Happy Janmashtami to everyone. I took this video of a Dahi Handi celebration in my locality. The seven layer pyramid almost reached the dahi handi before collapsing.
I was using using my domain Newsp.in as a glorified version of the google play store to advertise my android apps. The site didn’t serve much purpose to anyone other than a couple of lost people (analytics, you can be so cruel sometimes).
In a quest of making better use for it, I stopped my mobile development and concentrating on web dev again. So Newsp.in now lets you follow the Indian stock market (National Stock Exchange). I’m trying to build trends with historical charts so people can check what’s going on with their favorite stocks.
There was also an itch that needed to be scratched. Back in 2008/2009 when I was trying out google appengine for the first time, I wanted to try out websockets for this finance application. Unfortunately it wasn’t supported at the time and I shelved the idea. It’s been 5 years but I’ve finally built a site with websocket support, yay!
Distance: 50 km
The last day was pretty laidback. We took lots of stops to take in the scenery as we got out of the forests and back to civilization.
We passed through old goa and stopped by the churches. The last 10 kms from old goa to panaji was tougher than I expected. The road was very narrow and we had to cycle through strong head winds. All in all this was a wonderful trip. It wasn’t as tough as the ladakh cycle trip and it was lovely seeing goa for all its natural beauty (and not just for its beaches).
Distance : 50km
We were off-roading during the entire doodhsagar stretch. While the stretch from collem to doodhsagar was a challenge as we had to share the dirt road with jeeps, we took an alternate route to mollem. We had a few more bike breakdowns on that rocky road which significantly delayed our exit from doodhsagar for a second day.
The high point was visiting the doodhsagar falls though which I later found out was the same falls used in the movie chennai express.
Once we moved out of doodhsagar, the road to bondla forest was pretty easy. However the road inside bondla was steep uphill and I pushed my cycle most of the way.
Bondla camp was very nice with hostel style bunk beds and it was nice sleeping on a bed as opposed to the pebbled earth in doodhsagar.
Netravali to doodhsagar took us out of civilization and well into the forests. We had quite a few bike breakdowns but luckily my bicycle stayed didn’t have much problems.
We had to cross a few small rivers on foot avoiding jeeps which seemed to be in a tearing hurry.
We were scheduled to reach around 4pm but we reached well after 6pm. The doodhsagar tents were pitched on pebbled earth but our fatigue took over soon and the night passed without any problems.
Distance: 50 km
The bike ride from Assolna to Netravali was uneventful. The place we were staying in Netravali was beautiful. It was in a spice farm filled with Supari trees and other spices.
When we entered, the owner cut down some fresh coconuts and was wonderful way to cool down. The rest of the food was lacking in taste. The farm did have spices for sale but the prices were on the higher side
Damn Goa is hot. The first real day of cycling was fun.
We took a ferry from Donna Paula to Vasco.
We were going to bike on the beach for the next 25 kms but high tide scuppered that idea.
This is us stopping to get sugar cane juice while being surrounded by beautiful lagoon.
We reached assolna camp around 5 pm to be greeted with lychee drink, tea, French fries and pakoras.
The rest of the day passed by quickly and now we are ready to bike to netravali
Biking distance: 10km
Everyone seems to be a early riser in my tent. We have 1 guy each from chennai, Jaipur, Delhi, mumbai and Baroda and for some reason everyone gets up 5 am.
I finally woke up at 6, had tea and got ready for morning exercise. I haven’t run for ages and it showed. But since we were running on miramar beach, the wonderful scenery helped with the pain.
We capped off the morning with chole bhature and now getting ready for the first ride.
I’ve been working on building a social news reader for a pretty long time. Its time to finally release the beta version of the app. You can download News cube from the google play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ak.newstag. Currently its based on Indian news feeds only. If there are any requests for other countries’ news feed, it can be easily added.
It is in beta, so there will be quite a few changes. If you would like to help me test it out, do go ahead and download the app. I would love any sort of feedback.
For people curious on the technology stack, it uses nodejs and redis on the server side. I’ve also finally deployed my node cron job npm module as well.
The next few weeks would be spent discovering if my server is capable of handling the bandwidth (assuming anyone actually uses this app), so please let me know if you can’t retrieve any news feeds.
Since I’ve come back, I’ve been struck by the lack of enthusiasm on my return. In fact one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked by family and friend is, Why have I come back? I’ve always given similar pithy answers that I recently gave to my dearest friend, ‘Because I belong here’.
My mother poignantly pointed out that I went to America, 9/11, tech crash and the housing market collapsed. Now when I have come back, the Indian rupee and economy are crashing as well. There is a term called ‘panvati’ used in Mumbai referring to a person bringing bad luck, so the term might be apt for me.
I can see the reason for despair in India. The economy is in shambles, people are being killed for standing up for truth, women are harassed/raped, jobs have disappeared and the country is in the hands of people who don’t know the meaning of Raj Dharma. There was a time when my ancestors would spend their lives dedicated to acquiring knowledge while begging for food, as earning money would take them away from their quest. Now everyone’s standing in life/marriage is how much you make and how you show it off to the world.
I’ve always considered myself a pessimist in life. The general trend is people growing up as optimists and then turning pessimistic as life wears you down. Now as I ponder over my actions of the last few weeks, I see myself going in the opposite direction. I’m being more optimistic. But the question is what to be optimistic about?
If you see BBC’s ‘Story of India’, the one thing that might strike you is historian Michael Wood’s infectious exuberance every time he talks about India’s past dedicated to acquiring knowledge. What if you change your life back towards acquiring knowledge instead of material gains.
When I went to America the economy crashed but by the time I was ready to leave, the economy was flourishing again. So this ‘panvati’ might have the same effect on India’s economy. We just need to follow the path of dharma.
In a moment of megalomania, I’m now changing my pithy answer to what Skylar Grey croons in her song. I’m coming home because my kingdom awaits.