K2S a trek to remember

According a version of history, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used this route to get away from Shahistekhan’s army after a midnight raid cutting the Khan’s fingers and sending them on a chase behind running bulls with horns having burning torches. One thing is sure: No way Khan’s army could have chased the great Shivaji and his raiding party on this route that runs over ridge connecting many hills. It was a brilliant tactic.

Katraj to Sinhgad is a trek (K2S) that takes you from the old Katraj tunnel to the Sinhgad fort. 15 Km long, the trek has innumerable hills with no bypass tracks. A Facebook post says 14 hills, but believe me, they were innumerable! You must climb up and down each of them.

We started the trek with chants of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai! Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji ! and Ganpati Bappa Morya!

It was a tricky  trek because there were no rocks to land on, no trees that could hold soil together. Nothing except gorges filled with gravel. No shoes, not even those with studs, can give you a firm grip on gravel filled slopes. Almost every hill had such an ascent and a descent. Every step climbing up was a test of stamina and skill of not slipping too much while gaining toeholds and finding a rare stone or root to grab if your toehold wasn’t enough. Every foot down was a test of how not to get washed down by the treacherous gravel. Any spotting of rock against which you could plant one foot brought relief.

Gravel filled descents meant that most trekkers had to use all their fours and even bums while trying to control their downward travel. So there was an hour’s traffic jam right at the first climb down.

It was a lovely full moon night, but the trail was barely visible. The full moon night and our gravel addled brains had consequences.

Pic by my runner friend Himanshu

When I reached one of those heavenly horizontal gravel sections, I was looking for a place to throw down my sack and sit down. I chose a shade of a tree! The tree had indeed cast its shadow on ground and I found shelter in it! My fellow trekker came by and said ,’ Why aren’t you coming for the moonshine? ‘ I realized what I had done and started laughing . She said she had done the same silly thing! So we laughed at ourselves and at each other.

A late start and traffic jams enroute meant we reached the end point after the sun was well up. Dahi and tak seller guys were there. So we sprawled around and had glasses of tak.

Six of us from our Anyone Can Run group trekked together. For me, it was a first trek in eight years. I did better than I had expected. It was a nice comeback trek.

K2S is a trek to remember.


Law of the land

Time 5 PM. A small stationery shop on Pune’s busy street.

I am at the shop’s counter talking to the shopkeeper about something I need. This shop has been around for decades. It is a low brow kind of place which has an amazing range of items. The friendly shopkeeper helps you with your selection. You can go through your options, handle items and when you don’t find what you need you can turn away all without the owner getting upset. Shop also provides photocopying, printing, and binding services. Other staff handles these jobs juggling with pen drives and bluetooth connections. They do their limited jobs well but no more. They are not good with words, they just work. No wonder, the shop is popular among students even though there are stationery supermarkets nearby.

Since I had found a place at the counter and the owner’s attention after waiting for a while, I was keen to get on with my work. Then I get shoved around from my back. I looked, it was a cop. I requested him to let me finish my work. Fortunately he didn’t mind and managed to squeeze in side ways. Behind the cop was a woman, who spoke

“मी तुला बोलले होतेना , माफी माग नाहीतर तुला तुरुंगात पाठवते . ” She addressed one of the support boys.  The boy managed to put some words to the effect that the job she wanted was not possible because of bluetooth issues. The woman was insisting she was made to wait and that she was insulted.

The shop owner said , I apologized to her but the boy didn’t because he thinks he didn’t say anything wrong.  The woman was unrelenting. She insisted that boy must apologize.

The cop was polite but firm, ” ए तू माफी का नाही मागितली ? आता चाल स्टेशनमध्ये ”

The parade started. Soon the boy returned. He had apologized. The cop too came back. He offered a free advice to all those who were around -the owner, his boys and the customers.

“बाई माणूस असेल तर काही जास्त बोलायचं नाही आणि काही झालं तर चूक नसली तरी माफी मागून टाकायची . कायदा असा आहे की आम्हाला आमची सगळी काम बाजूला टाकून असल्या गोष्टी करता चक्कर मारावी लागते ”

The men around nodded in agreement.

About the woman. She looked like the one, she certain talked that way, who owned a big SUV with  “महाराष्ट्र ”  and मोठे  देवनागरी आकडे असलेली number plate with a party symbol.


KYC Kaos by SBI

Wanting to rant about KYC Kaos (=chaos) is the reason I am returning to my blog.

Here is the text of my tweet to SBI and UIDAI

“I support #Aadhar Dear @ceo_uidai but @TheOfficialSBI is harrassing me by asking paper copies for KYC despite my bank ac and PAN being linked with Aadhaar. SBI even put a lien on my account with arb amount w/o formal notice. @FinMinIndia @PMOIndia . Two physical visits needed get lien lifted.”

SBI SM handle ‘replied’ with just an acknowledgement. Nothing from UIDAI.

I posted the above tweet on my Facebook page. I got inputs from knowledgeable people in banking explaining how KYC updating regularly is necessary as per ‘risk weightage’ and banking regulations and that the banks warn their customers before any action etc. I was also informed about how our banking practices are one of the most evolved in the world and a visit to branch every 2-3 years should not be a problem.

Since I am dealing with SBI, RBI, and UIDAI like world class institutions, I’d better be right and my peeve should not be just a crib. So I thought I will take the trouble of writing down what happened.


1. On March 17, 2018 at 19:06 I received a text message informing me that a hold of Rs xx ( amount significantly large) has been created in my savings account.

2. I didn’t receive a single text message or email from SBI about any pending action from my side KYC related or otherwise prior to the above sms. I have searched sms s and emails (including spam folder) to reconfirm this. I received many emails about not sharing OTP, exhorting me to download YONO app and all that. So my email and mobile no. with SBI have been correct.

3. I had linked my SBI account with AADHAR sometime back and I had submitted KYC documents to bank some time back so I didn’t even imagine this could be a KYC issue. I don’t have any loans. Nor I have given any standing payment instructions out of my savings account.  And I have some good FD s with the same SBI branch – my home branch.

4. Perplexed, I called SBI 24×7 customer care number. Remember it was Saturday and it was 7 PM. After wading through IVR I managed to get the ear of ever so helpful and ever so sweet customer support executive only to be told that ‘Sorry Sir, this can be due to some loan or standing payment instruction related issue. I need to contact home branch.

5. Through my Sunday runs and beers and nap I kept wondering about this ‘lien’ on my account. I hate the word. SBI, the largest bank in India was telling me that I had ‘defaulted’ on something and that they had to take this drastic step against me on Saturday evening itself  -so that I don’t flee and fly away like Mallya or Nirav.

6. On Monday morning (19th March) I tried calling my home branch because I wanted to know what exactly was the problem before visiting. No luck. Numbers saved on phone didn’t exist anymore. Google search and SBI web site branch page also retuned nonworking contact phone numbers.

7. My wife agreed to pay a visit. She was told that it was KYC ! You need to come with AADHAR Card and PAN Card original and self-attested photocopies.

8. My wife made another trip next day ( it is better that the same person meets the same person on the same issue, even if our systems are so evolved) and did the needful . Lien gone.

Now my questions

1. KYC is a must.  Have it renewed regularly. But please can you be a bit predictable? How about a KYC calendar like Tax return calendar?

2. If Jan Dhan accounts with zero balance can be opened just with AADHAR, why is anything other than AADHAR linking is needed for Savings accounts with no loan and with some good FDs ? Don’t say that RBI says so. Logic? Risk weightage? Come on.

3.  UIDAI says AADHAR is not a card. It is a number identifying a person using biometric data. How the hell SBI is asking for photocopies of AADHAR ? And SBI is not alone in this .

4. Why can’t SBI install kyc terminals in its branches? It has been for years that AADHAR and Jan Dhan have been existing. (Oh the pleasure of getting a Jio SIM by just showing your thumb to its eKYC terminal! )

5. I keep getting emails from Mutual Fund registrars  that I should link my AADHAAR with my account or else … . This even after I have done it. So they add ‘ignore’ it if done already to play safe.  You can’t filter out those who have done and remind only those who haven’t?

But our great SBI didn’t even send me a single email or sms. On a Saturday evening it woke up with a start to my ‘risk weightage’ and sprung into action to bring a lien down on me!

I also wonder: Mallya and Nirav must have complied fully with KYC. And that must the reason they could avoid any high risk weightage for years and years.




‘Not running’ status: avoiding or scrolling down facebook screen fast

My facebook timeline makes my ‘not running’ status more painful.  And what is facebook without posting pictures of our running group Anyone Can Run and clapping PBs of your fellow runners?

The good thing is that after my crepe bandage has come off and after I started walking more, started going down the stairs, and started driving car, the pain in my foot is going down. I have started preparing for my first run. I have am planning to see a physio for early rehab of my foot muscles. I have even started wiggling my toes 🙂

This layoff has given me an opportunity to attend to my upper body and core muscles -something I guess I wasn’t doing that well when I was running four days a week. That was some serious running and hence skipping strength training was alright -that’s what I used to tell myself.

But not anymore. With enough time on my hands and being more or less home bound, I have looked up and invented whatever exercises one can do by lying down on my back or by sitting on a chair. A pair of dumbbells is all that it takes . Perhaps I may add an exercise band.

I imagine that I will start running even before the stipulated period is over. I am excited and scared at such a thought.


The crepe bandage is off!

A visit to my orthopedic doctor and an X-Ray confirmed that all is well. He said ‘Vvaa! ‘ looking at my X-Ray (in Marathi, which is like ‘wow! ) Off goes my crepe bandage and ‘you can drive, bike, swim, walk… but no running yet’.

It feels so much better to walk without one foot in bandage. Driving on Pune roads is not a pleasure but it is nice to be independent after a month.

It is still three weeks to my running. But I am on a comeback trail for sure.

Fifty Shades of Feminism?

A nice article, because it is a whiff of fresh air.
https://areomagazine.com/…/why-i-no-longer-identify-as-a-f…/ .

Yet, if you are confused at the end about what is what, don’t blame me.

By the way: Are educated Hindus carrying the burden of White People’s Christian Guilt when we have our own problems to solve?

On the comeback trail

I haven’t been running since my 17 Km run on 4th of November.  I have been enjoying no-alarm mornings in Pune’s winter. I go for a lazy walk and have the Amrit tulya chai at my favorite tea, stall Trupti. Then I come back.

My post-run routine of tea and newspaper and walking back home is now in place.

At times I meet usual walkers and runners and others on my stroll. All is well except that I limp a little. The limp today was less than yesterday’s. This suggests that I am on comeback trail after the longest and the only running injury related break since I started running seven years back.