Thursday, December 07, 2017

2017 - Run Run Run !!

2017 has been a year with various runs spread across different months. Recently we had a chance to run The Wipro Chennai Half Marathon of about 21.1 Kms in 3 hours and 13 minutes. Running 10 km is an easy task but 21.1. Kms definitely needs lot of practice, endurance and fitness in the body. After running 10 Kms, there is lot of dehydration in the body and one has to take lot of water, salt, bananas, energy drink. Good thing about these runs are one has a good eye on the food habits, regular practice sessions during the week and the satisfaction one gets after crossing the finish line. This has been my second half marathon and full marathon is a distant dream for now. Running is indeed a great sport for IT professionals who rarely move their body anytime in their work.

2017 Running:
1. Wipro Chennai Marathon (Postponed from Dec 2016 to Jan 2017) – January 
2. Tamil Nadu Marathon – June
3. Dream Runners Half Marathon – July
4. Give a Brick Run – August
5. Terry Fox Run – September
6. Chennai 10k Challenge – September
7. Alertathon – October
8. Wipro Chennai Half Marathon – December
Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up – Dean Karnazes

Sathish Kumar S

Sachsen, Germany

Recently I had a chance to meet one of my best German friends Angela and Torsten in their hometown in Chemnitz, Germany. It was so nice that they also planned their vacation exactly the same time and we explored the different places in Sachsen for a week. I landed in Frankfurt from Dubai and took the train to reach Leipzig and they picked me from Leipzig. We had a chance to visit Leipzig Panometer. It is visual panorama displayed inside a former gasometer, accompanied by a thematic exhibition. Next day we went for a short walk to Totenstein with in Chemnitz. It was autumn time and it was so colorful to see the leaves in the tree and at the top of Totenstein tower gives a panoramic view of the city of Chemnitz. 

Then we went for a wonderful trekking to Saechsiches Schweiz which is a hilly climbing area and national park around the Elbe valley south east of Dresden in Sachsen. The Bastei is a famous point in Saechsiches Schweiz and we went to Stammstein which is a pretty decent trek to the top. One gets a panoramic view of the city of Dresden from the top and the beautiful landscapes along with the Elbe River. We went to Dresden for a day and went to the top of Frauen Kirche. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic. It is indeed the cultural, educational and political centre of Germany and Europe with really artistic buildings and architecture. 

We had a chance to visit Freiberg which is a University and mining town in Sachsen. The Freiberg City and Mining Museum is one of the oldest publicly erected museums in Saxony. Then we had a great feast of buffet with Noetzold family in Greek restaurant hosted by his daughter. Last but not the least, Torsten and I went for a swimming in a very big Swimming Hall in Chemnitz. Thanks to Torsten who suggested a sports shoe in Chemnitz which helped me to complete the half marathon without much pain. 

Torsten and Angela has always been a great friends for us for a long time now. We made it a practice to visit them in Chemnitz once in summer and once in winter when I was in Germany and they visited us in USA. It’s always very nostalgic to catch up with nice friends and well-wishers after a long time in their backyard. Thanks to Angela and Torsten for a wonderful holidays in Sachsen, Germany for a week which will reside in my memory forever.

Ich liebe Deutschland!
Sathish Kumar S

Dubai, UAE

Recently I had a chance to meet my school friend Damo in Dubai. Infact this is the third time I am visiting Dubai on my transits to Europe. Always a place to be during the transits and especially in November, December, January, February when it’s not too hot and mild temperatures to hang out. We went to Dubai Mall, the famous mall in the heart of the city and to Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world. Since I already went to the top, this time we just stayed near it and watched the spectacular colorful waterfall show next to it. All in all, wonderful times spent with Damo, his son and daughter and thanks for showing a great hospitality. A trip to remember and will stay in my memory for long time.

Sathish Kumar S

Temple Tour in Thanjavur District

Recently I had a chance to visit lot of temples in Thanjavur district. Thanks to Periappa and Lal Aunty who accompanied me in this temple tour. Really amazed with the huge artistic temples spread across various places in Thanjavur district which clearly shows the rich cultural heritage tamil culture had before some centuries. The tip of the iceberg is always the Brahadeeshwarar temple known as Thanjai Periya Kovil named as UNESCO site heritage. Below are the list of temples which we covered in 3 days in Cauvery Delta District

1. Anjaneyar Temple, Pachavadi
2. Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram
3. Vaitheesvaran Kovil, Sirkazhi
4. Thirukadaiyur
5. Thirunallar
6. Thirupampuram
7. Uppuliappan
8. Thirunageswaram
9. Swamimalai
10. Thiruvalanchuli
11. Kumbeswarar
12. Chakrapani
13. Thirukarugavur
14. Brahadeeswarar Temple
15. Punnai Nallur Mariamman
16. Mailam
17. Adi Parasakthi

Service to Mankind is service to God!
Sathish Kumar S

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thiru Kazhu Kundram - Temple Town

Recently I had a chance to visit Thiru Kazhu Kundram, serene scenic city near Mahabalipuram with my Aunt known for its temples. The steps were very steep to climb up to the top and my aunt did a great job in climbing those steps to visit the temple. One gets a panoramic view of the city of Thiru Kazhu Kundram from the hill stop and it was simply breathtaking on a sunny day. Before a decade, two eagles come exactly during the lunch time and the prasadam from the deity is presented to these eagles. On the foot hills, one gets a chance to see Thirupura Sundari temple which is really vast and huge. Definitely a place to visit on a weekend.

Sathish Kumar S

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Half Marathon and 10 Km runs

Recently I completed half marathon (21.1) kms in 3 hours and 2 minutes in Chennai. It was a long dream to complete this half marathon once and thanks to the motivation and training plan given by my friend Rajesh who has completed two full marathons. Prior to this half marathon, I did 10 Km run with my good friend Kalai and with my periappa in Anna University. It was certainly a great motivation to see 65 year old periappa taking part in these outings. After this half marathon, we did one more 10 Km run with my colleagues Balu and Kalai.

What’s good about these 10 Km and half marathons are the fitness awareness and the type of diet we take before couple of weeks and the most important aspect of it is the money goes to the charity for various cancer patients, handicapped children etc and the awareness it creates among the public. The timing chip, the medal, the certificate, the hot breakfast and the T shirts are definitely worth for the money we pay for. Good thing about these events are not about winning but be part of the social gatherings and awareness.

Sathish Kumar S

Hamburg, Lueneburg, Germany

Recently I had a chance to visit my second home town Hamburg, Germany during my business trip to UK. It was so nostalgic to meet all good old friends and to catch up with them after really a long time. I was very skeptical about speaking in German again but honestly it was really nice to speak the language with full intent and interest. Michael and Sina had a great birthday party in the ship on the Elbe river and we partied throughout the whole night and reminded me of the student days in Europe. Thanks to my good friend Prabu for organizing the grill party in Lueneburg with all my old friends. Thanks to each and everybody who made this travel to Hamburg and Lueneburg the most memorable and lovely.

Sathish Kumar S

London, UK

Recently I had a chance to visit London on a long weekend during my business trip to UK. The train journey from Liverpool to London was a great experience and it was nice to catch up with my good friends Ramesh and Kaja after a long time and had a great time with them. There was a ICC champions trophy warm up match between India and New Zealand in Oval, London and it was fun to catch up accidentally in the great Oval ground with a beer. Also went to the famous places of London Bridge, The Big Ben, London Eye etc. As usual it was drizzling all along and it was a typical British summer. What really amazes me is the public transportation, the tubes and the metros. It’s always fun to be in this lovely and bubbling city of London.

Sathish Kumar S

Liverpool, UK

Recently I had a chance to travel on a Business trip to Liverpool, UK for couple of weeks. Liverpool is a city in North West England situated across the Mersey river and a hour drive from the city of Manchester. Had a chance to visit Eigburth Cricket Ground, the home of Liverpool Cricket Club and belongs to Lancashire County. The great Jimmy Anderson comes from this county and plays often in Eigburth. Locals are so much interested only in football with various football clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton etc nearby and Cricket is the second sport. It was definitely interesting to hear and speak the Liverpool accent and sometimes one wonder whether they speak English or other language. I thoroughly enjoyed the stay in Liverpool. Mathew Street is one of many tourist attractions related to The Beatles and the location of Europe’s largest annual free music festival. It was a great trip with lot of fond memories. 

Sathish Kumar S

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pichavaram, Mangrove Forest

Recently we had a chance to go to Pichavaram, Man Grove forest near Chidambaram - the world’s third largest mangrove forest. It was a great experience to do boating in the backwaters - the mangrove forest trees are permanently rooted in a few feet of water and this place offers abundant scope for water sports such as rowing, kayaking and canoeing. Anish, Shruti enjoyed the boating to a great extent and there were lot of mosquitoes which made us to dance in the boat. After the boating in Pichavaram, we went to historic Chidambaram Natarajar temple where Lord Shiva is captured in pose as Nataraja performing the ‘Ananda Tandava. It was a day to remember with good family outing.

Sathish Kumar S

Chennai Marathon 2016 - 10 KM

Recently I had a chance to participate in Chennai Marathon 2016 10KM stretch along with my friends Praveen and Sridhar. The event was supposed to happen in December but postponed because of CM’s death, Varadha strom and finally happened on January 8th. The race began from the Napier Bridge, went along the Marina Beach, Light House, San Thome, RK Puram, Adyar and finally reaching CPT Grounds, Taramani. I gained lot of weight once I returned back to India and it was very difficult in the beginning to start the running even for 1 or 2 Kms in the tread mill. I practiced for around 2 months 3 to 4 times a week and gained confidence over a period of time. It was a great experience to run this short stretch of the Marathon in my home town which was pending for really long time. I finished 10 Km in 1hr and 22 minutes at a rate of 7.5Kms/hr. Thanks especially to Praveen who motivated me to take part in this event. It’s a distant dream for me to complete half Marathon at least once in a lifetime , let’s see how the eating habits goes :P

Sathish Kumar S

Munnar, Kerala

During Christmas holidays, we had a chance to go to Munnar, the hill station situated at around 550 Kms from Chennai, at around 1,600 meters above mean sea level in the Western Ghats range of mountains. It was a road trip from Chennai, halted in Villupuram in our relative’s house, then proceeded from Villupuram via Trichy, Dindigul, Periyakulam, Theni, Bodi and finally the hairpin bends drive to Munnar. It’s indeed a scenic hill station with picturesque tea plantations everywhere and we stopped at various spots to take pictures amidst the tea leaves.  

Mattupetty Dam is must see place in Munnar which is a confluence of the mountain streams of Muthirappuzha, Chanduvarai and Kundale river. The speed boat ride was a fantastic experience for all of us especially for Anish. Munnar Tea Museum, Top station are notable places to see in Munnar. We had a chance to make an elephant ride for the first time and it was truly rewarding experience for Anish.

The stay was fantastic with a panoramic view of the tea estates. We had a chance to celebrate New Year’s Eve in this scenic, picturesque, wonderful hill station and it was a much needed break between New Year and Christmas. Thanks to my wife who took bulk of the driving and certainly one of the best road trips to remember for.

Sathish Kumar S

India vs England, Chennai

Before Christmas, I had a chance to go to a test match in M A Chidambaram stadium, Chepauk between India and England. The match was heading towards to a tame draw and nobody expected a result on fifth day’s play with England needing around 300 odd runs and 10 wickets in hand and India’s 4th innings to follow. Even till lunch time, there was not even a single English wicket fell and I was mourning with my friend Praveen why did we come to stadium to watch this stupid match in the middle of the week by taking an off from office.

 It all changed after the lunch time with 3 wickets between lunch and tea with strong solid defense from England. Ravindra Jadeja took quick wickets in succession after tea and there was definite sense of victory for the Indians and it looked like English players were in a hurry to catch the flight for their Christmas celebrations. With just 30 minutes of play left for the day and India needed 2 wickets to wrap up the series, Jadeja finished the things off in style in one over. It was nice to see POMS getting thrashed in a bilateral test series after nearly 8 years. A day to remember to watch a perfect 5th day’s play with a result in the middle of the week and an off from office. 

Sathish Kumar S

Swindon, Bath, UK

In December, I had a chance to go to Business trip to Swindon, UK which is about 70 miles from London. It was a great experience to conduct the workshop with native speaking English folks and it turned out to be reasonably good show in the end. The Client took us to the dinner and Christmas Market in a city called Bath, hours’ drive from Swindon. Bath was architecturally superb with picturesque buildings, churches, antique shops etc. We drank a glass of Gluewein and kept ourselves warm in the biting cold. Travel from Heathrow, London to Chennai was pleasant and all in all a great experience to remember.

Sathish Kumar S

Indian Super League 2016 Edition

In November, I had a chance to go to a football match (Indian Super League-ISL) between Chennai and North East United in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai with my colleague cum friend Nats. Chennai being the defending Champions didn’t perform well in the 2016 edition with most of the key players injured, marque players suspended for this edition. Chennai took the lead and dominated the match right from the beginning but North East United gave a tough fight till the last minute by scoring a goal in the extra minute of the second half and equalizing the match by 3-3. Chennai finished at 7th position, Atletico de Kolkata were crowned champions for the second time in three editions of ISL. This League is definitely the one to watch out for in the next decade.

Sathish Kumar S