The First Biking Trip

Year 2013: Last year of the college… Last PL (preparation leave)… Some considered it as time to prepare for your exams, we always considered it as the time for a trip. As it was the last PL it had to be grand to make it up to the occasion. So a plan of a biking trip to Kokan was hatched with Akshay, Rohit, Omkar, Pranav and Gauri (the usual culprits). The destination was Karde and the proposed route was

Pune-> Shirwal->Bhor-> Varandha Ghat ->Dapoli -> Karde

route1

As the journey was not that long, I decided it would be better to take my bike (Splendor+, 99 CC ). Oh, boy I regretted that decision for the later half of the trip. Not that the bike wasn’t in good shape. I had taken her out for 200+ km rides before as well; but this time the bike was determined to show off in front of my girlfriend, just like the damn owner. The other 2 bikes included Avenger (220 CC) and Pulsar (135 CC). We were on a shoe string budget, because parents would have absolutely killed us for even planing a trip with exams so near and also would have ridiculed the idea of going on a bike. Especially, my dad would have thought of me as some maniac for taking my 10 year old bike.

Day 1:

We started the journey at 7 am. 1 hour late from the scheduled time, because 5 minutes on my or Akshay’s watch are not the exact same in the real world; they may vary from 1 hour to a couple of earthly hours. Since we were already late we thought it was probably better to have a breakfast and then set on the journey.

After riding for 2 hours we reached Varandha Ghat. The ghat road is treacherous with ample blind turns and step slopes. It was a thrilling experience to ride on the step curves. There is spot in the middle of the ghat from where the entire valley can be seen.Though it was not the best season to be there, but the view was astonishing.

The roads were not in the best condition, but the warm breeze and the smell of sea made the journey bearable. We reached Karde beach by 2pm. We had made the reservations at a beach restaurant. Yeah, a beach resort even on a shoe string budget, the rooms were not that expensive.(Just ₹1000 for 2 rooms and the balcony.) Since we had already booked and had asked the owner to prepare lunch for us. During our previous visits to Kokan, we learnt an important lesson the hard way. ‘You have to explicitly inform them to prepare the food, or else you have to STARVE!’.

Rest of the day was spent leisurely on the beach; swimming, playing football, building a castle and also destroying it!!

Day 3:

The original plan was to relax at Karde for next 2 days and then head back home. Next night after paying the rent and other expenses, surprisingly we were left with ₹4k more than expected. Rohit then came up with this insane idea of riding to his home town in Ranagiri. 250 Km from the current location and adding 500 Km to the journey! After putting up initial resistance concerning the condition of my bike, which was bluntly ridiculed, we prepared the route for the journey. Just as we were ready to leave Omkar got a call for his visa interview in Mumbai scheduled after 2 days. So now again we were in two minds whether to head back or to continue? Finally Omkar and Akshay headed back and we four went ahead to Ratnagiri.

The Route Omkar and Akshay took to return home is one of the most scenic routes and also the roads were in excellent condition.

Route: Karde-> Dapoli-> Khed->Kashedi Ghat-> Mahabaleshwar-> Wai->Pune

route1

Route: Karde ->Dapoli ->Khed -> Asurde ->Chiplun-> Ratnagiri->Sakharparoute2

We left Karde early in the morning and headed to Khed, we had lunch together and after that we split in different directions. The road was in pretty bad shape after Khed, stones and gravels on the road. One of the pointy bastard dug a hole in my bike’s silencer, making it scream the loudest till date. To our awful luck, we were travelling on a Monday; which meant all the shops were closed in entire Ratnagiri. Another important lesson learnt, before travelling make a note of when all the shops are closed and avoid travelling on that day. Finally, we patched it up some what from a local welder after pleading him to open the shop. We reached our destination in the evening and fixed my bike next day.

We stayed in Sakharpa for next few days and hogged on many traditional Malvani delicacies.

Day 6

We had received a great review of NH 66 from Akshay and Omkar, so we decided to try NH 66 and NH 48. We left Sakharpa at 10am.

Route: Ratnagiri->Chiplun -> Satara->Pune

route2

There are many good hotels on NH 48, so we had planned to have lunch near Satara, but since we had stuffed our belly with too much of breakfast, the lunch was pushed to evening. We reached Bhor by 4pm and since we had some time to spare before the hotels served dinner, we did some road photography.

We reached Pune by 9pm; completely drenched and extremely tired. Also Rohit had to face the extra music at home, firstly for not telling the entire truth (I prefer the word lying, when I’m not the one involved!) and secondly for the sun burns.(We also had sun burns, but I’m too dark for that! Never felt so good about that). Nevertheless it was one hell of a bike trip.

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Indian Technical Education System: Is it outdated or are our mindsets?

If you have been in any engineering college in India, you would have heard these statements at least once for sure ‘The current syllabus is outdated!’, ‘They just emphasize on writing theories rather than practicals.’

The topmost argument for lower grades being, ‘We do not have qualified professors to teach us.’ You know what, this is the crappiest answer I have ever heard from the students. It’s bad to blame teachers for the students not being good.

The educational system is going through upgrade. You can’t just change everything in one day. It is our mindset that needs to change first, then there is any point in upgrading the syllabus. I’m sure students will come up with some other reasons for their lower grades, which would hide their short comings.

Talking about the theory, yes at first even I thought why is the need of all this. Why a computer engineer has to study chemistry. But that is just to filter the crowd. As you progress in your course you can see that it gets to the core basic. If you took a closer look at your syllabus no doubt it will be out dated. Just take that course and compare it with any other university (from different country) which is of the same standard you will find the syllabus though out dated still teaches you the basics better. Of course you cannot compare the course material at MIT and a regional college.

The educational system of India can teach you a lot but you need to learn it by yourself. You cannot depend on any professor to teach you everything, as you grow up those shackles have to be broken at some point. This spoon-feeding has to stop somewhere.

Your progress depends upon your interest in the course you are doing. Most of the engineers I have seen in normal colleges are already frustrated with their life. They are doing it just to make their parents proud. They feel that since they didn’t make into IIT, NIIT or BITS they don’t stand the chance of excelling in their career. So they are dejected and just want to get through the course as soon as possible. They are not interested in learning the basics; they just snivel about the topics being outdated but never even care to bother why they were introduced in their course. If you like what you are doing you, you will always figure out a way to get the most out of it. If not then you will find an excuse to get away from it.

Let us highlight a few basic questions here:

1. How many students have you seen who actually perform practical and other assignments?
– In most of the colleges only a handful of the students perform the practical, AND NONE OF THEM IS A TOPPER. They are all low graders just excellent in the practical and in the end they are the only one who lead a better life than the others because their hard work pays off at some point of time.
2. How many of the students take the pains and refer the original reference books that the course says to refer to?
– Most of the students blindly read the local authors just to save the time of going through the actual text.
3. How many students really take time to understand the entire concept rather than just mugging it up?
– Students just want to get a better grade they don’t care what the concept is they just blindly copy the text in their papers and later forget about it.

Technical education is about self-learning and evaluation rather than the course material. The course material is just to guide you to the right path.

Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change with it.

                                                    -Steve Maraboli