Monday, March 6, 2017

Chennai Swimathon 2017

The initiative was by Chennai Trekking Club and this was the 1st ever Swimathon that took place on  Ottiambakkam Lake on 04 March 2017.
Swimmers had come from all parts of India mainly - 20 states. Majority from Chennai and Bengaluru.

Ottiambakam Lake
It is actually a quarry located near Sholinganallur / Medavakkam area in Chennai. It is a hidden jewel and a place to visit for nature lovers. The depth is approx 150 ft deep and length 300 meters. Can be easily accessible by road.
Ottiabakam lake - view from Top

Ottiabakam Lake
Since i had registered for the 5k, i had to do a good amount of practice to stay fit and cover the distance within the stipulated time of 3 hours. Thanks to Rahul for his help as i was able to use the Club Swimming Pool in Begur area - SNN Raj Serenity. My training was from Monday to Friday during the office hours early morning to avoid crowd. I was the lucky one only to be in the pool and could practice for long hours. Practice sessions would vary from a 1km to 2kms swim. February month - i increased my distance to a 2km swim everyday within a time frame of 1:15 minutes.

The Final Day
Drove to Chennai, met a couple of friends in Jain Abhishek in East Tambaram area. Slept early to avoid any exhaustion on the final day. Woke at 3:45 am, got ready and drove to the venue. The event was to start at 6 am so had to stick to the time. We were using torches to fill out the risk form as it was still dark. Got the Bib Nos:603 on my left shoulder. A quick briefing was done by the volunteers for the 5k, 10k and 15k Swimmers. A quick thank you session followed by a warm up exercise.

The 5km calculation 
In order to complete the 5km swim, i had to do 16 loops. One side - length was 150 meters, so to complete a loop - it was 300 mtrs. and last lap was of 200 mtrs to the finish line. The 5km swim had to be completed in a 3 hours slot in order to get the Finisher medal and T Shirt.

The 1st 8 loop (distance 2.4 kms)
3 batches had already left for the Swim - comprised of the 10 and 15k categories. It was finally the 5km batch to start of - off i was in the lake for the grand finale. Gosh - it was cold in the wee hours,,
a few pushes to the start and was off to the other end of the lake. By the time i finished the 1st loop - it looked a herculean task to complete 16 loops. I planned to finish the 8 loops with a mininal break and less consumption of any type of fluids. Freestyle with more support from back kicks and arms movement to glide through the water. At the 3rd loop - i was more comfortable as there were less swimmers to bump into and was very calm and patient with my freestyle movement. I wanted to finish the 8 loops with a short span of time before the Sun was out. Took a break at 5th and 7th loop for bananas, chocolate and cup of water. I did panic in between as my left foot started to ache with cramps - i stopped my movement to avoid any further cramps and put more effort to the right foot. By the time i finished my 8 loops - i was confident to finish the 5km with the stipulated time of 3 hours.

9 to 16th Loop (distance 2.4kms) 
The time taken to cover the loops now were more longer with breaks in between. I switched over to breaststroke for 2 loops to relax my leg movement. I had to peep out quite often to correct my course of direction. Improved on my breathing technique. The last 4 loops looked a distance to cover - exhausted and wanted to finish the race in a sprint. But i had to be calm as i had the biggest fear of getting cramps in my legs. I cooled down breaks, couple of chats with Ashish Tiwari- my old buddy from Flex who was a volunteer at the event. I was now close to finish the 16th loop, my timings were good and i knew had enough time to spare.

The last loop (distance 200 meters)
When i took the final turn to complete the 200 meters - it was sheer excitement and exhilaration that i had never imagined - it was a moment of achievement and all the hard work put for past 2 months.
Thankfully - my lungs , legs and arms supported all the way to the finish line. I finally called my Bib Nos. 603 to the volunteers just to confirm that i had finished all the 16.5 loops. -and i did.

Start :    6:15 AM
Finish :  8:43 AM
Rank : 10th
Total Swimmers in 5k category : 99
Finisher - 5km

with Peter (CTC)
moment to joy
Big Thanks
 A big thanks to all Volunteers of CTC and sponsors. CTC has always been inspirational for the variety of events. Chennai - an amazing city and my family- 2 beautiful ladies - Soma and Siya who are always there to support for all the crazy stuff i keep doing ,,,,

"The Miracle isn't that i finished, it's that i had the courage to start." - John Bingham

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Thonnur Swimathon 2016

How did the idea of Thonnur Swimathon come to my mind
I got the 1st feeling of the an ideal Triathlon when i participated in the Olympic category for a Triathlon in Chennai hosted by Chennai Trekkers Club in Year 2015. After completing the event, i had more confidence in participating in a Triathlon and could even think for more. One of the runners introduced me to Thonnur Triathlon. Once i shifted to Bangalore, i was always on the lookout for the registrations to Thonnur Tri. 
Thonnur Swimathon 2016

This was the 1st time ever - Enduro sports had organized a Swimathon prior to the main core Tri Thonnur. I began my Swimming preparations a month ago. Thanks to Rahul - who helped me on the preparations. With the access to a 30m Meter pool - it was a daunting task even to complete a kilometer in the pool. If i had to cover 2.5 kms in the pool, i would have to swim more than 2 hours and do more than 30 laps per session. I initially started swimming for 1 hour and increased my pace. Before the event, i gave 2 trials for a full 2 hour session. Weather was a hindrance almost every day - gloomy, dull and with the onset of monsoons. I did miss a few days on the practice but tried to keep up the pace and momentum. 
2.5 km route

I drove to Mysore a day in advance to avoid any chaos and confusion on the Karnataka bandh. The team had organized a stay at Hotel Siddharth, Mysore (25% discount) for Swimmers. I had the whole day in Mysore but couldn't do anything due to the bandh. The Hotel is famous for the "Filter Coffee" so i sat for a couple sessions. Had dinner early so that i could get good rest for the next days challenge. I guess i could not - the anxiety for the swim and not to miss the bus for the venue.

Thonnur Swimathon (July 31st, 2016) 
Woke up at 3 am and got ready, the transport was arranged for all participants to go to the venue. Thonnur Lake is approx. 38 kms from Mysore - a 1 hour drive. I did not want to take the risk driving alone assuming i would get lost mid way. Most of the participants were sleeping while i was awake awaiting the destination. After a small climb, i could sense we were here. Yes, it was early morning and Lake Thonnur looked beautiful. It had a beautiful landscape. A cloudy and windy. Enduro Team was busy getting all the arrangements done, the buoys were in place etc. Announcement was done soon for Swimmers to get ready and briefing to be done. 
It was the 5k swimmers who take the charge followed by 2.5 k swimmers and 1k. There were nine buoys marked with flags - so for me to do the 2.5kms - i had to do 2 loops followed by a small loop of 500metres. There were colored flags at every buoy so that swimmers do not get lost or confused. At every loop - the Swimmer had to call out for their bib for their completion of the loop. The organizers had done a fantastic job on this - well planned. 
Once the signal was given for the 5k swimmers, i could sense my heartbeat - pounding like never before. Now, it was our turn to jump into the water. I wanted to start late as there were quite a few who wanted to rush / compete the race. My focus was to complete the 2.5km in a good time and get the experience of an open water swim. 
1st loop swim - After the signal, i jumped into the water, there i was all alone testing my endurance, speed, agility, focus and destination. My 1st 200 meters was a clueless swim - drank a lot of water, fear of getting drowned, fear of getting cramps in my left leg, water penetrating in my Speedo goggles. I took hold at one of the buoys - relaxed for a while and tried to focus. I was all alone to decide whether to call for help of swim further. At a far distance - i could see the green flag - long way to go. I was in the water again in Freestyle mode to swim further. I was better this time as i gained momentum and covered a few meters. Once my head was up to see if i am in the right direction - i came to know that i had swam away from rest of the pack. I had to swim back again next to the buoys - i realized that for every 3/4 strokes - i had to look up and see if i am in the right direction. Once reaching the green flag - i had covered 300mts of swim and had to hit back to the bay for 1 loop completion. I was on a easy mode swimming back - more confident with a variation of Freestyle and breaststroke. On completing of the 1st loop - I did bump into a few swimmers and got a solid kick on my face - making my goggles lopsided. Waited for a while, put my goggles on and off i was on to complete my 1st loop. Called out for my bib number and decided to take a small break. i saw a few 1st timers do the same. Chatted for a while and was back again in the lake. 

2nd loop swim - The 2nd loop swim was a difficult one. Since the Sun was out in the morning, it was warmer and a bit windy. Every stroke seemed difficult - waves had gathered and the momentum was very slow. It was a herculean task now to swim. I changed my focus on breaststroke to go on with an easy pace and to avoid loss of energy. I had various thoughts in my mind but i was focused to complete the 2nd loop in a easy pace. Timing was not an issue and i knew once completing the 2nd loop, the balance 500 meters will be a smooth swim. I guess i took a longer swim this time as i was exhausted. Once reaching the bay, i took a small break , drank water and off again for the last lap.
3rd loop swim - this was the last loop and i knew i was close to my destination. Now, i only had to cover half the swim of 500metres. I began at an easy pace and was very happy that i was towards completing my finish line. As i reached my destination towards the bay, i felt happy of all the hard work i had done. This was a moment to cherish.

At the finish line. 2.5 kms in 1:22 mnts.
Timings - When i got the Split timings a day later, i could not believe for a moment. I swam better than my regular practice sessions. During my practice in a 30m meter pool in SNN Raj Serenity, in a 1 hour slot - i used to cover 900 mts. Before the Swim, i gave a try to complete a 2km mark just to check on my timings - i covered the 2km mark in 2 hours. As per the timings - i swam the 2km in 1hr 4mnts. - huge difference with an open swim. Overall - i swam the 2.5kms in 1:22:02 seconds.

Thanks - Special thanks to Enduro team who made the event a grand success and memorable. Without your support Ajit Thandur, Prajwal Prasad and Abhilash - the Swimathon would not have been possible. Excellent support on the Buoys, registration, timings, transport and logistics. Hats off....Special thanks to Rahul for helping me during practice sessions in SNNR Raj Serenity. And lastly, Soma and Siya who i always look up for my adventures.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Amazing Thailand

As it was our Daughter’s 1st birthday, we wanted to make it special and memorable. Being living in South India past 13 years, we wanted to explore the neighboring countries – being closer and affordable to travel. As we had traveled as a couple to various places like US and bike trip to Sri Lanka for 2 weeks on a shoestring budget, the travel to Thailand had to be planned. Thailand summers are similar to Coastal India with a high humidity level – April to May. But traveling during Summers is the best time – a clear view of Blue waters and a perfect time for Scuba diving. It is also affordable - food and accommodation is very good. Buying a flight ticket from Bangalore to Bangkok or Bangalore to Delhi will be almost same. So if you plan a trip to North India ex: Delhi – the traveling time to Delhi or Bangkok is the same. Getting Visa is very easy as Thailand is a Mecca for tourists or you can get Visa on arrival.
We chose our travel during summer, got the Visa’s, cash, hotel bookings etc. For my little daughter Siya, it was 1 week of stock Nan Pro and Cerelac. We were off from Chennai to Bangkok on an early morning Air Asia Flight. We had planned to cover Bangkok , Krabi and Koh Phi Phi islands.

Bangkok- Checked in at St James Hotel, Sukhumvit. I had one of my school friends living in Bangkok for many years – kudos to him to arrange a 1 day full trip to Bangkok. We visited the Central World Shopping Mall,  Asiatique Night Market, SIAM Square, and did the River cruise. If one really loves shopping – Bangkok is the best place (new designs at affordable price). There are a lot of flee markets in Bangkok. Grabbing a meal for the day is never a problem – restaurants and eating joints are at every corner street. My little daughter was in a bit shock seeing new faces and new city – totally perplexed what was going on, but later she got used to the travel. One of the most common mode of transport is the Skytrain (BTS) , Auto Rickshaw (TukTuk), Subway, Express boat and Bike Taxis – so getting around was never a problem. The river cruise is worth a visit – a must to see.

Bangkok -Ao Nang –Krabi 
We took a early morning flight from Bangkok to Krabi – a short 1 hour flight. The Krabi Airport looked fantastic – lush greenery with hundreds of Palm trees around. Now, we were happy as we left the Concrete Jungle amidst nature. We bargained for a taxi and headed straight for the Hotel in Ao Nang. It was hot and humid, we had carried a few bottles with us to prevent from De-hydration. 
 Ao-Nang is small town in Krabi Province. Ao-Nang is a base town from where you can head towards Koh Phi Phi island and to Phuket. There are many small Islands around and you can take a ferry or hire small boats.

Our Hotel Haleeva Sunshine is on the main road and not far from the beach. We took a short nap as the day was hot. In the evening, we ventured out for local sigh seeing and enquiries for the next day’s venture. The local food is worth to taste.

The next day, we did a 1 day trip to all the Main Islands around Ao Nang. We hired a small boat to take us around the main islands. As we left Ao – Nang beach – the water was getting clear with a touch of blue color. I really can’t express how beautiful the color of the water was – aquamarine blue. I wouldn’t have imagined in my life to see beautiful water than this. The West Railey beach look splendid – a perfect getaway. We also visited Chicken and Poda Island. I ventured out with Snorkeling here – jumping in the ocean was a big fear, but once you take the plunge – it’s an experience of a lifetime.  I spent a couple of hours snorkeling as the experience was exhilarating. Even Siya was anxious to jump into the water, I guess by now – she realized, we were on a holiday trip. It was time to head back to Ao-Nang as it was mid-day and getting hotter. It was a 2 hour boat ride to the Ao nang Beach. In the evening, we hired a Scooty to see the night life in Ao Nang. It is easy to hire a scooter – cheap and affordable. In the evening, the streets are full with local food and sweets.
Ao Nang beach - Rajiv & Siya
Ao-Nang – Ko Phi Phi Islands
Early morning, we took a ferry from Ao Nang beach to Ko Phi Phi Islands. It is a big boat which can ferry 200 passengers and carries goods and food packets to the main Islands. The ride was more than 3 hours but one take the advantage of seeing all the islands we cross by. The water is absolutely fantastic – clear as never seen before.

We reached the Tonsai Bay – one of the main islands of Koh Phi Phi. As we reached Ko Phi Phi Don –the vibe changed completely. At the edge of the dock, we could see line of touts extending their package tours of the islands. And we had hundreds of tourists flocking the islands. Most of the people were in party mood. Most of the people were in shorts, flip flops, hat and goggles. The hotel staff accompanied us to the Hotel – Phi Phi Andaman Legacy Resort. It’s a 20 minute walk from the Deck to the hotel. What I really liked was – no motor vehicles allowed on the main island. En- route to the hotel – you will find loads of shops, travel agencies and Scuba diving centers.

The resort was beautiful as it was close to the beach. The facilities were the best one could have and value for money. In the evening – we took a stroll of the islands. It’s a Mecca for tourists – restaurants, bars, tattoo studios, Arts and Crafts etc. The beach looked spectacular in the evening. Soma loved the Sea-food buffet we had in the evening. 
I had booked a Refresher Program with the Padi Certified Scuba center – The Adventure Club. The package included 2 dives with Full diving equipment with maximum of 60 minutes per dive. It includes Lunch, Photographs taken during Diving etc
Scuba Diving – Phi Phi Islands

We assembled early morning at the center for a quick learning session before heading towards the boat. Equipments & Gear, food were quickly transported to the boat so that we could start early. We had a video presentation on board with the Safety features & use of the sign language. It took us a while to understand all this,, the excite started building and soon we had to wear the gear.

Now, since I have been Biking all my life – wearing a gear for a motorcycle ride would take 15 minutes, but getting on to a swimsuit , face mask, oxygen cylinders etc, min, 25 minutes – by the time we were full geared – it looked like a gear of 100 kgs..
1st Dive

I was lucky to have a Venezuelan scuba diver (the Spanish connection) really worked well. My 1st jump was a big splash but once I was in the deep ocean – it was calm and silent as never before. I soon looked back for my instructor – using the sign language – we were now in Deep in the Ocean. With a variety of Sea Fishes and Corals – it was a moment to cherish. It is out of the world experience. I was comfortable at the moment and was heading to more depth. I could feel the pressure in my hears and more silence. The Corals were like magic with hundreds of shapes and sizes. It is said that – Koh Phi Phi has one of the best diving places in the world – I truly believed it now. My instructor wanted to get the best benefit today – as it was a clear day, we soon swam further where there were more rocks. Wanted to see shoals of fish, sharks and tortoise. Marta soon spotted a baby shark near a Coral, I just simply looked at it. We tried spotting a Tortoise but failed to so. I was tired and gave a signal to Marta (instructor) to head upwards to the boat. We were soon out of the deep blue Ocean. Off was my mask and with exhilaration I said – Wow, this is absolutely fantastic. 
Deep Blue Ocean
We were 8 divers and had to wait for everybody to come out. Our boat was very nearby and we soon left for the next destination. We had lunch and relaxed a bit. Our 2nd dive was deeper touching to 50 meters and a new location. 
The new location was very close to Maya Bay. Maya Bay is a very famous beach and came to popularity during the shooting of the film "The Beach" starring now Oscar Award winner Leonardo Di Caprio. The movie describes the location and it's white sandy beaches. While i stood standing at Maya Bay, Nature was it its best. One could not have described anything better than this. We soon headed for the diving location .  It was Turquoise water with a different variety of fishes. I spotted the famous "Nemo" fish and had an experience of Big Tortoise swimming besides me. One of friends spotted a Shark but the time we reached, it swam away. 
Soma and Siya had a wonderful day at the resort swimming by the Pool side. 
Next day, we took a ferry back to Ao Nang and then to Bangkok.
While we looked at our pictures smiling over the experiences we had, these are memories unforgettable. Now, we can say - Siya has the wee bit on adventure just like Mom and Dad.
This was truly a well laid back adventure trip. Now, i have one of the activities - Scuba Diving off my Bucket list. I still look at cheap fares on Air Asia so that i can my next trip.
Soma, Siya & Rajiv - Ko Phi Phi Don beach

Longtail boats - Ko Phi Phi beach

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bharath Marathon - Run for a Healthy Nation

We were here

About Bharath Marathon
Country's one of the biggest Traditional and Professional MARATHON took place in Chennai, first time in india the professional marathon added a cause of creating "TOBACCO FREE INDIA", associated with Tamil Nadu marathon association and supported by Dept of Public Health (Dept of Health & Family Welfare).RUN TO QUIT TOBACCO!"RUN FOR A HEALTHY NATION"

Our New City - Chennai
I would have never thought in my life to relocate to Chennai. But wherever your work is - you gotta get use to the life. 
After a hibernation of 9 months until Siya was born , we thought to venture out something new in Chennai. 
Came through this site on Marathon - registered and started training. 
I had done a few runs in Bangalore - the Midnight Marathon, Sunfeast 10k etc - this was a similar run but in Summers. The Summers here is a experience of a life time. We thought of giving it a try. Running on the famous route near the Marina Beach is breathtaking.

Practice Session
While Soma practiced a few runs in the apartment Gym, i was full on regular at the Fastrack Gym in Selaiyur. My Coach - Prem - fitness freak and a cyclist was hell on to train me for the big day. I thought a couple of times to run in the evenings on the weekend - but the heat was so strong that it was unbearable. 
As this was a moderate 5km run - running on the treadmill was much easier. 5km on a normal track would be 6 to 7.5 kms on the treadmill. I had kept a target to finish my training in 10 days and slowly increase the pace, was of high fatty foods. 

At the venue

Marathon Day. (08th June,2014 - Labour Statue, Marina Beach - Chennai)
We started from home at around 3am to reach early for the Marathon. 
This was the 1st time we had ever seen Chennai early morning. The Marina Beach was a fantastic venue. 
I was amazed to see the enthusiasm shared be fella folks,,,

Banners were well put, Security in place, Drones, cameras, water bottles - very well organized. 
Chennai Police had superb security arrangements. The entire running area diverted - even public buses. 
The Half Marathon of 21 kms and Mini Marathon left early at 5am. The Corporate Challenge ( 5km) was most of the people had registered. We had small kids from various schools nearby Chennai who had come for the run. Lots of youngsters and Chennai locals for the run,,,

We started sharp at 6 am, as i was increasing pace, i had to catch up with the timing and wanted to finish early. Soma was running pretty good, ever after maternity- her pace was really impressive. I had planned earlier not to stop until 4 kms - take only 2 breaks for water and the 5th km - at max speed. 
It was a moment to enjoy - fresh sea breeze, clean n tidy roads, runners in yellow T-shirt. Early morning citizens had come for a good cause to cheer the athletes,,

After a turn - we had to head back to the Labour Statue - now, i could see signboards for 2 kms - more relieved as i had finished a good distance. As the destination was a bit close - i increased my pace to get the best timings. Soma was running good. As i reached the finish line - got a sigh of relief. Acknowledge myself for a good finish - the total distance covered was 5 kms in 33 minutes - WOW - that's an achievement.
Soma finished the 5km at 50 mnts.

The marathon soon concluded followed by closing ceremony. Had a heavy breakfast and collected the certificates. Superb Sunday and moments to Cherish.

Bharath Marathon

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Special 26


Hindi Movie - Special 26
Impressed one-and-all with his gripping direction and storytelling. 
That film worked because of many reasons – a tight gripping screenplay, an impeccable script, flawless performances, crisp editing (100 minutes).
Based on true incidents, Akshay kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee have done a terrific role.
Special 26 – Short Plot
Its about a gang of four 'fake' CBI officers – led by Ajay (Akshay Kumar) and P.K Sharma (Anupam Kher). They conduct raids at the houses of corrupt politicians and businessmen and keep all the supposedly 'seized' money and jewellery for themselves. There is no particular reason why they do this.Their acts do end up looking like public service, considering that the so-called thieves are getting into trouble. Yet, it is fun to watch these fake officers do their thing and even more fun is to witness the reactions of those who are being raided.
Special 26 – Technical
The scenes have been brilliantly written –memorable moments include the raids conducted in Delhi and Kolkata, the banter between Anupam Kher and Akshay Kumar, Akshay's penultimate scene with Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Sheirgill and Divya Dutta's chemistry among many more.
I watched "Special 26" on a working Wednesday Morning - 10 AM Show,,,as the Cinepolis Bangalaore Morning Wednesday show is cheaper - i was overwhelmed to see a jam packed house. 
A movie not to be missed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance

Tone at the Top (Leads to the right culture that fulfills the purpose of Corp. Governance)

• Governance philosophy, Trusteeship, Transparency, empowerment and accountability, control & ethical corporate citizenship

Corporate Ethics

• Better communication leads to better life

• High Ethics means success

• Environmentally aware in all we do

• Our people build the future

• No tolerance on corruption

• We and Our Partners

• Avoidance of conflict of Interest

• Transparency and auditability

• Protection of Confidential information

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

• Disaster Relief (volunteer) , Donate on natural calamities,

• Environmental, Economical, Social – what do companies do?

• Health safety management systems.

• Education and voluntary work for the society

Whistleblower policy

• Open door policy – access to Business Heads / functions

• Forms available on intranet / can log complain to anonymous mail or call

• Awareness sessions and town hall conducted on regular basis.

• Anti-corruption handbook on the intranet