Suzuki Baleno vs. Honda Jazz

If you’re looking for a full blown review of individual features and a strict comparison, you must try some professional auto review forums, portals or blogs. What’s mentioned here is strictly my personal experiences from test driving the automatic variants of these two cars. Two very good friends gave me the opportunity to test drive the automatic variants of both these cars.

Jazz emerges the winner for me on multiple fronts and even at the price point in terms of comparative offerings.

Ride Quality, Suspension : With the Baleno, one could feel the bad roads very clearly both at the driver seat as well as the rear seats. Riding over small speed breakers not a pleasant feeling. Even with enough braking the landing back on to the road after the speed breaker felt very bumpy. Nexa’s test drive was limited to poor service roads as they did not encourage to take the car on main road.

Jazz clearly was more forgiving with speed breakers and pot holes and absorbed much of the shock giving a very comfortable ride.

Transmission and Power Delivery: While both have a CVT, power delivery was much more smooth and refined in the Jazz in comparison to Baleno. The gear lever was much more slicker in Honda compared to the Suzuki. Jazz has a Drive and Sports mode in forward gear and paddle shift to run through the 7 gears. Driving in sports mode with paddle shift was really fun and the responses and engine growl makes it totally a fun thing to do, especially if you happen to get some open roads escaping the city traffic. Great for overtaking and taking the car quickly to cruise speeds, which usually is a pain in automatics. Will surely drink a lot more fuel in sports mode, but great driving fun. No Paddle shift for Baleno! Even the RS doesn’t get one.

Steering and Navigation : Jazz wins again. Smallish steering wheel. Very light, effortless and responsive with well integrated controls. Baleno’s steering was heavier in comparison with lot more direct feedback coming back from the road. Not bad to drive, but Jazz agains scores higher in comparison for comfort and handling.

Braking : ABS with EBD in the Honda gives brilliant stopping power and smooth stopping even on hard braking conditions.  ABS is present for Baleno too, but braking in the Baleno does feel bumpy and it does affect the passenger comfort. Hard braking can bring the rear passengers to the front seat!

In cabin creature comforts

  • Air Conditioning : Baleno’s A/c did not attain the set cabin temperature even by the end of the test drive. Honda’s a/c does the job well and in quick time. Touch controls for A/C in Honda vs. switches in the Baleno.
  • Dashboards and Gauges : Dashboard plastic quality in Baleno is very mediocre for a car of this price. Finer details like printing on the switches etc. lacks finish and gives the impression that very high demand has made the focus shift from quality in the production.
  • Seating : Lack of headroom is very evident in the Baleno and tall passengers will feel claustrophobic inside the cabin. Those who love being tucked inside a cocoon will love the rear seat of Baleno.  Jazz’s tallboy stance gives it a good spacious cabin and open seating postures.

Visibility : This aspect needs specific attention as there’s a marked difference between the two models on this front. Both the cars have height adjustable seats and adjustable steerings. Driver’s field of view in Baleno for a tall person is obstructed by the top roof to an extent. Jazz’s tall boy design gives

Boot Space : While there’s nothing much to choose between the two cars in this aspect, Baleno’s boot is deeper and will need some effort to lift out the luggage compared to the Jazz.

The reason to write this post is that I had set the expectations quite high about the New Baleno, primarily because Maruti Suzuki stuck to that name and gave the impression that they wanted to bring back the legacy of the older Baleno. I’ve been and still am driving the Old Baleno Lxi 2005 (pics elsewhere in this blog) for good dozen years and still love the car for it’s character and performance. Shame that the new one didn’t come out anywhere close to it’s namesake big brother. Excellent looks and exteriors for a premium hatchback, the New Baleno falls short in so many vital aspects to get picked at the hefty price tag it comes with. Still sells like hotcakes!

My friends are awaiting the delivery of the Jazz automatic, which too is much quicker (~10 days) than the 5 months (!!) waiting time for the Baleno.

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Asian Highway 43 : Hyderabad to Nagpur

After getting the Baleno from Kerala, most of the driving was within the city and a long highway drive was overdue for the car. An unplanned drive to make good use of a long weekend around the Independence Day holiday. Hyderabad, unlike Mumbai, Pune or Bangalore is not blessed with as many weekend getaways, or so is the saying. But if expectations are not too high, and being on the road is more of the idea than the destination itself, there are some fair roads to drive on. One of those being the NH 7. The choice was between heading west, North or east and we chose North. I did look up about the road condition of the highway and got some forum responses, which though couple of years old, reflected the current scenario pretty well.

The Roads

From Hyderabad till the Northern border of Telangana state, the roads are as good or better than many international freeways. Tolls sum up to around Rs.520/- per side, but if you enjoy driving and being on the highway, that’s the cost of therapy. The bad patch of roads after Maharshtra border last around 60 kms with a mix of really good roads and really bad roads.

IMG_7686

Bad Patch of Highway in Maharashtra side.

In case driving at night, be wary of the stretch to throw up some unexpected huge potholes. Almost all of the towns along the highways are bypassed making it real quick. Would advise not to risk running a low fuel tank as petrol stations are not as frequesnt as one would expect on a gleaming highway. The roads are mostly deserted. Surprising lack of traffic, be it trucks, public transport or cars. Not sure if  the BOT contractors are getting their investment repaid.

The Stops

Breakfast: With an 5:00 am departure, we stopped at the small town of Armur for breakfast. We passed by a rather small local hotel, but the name pulled us back. Kochin Mess!. As always is the case with these wonderful small hotels, tasty idli, wada and tea was served. Had a short n sweet conversation with the owner, who moved over to this part of the country quarter of a century ago, but still loves homeland Cochin.

Sri Ram Sagar Reservoir

Beautiful reservoir and best stop in the trip till now.

Sri Ram Sagar

Sri Ram Sagar Reservoir

Kuntala Falls

A welcome change from the flat highway to short stretch of well laid winding roads with green trees. Water was scarce in the waterfall, stones nevertheless were in abundance.

Kuntala Falls

A shot from the top of Kuntala Waterfalls

Kochera Falls is yet another waterfall quite soon as we hit the highway again, 3 kms detour from the highway. Rocks yet again and there was hardly any water falling from them. No pic clicked. Decided not to fall prey to anymore waterfall boards on the way. Back to the highway and touched Adilabad town to withdraw some cash and then back to the road again.

Stopped for lunch at a dhaba @ Pandharkawada, Maharashtra. Mediocre food. Started seeing an overdose of Ghutka and special ways how the panwalahs mix it up for the customers. Fuel gauge was leaning towards the red and so filled up, which turned out to be a day saving decision. No more stops and reached Nagpur before daylight started fading. Well  laid wide roads, but bad traffic discipline with no respect to the traffic lights. Halted for the day at Nagpur.

On Nagpur and return journey another day.

Highways & Countrysides – III

Journey Logs of Day 1 and Day 2 .

Day 3 of the journey was to the final destination, Hyderabad. With close to 600 kms to cover for the day and having had a good share of country sides and ghats traversed the previous day, decided to take NH7/44 for the last lug. Left Davengere to reach Bellary via Chitradurga. The road between Chitradurga and next major town Challekere is broken at many places. While travelling this 30 km stretch one can see Onion cultivation in it’s various stages ranging from just sowed to harvested through all possible stages of growth. No idea how much the farmers get paid for their hardwork compared to the high market price of Onions.

Contrary to expectations, Challakere, turned out to be pretty big and impressive town. Entrance to the town suggested that town  be called  “Oil city”, which I later figured out was from being 2nd largest producer of edible oil in India.The road from Challakere to Bellary is a dream stretch of 100 kms. Wider than many a National Highways  in India, one can’t stop thinking that the road is laid out so that VIPs can ply between the mineral rich district to the capital city of Bengaluru in quick time. This stretch was also marked by thousands of acres of onion cultivation on both sides of the road.

My trusted Highway Rider : 2006 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Lxi

My trusted Highway Rider : 2006 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Lxi on Bellary Road in the backdrop of a Flower Plantation

Had breakfast from Bellary. I was slightly indecisive about the route to take from Bellary with slight bias towards taking the route via Raichur as that would be more scenic than the National highway. Decided against it though and headed towards Gooty to hit the Bangalore – Hyderabad NH there. No sales Tax/RTA checkposts at the state border crossings, this road too had thousands of hectares of onion cultivation among other crops being cotton, mustard etc. on either sides of the road. Rain was coming down heavily in small bursts by now. After the small town Gooty, hit the final NH with the last stretch of ~300 kms to final destination.

Excellent four/six lane toll roads with minimal traffic made me push back the driver seat bit more, lean back and relax. Nothing other than road side Dhabas to rely on till Kurnool. Once past Kurnool, there’s still hardly anything on the highway as it mostly bypasses whatever small towns and settlemets are there. Took a 15 km detour to visit Gadwal known for it’s unique  weaving style. Entry to the small town will make you doubt if you are the right place, but right at the end of the town, one whole street stretching more than a km from Gandhi Chowk and it’s bylanes is marked by houses and shops selling Gadwal sarees.

Hit  back the highway to cover the last lug of th journey. Noticeable name change of National Highway 7 to it’s new number NH44 and not so frequent humble green and white boards mentioning that the road is alsoone of the four Asian Highways  passing through India. This one being  AH43 connecting India and Sri Lanka through the Palk Strait!

Highway Sign Boards on Bangalore Hyderabad Highway

Highway Sign Boards on Bangalore Hyderabad Highway

Reached home at Hyderabad by around 1830 hrs with heavy downpours on the ORR. clocking 1595 kms on the tripmeter. Thanks largely to the car for a completely glitch free ride despite having taken some rough terrains and Maps navigation for some good and some challenging route suggestions. All in all a great time on the road!. Nothing to complain much about other than slightly stiff back for next two days. 🙂

  • Final Trip Meter Reading: 1595 kms (638 kms on Day 3)
  • On Road Time Day 3 :13 hours.
  • Average Fuel Consumption : 15.04 kms/litre (India does care for this!)

By Gaadi.com

Thanks to Google Maps Location history, the entire route gets tracked with timestamps without any extra effort. Click on the image below for an interactive map with main waypoints.

LocationHistory

Location History 3 Days

Highways and Countrysides – II

Day 1 of the 3 day trip logged in this post

Day 2 of the journey. After a good deep sleep, left Mangalore to continue on NH 17 by 0530 hrs. Highway is being widened between Udupi and is a mixed bag of very good and not so bad sections of road. Reached Udupi Sree Krishna Temple by 0645. Temple’s not open for prayers between 0700 and 0800 hours, but could just sneak in before the doors were closed. Udupi is well known for it’s vegetarian cuisine. Took a bite of Dosa and coffee for breakfast.

Udupi Temple Pond

Udupi Temple Pond

Headed towards next destination, Kollur Mookambika temple, the National highway between Udupi and Hemmadi is not in great shape and especially so after Kundapura. Once you leave the National Highway at Hemmadi to take the ghat road to Kollur, you are in for one of the most pleasurable driving experience through wide winding scenic roads with hardly any traffic to trouble. The best drive is 600+ kms covered so far. On the way to Kollur through this road lies Mookambika wild life sanctuary and Aanejhari Butterfly camp. Around 30 kms of refreshing drive and the entrance arch to the temple greets you.

IMG_6945

With hardly any rush at the temple, darshan was quick. Most of the devotees also visit the “Moolasthanam” of the diety at Kudajadri hills. Only four wheel drive jeeps ply on the ghat road and it requires 4-5 hours for the round trip. Also since monsoons just got over, blood sucking leeches are out in the trail. Since 5 hours loss in daytime driving time would jeopardize the trip timelines, decided against going to Kudajadri and left Mookambika temple.

East Entrance of Sri Mookambika Temple, Kollur

East Entrance of Sri Mookambika Temple, Kollur

Temple Compound Wall: Sree Mookambika Temple

Temple Compound Wall: Sree Mookambika Temple

Next stop: Joger Gerosoppa Falls aka Jog Falls  is the second highest plunge waterfall in India scaling a height of 253 metres. I ended up choosing a route which should have been avoided.

  1. Primary suggested route from Kollur to Jog Falls [Didn’t take this one as it was completely ghat roads]
  2. Kollur -> Byndoor -> Jog Falls [Route driven]
  3. Kollur -> Byndoor -> Honavar -> Jog Falls [ Should have taken this!]

The first 20 odd kms after leaving NH was badly paved making a difficult drive. More scary that there was no (NO = Zero) traffic for the initial stretch and if anything was to go wrong it would have resulted in getting lost in jungle road with no much scope of help. Add to it phone losing network coverage! Thankfully much to releive the fear, good roads and civilisations started appearing and finally after 57 kms with a scary stretch on KA SH 50, reached Jog Falls. Falls were not in it’s full might as monsoons had lost strength, but nevertheless a visual treat to the eyes with a quarter km vertical waterfalls.

Jog Falls

Jog Falls

Though slightly longer route, took NH 206 from Jog Falls and headed towards the next city to halt for the day. The highway is very well maintained, wonderfully scenic passing through some serene forests and beautiful small hamlets and farm lands. About 16 kms before Shimoga, left the highway to go to Davengere, as that was the closest town i was pretty confident to find some decent place to stay for the night. Reached Davengere by nightfall, filled up the tank, figured out Pooja International to be a good hotel, hogged up dinner and crashed to the all so inviting bed.

  • Trip Meter : 957 kms (442 kms on Day 2)
  • On Road Time: 14 hours.

Day 3:  Davengere -> Chitradurga -> Bellary -> Kurnool -> Hyderabad

Highways and Country Sides – 1

This is an attempt to log a road trip along the South West coast on India, primarily about the roads and few places which I visited enroute. I wanted to get my car from home town Kottayam, Kerala to Hyderabad, where I am currently working. The shortest route will take one through Coimbatore -> Bangalore -> Hyderabad. I decided to take a longer alternate route, primarily to visit Kollur Mookambika temple. That takes the route through the western coast and ghats of India and then head North east after being well into Karnataka.

  • The car : 2006 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Lxi.
  • Route Assistance: Google Maps for Mobile + Voice navigation on Android.

Started from Kottayam around 0430 hrs. Entered National Highway 17 (New NH66) connecting Cochin and Mumbai from the starting point at Edapally, which is going to be the road for the whole day and covered a good distance to reach Ponnani in Malappuram district. After having breakfast started again and passed Calicut and stopped at Lokanarkavu Temple at Vadakara, a famous Durga temple supposedly established by Aryan migrants in 1600s and further made famous by the martial art folklores of Northern Kerala.

Reached Mahe in good time. Mahé is one of the four original French colonies currently under the Union territory of Puducherry.   Hardly couple of kilometres to pass through, the signature bright red caps of  policemen cannot be missed. Apart from that a line of liquor shops attracting customers due to the low price due to tax exemption also is noticeable as one drive through the street. Fuel prices are also far less and the three pumps beside the highway was crowded by drivers wanting to fill up the tanks. Got stuck in traffic after Mahe, almost till Thalassery.  Upon reaching Thalassery, realised that the crowd had gathered to pay homage to the celebrated music composer,  Raghavan Master, who passed away at the age of 98 leaving behind the everlasting gems of music he created.

Post Lunch from Thalassery renowned for it’s non vegetarian cuisine,  continued on NH 17 to next destination, Bekal Fort, Kasaragod.  The biggest fort in Kerala, with breath taking views from various points. Anyone who’s seen this song from the Maniratnam movie Bombay, would know the place. Pleasent but humid evening. Took few snaps of the beatiful place, very well maintained by Archeological Society of India and pushed off from there by around 1745 hrs.

Bakel Fort in the background of Pallikere beach

Bakel Fort in the background of Pallikere beach

Youngsters on Fort Wall at Bakel

Youngsters on Fort Wall at Bakel

 

Panoramic View of Fort

Panoramic View of Fort

NH 17 after Kasaragod didn’t feel like “National Highway” with all the broken roads. With the treacherous last lug of the day, halted for the day at Mangalore.

Punnathur Kotta

Kotta means Fort in Malayalam. Once abode of the ruling kings of this area, Punnathur Kotta is now under the Guruvayur Devaswom and is home to the tuskers owned by the famous Guruvayur Temple.

Punnathur Kotta Palace

Punnathur Kotta Palace

The elephants participate in the daily rituals of the temple as well as the elaborate annual festivities. One of the highlights of that being “Anayottam” or elephant’s running race! Yeah. Might sound bit crazy, but true. Elephants have stayed part of the temple rituals and festivities in Kerala way back into history.

Pond inside Punnathur Kotta covered with algae

Pond inside Punnathur Kotta covered with algae

There’s a large community of very proud elephant owners who are passionate about owning these huge pets. An elephant’s worth/price in monetary terms is decided by various factors. The males primarily fetch a good amount of money and the more majestic they look, the more money they make. While not  participating in the temple events, these gentle giants would be used to pull large slaughtered trees in timber mills/ government estates etc. This news article can give an indication.  Mathanga Leela, considered to be the most authoritative text on Asian elephants is said to have all the details that one needs to know to judge the might of an elephant from the looks of it, apart from being the encyclopedia on elephant care .

How does humans befriend the wild elephants?

Tusker

A majestic male with long tusks.

Earlier days, wild elephants where caught by digging huge trenches in the elephants’ paths and the ones which fall in there will be taken out with the help of an already tamed elephant. Such caught elephants are then taken to the training centre/government sanctuaries and then tamed the hard way to stay under control of a fragile mahout’s command. Incidents of elephants losing their patience on the mahouts and crushing them under thier feet using the tusks are not a rareity. These tamed elephants are then put on auction where the owners would buy and take them to respective places. Off late there’ve been changes in the rules about catching elephants which has resulted in dearth of new tuskers coming into the arena. This has increased the demand of the existing elephants, thus transaction prices for them shooting sky high.

Punnathoor Kotta/ Anathavalam/ Elephant sanctuary is home to the elephants which devotees of Lord Sri Krishna, Guruvayoorappan, present to the lord. As of August 2013, the sanctuary hosts 60 elephants mostly males, but a few females as well. The sanctuary in it’s full might has hosted more than 100 elephants within it’s boundaries. Very close to the Guruvayur Temple, lot of devotees visit the sanctuary. A good place to visit if you are around there. Entry fee : Rs. 5/- and Rs. 25/- for a still camera.

Female Elephant

Female Elephant

Engines which connect the world

With the word connection, first thing that comes to everyone is probably the internet itself or fibre optic cables. Well, this one is for the propulsion machinery that makes the real connections possible. Internal Combustion Engines which propel the major share of ocean going carriers across the world’s oceans.

Two stroke, low speed, direct coupled, crosshead type, water cooled, turbocharged, diesel injected, piston cooled, continously rated, reversible engines with external cylinder lubrication. While that might look like a lot of explanation for an engine, there still are a lot more that can be added to differentiate a particular build of these massive prime movers.

While two stroke engines are facing near extinction on land for a variety of reasons, at sea, they are only going from strength to strength and a whole industry is dedicated to take this piece of technology to ensure that producers and consumers stay connected across the continents. Two stroke marine diesel engines propel the major share of world’s commercial vessels. The only competing alternative prime mover for these being turbines and electric motor based flex/pod propulsion.

These engines are not in the league of massproduced car/bike engines churned out at the rates of one piece every 10 minute (or lesser). Each marine diesel is tailored for a specific carrier (ship) right from the ship’s design stage and is assembled inside the hull during ship building. That doesn’t mean that there are standard models available from the producers. There are, but these are built to order and there is no one size suits all on offer.

Though the names suggests that they burn diesel fuel, it may be noted that these engines are built to burn far inferior quality fuel compared to the high speed diesel fuel that cars/truck engines burn. Marine diesels rather use Heavy fuel oil, the heaviest fraction of crude distillation, just above tar. HSD is rarely used to flush these engines prior to a an overhaul or so. A comparison to perceive the amount of power that these machines produce.

  • Peak power output of the 796 cc engine of  India’s best selling hatchback : 48 BHP @ 6000 RPM
  • Peak Power output of  main propulsion engine of the ill fated  of  Exxon Valdez : 31,650 BHP @ 79 RPM. ie; ~ 660 Maruti Alto 800s.

Corporations leading the industry and innovations to existing two stroke marine engines’ technology are Finnish giant Wärtsilä , Swiss corporation Sulzer and Dutch-Danish MAN B&W Diesels. As rightly titled in this video by Wärtsilä, these machines really are The Engines of Industry. Imagine them not working for a few days! No more fun.

The fading charm of two strokes

What are two stroke engines? (Yes, this is about engines)

As always, the wikipedia article briefly explains what two stroke engines are, but that’d hardly help to recognise the last few of these on Indian roads. If you ever felt that odd looking bike on road is making shriller noise ands emits a bit more smoke than the other bikes on road, good chance that those are two strokes, which ruled the Indian roads in another era, the 1970s and the 80s and well into the 90s. In case you recognize the Rajdoots, Yezdis and the Yamaha RX100s and RD350s, Bajaj Chetaks, Lamby, Lambretta, Priya, Vijai Super, LML Vespa, Suzuki Shogun, Samurai, Tamil Nadu’s own TVS 50, Bajaj RE Autos and thus goes the list. There still are a quite a lot of these remaining in Indian roads, driving memories of generations which grew up seeing/riding these vehicles.

Why Two Strokes a few decades back?

While I am not sure of the business reasons why these engines where chosen over four stroke counterparts in those days, following things would definitely have featured in the list when the decision was made.

  • Lesser moving parts compared to four strokes, easier and less expensive to manufacture.
  • Low on maintenance. (again due to lesser moving parts)
  • Higher Power to Weight (Size) Ratio. Not a major decider for 2/3 wheelers, but a definite winner for two stroke engine technology.

Why Two Strokes are getting removed from streets?

  • Two strokes do not have valve arrangements, rather have intake and exhaust ports, which are controlled by the reciprocating piston’s movement. While this results in minimum moving parts, it also results in loss of efficiency because a part of the fresh charge (air fuel mixture) entering the combustion chamber will be lost without getting burnt. That’s like, your vehicle doesn’t move as much as the fuel is worth! Pretty big sin given the high price of fossil fuels.
  • This inefficient combustion results in low fuel efficiency and increased pollution due to the unburnt air fuel mixture.
  • In an era where the fossil fuels are fast getting consumed, inefficient fuel utilisation and pollution are definitely not desired.

The new stringent rules on pollution control and fuel efficiency and market demand for more mileage per litre of fuel pushed out these machines from  production and many of the above listed vehicle manufacturers, who could not adapt to the technology change had to shut down shop in India. There still are fans of two stroke bikes, who cherish the quick pick up and the head turning shrill noise that these machines make. Yamaha RX 100s, Bajaj Chetaks can still be commonly found in almost all Indian roads, where as Jawa, Yezdi and RD 350s have become pride posessions and are becoming rarer by the day.

After reading this much, in case you concluded that two stroke technology is a thing of the past, there you got it wrong. Two stroke engines are still very much in use and in the largest of possible sizes propelling behemoths of ships across the world’s oceans. Though not exactly similar in construction compared to the smaller petrol two strokes, large, slow speed, direct coupled, diesel two stroke engines propel majority of the world’s merchant marine fleet, the backbone of all the global resource availability in modern times.

Increasing Connections

Mallus or Malayalis, the natives of Kerala, the Southern state of India are historically known to leave homeland in search of greener pastures. Many a jokes surround this nature, like; any airplane accident anywhere in the world will have a mallu victim also! and the like. There are multiple reasons and debatable opinions about the fact that Keralites leave the state for other places in India and abroad. 

  • There’s hardly any development in the state.
  • No Industries, No jobs.
  • Communism will not let anything grow in the state.
  • 100% literacy? (Well, Most good things have a dark side as well)

Not opening up debates on any of the above topics, and leaving those to the learned majority, the point I want to drive across is the addition of one more major Indian city, Hyderabad to which mallus have started migrating and it’s indicators. Though a South Indian city, Hyderabad was never much in the list of wannabe places till the latter half of first decade of the 21st century, largely because that was when Hyderabad also started getting into the list of big cities and industries started getting set up. Till then Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and somehow Gujarat was also among the major places where we migrated to, apart from Persia & Amerikaa.

The increase in traffic between Hyderabad and Kerala can be best understood by observing the evolution of modes of transportation. While I am unsure about the exact dates, prior to the Sabari Express, there was no direct train from Hyderabad to any of the cities in Kerala. Passengers had to travel from Kerala to Chennai and then change trains at Chennai to come to Hyderabad. Though Sabari still takes a long 30 hours and roundaobout route, still is a blessing for many to avoid train changes and even longer hours.

Flights too were not direct (via Chennai again) to start with and bring on the explosive domestic aviation phase, Hyderabad is now connected directly to Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. Three International airports in a state running a length of ~600kms should also talk a bit about the amount of air traffic. Multiple airlines including Indigo, Spicejet and Jet airways fly directly to one or more of these cities and if one has some advance time to book or if season is lean, can cut a great bargain with tickets around 3K for a 1.15 hrs. flight.

With India shining and more and more toll roads along the length and breadth of the country  and  Volvo B9R i-Shift multi axles on the roads, around 2010-2011, buses  came as the latest  addition.Kochi-HYD Started with Hyderabad-Kochi (~1100 kms by road), now there are atleast 3 services, Kallada, Kesineni and K.P.N connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi and the other cities through which they pass to Hyderabad. The bus journey takes around 18-19 hours with just one dinner stop in between. Buses from Thiruvananthapuram takes a route through Nagerkoil, where as the ones from Kochi goes northbound via Coimbatore, Salem, Krishnagiri, Anantapur, Kurnool and Hyderabad. While it can be a bit tiring and might take a day to recover, it’s standard priced and tickets are mostly available even on short notice.

The reverse flow is also not too bad, but not much for work/settling. Andhrites travel to Kerala, primarily to visit Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala and offlate to see the hot tourist locations in God’s own country!

With better connectivity and more opportunities, Hyderabad too has got into the list of places where mallus can quickly reach and hence many more choose to settle down in Hyderabd. Yet another indicator can be increasing number of restaurants serving Kerala cuisine and more so in the developing areas of the city,  probably material for another post. 🙂

Engines : Are we not ungrateful to them?

5th of June, World Environment Day (WED). Naturally that would make the protagonist of our story  the villain. Engines, those which spit out tonnes of polluting gases by burning all the non renewable fossil fuels and thus taking the economies forward in the polluted world!

One of the biggest inventions of the 19th century, the world is where it is today, propelled largely by the smoke spitting internal combustion engines, be it your automobile engine, jet engine, diesel generator or any other prime mover.  While we have calendar days to celebrate all the possible “days“, we seem to have taken for granted the contribution that these poor machines have made towards mankind’s progress. Why? Because, they don’t create noises, unless we press them hard, or because we have a conflicting green day to celebrate?

Think of one day when all engines of the world getting their own brains (brains like  Albert Einstein’s + Karl Marx’s) and souls (?) too. United they decide to take a break for a day! Brilliance it will be, aircrafts falling down from sky, Ships floating clueless at high seas, Daredevils dropping down from mid air like apples on Newton’s head and what not. Space stations might survive.  No water, no power, no phone, defunct cities and forget the stock exchanges. Dude! No internet either. What? No facebook? Probably that makes it sound closer to apocalypse. Yeah! Pray engines don’t get a life of their own without we turning the keys, pressing the button or kicking the lever. As is human, we’ve taken them for granted. Hopefully Radiator Springs celebrates WED as World Engines’ Day. 😀

Will the number of engines made around the world after the IInd world war surpass the number of humans born ?

Though almost all in the civilised society is in one way or other, dependent on engines, awareness of what happens within the muscular metal blocks is still minimal. A basic understanding will definitely help save a few bucks from the mechanics who act up and scare the life out of you even if it’s carbon accumulated spark plug that’s in question. Check out this video showing assembly and operation of a Ford Duratec engine. Great video showing the myriads of parts that make up an engine and excellent animation of four stroke engine’s working.

Long live, mechanical marvels. I shall talk more about you later.