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2016 Reading Challenge – Progress so far

As 2016 started I set out with a goal – read 24 books in this year. That’s about two a month – not that a difficult goal to achieve. Main reason for me to set this goal was to get back to regular reading. There were times I used to read more than two books in a week. But just similar to cycling and running goals for the year, this one too fell flat on it’s face. Nine months gone, here I’m with only 6 books read. That is way too short of my initial goal. With three months left I’m lowering the bar to 10 – that leaves me another 4 books to read in ninety odd days. Below is the list of the books I have read so far.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never SeenChristopher McDougallEnglishSports, Nonfiction,
The Room on the RoofRuskin BondEnglishFiction
Stories of Work, Life & the Balance in BetweenTomson RobertEnglishFiction
ನನ್ನ ತಮ್ಮ ಶಂಕರ (Nanna Tamma Shankara)Anant NagKannadaBiography
Himalaya Bound: An American's Journey with Nomads in North IndiaMichael BenanavEnglishTravel, Nonfiction
Raakshas: The Serial KillerPiyush JhaEnglishFiction, Thriller

As the name says ‘Rakshas’ is a thriller by Piyush Jha set in Mumbai about a serial killer. Himalaya Bound by Michael Benanav takes us into the unknown nomadic life of Van Gujjars in Uttarakhand. ನನ್ನ ತಮ್ಮ ಶಂಕರ (Nanna Tamma Shankara) is a biography of Shankar Nag, a well known Kannada film actor, director & screenwriter by his elder brother Anant Nag (another legend in the Kannada film industry).

NaNoWriMo: 5K not 10K

Beginning of this month I set out to participate in NaNoWriMo, but shorter version of the goal instead of writing a novel. My shorter goal was to write 10,000 words in posts on the blogs instead of the original of 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo. When I look back at my progress, I only managed to cross the half mark of my goal (slightly over 5000 words).

Here are the posts that are already published (couple of more are in the pipeline):

On the travel blog –

On Avalokana –

The main reason why I didn’t reach the goal was, there were as many as 18 days that I didn’t write a single word. That means I managed to write 5000 words in 12 days (that’s an average of 416 words per day – which is way more than my planned average of 333).

What next? I am going to repeat the same goal for the month of December and I’m keen on improving the numbers compared to November. Target this month is to reduce the number of 0 words days so that I get closer to the target. :)

Prajavani uses a photo without permission

Update 6 (Final – 25-Nov 12:30PM): Finally I’ve received a cheque from The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Amount mentioned in the cheque is very nominal – probably that’s the amount they pay for regular contributions. Happy with how this incident went & thanks everyone for all the help and support.

Update 5 (9-Nov 04:00PM): As committed, Prajavani has printed a correction in today’s weekly supplement saying the photographer’s name was missed out in last week’s article. Image here.

Update 4 (3-Nov 10:00PM): Based on the phone discussions, I realised the weekly supplement in charge has not seen my FB posts & tweets – though Prajavani was tagged in both the places. I sent him a detailed mail with links to FB, twitter & this post mentioning that “I’ll keep updating this post with the updates based on the progress until the issue is brought to a logical closure.”

Update 3 (3-Nov 12:30PM): Managed to reach the person in charge on 3rd attempt. Even before I could complete my story, he apologized for not seeking permission. He has offered to send me a compensation for the photo – I didn’t discuss/ask the amount, probably a nominal royalty paid. As for the correction in next week’s article about mentioning the credits – he mentioned he has to check with the editor, no commitment on this.

Update 2 (3-Nov 11:50AM): I left a comment on the online article mentioning that photo has been used without my consent. And now I see that the comment is promptly deleted by the admin! Way to go Prajavani!

Update 1 (3-Nov 11:00AM): Tried reaching the person in charge of the weekly supplement. First attempt at 10:40AM – line busy. Second attempt at 11AM – he is not available at his desk. I’ve given my contact number to the person who received the call explaining the situation.


Yesterday’s daily routine of flipping through the news paper was delayed to the evening as I was out of town for couple of days & returned only in the evening. When I moved to the Sunday supplement of Prajavani, an article (specifically a photo in that article) caught my attention – a statue of Nandi at the top of Shivagange hill. I opened my blog post which I had written in Jun 2006 with few photos – my hunch was correct. I spent the next 20 minutes to compare both the photos to be certain that it indeed was my photo. The photo used in the column ‘Mareyali hyanga’ (ಮರೆಯಲಿ ಹ್ಯಾಂಗ) written by Pavitra Shetty was mine.

With no contacts on how to proceed, I shared this information on my Facebook page & also on twitter, and I’ve got contact details of the weekly supplement’s person in charge. I’m planning to call them sometime later today to discuss on this matter.

What am I expecting from them:
* Compensation for the photo that was used without my permission
* A correction in next week’s article – mentioning the photo credits

Photo of the weekly supplement:
Prajavani - photo used without permission

Screen-grab of the Prajavani’s article:

Screenshot from my travel blog – click on the image to go to the page:

It’s time for NaNoWriMo

Let me be clear upfront – No, I’m not writing a novel and that too 50,000 words in a month.

For those who are not aware, ‘NaNoWriMo‘ (National Novel Writing Month), an annual novel writing project that writers both professional and amateur set themselves a challenge of writing a 50,000 words novel – this happens every November. A total of fifty thousands words – an average of 1667 words per day!

As I said in the first line, I’m not signing up in their website for the challenge. Instead of writing a mammoth book, I’m setting up a smaller target of writing 10,000 words (an average of 333 words per day – which is still a big number for me) – individual posts varying in lengths of about 300 to 600 words per article.

Why am I doing this?
In short – just to get back into writing mode regularly. Well, I’m a notorious lazy fellow when it comes to writing – procrastination takes the front seat every time. I’ve a quite a long list of drafts saved with most of them just the titles written and few having a line or two. Sometimes when I try not to procrastinate and try to write, the mind goes blank. End result – a post just with a title or line or two written.

Plan for the month ahead:
I’ll sit for an hour or how much ever time it takes for me to write the daily quota of 333 words. Though I’m planning to write 10,000 words this month – I’ll publish only posts which I feel they are good to see the light and I’ll spare you from a lot of gibberish. Now that I’ve missed the first day, I’ll average it out in the coming days.

By end of this month, I’ll come up with a summary of how I progressed & other statistics. With 310 words gone with this post, another 9690 to go in the remaining 28 days. :)

30 day challenge

Running a marathon is one of the many things which I have in bucket list. Long distance running got added to the list years ago and stayed there without any action. After plenty of procrastination, I managed to buy a pair of running shoes to start training. But I took an year to take out the shoes out of the closet. This June I made up my mind and came out with a plan to be able to run 10KM run through a 8 week training. So I started a 3 day running program, complementing with couple of days of cycling. Two weeks down the line, it turned into a twice week run, then to a once a week and finally ‘run when in mood’. Three months gone and running 10KM at a stretch is still a distance reach. To come out of this irregularities and laziness, I am setting myself a 30 day challenge – of either running or cycling on every day of September.

Why 30 day challenge? According to observations by Maxwell Maltz mentioned in his book ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’, it takes 21 days to cultivate a habit. So instead of stopping at 21 days, I am rounding it off to a month and set it as a challenge.

To increase my fitness level, I am setting myself a goal of either running 2.5KMs in a day or cycling 15KMs. Though these numbers look small, I don’t want to stretch too much since I’ll be working out every day of the month.

And in addition, I am also planning to have September as ‘lift free month’. My house is in first floor and there is no lift – that’s out of the scenario. And my desk in office is in third floor – though I take the stairs consciously most of the times when alone. But I use the lift when in a hurry or when I am with a group. For the next one month, it is going to be consciously avoiding the lift!

I will be back at the end of the month with how I fared on this challenge :)