Posted by: kushalashok | January 2, 2014

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Posted by: kushalashok | June 18, 2013

Motorcycling from Chandigarh to Kasauli

This video was shot during the breakfast ride from Chandigarh to Kasauli organized by Bikerzone.

Posted by: kushalashok | June 1, 2013

Ring the bell

One person adds up to one million but the change doesn’t stop with that million, there are billions out there who are yet to change. But before we conclude that we need the change, let us speculate the present conditions.

In the metropolitan city of Delhi women don’t feel safe as they are told every day how vulnerable they are. It’s not that the news channels are exaggerating the issue but in reality the women feel unsafe. Some won’t start a conversation with a stranger even when they are in dire need. All they can expect is terror and violence and some have already started learning self defense. I chose the example of Delhi because it is the city where most incidents have occurred in the recent past. But the problem is not just with one city, it is everywhere. The following pictures were clicked in Sector 17 Chandigarh when a candle march protest was held after Delhi gang rape.

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Man is called a social animal, but sometimes I fear that we are not social any more. Even animals have a sense of faith which has been observed and proven. (You can learn about it at mother nature work) Then why has man become so unfaithful? Why a daughter can’t trust her own father? Why a girl has to feel like an object put on display?

There is no one single answer to these questions. All these things are inter-related and we need to find a solution which works for all. Whether it be Delhi or Patna, girl or boy, young or old, we need to make sure that the change effects everyone everywhere.

We can start with common habits. The advertisement industry has got more creative and can inculcate good behavior by using themes like following:

A girl has been feeling low all day and her parents take her to a social gathering even though she has got no interest. They pick up their neighbors and drive to their destination. They all did their chit-chat on the way while the girl sat silent. As all are excited about the party they quickly get off while the girl is sitting alone on the back seat, feeling weird. Just then a boy who was traveling along, opens the door for her with a smile on his face. The girl can’t stop herself from smiling. The sense of importance and respect given by the boy, changes her mood and the moment she gets off the car she is ready to party.
“A gentleman would always treat women with respect.”

This can be an ad for men’s wear or the car itself. (I am not sure)

Already we have people with great ideas which resulted into ads like these:

The most basic thing we can do is to give respect to women. Reading the news-paper and calling names to the culprits, to the government and to the mother land is not going to solve anything. We need to think because we have been given the power to think, we need to act because we have been given the courage to act and we we need to be strong because the dark side has always got more heads. A simple example would be the way war heroes are being treated in Bengal: War heroes or rape victims?. If only the society (that is us), would understand the very basic norm of humanity we all can solve the problem for sure. Let alone humanity, the basic sagacity can save us from such disasters. God has given us a brain, the instrument that made us the master of our planet. Why not use it constructively?

All I can say for now is that we all have some good and some bad inside us. There are also parts of our country where women are treated with utmost respect. There are people who have died for such causes and are relentlessly fighting for the right. We all need to bring the change together and we all need to play our parts by understanding the problem and making our decisions accordingly. If you are reading this article, then you are definitely acquainted with the problem. The change that I have been talking about starts with you. If you can make sure that all women in your family are treated with respect, then you have brought the change. If you can make sure that you will stop or report any incident of wrongdoing without making any excuses, then you have brought the change. If you can make sure that you would think about the severity of the problem and ways in which it can be solved, then you have brought the change.

There is hope and there is light, we just need to reach the other end of the tunnel.

Girl lighting candle

Posted by: kushalashok | May 25, 2013

Solo ride to Chail

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During the past few months I have spent a lot of time in office and the only time I spent with myself was in gymnasium.  I like to wear myself out during the day so that when I hit the bed at night I don’t have energy to think and can simply crash. As there were too many thoughts and too less of time to process them, I didn’t bother.

23rd May 2013 (Thursday), 11 pm:
It was not Friday but I got into the weekend mood, picked my motorcycle keys and stormed out. My backpack contained just a water bottle and my mobile charger. I was wearing the gloves as well as the mask which helped in holding the earphones in the right place. I had not decided where I would go yet, and simply turned on the music. The song made me pull the throttle harder and I was on the Himalayan Expressway in no time.  Learning from my last ride to Shimla, I got the tank re-filled at the first petrol pump even though I almost missed it and had to take a U-turn.

Though I was driving at an average speed in the beginning, there was no looking back after crossing the timber trail. Whether it be a truck driving on the wrong side or a fellow speedster overtaking on a curve, nothing could stop me. It was an assiduous effort to get high; as high as 2,444 m which I achieved eventually. Shimla was just 30 km away when I slowed down at a check-post and looked at the sign boards. The name ‘Chail‘ struck me as I had heard about it from my friends and probably read about it online as well. This made me realize that I had never been to Chail, and hence began my exploration.

The road got narrower and the turns got sharper but there was less change in my speed. The first few miles were easy as I was driving down the hill. As it was past midnight other vehicles were seldom met and thus I started using both sides of the road. It helped in speeding through the curves and getting the adrenaline rush used. The road was not well maintained and I almost skidded through the gravel sometimes but it was all intended. Finally I reached my destination which was a sleeping town. I parked my bike near the post office and started walking. The night was so quite, I could hear the wind playing with the dry leaves. As I lied down and looked at the stars, I started thinking and got overwhelmed with memories. I stayed there for 30 min, took a picture for my XCD collection and kick started my return.

The battery of my phone was running out so I could no longer play the songs. I was more relaxed while coming back and took halts to absorb the view. One of these stops was just 3 miles from Sadhupul where I noticed the Himalayan prayer flags tied across the trees. I often wonder what it could be that inspire the people to make these flags, climb up the tree and hang them with the rope. These flags were not put there for decoration, they carried wishes and blessings. I have always been mesmerized by them and thus continued my self-talk.

There were instances when I reached crossroads and had to search for a sign. Most of the times I just trusted my intuition as it anyways didn’t matter where I reached. I noticed later that I had used a longer route to Chail as I could take a turn from Solan instead of Kandaghat. The purpose of this ride was to get one with myself, to be alone and to spend some time with ME.

P.S.: I hope I’ll be able to follow my heart and trust my intuition when I face more crossroads in life.

Posted by: kushalashok | January 13, 2013

New Year Ride to Shimla

I didn’t have much plans for the new year’s eve and the only places that were open for party in Chandigarh were either discotheques or high-end restaurants. As the open DJ night in sector 17 got wrapped up early, I had no certainty about what I’ll do at midnight. I was suggested to go home and sleep peacefully, but that didn’t sound exciting at all.

I decided to celebrate the new year at my friend’s place and left with him after having dinner. We went to the nearby shop, bought some fruit juice and shared a South-Indian dish(Images in gallery). When we got to his place, his four flat-mates were already there and were watching an award distribution show on TV.
It was 11.30 pm when we got this idea to get pastries, and thus we left on our bikes to search for a place to buy them at this hour of night. Finally we found an open shop and reached back home well before midnight. Just when the minute and hour hands of the clock were coming closer we started dancing. Slowly it gained the momentum and reached its height during the final count down. We continued to dance for another half an hour.

Just when we were sharing jokes, one of them asked me to tell him when I go on my next motorcycle trip. I straight away said, “If you are interested in a trip, why don’t we leave now?”. I suggested all of them to get on their bikes and leave for Patiala to eat the well-known “rajendra ke paranthe”. After much ado, finally the two of us decided to go on our own even though we were redundantly warned about the drunk drivers and strict police.

We wore the jackets, took our back-packs and started off on separate bikes. Just when we were about to take a turn towards Patiala, I stopped my fellow rider and asked him, “Why don’t we go to Shimla instead? road to Patiala is not that fun.” He thought about the weather, speculated the chances of frost bite but finally gave in. We got on the Himalayan highway and after riding a few miles I told my friend that I need to get some petrol as my bike was already running on the reserved fuel. It took us 3 U-turns, 6 closed petrol pumps, about 10 extra miles and a whole one hour to finally get the petrol filled.
After that we took just one stop which was much-needed as our hands were aching because of the cold. We had some tea, shared one ‘parantha’ and continued our journey. All this time, we were riding past the drunkards who were probably coming back from Shimla after celebrating new year. Some of them parked their cars on the roads, played loud music and were dancing with liquor bottles in their hands. There was a lot of traffic from the other side and I had to open my helmet’s visor so that the high beams didn’t affect my vision. This made riding even more difficult as I now had to bear the cold air on my face.

We finally reached Shimla at 4 am and roamed on the Mall road while clicking pictures. There was not even a single soul there, and it was indeed a unique experience to find peace on those roads which were known for their hustle and bustle. After walking through both the upper and lower Mall Road we finally found a shop open where tea was being prepared. We also ordered some buns with butter which turned out to be one of the most delicious breakfasts I have ever had.

We left from Shimla at around 6.30 am and reached back in about 3 hours, as we drove fast through the curves and turns while enjoying the empty roads and magnificent views.

 

Posted by: kushalashok | December 29, 2012

Speedoholic – my twitter handle

I am writing this post to describe the word “speedoholic” which I started using long time back. While creating online accounts dedicated to motorcycling I needed an alias, and that is when this word came into picture. After realizing that my twitter handle need not be my name, the only word that I could think of was speedoholic. Though you will find it’s meaning in the Urban Dictionary it is still not a proper dictionary word.
I gave this definition to myself because it was really hard for me to drive slow as a teenager. Even today I can not promise that I won’t get another adrenaline rush and start speeding through.
I have been through accidents, I have claimed insurances and I have broken my bones. But I have been addicted to this thrill and the only thing that scared me is that I may hurt someone who wasn’t expecting any such fortuity. Though I always knew this fact, I never tried to understand it truly. There’s always been a counter question, “Even crossing a road is risky, then should we simply stay on our side of the road?”

I may be capable of driving fast without causing any accidents because of MY own mistake, but I also know that driving safe is going to cut the chances of accidents that are caused by the mistakes of OTHERS. Someone told me that one should never expect other people on road to be driving in the right way. One of the reasons being that most of the licenses that are issued are claimed to be made illegally without conducting any tests. Moreover there are vehicles like tractors, drivers under the influence of alcohol and we can’t keep slapping every other pudding head on the road.

I am able to write this post with a changed perspective because I have driven below 50 kmph since two weeks already. The reason at first was to make sure that the newly installed piston can correspond with the engine.

Motorcycle Engine work

Anthony working on the engine

I had to get the engine work done just after 29K kilometers because the engine oil leaked out during one of my long rides.
After riding with the experienced bikers like DBBR and Free Souls I am confident about driving with composure. As for pure thrill, I have found other means of living it and I would only do stunts at a place which is meant for them.

Posted by: kushalashok | November 14, 2012

DIY Painted Canvas Shoes

I bought a pair of canvas shoes for attending the SSB interview but I couldn’t find much use of them later. Thus I decided to experiment with them.
I started off with some pencil markings and made a rough design and then used water colors to get it done.
Click on any of these images to use the gallery:

They look good to me and are working fine with their color as is.

Reference:
http://www.refinery29.com/diy-canvas-shoes

Posted by: kushalashok | September 14, 2012

Going green on MTB

Bike

I have always loved the concept of mountain biking and with the increasing concern for environment, green biking has become popular.

Today while chatting with a colleague at I.T. park I came to know that he has been using an MTB to commute to the office. I had noticed a few more cyclists in Chandigarh before but I hadn’t got a chance to commune with any. After learning the gear shifts, I had a quick test ride in the parking lot and got amazed with its performance. The disc brakes were good enough to perform a rookie stoppie which prompted my idea of buying an MTB. Though I am not a fan of roadster bikes, if you give me a proper MTB I might even ditch my motorcycle. I won’t just be saving my fuel money but would also become a part of  the green family of futurists without letting go of my passion for thrill.

P.S.: As I have just started off with my professional life, I would like to plan more before investing.

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