The Strawberry and The Tigers

“Faster, faster”, he said to himself as he ran through the narrow path between the thick forest on both sides. He remembered how his coach used to train him to run fast during college athletic meets. Of course this was no college, and he was sure his coach had never been chased by a tiger.

“Grrr”, the roar of the tiger brought him back to attention, and he started looking for a hideout where the tiger would not be able to go. He remembered the tunnel he had passed some distance ago – “I should have entered it and hid there, and maybe the tiger would have given it a miss.” “But what if the tiger would have followed me and the tunnel had no other end?” – he smiled as he realized it was the right decision to not enter that tunnel.

Are you eating your strawberries?

Are we eating our strawberries? Or do we miss them in the daily grind of life running from our own version of tigers?

His eyes lit up as he saw a steep cliff a little ahead on the left. He changed course and headed for the cliff knowing that he has to climb it down, being pretty sure that a tiger can’t follow him down the cliff. What was even better that the cliff had deep vegetation and thick bushes which he could use to climb down!

He took a strong hold of the bushes and threw himself over the cliff. He could feel his hands getting soaked in blood as he climbed down the bushes. But it didn’t hurt as he finally felt safe. He enjoyed the sight of seeing the tiger roaring at the top but unable to do anything. He continued to climb down, now the bushes were a lot thinner and very soon it was just rock. He saw a rope hanging till the bottom of the cliff, probably left behind by some mountaineer. He caught hold of it and continued his descent, until he heard another big roar.

What made him shiver was the knowledge that the roar didn’t came from above, but from below him. He held onto the rope, and unwillingly looked down, fearing the worst. And there it was, another tiger waiting for him. “What happened to my luck today?” – he thought as he was caught between the two tigers waiting for him. He held onto the rope, now that he had no other option.

Just when he thought things could not get any worse he saw two rats coming out of a tiny opening among the rocks and move towards the rope. In the absence of anything soft to chew on, the rope was a perfect time pass for them. “Oh no, crap..”, he uttered as he tried to move and shake away the rats. But he stopped not knowing the strength of the rope and fearing that it might break faster by his shaking than by being chewed away from the rats.

But as he has moved left and right with the rope to shake away the rats, he saw a beautiful strawberry plant on one side. He paused for a while, and then took the risk of swinging to that side and pluck a few strawberries with one hand. “They look delicious.”, he thought as he looked at them. The next moment he was enjoying the sweet taste of the strawberries in his mouth. “Wow, tastes just as well”, was his joyful expression as he cherished the strawberries in his mouth.

Five More Ways to get back up after a Bad Day

No matter how good or better we become, it is a fact that we all are going to have bad days sometimes. The only thing which can separate some from the others is how quickly you bounce back once you realize you are having a bad day. I wrote five points in an earlier article on how to get back up, and in this article I follow those with five more points. What we should always remember is summed up by this quote from Confucious – “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

Stand up for yourself

Stand up for yourself

6. Practice a hobby
Write down 5 things that you love to do. Then write down some action which you can take in all these 5 areas today, and just do it! Even if it is for 2-3 minutes, take time out in doing that. Give yourself the gift of having a good time, and do it daily. It will clear your head and make you healthy and stress free. I like to do my sketching with something daily, even if it is just doodling around. I write pretty regularly, sometimes just to let my thoughts out and only for myself. So go out dancing, watch that movie you have been putting off for some time, or listen to your favorite music. Forget everything and cherish the moment.

7. Read a book
Reading a book gives us the perspective that life is bigger than our silly lives, and there are better things to do. They also show us that there is a lot of good out there in the world, and there is always something worth reading daily. I read autobiographies, fiction, blogs, history books, and books from distinguished writers and speakers such as Stephen Covey, Robin Sharma, among others. Currently I am reading “Business Stripped Bare” by Richard Branson and “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. I give around 30 mins to both books each day, and I am sure it has a great impact on the rest of my day.

8. Experiment
Do new things in life, and throw yourself into experiencing new things. Live your life as a work of art, and embrace whatever new comes your way. So many beautiful things will happen to you out of such experiments, mainly because there is no expectations attached with them. And even if nothing else, you will have a great story to tell at the end. Meet new people, try new hobbies, do something crazy. Make life INTERESTING.

“Better to live one year as a tiger, than a hundred as a sheep.”

“Better to live one year as a tiger, than a hundred as a sheep.” - Madonna

9. Be Thankful
Make a list of 10 points you are grateful for in your life today. Now do this every day. List the names of 50 most important people in your life, and write down 10 things you are grateful for, against each of them. If you want, share it with them. Thank them for being there in your life.

10. Know your value
Never allow people to take you for granted. Know your self worth, and demand what you deserve. The first step is demanding from yourself the kind of life you want to live, and the standards you want to follow. Then demand from others. Demand money for services you provide. Demand the kind of respect you know you deserve. And demand from yourself to be worthy of that.

Bandipur Ride

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park

Murphy’s Law proved itself to me on two consecutive weekends. First, the plan to ride to Pondicherry with some friends on the Christmas 2009 weekend was cancelled at the last moment. Then, a ride to Lepakshi on 3 Jan with the Royal Indians club started off badly with the clutch cable giving up as soon as I started. So the ride to Bandipur on 9th-10th Jan was awaited with much enthusiasm.

We were 4 of us on two bikes, my Thunderbird TwinSpark and one Yamaha. Bandipur is a widlife sanctuary about 220 km from Bangalore. Just after you cross Bandipur, you get into Mudumalai Tiger Reserve which falls in Tamil Nadu. We got two tents for the one night stay near Gudalur, around 15km after Mudumulai Reserve on the way to Ooty.

We planned to start at 6am on 9th January, and finally started at 6:30am. We took the Mysore Road out of Bangalore and after the initial city traffic, we were cruising at around 80km/hr. We took a break at 8:10 am for tea after around 60km. We left again at 8:25am towards Mysore. The highway towards Mysore (state highway 17) was excellent and we reached Mysore at 10:10 am. The trip meter read 160km. We stopped for breakfast for 30 mins in Mysore.

After Mysore, Bandipur was another 85km and our camp was another 25km from there. We took the road to Ooty out of Mysore. After crossing Nanjangud and Gundulpet, we took a halt for 15 min just before Bandipur at 11:45am. The road after Mysore was not as smooth as the Bangalore-Mysore road, but was still pretty good. Near Bandipur, the road was patchy at places and road construction work was going on at some stretches. We started once again at 12 noon and reached the camp at 1:15 pm. It was 270kms done.

After doing our lunch, we booked a night safari into Mudumalai in the evening, chilled out in the camp, went by riverside nearby and took some rest. In the evening, we got some drinks / snacks for the night. Our jeep for the night safari was ready at 7pm. Soon we were into Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. Very soon, a tusker was waiting for us at the road side. Our jeep driver ensured we got a good look at the elephant. He turned the jeep towards it with the headlights pointed at its eyes. Basically, he scared the poor animal away. So much for the poor animal. We continued ahead but it looked like other animals were too scared to wander near the roads. We returned after a disappointing 1 hour night safari at the camp. Had our dinner and drinks and retired for the day.

Woke up at 6 next morning, got ready and left for Mudumalai on our bikes for a van safari. The Van safari took us on a beaten path and we managed to see deer, elephants and peacocks on the way. We came back to the camp after that. After breakfast, it was time for checkout at 10:00am. We decided to go uphill to Gudalur town to get some Chambala Tea which had a factory nearby. Thereafter we left back for Bangalore through Mudumalai and Bandipur.

Going through the jungle on our way back, we weren’t expecting much. But as soon as we entered Mudumalai, we saw a massive Bison by the roadside. Some cars were already stopped there taking snaps. We took the snaps and continued on our journey. Soon we entered Karnataka and were into Bandipur. We were for a surprise. As I rode through Bandipur, I saw two elephants, a mother and baby elephant duo, by the roadside. I slowed down the bike in the hope of catching a few snaps. But, to my utter surprise, as soon as I slowed down the bike, the mother elephant started chasing our bike. I never an elephant could run so fast. As it chased us, dust / mud flew up as a heavy truck has passed through there. I was startled and accelerated. But in the process of slowing down, I had taken the bike off the road into the gravel sideby. I could see the elephant getting nearer in the rear view mirror. Soon the bike was on the road again, we zoomed off the tusker faded in the rear view mirror. There were moments of panic when my bike slid into the gravel and luckily we didn’t skidded off. In the end, my bull was chased by an elephant but it was a good enough experience.

Continuing from there, we took a break at Mysore for lunch and two more breaks after that to ease our asses which were now beginning to ache. We continued travelling after that and reached our homes back at 5:30 pm. The trip meter read 580km over 2 days. In all, it was a good ride, riding a bike through the jungle was fun and getting chased by an elephant was the icing on the cake. After reaching home, we put our tired asses to rest. Rest till the next ride comes calling!!