Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to survive an elephant attack

Few days back, while watching the TV, I found a news channel featuring a grieving mother. She had lost her only son, a techie, to an elephant attack near Bannerghatta National Park. Her son was attacked by a tusker while he was on a jungle trek along with his friends. Her grief almost moved me to tears and made me to think over the entire MAN vs NATURE issue (upon which I'll be writing in the near future). However, this prompted me to do a research on what can be done if any one of us gets into the similar situation as that of her son's.

Elephants are generally known to be docile animals. They hardly attack humans until and unless provoked. At the same time, they are highly sensitive and intelligent animals as well. In fact, the suffering/trouble this poor pachyderm has given to the man is minuscule compared to what the man has given in return all these years. Man's GREED, along with I'm-the-King-of-all-Species attitude has already lead to the extinction of numerous species on earth. Barbaric poaching of elephants for their tusk and constant encroachment of forests have lead to the loss of habitat of these otherwise gentle giants, in turn resulting in ever increasing conflicts between human and elephant.

But man stands helpless when nature unleashes its fury upon him. So, when you encounter a furious wild elephant, what can you do? How can you face a 10-tonne beast? Here are the few tips/tricks that can increase your chances of your survival in case of an attack.

Disclaimer :- Below mentioned points are based only on my research on survival tips/tricks on the internet. Following them may not guarantee your survival in case of an attack ;-)    

1.By standing one's ground.
    Remember that scene in the movie Avatar???, where the hero keeps off a beast in Pandora by standing his ground and not running away? Yes, exactly same is the case with elephants. They are territorial animals. The chances of an attack are less if you stand your ground. Below is an excellent example of how a clever driver scared off an attacking giant by following this rule.

2. When an elephant attacks you, try running downhill.
     An elephant will never chase you downhill as they can't maintain their balance and fear toppling over. Whereas, the chances of survival in an uphill chase is too bleak.

3. Climb a tree.
     Make sure that the tree is a strong one. Remember, elephants can easily uproot medium sized trees.

4. Avoid eye contact.
     I call this as a Golden Rule. Never look into the eyes of an attacking elephant. This would enrage them further.
5. Run in a zig-zag manner.
     Never underestimate the chasing/running capacity of an elephant because of its size. Elephants can run as fast a humans on a straight path with a higher stamina. But, when you run on a zig-zag path, they find it hard to concentrate and eventually lose their speed to chase you.

6Elephants do not like white color.
     They get disturbed by the white color. So, next time when you head out for a jungle trek, make sure you do not wear white. Shades of green or grey, which best suits the surrounding would be more appropriate.
7. Common Sense
     Last but not the least is to use your common sense. Never throw stones, sticks, tree branches etc. on an attacking elephant. This would enrage them further. Panic situations can often encourage us to do dumb things. Try to remain calm and act sensibly.

Elephants are one of the most beautiful creatures on earth. Days are not far when they might become extinct because of our inhumane activities. Hence, it's our duty to save and protect these gorgeous pachyderms before its too late :-) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

One year after Apocalypse : 21-12-2013

Date : 21 December 2013
I'm writing in my diary after a hiatus of over one year. Today was a special day - First anniversary of the holocaust that had pushed mankind to the brink of an extinction.

      Exactly an year back, the world was destroyed by a series of massive earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and volcanoes. There are hardly 2 million survivors in the world now. Days have shortened because of the shift in earth's axis caused by massive quakes. Earth has become highly unstable because of the strange geophysical activities.

      United states has been engulfed by a thick blanket of snow. Half of the Europe has been submerged, Australian continent is no more. Bangalore is the new capital of India as most of the Northern India is covered by thick snow. Food supplies are diminishing and the communication infrastructure is breaking down rapidly. The reports of looting and killing have been increasing ever since the holocaust. The world seems to be in an utter mess. Weather has become unpredictable, it was snowing heavily in the morning, the temperature had dipped to minus 7 degrees celsius last night. In spite of all these, we had gathered near the City Rescue Centre in Bangalore today to mourn for the lost lives. As the prayers were being offered in the gathering, I saw Pari standing in a corner, eager to speak to me.

     I had met Pari, who also is a survivor like me for the first time six months back in the self defence and martial arts classes organized by the survivors colony to resist the looters and dacoits. Her dad was an astrophysicist in the National Security Advisory Council and now leads a group of scientists in the survivor camp.

      Upon spotting her in the gathering, I made my way to reach Pari and soon sensed that something was wrong. She told me that her father along with other scientists in the survivor camp have found out that an asteroid is fast approaching the earth and will be colliding with us in about six months from now. Due to depletion of the resources on the earth, it seems to be almost impossible to deflect the trajectory of asteroid. The only hope lies in colliding the bunch of remaining spacecrafts in the International Space Station with the asteroid to deflect its trajectory and it would mean loss of many more lives of astronauts in the Space Station. The news of asteroid collision has not been announced yet to the survivors as the situation could become worse because of the panic.

      After the gathering, Pari and I took a stroll near the beach. Yes, there is a beach in Bangalore now and the sea-level is rising at an alarmingly high rate. As we walked, I saw her fragile hands trembling while she was tucking her hair locks behind the ears. I held her ice-cold hands and assured that I shall be with her and try to protect her no matter what happens. Meanwhile, she received a call from her dad saying that the message has been conveyed to the International Space Station to collide their spacecrafts with the approaching asteroid.

      Future has become uncertain. The last thing we could do is to wish them success in their mission of changing the asteroid's trajectory. The sun while setting today seemed to be brighter and larger than usual. I saw the tears trickling down Pari's cheeks as I kissed her on forehead. We are not sure if it'll be a new beginning after the end or a an end after the new beginning. I pray to God to bestow us with hope, courage and optimism without which the mankind wouldn't have existed by now.

Time : 10.30pm
Temperature : -4 deg celcius
Location: Bangalore


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Whatever happens, it happens for good..!! :-)

Oh yes, the moment has arrived. After countless days of contemplation, I've finally decided to start blogging B-) Before I start, I'd like to thank my brother Deepu and my friend Kirane for providing me the spark for this jumpstart :-)
Also I've decided that I'll be writing on these 3 topics : Real Life Stories, Sci-Fi Stories and Technical blogs on Microsoft Technologies.

I will be starting off today with a "Real Life Story" and here it goes.

It was 4 o'clock on a Saturday evening when  my brother and my friend came up with an idea of riding to Mandya to have the famous Mandya Special Benne Dose at my Grandpa's hotel. We started from Bangalore at around 5 o'clock and had planned to return back by 9. We started our journey by refuelling our bikes and checking the tyre pressure to ensure a smooth ride. Everything was fine until we reached Bidadi, where my bike's rear tyre got punctured. "Three people should never travel together, It is inauspicious"  was what my friend had told me before leaving Bangalore. The superstitious remark which my friend made had come true. Even though we managed to find a puncture shop near by, there was a long queue in front of that which ensured that our weekend was going to get spoiled. As expected, it took more than an hour to get the tyre fixed and it was already 7 o'clock which meant we could not proceed further as we had to return back early. This sent us into a Weekend-Depression-Syndrome (which usually happens on a Sunday night though). As if the God had conspired to spoil our weekend, it also started to drizzle. After consoling each other, we decided to have the famous Bidadi Thatte Idlies at least and return back. Hot and steaming Thatte Idlies along with the ginger tea was a true mood-booster. After a sumptuous evening snack, we left Bidadi around 7.30pm. Cool weather and the drizzle made our ride back to Bangalore really enjoyable. As we approached the city, we saw a crowd gathered in front of the Mercedes Benz showroom located on the highway. Observing closely, my brother found out a really hot couple performing Salsa inside the showroom. We parked our bikes outside the showroom and rushed in (so that not even a singe second of the performance is missed ;-P ). As we entered the showroom, we were surprised to see that everyone was in a blazer-suit. "S!@t, this is a planned audience, and we are not supposed to be here" was our instantaneous reaction. There are always a few moments in your life when you'd wish dinosaurs weren't extinct, and they came and swallowed you up. This was one those moments. The Salsa performance ended in no time and as we were planning to escape from the crime scene ( I forgot to tell you that we were in slippers and t-shirts with torn jeans :P ), we were asked to shift our focus to the car launch stage for which the entire event had been planned for. As we neared the stage, my friend started screaming "Guys, Irfan..Irfan..Irfan". And, yes, to our disbelief there was Irfan Pathan, the star of Indian Cricket Team standing right in front of us. Looking absolutely stunning on his leather-jacket-cum-blazer attire, milky white complexion, 6'2" tall, chivalrous (ok, I know I've started to sound like a teenage girl now :P ), we were delighted to the core on his presence.

 After launching the new Mercedes Benz B-class car which he was supposed to, it was announced that audience will be asked a few questions and the winners will be given away signed goodies from Irfan and a chance to get photographed along with him as well. First question was to name all the 3 sports images drawn on the newly launched car - they were actually scuba diving, sky diving and slalom canoe. Even though I knew all of them, I was a bit hesitant to raise my hand and answer them in the crowd. When we found out no one was able to name the third sports image (Slalom canoe) correctly, my bother and my friend forcefully raised my hand to get noticed. The anchor spotted and called me up to the centre stage to name the sports images. As I named them effortlessly, she asked Irfan to had over a signed cricket ball to me. I was already on cloud nine B-) He signed the cricket ball and gave it to me, shook hands and gave a pat on my back B-) I wished him good luck for the upcoming T-20 world cup in Sri Lanka. "Thank you so much" came the reply. I was amazed to find out that he was such a down-to-earth person. This was followed by a "Yes-I've-Got-an-Oscar" kind of celebration by three of us.

 In the meantime, we lost track of all the other questions that were asked and it was down to the last question to be asked. The last question went like this "how many wickets Irfan has taken in the ODIs?". People started guessing..190..200..210 etc. and Irfan was not agreeing. When a guy from the audience shouted "160", my clever brother noticed a slight change on Irfan's expression (you should seriously consider Face Reading as a career option bro ;-) ) and guessed "170". That was a BINGO..!!! B-)  Irfan spotted my bro and called him up on the stage. Then he was handed over a signed miniature bat by Irfan. We started jumping around in celebration.

 After taking few snaps of Irfan and obviously swanky cars in the showroom (yes, we were visiting a Mercedes showroom first time in our lives :P ) , we decided to move out.  Before moving out, we were trying to collect our photographs with Irfan taken by the official photographers. As we were about to leave, somebody from the behind came up and said "Guys, stop..!!". We thought "This is it. We've been caught for gate-crashing."  The scene reminded us of the one in Three Idiots where the protagonists of the movie are caught for gate-crashing a marriage party. The man who came up was in his mid-thirties and was in a blazer suit. Even before he started speaking, we told him "Sir, We are still here to collect the photographs taken with Irfan. We will leave as soon as we get them". To our surprise, the gentleman had a broad smile on his face and he said  "Guys, it's ok, here's my business card. You can call me any time for the snaps. Now, there's an open terrace dinner arranged. Please have the dinner and go". I took a glance at the gentleman's business card. It read General Manager, Sales, Mercedes Benz. We started pinching ourselves in disbelief. We had become celebrities..!!! B-) Upon reaching the terrace we found out there was a Seven-Course Luxury Dinner awaiting us :-) . We were not even close to their prospective customers, still the kind of reception that the staff at Akshaya Mercedes Benz showroom gave us was truly impressive. Their services were as good as their products.  We ate like if there's no tomorrow and couldn't stop ourselves smiling. We had a broad smile on our face throughout the evening. It was an evening to remember forever.
As they say, whatever happens, it happens for good.