The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

I’ve been fascinated by the chir pine Pinus roxburghii (Pinus longifolia) for quite some time and realised that I haven’t yet put down a post on it. I’ve marvelled at its beauty both at Sattal and also Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, India.  Unfortunately it is sad to see villagers set whole slopes of the forest on fire which is taken up by the layer of dry pine needles covering the mountain slopes. The villagers do it so that grass would grow again on the ground between the trees for them to take home back to their cattle. It is also suspected that the land mafia does this to deliberately deforest areas in connivance with the authorities which they can then encroach upon and sell. This is easy to do as the pine is rich in resin and catches fire easily even when wet. Continue reading The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

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Trek: Kedarkantha peak

I’ve been importing Trekking/Camping equipment for years now and I’ve barely managed to put it to use because of not finding like minded people to trek or camp with. This was my first major trek, so I thought I’d better pen down my experiences for others to read before they head out on their own or make the same mistakes I did. It is easy to dump a large sum on some tour organiser and let them handle all the logistics like food, water, transport etc, but there is a lot more adventure (and sometimes danger) when heading out on your own. Sorry for the lack of photographs as I lost most of them when my laptop hard disk suddenly stopped working. Continue reading Trek: Kedarkantha peak

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Review: Tecsun PL-380 DSP Radio

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An old gang condenser which uses air as its dielectric medium

I love radio. I’ve wanted to be a Ham since I was a kid and ordered numerous resources, however due to cost constraints, nothing worthwhile happened. Later on, I took up electronics and assembled two of my own radios, the old ones -not the very old ones with valves, but the analogue pre-IC ones using transistors, coils and transformers and a polyester gang condensor for the tuner. I have older memories and remember my ex-army uncle from EME who had once given me a gang condenser with plates which used air as its dielectric medium but Iost touch after IC’s became standard and replaced discrete components. Even though I had a Sony ICF-F12S radio, my heart longed for something which used PLL tuning and had a DSP and digital tuning and storage. Continue reading Review: Tecsun PL-380 DSP Radio

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Review : Smith & Wesson tactical pen

Looks like my bug out bag project is jinxed. A couple of years back, my 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 backpack was stolen on a train journey to my brothers house. I was testing its load bearing ability with its Y yoke being a bit uncomfortable in the Indian summers. Now I’m yet unable to choose whether to go in for the Rush 72 or stick to the original plan. In addition the Storm color I wanted (previous one was black) seems ineligible for International shipping. Thankfully, I’ve put the cart before the horse so I have plenty of equipment to review. Once I’ve finalized the  list of items that go into my bag, it will be easier for me to take a call on what size of tactical rucksack I’d need. Continue reading Review : Smith & Wesson tactical pen

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The quest for natural hair dye

To dye, or not to dye. Most people have to deal with this question sooner or later. Although I am quite comfortable with my greying hair, it can sometimes get awkward when everyone around you colors their hair. It probably depends on your culture, but honestly, hanging out with friends who are your age or older but who look younger than you with respect to hair color is a bit difficult -especially if you are still single. Your friends too wouldn’t like to look like they are hanging out with the uncle. Continue reading The quest for natural hair dye

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Review: Sony ICF-F12S Radio

If you were born in the seventies or early eighties in India, the sound of a radio -which was the only source of entertainment and news  then would bring on a wave of nostalgia and rekindle old memories. For me I have additional memories passed down from a generation before and radio is an inseparable part of me. I never became a HAM like I wanted to when I was younger, but my love for radios and electronics never ended. Continue reading Review: Sony ICF-F12S Radio

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The millstone

The millstone, even though we were born into a generation that never had to use it, is familiar to most Indians. The reason behind this is that it was a symbol of punishment in most of the Hindi movies of yesteryear (where inmates had to grind wheat). Even today “jail ka chakki pisna” is a common phrase to refer to being imprisoned. In large households, some of the larger millstones were operated by two people (usually women) sitting in front of each other to share the load. Imagine my delight when I came to become a proud owner of my own millstone! Continue reading The millstone

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