Started the day (23-Sep-2011) with a visit to the famous Shiva temple at Gokarna. Good start to my birthday.

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Today’s journey started off with good roads. Me like.

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From Gokarna, we headed towards Karwar where we had breakfast, and stopped by the lovely empty Karwar beach:

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And passed over River Kali:

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The bridge over River Kali continued to become a road which can only be described as cutting through a hill:

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And continued on in a beautiful road:

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When we reached Palolem beach in Goa, we celebrated with dishes made out of egg (we love egg):

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And then headed out to Mapusa where we had accommodation to stay for the weekend.

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It was hard to decide whether driving all day long was a major downer to be doing on my birthday or being on a road trip and having fun is what exactly I wanted to be doing on my birthday. Heh. Either ways, end of the 5-day 900+km road trip for now. Time to chill out in Goa!

P.S. It turns out my birthday also happens to be the International Freelancers Day. Go figure.

After the mrs. got surfing lessons in Mulki, we left early morning on 22-Sep-2011 from Mulki.

Map Route from Mulki to Gokarna

Immediately, the roads started getting bad. Every few metres, there were potholes and big ones too.

We stopped to have breakfast at Udupi. And after some distance, we suddenly revved into the road next to Maravanthe beach and that was such a pleasant sight!

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Lunch in Murdeshwar at the Naveen Beach Restaurant.

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Back on the road, the sights make it all worth it:

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Loved Om beach at the end of a hard day of driving:

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Dinner at Gokarna.

What a day.

We are staying at the Hare Krishna Ashram a.k.a. Ashram Surf Retreat for the past 2 days (20-Sep-2011 to 21-Sep-2011). The wife wanted to learn surfing.

It’s amazing how much surfing is picking up in India especially with a lot of surfing, including competitions, happening in Mahabalipuram.

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Take a small boat to cross the river to the beach on the other side. Because of this barrier, there is nobody else on the beach other than the occasional local fishing for food for his family.

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Taking out the surfboards:

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And here start’s the first lessons, and boy, is getting on the board and paddling much harder than it looks:

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Our coach Satya, all of 18 years, then explained a few principles of waves and how to stand up on the surf board, which almost seems insane to do for a beginner:

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Surfer chick!

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Here comes the scary part, getting into the ocean!

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After one go at it, the surfing terminology and “this is what I meant” guru-shishya chatter started:

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And then another go and another one…

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At the end of the day, this was the result :

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When we got back to the ashram, Satya cracked open a coconut and Sharvari gulped in glee and in satisfaction after a hard day of surfing lessons.

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We finished day 1 with watching Step into Liquid surfing movie. And day 2, Sharvari went at it again!

Special thanks to the Ashram members – Satya, Dhruva, Shyam, Kishore and Nataraja for their hospitality and company in these couple of days.

Update: Here’s a video of Satya surfing the waves:

After KTM, the next day (19-Sep-2011) we did a road trip from Mysore to Mulki (SH7 and NH48).

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We started the day with a visit to the auspicious Ranganath Swamy Temple at Srirangapattana and headed out via Pandavapura → Krishnarajpet → Channarayapattana → Hassan → Sakleshpur.

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We had lunch at Sakleshpur, which is a funny story. We asked a pedestrian for suggestions on where to have lunch, and we found that place and parked the car. It was a “too hifi place” for us and the mrs. wanted to have ragi mudde. So we asked the paanwala on where we can get good raagi mudde and he pointed us to the small students mess in a lane next to the big hotel. We entered the mess and the owner thought we had lost our way and asked “What do you want?” and we said “Uh, lunch?” We had superb lunch with soul-satisfying rasam along with it.

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We continued our journey and saw beautiful views before and after Sakleshpura.

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Twists and turns of Ghats section roads + not-great roads + heavy rains = slow moving car.

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Sakleshpura → Uppinangadi (literally “salt shop” in Kannada)

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We slipped into fields and waterfalls along the way.

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Finished the long journey via Bantwal → Mangalore bypass → Surathkal → Mulki. I had started driving at 9 in the morning and finished only by 7pm. I was tired. So tired.

We finally reached the Hare Krishna Ashram in Mulki where we are going to stay for the next couple of days. That’s a story for another day.

Obligatory mention: This trip is dedicated to Google Maps, one of man’s greatest inventions.

I did a half marathon (21 km of running) at Kaveri Trail Marathon again this year.

I trained with Runners High again this year, and without them, I wouldn’t even have been able to focus on the run. Work has kept me so busy that I would’ve easily dropped the ball without them.

After four months of practice, we arrived on Saturday in all the various hotels as close as possible to the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary which is where our running trail starts.

Saturday night, we had a suer-fun dinner with many Runners High folks in the same hotel. It reminded me again on how many good friends and inspiring people I have met through running.

Woke up at 4am, got my gear in place like clockwork – a cap, a fuel belt with water and badam pieces, fully charged phone with earphones, nike shoes. Ready.

We reached the trail at around 6:15am and unfortunately missed the full marathoners being flagged off.

6:45am was when the half marathoners were to start. Set.

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Go!

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I started off my run at a good pace for me. I did the first 8km at a 7:30 min/km pace which I was happy with. I was having a steady stride and enjoying the beautiful trail.

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I reached the midway mark, turned around and continued. I stopped at the 17km mark water point and was doing a 8:20 min/km stride. Roughly 17 km in 2:30 hours. Not bad for me.

And then the problems began.

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The sun suddenly started blazing and the heat and the killer “last 4 km” got to me. I struggled slowly, probably covering 10+ min/km. It was those intense pains, trying to push your body beyond what is reasonable.


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I finished in 3 hr 11 min. I was happy that I finished and had a mostly-good run but at the same time I was disappointed that I wasn’t close to my last year’s pace of 2 hr 49 min, but it was inevitable due to my weight gain this year.

That brings me to another aspect of my running. I am quite disappointed that I haven’t been able to improve upon my running in the past 3 years, mainly because my weight holds me back. I am tired of getting too hungry and nauseous (because of gas) by the time the race gets over and end up puking.

So I’ve decided to hang up my boots and will probably get back to running half marathons only after I gain some reasonable fitness and lose significant weight.

Losing weight is a challenge of a different kind where a brute force determination won’t work like in running. So let’s see how that goes.


I’m never going to run this again.

Grete Waitz after winning her first of nine New York City marathons

I’ve been a long-time reader of Ramit Sethi – I love his irreverent approach to money which has influenced me positively. About a year and a half ago, he launched the Earn1K program and I was immediately curious about it. Having failed to run a business once, I thought this was a great way to “hack my brain” to learn about business.

Eventually, I signed up for it. Of course, I have never mentioned this before to anybody other than a handful of friends because most people would balk that I paid so much for an online course and consider me an idiot. I guess I’m just not the latte saving kind of guy – I don’t earn a lot and I don’t spend a lot, but I do want to spend on the things that I really want. I’m mentioning this today because I have results to show from having gone through just half of the course.

A few months ago after I left my last job, most people expected me to jump into a startup again:


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@satpalparmar

Having the spent last 3 years in startup land, I learned a few things which have made me wary and weary of startups. It had gotten me to think of what it is that I was actually seeking.

It turns out to be simple – “I like coding. I like building interesting and meaningful projects. I like working with good people. I like getting paid well.” That’s it ;-). After all these years, I still love coding, so I kept thinking of ways to focus on just that and stay far away from the business and management side of things. “At least, let me indulge in coding till I have the enthusiasm for it” was my refrain. But how to achieve that?

That was when my lessons from Earn1K kicked in.

Today, my full-time freelancing is going better than I had anticipated a couple of months ago.

There was one more reason why freelancing seemed like a great option to me:

To be happy, your work must fulfill three universal psychological needs:

  1. Autonomy – control over how you fill your time.
  2. Competence – mastering unambiguously useful things
  3. Relatedness – feeling of connection to others

This was what I came across in Cal Newport’s blog whom I pay attention to.

As you can imagine, freelancing has given me an opportunity to further each of the above three points – I get to choose the projects I work on, I get to choose projects that improves my skills and I get to choose to work on projects that I want to be a part of. I am not bound by a company’s roadmap at all.

There are other pluses such as not having to commute, not having to take phone screens and face-to-face interviews, no meetings, not having to worry about sales and product roadmap (my clients take care of that), not having to worry about the competition (my clients take care of that), etc.

There are minuses, of course, such as not having a team to interact and learn from, not having the opportunity to meet wonderful colleagues, no paid holidays, and so on. Thankfully, Pomodoro and GTD help me stay focused and productive and the other minuses haven’t bitten me strongly yet.

At some arbitrary point in time in the future, I’ll do a personal review of how things stand, especially if I have a reasonably steady income. If all is well, then I’ll probably continue freelancing, otherwise there is always the option to jump back into a regular job. Until then, my new life experiment is in progress and so far, so good.

P.S. I’ll talk about my current projects in subsequent posts.


“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”

Nassim Taleb