it up from thr NASA website. You can see the smoke stretching from Punjab to bihar in the picture.

The red dots are actual fires. These are the fires lit up in Punjab after harvest to clear the fields. An amazing picture to put things in perspective.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Ice cream at india gate

Over the last couple of months, I have become a Delhi-wala. One of the
things that you just have to do to earn this distinction is to eat
icecream at the India gate at midnight.

It used to be a grand sight a couple of years ago, with the India gate
lit up at one end and the grand rashtrapati bhavan on the other end.
It's probably a good thing that they have stopped lighting up The
monuments these days, but it definitely does take away a bit of charm
from the whole exercise.

Yet, not to be denied their pound of fun, people still flock to the
ice cream wala's . It Was the begining of the long weekend so whole
families with children in tow were walking in the grass along the
rajpath.

Great fun it was till cops came along and shooed off all the icecream wala's at midnight. A most recommended activity - eating icecream at the India gate.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chandni chowk

.


In the lanes that join or leave chandni Chowk in Delhi, lies a whole another world. As you enter these lanes, thew buildings close in on you and mostly illegal wiring closes in a net on your head. Yet inspite of this, you can still see the original latticed work on th balconies and grills - an indication of possibly better dyas in the years gone by.


.




Monday, April 06, 2009

The red fort

Had gone to chandni chowk at Delhi a couple of days back with Jayati .
The atmosphere out in that part of the town is amazing. Gorges
ourselves on the food out there like 'Dahi wada' and jalebi etc and
even has boondi is ladoo at a shop that's been around since the early
1700's.

Great fun it was except for the fact that
Had gone there on a very distracting work. I think I'll have to go
there again one of these days again. Atleast to take a somewhat decent
picture of the red fort.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The roadside shop

This is a picture of the part of the shop where I bought the glass
thingy yesterday. There so Many amazing picture frames being sold
there for less than a dollar each, that I Couldn't resist a few days
back and picked up about half a dozen of them.
.
I have now been put under restraining orders by puja not to approach
within twenty feet of another frame selling shop.
.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Today's buy

Bought this piece in a flea shop on mehrauli- Gurgaon road. They were
asking for 300 Rupees for it, but I managed to haggle it down to 100
rupees ( a little more than 2 USD) .

I'm still not sure what practical use it might be put to, but i'm sure
we'll think of something!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nizamuddin railway station

Reached Delhi pretty much on time to complete the trip.

This grafiti was painted near the car park.

Good morning

The train crossed bhopal and Jhansi in the night and we Passed mathura
about 0630 hrs. The train is still about half an hour late, so I
should be reaching about eight.

As I stood in the doorway I could smell the smoke off the wood fires
and the cowdung chips. I remember seeing a NASA picture showing the
whole of the north India covered in the smoke off these fires.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ghodadongri

The train barely stopped here at the small station of ghodadongri.
.
Sitting in an airconditioned compartment distances you from whatever
is going on outside and I miss the feel of the smells and the shouts
of porters at the way stations and the hasty negotiations on the cost
of poha or a plate of samosas purchased through the Window. And I miss
the rush or wind in the face from the endless Indian plains and the
metal shutters that had to be dropped down when it rained in the
middle of the night.
.
I remember that a train journey used to be accompanied with a strong
iron smell that would permeate every cloth that you wore. I just don't
get it anymore. Must be all those years of sailing on rustbuckets that
killed my iron smell.
.

Amla station

Free kick on the train

I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw a picture. :).

Has anyone ever heard I this brand? Apparently it is made by the
premanchal breweies in distt. Raisen (MP)

iPhone app tryout- the writepad

Travelling by train does give me enough time to waste and I was not
going to let the opportunity go to waste .

I had uploaded the writepad APP from Prasad on my iPhone and was
determined to See how it would work . I must declare right away that I
have nothing against the keyboard of the iphone . Its just that using
the finger to do the writing Seemed to be a neat alternate to have at
my fingertip :)

As Such I have used it to type this Post and must Say that I am rather
impressed with the result. Though I have taken the better Part of an
hour to get these words out , the Progress toward the end was Much
faster , with me belting out upto three small words at a time .

The hand gestures Such as for return or for space are easy to remember
and once you get used to the app, rather fun. Getting the long words
out is still a challa nge , but Somet{in g I will hopefully get
better at :]

-- This message was composed with PhatWare WritePad 1.6.


Sent from my iPhone