End of Year Trip to Manipal: Day 1 – Drive through Kudremukh

We decided to take a end of year road trip to Manipal in Dakshin Kannada district of Karnataka. This is not a typical tourist destination for people from Bangalore, but we wanted to head somewhere warm and not too crowded. It turned out to be a good break.

I had hired a car for the trip and we left early in the morning from Bangalore. The route we took was via Hassan, Mudigere, Kalasa, Kudremukh and Karkala. We made good time in the morning and halted for breakfast at Anagha Grand Restaurant a little before Hassan. The food was excellent, the tables were socially distanced and the toilets were clean.

After a refreshing halt, we continued on our drive towards Kudremukh National Park. Along the way, we took out next halt at Gumminkad cafe, a little before Kalasa. The place was clean, bright with stupendous views out the back towards the rolling hills and tea estates of the region. We purchased some local food items and drank some refreshing juices before proceeding on the next leg of our journey.

The drive through Kudremukh National Park was simply brilliant. Kilometre after kilometre of a winding road alternating between dense forests that even the sunlight could not penetrate and open grassland ‘Shola’ forests – this is one of the jewels of the Western Ghats. All of us enjoyed the drive tremendously.

We finally exited the ghats and hit Karkala where we took the turn towards Manipal. The last leg of the journey was uneventful and we reached out hotel, The Country Inn and Suites by Radisson at around half past four.

Monday Reads – 21/12

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Topics this week include Earnestness, the World’s Deadliest Pandemic, Explore of Exploit, holiday ideas and more…

Earnestness – Another interesting article by Paul Graham where he discussed the importance of being earnest (with due respect to Oscar Wilde).

History’s Deadliest Pandemic – 2020 is undoubtedly the year of the Pandemic. But while there is possibly some light at the end of the horizon for the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to realise that there are deadlier ones still active and impacting some of the world’s poorest peoples. This insightful video throws light on one such Pandemic.

How To Choose New Opportunities – This article explores the Explore vs Exploit algorithm as a basis for certain types of decision making. It’s worth thinking over the concluding line – Exploration is necessary in order to exploit and enjoy the knowledge hard won along the way.

Bombay Or Mumbai? Perfectly Schizoid – I am a Mumbaikar by heart, so articles on the Maximum City always have a fascination for me. But, even if you do not have any particular affinity for this fascinating city, you might find this particular piece of writing interesting.

Hygge themed Holiday Ideas – I do hope that many of you will be taking some time off towards the end of the year. This article provides some interesting ideas to take the mind of what’s been a very stressful year and just unwind.

And that seems to be a good way to wish all my readers a happy and relaxing holidays! Take care, stay safe!

Monday Reads – 14/12

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A few articles from diverse topics make up this week’s reading list.

The Great Dispersion – I have been reading (and recommending) Prof. Scott Galloway’s articles for some time now and, more often than not, I find them insightful and thought-provoking. In this article, he discusses the potential impact of the increased ‘dispersion’ due to the pandemic on society.

How To Think For Yourself – Another person from the field of business whose articles I enjoy reading is Paul Graham. In this long article, Mr. Graham talks about the concept of ‘independent-mindedness’ (as opposed to ‘conventional-mindedness’) and ways in which we can make ourselves more independent-minded.

The Future of Online Journalism? – Everyone knows and would agree that Media is one of the industries that has been most affected by the increased popularity of the Internet (along with Travel Agents, in my opinion). Recently though, a ‘start-up’ has been making waves in this field. Will this be the saviour of Online Journalism?

After Centuries, a Seemingly Simple Math Problem Gets an Exact Solution – On the face of it, the problem doesn’t seem very complex.  Imagine a circular fence that encloses one acre of grass. If you tie a goat to the inside of the fence, how long a rope do you need to allow the animal access to exactly half an acre? Read the article to find out why this problem is so complex.

The 10 best countries for working remotely – If you are one of the ‘lucky’ ones to have the freedom (and luxury) to work from anywhere in the world, then you might find this article by Lonely Planet very informative. For me, it was interesting to see that the second parameter on which the countries are judged, after cost of accommodation, is the local cost of coffee!

Why is Muesli so expensive in India?

Photo by Ovidiu Creanga on Pexels.com

I didn’t know Muesli until I went abroad a little over a decade ago. And once I discovered them, they were my favourite breakfast item.

After moving back to India, I fell back on the comfort of delicious, warm and fresh South Indian breakfasts. Idlis, dosas, upmas, poha, sabudana khichdi (ok, the last two are not strictly South Indian), washed down by a cup of South Indian filter coffee are as different as they come from the traditional continental (European) breakfast.

Having said that, I did miss my Muesli. And when I started to hunt for Muesli in India, I realised that:

  • It is reasonably easy to find, especially on online grocery sites
  • The range is reasonably diverse
  • They cost a bomb!

To elaborate on the last point, a kilo of muesli costs between 1.5 to 2.2 pounds (I am sure they could go higher) in the UK. Even if we assume an average of 2 pounds per kilo, that translates to around Rs. 200 per kilo.

The typical price in India for a kilo of Muesli varies from around Rs. 450 to Rs. 600. It’s safe to assume an average price of Rs. 500. This makes Muesli in India 2.5 times more expensive than Muesli in the UK!

I am curious as to what could be the reasons for this steep differential. Is it that the ingredients for a Muesli are more expensive in India? Is it because the market size is small and therefore, the per unit overhead costs are higher? Or is it simply a case that manufacturers know that the target audience of Muesli consumers can afford to pay these high rates?

I am not an expert, but would love to learn more about this phenomenon. Please do comment if you have any insights.

Monday Reads – 07/12

The last month of the year is (finally) here! Here are some articles for you to peruse as we start counting down to 2021…

Can History Predict the Future? – Thought provoking from researcher Peter Turchin following his application of mathematical modeling to the field of human history. One of the key factors driving social violence? ‘Elite overproduction‘.

Why cities are not as bad for you as you think – Popular belief has it that living in cities is not great for your health and living amidst wide open spaces with less population density is better than living in urban areas. But does the data support this view? Read this article to find out.

Mental Models for Career Changes – Making a career change can be a daunting task. This article explores certain mental models once can adopt for help with making such a decision.

All change: India’s railways bring back tea in clay cups in bid to banish plastics – This topic periodically pops up in the news. As anyone who have traveled by Indian railways would attest to, the sight of plastic waste lining the sides of the track is a depressing one. Let’s hope this initiative gains traction and can be sustainable.

Get to Know India’s Forgotten Heritage Structures – India is very fortunate to have a rich architectural heritage. Unfortunately, many heritage structures suffer from a lack of attention, protection and care. There are many organisations traying to play a role in heritage conservation. This article looks at one of them that is trying to tackle this issue through citizen participation.