Wish you all a very happy New Year. My warmest thoughts and regards reach out to everyone who had read, liked and commented by blogging efforts. Last Christmas eve, my blogging adventure had survived 12 years.
Yes, it really has been a long time since I picked up the pen (or keyboard, for that matter) to jot down something for this blog. Please accept my heartfelt apologies for not writing or sharing my updates.
I was out of action for quite a long time owing to various reasons. And I shall share a quick recap of what all happened during this time.
Completed digital marketing program
That’s right. What started as a positive gesture by my employer on my journey to support corporate communications soon turned out to become a bigger responsibility and pretty much ate up my non-working hours. There were weekly assignments, lectures, parallel reading, references, etc., all demanding their own sweet hours of dedication. My weekends suddenly changed to working weekends, social media time went for a toss and I almost stopped reading the newspaper for a long time. On the evening of Diwali – the festival of lights, I was submitting my final assignment while the world around me was lighting up firecrackers. I am thankful that my hard work paid off well.
Attended wedding of sister-in law
Almost two days after my exam, I was in the city of Manesar, attending my sister-in law’s wedding. The event was fun and we met many family members from all around the country. To add to the excitement, there were several colleagues of the bride and groom who flew in from London, Singapore and Hong Kong. The three-day event in Manesar, Haryana we made great friends out of distant strangers. The wife had taught several English ladies how to wear an Indian saree the traditional way.
Developed a slight belly flab
As people who work double time would understand and appreciate, there is this side-effect that happens when you do not find the time to work out. Also, there is this mental strain and the bad habit one develops about achieving instant gratification through over-eating. Add to it the opportunity to shore-off the stress by splurging through the wedding event. That became the perfect recipe for a belly flab. Yes, I do have developed a slightly big belly which I must get rid of by working out for the next many days.
Witnessed Donald Trump getting elected
I generally do not comment on politics. It simply is not my forte. I would rather look at what extent do governments deliver on the promises they have made to the public who had elected them to power. Mr. Trump was a tad bit different when it appears to the international audience. He was a guy everyone loved to hate. So it was quite natural that eyebrows were raised when news broke out that he had won the US Presidential election.
Subjected myself to the torture called Demonetization
A few weeks down the line, morons in the local government in India had sucked out 95% of the currency in circulation overnight by a sudden announcement of demonetizing currency notes of two largest denomination values that were in circulation. Some blockhead had advised that all terrorists are trading their wares through 500 and 1000 Rupee notes only. In an overpopulated country like India, such a sudden measure is enough to cause problems for the next few years, no matter how quickly the government had tried to introduce another currency note, there were problems in injecting liquidity to the economy. Many people died due to lack of medical care because hospitals weren’t accepting old currency. Many children died due to delay in receiving milk and essential food. Government wanted citizens to adopt to electronic payment methods. Millions of people learned overnight how to use a debit card. Many others learned how to use mobile wallets. And then came the trouble – several transactions couldn’t be carried out because servers of the banks couldn’t handle the sudden deluge of digital transactions. Many people (myself included) had lost money due to swiping multiple cards for the same transaction (and later found that all transactions were rendered valid and cost me dearly, though the Point of Sale device at the merchant’s premises displayed ‘unknown error’ or ‘unsuccessful transaction’).
Witnessed the funny judicial ruling imposing the play of national anthem in movie halls
In the midst of this demonetization drive came another mockery. Normally, in situations like these it has been a practice that the judiciary steps in to direct the government as to how it should ensure that the normal public is not punished, or sometimes the government is asked to explain the motive of a policy change that was recently made. No such comments were made by the judiciary this time. Instead came a funny ruling – all movie halls should henceforth play the national anthem before the beginning of a movie. Though I won’t question the logic of such a ruling, the timing of this made it look like mockery of the citizen. As someone rightly said, you can drag a horse to the river, but you can’t make it drink the water.
Preparing for my first 200
Yes, even before I stood actually with strong knees beyond a 100 kilometer mark, I just got an opportunity to ride a group of long distance cyclists for a 200 kilometer event. It would introduce many firsts in my cycling life, I am sure. I have applied for membership with the India chapter of Audax Club Parisien, and would keep you posted on the developments. All eyes are set for the Republic Day – 26th January. I have approximately 3 weeks left to pedal off. I request your support, cheers and prayers.
Have a rocking 2017!
Image courtesy: Raja Asutosh Mishra
Yes, I’m formally announcing the achievement of this year’s target – 75km in a single day. Thank you all for the consistent support and motivation. I’m learning and believe that I have many more miles to go before I put my leg down. Recently I made slight changes to the riding plan as an experiment, in order to facilitate the long distance ride.
As a first step, I moved on from the old little ride to a new one. I admit, I’m not a good reviewer of bikes. I know that especially because I follow and comment the blogs of some great cyclists who share detailed observations of their rides, routes and styles. So I shall just mention the product page of the new Little Ride here. It is a Haibike, an iconic German brand. The product name is Big Curve 9.3 which is a hardtail mountain bike with 29-inch wheels. Technical specifications of the ride can be found in their product page here.
Secondly, I changed the route slightly to suit my future riding targets for longer distances. During the rides up to 50 and 60 km in the past, I used to follow the service lanes along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, and it made sense during heatwave conditions of 2014 and 2015. There were quite some points I used to stop and recharge my spirits. This year, I’m welcoming the heat wave with my own supplies of plain water and mini breakfast to take the Expressway head-on.
Though the route is not new to me, it is still a different experience riding the Expressway when I am the slowest moving object in a stream of over-speeding cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles. Strong tailwinds and some gravitational pull enabled me to pedal faster (or at least inspired me to do so) and I had started getting a hang of the near-nonstop ride through the Expressway. My first attempt went very well and on the Little Ride, and I feel that the road smiles back at me. There are no abrupt crossings, though there is always the danger of cars changing lanes and coming faster at you with the intention to exit the Expressway while you have plans to continue pedaling straight along the Expressway, without exiting from it. So I make use of hand signals, and remain alert with one eye fixed in the rear-view mirror to keep out of harm’s way.
There are some ups and downs along the route which influence the cadence, but I try to maintain a steady pace throughout the ride. The most interesting experience of the Expressway was on the way back – there were 2-3 different groups of cyclists who passed me, everyone shouting “Hi, Good morning!” Once or twice I did come across those occasional cyclists who rely too much on their bike brands than their own legs. I find it interesting to chase them and make them falsify those illusions, though not intentionally. With someone on my tail I tend to forget the limitations of my body and would keep pedaling, wanting to fly.
At the end I came home happily, smiling broad, unable to hide the liberating feeling of the ride. I would sincerely thank all of you who follow my blog, support me with kind and motivating words. I’d also thank my smarter half for being there even through the hard times, ensuring that I start off on time, have enough to eat and drink on the way. My little one makes sure that the ride is kept clean, well oiled, and the tyres have optimum pressure. Thank you all again. I shall keep trying to perform better, and shall post my progress here, occasionally.
Do you also keep targets for your hobbies? Do you think it is important to set targets for your hobbies in order to ensure that you take it seriously? Please share your thoughts.