The Hero

Even though majority of the internet runs because of ads, they are probably the most hated entities on it. But once in a while you come across an ad, which is cheesy, predictable and totally warms your heart and brings a smile to your face. Stating the obvious here, it goes on to show that users don’t really hate all ads; just the annoying, not funny, not entertaining and not so useful ones.

Well the point of this was to show you this wonderful video. Its about Searching for yourself, with Google 😉. Presenting to you, ‘The Hero – A Bollywood Story’.

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Progress

Not that I am a morning person, but all the coughing woke me up early. It was a Saturday morning and no one else in the house was awake. As I had nothing better to do, I went up to Planet Granite (PG) to do some Slo Flo. An hour or so later, I was feeling kind of chill and relaxed. I guess Slo Flo worked but I wanted to be a little more enthusiastic and energetic at the start of the weekend. So I went looking for a belay partner, and like in the recent times I couldn’t find one. This has been happening quite frequently lately, so I made some contingency plans for when I can’t top rope. I go to the beginners bouldering wall and do all the trails there. I came near the wall and was putting on my shoes when I heard an announcement asking for a belay partner. Yay, I could climb!

I have 4 favorite trails in PG. 3 of them are 5.10b’s, coincidentally all of them being white trails and one is a 5.10c. While I did them multiple times, I still find doing them hard, so I keep going back again and again. The thing about these trails is you can’t get away with strength, but you also need to find your balance and have good technique. And as I found out this is key for trails 5.10c’s and above. While I did my first 5.10b over a month and a half ago, since then I did only 3 different 5.10c’s. I failed getting off the ground on most 5.10c’s so I kept going back to the my favorite trails, trying to improve my technique.

Coming back to the present day, we warmed up on one of those 5.10b’s and I saw that it got noticeably easier. On the belay partners suggestion I tried a 5.10c, and I could do it fairly quickly, and this was the same trail which I previously did but struggled a lot on. I was now feeling climbing good. With this new found confidence, and some encouraging words from the new partner, I tried a 5.10d for the first time. It was a purple trail, and quite honestly I thought I would completely embarrass myself and wouldn’t even be able to get off the ground. While it was tricky, surprisingly I managed to finish the trail and I took only 2 very short breaks. Finally, first 5.10d. Yay! Later I tried one other 5.10d, a black trail this time, and as the partner put it, it was more about body positioning. Something at which I was terrible at, but after a lot of breaks I did manage to finish the climb.

Shortly after my partner had to leave, so I went back to the bouldering wall. I skipped the V0s and V1s as I was already warmed up, and did 6 of the V2s. The 7th one was the trickiest one. It was a pinch hold. While I was getting to the top, I was loosing my balance and falling down before I could touch the finishing tape. In one of the attempts I think I barely touched the tape, but was not able to hold on. This was something I did earlier, but I thought I was getting tired. So I tried to do a V1 and when I miserably failed at that, I realized I need to go back home.

2 days later, last night I went to PG to do some Vinyasa. Later I did a black 5.10b, the hardest 5.10b I did till now. And after that I managed to do a green 5.10d, my toughest climb till date. My hands were so burned at the end of it, I couldn’t remove the knot on the rope anymore. Later I also did the purple 5.10d I did on Saturday. As they say in the climbing world, you haven’t really leveled up unless you do the same level on 2 different days. So, progress!

And as I was about to leave, I tried the pinch hold V2, and I guess there was still some energy left in my arms, it wasn’t hard anymore.

 

Technique and Pants

It was pretty late when I got to the gym. It was cold and crowded. My other friends were already climbing, and doing alternative climbs means less climbs for each of us. So I tried finding a belay partner but no one was available. I guess I see a pattern now; it’s harder to find a partner when the gym is crowded. I drag my legs to the bouldering wall, telling myself that I would do a couple of trails and then leave. That’s when I saw two familiar faces. Colleagues from work. I go talk to them and they were just getting started. We chose a section of the wall and planned to do all the trails on that.

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All the V2s we did today are on this wall

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After the last fiasco when I broke my phone, I no longer bring the phone while climbing. So borrowed Margaret’s phone to take these pics.

We warmed up with V0s and V1s and then started doing some V2s. There where a lot of V2s and each of them was of a different style – crimp, pinch, jugs, arete, press, cross and high step. While we were struggling our way through them, one after the other, once in a while you would notice someone come up and do the same trail with movements that look like a hot knife cutting through a slab of butter. Smooth and fast; with little to no effort. And every time I see someone like that it reminds me that there is no technique or even worse bad technique in my climbs. Paying attention helps though, as I have noticed climbing the same trails become significantly easier once you get a hang of the right technique. By the end of the night we did a bunch of V2s; 7 of them to be accurate, multiple times. It was fun and satisfying, except for the news that they dismantled our favorite V3 :(.

Oh yeah, the thing about pants… when you are climbing in shorts you end up scratching your legs on the wall a lot of times. Sure it ain’t so bad if you have a steady technique and can easily find balance, but if you are wobbly like me then the legs can get pretty scratched up. You won’t always notice those scratches during the climbs as you are focused on the next sloper, but you most definitely will feel every single one of them when you are taking a hot shower after the climbs. My solution to this problem was to get joggers. Tracks are nice, but I don’t like climbing in them as they are loose on the calves and shins. While women have leggings, men have joggers. They fit nice and tight on the calves and shins making them real comfortable for climbs.

Dolores park

Do you always end up having a favorite spot in a city? Is it enough to visit once, or do you have to be there for sometime to have one? In a big city like New York, there are so many beautiful places, many of those give you a panoramic view of the city, or the expansive sight of the hudson, but my favorite is Times Square. Remember those red stairs? When I lived there, I used to walk by the hudson, grab a coffee, sit on the red stairs in Times Square and just be. Once in a while I’d have a gentle tap on my shoulder or a soft spoken excuse me, asking to click a picture. I’d be there in the evenings, most of the times, and it was always busy, people taking pictures and selfies everywhere, smiles, laughs, shouts and noise all around and yet I would sit there for hours without being disturbed, or getting distracted. I’d notice when I wanted to, zone out and be lost in my thoughts, the cold winds in the evening, thanks to the hudson, gush through your hair, cooling you down and the city after a hot summer afternoon, taking your worries away and bringing a smile on the face. It was calm, pleasant, and happy!

There is something enigmatic about with vista points and unending sights. Seeing all the sky scrapers line up in front of you, or the mountain ranges or the mighty waters to as far as you can see, and especially during the sunrise and sunset times, does have a dramatic affect on my senses. I mean I don’t concentrate on any one thing, and I don’t focus on the whole view either. While my eyes constantly look for a resting point, somewhere in the confusion, I do end up feeling calm. When I see something so vast in front of me, in that moment I feel so small, and my mind goes numb. Just for a second at a time, I go in and out, and that’s when I have my zen moments. Looking at wide spread mountains at the end of a hike, or dark skies filled with stars on silent nights, and walking and sitting on ocean beaches, listening to the crashing of waves, while your eyes try to catch a glimpse of where the waters end, the cool ocean breeze hugging you, and when the orange hue from the sunset drenches you, it feels blissful.

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I now live 2100 miles in the opposite direction, on an another coast. I have a favorite spot here too. It has this pleasing view of the city that you’d generally have from a vista point, but also has a lot of people around laughing, shouting, drinking and playing never have I ever, while dogs which look like dire wolves on a diet run amok. You can smell weed while people in tank tops go around selling coconut and rum. Unlike most vista points where you are either leaning or sitting on the ledge, here you can lie on the green grass, half of you bathing in the sun, half of you resting in the shade, while dried yellow leaves fall over you. Its beautiful and relaxing. Dolores park, have you been there before?

It never gets easier

One of those late days at work, and I missed climbing with the usual suspects the day before because of the same reason. So when the clock showed 9 pm, I figured I can climb for at least 90 mins. The gym was super crowded, and as my luck would have it I couldn’t find a belay partner. This never happened, even when there were a lot less people in the gym. This meant I had to do the next best thing. Bouldering!

I warmed up with a few V0, V1 and V2 trails. Then I crossed paths with the V3 that I did before. There where a bunch of people in front of the trail; they were taking turns trying to scale that and all of them were failing. I did this a bunch of times till now, and I was warmed up. I was sure I would be able to do it, so once they left, I gave it a shot. I failed. Then I tried again. I failed again. Then I tried again and again, and I kept falling off repeatedly. This went on for the next 15 mins or so. I was not sure why I was not able to scale it this time and it was frustrating. And again as luck would have it I did not have a phone (my phone broke two days ago and I have been off the mobile-grid since), so I couldn’t see how I did it the last time.

While I was staring at the trail trying to figure out where I was misstepping, I saw a lady step in front of the same trail, examine it for a few seconds, and started climbing it. She looked like she knew what she was doing, so I paid attention. I realized my mistake. While I was dropping my left knee to reach to the next sloper, I was not doing the same with my right knee. Astonishingly stupid because I did the same thing a bunch of times before and in the last 20 mins it never hit me that I was not doing that.

I go back on the trial and this time I tried what I just saw. I could finish the trail, and it wasn’t even that hard. After climbing a few more trials I was ready to leave. So I was changing my shoes, thinking about how I made an ass out of myself and making a mental note to do this V3 when I come back, I noticed a small tag stuck to one of the walls which had this quote

It never gets easier. You just get better.

ComiXology

There are tens and thousands of products launching everyday, and while we probably come come across a minute fraction of those not every one of those gets you excited. But once in a while you see something that makes you sit up, and take notice.

There are a myriad of Uber for blah and Netflix for blah blah services out there; while a only a few of them are just as exciting as the original ideas (don’t believe me, well be amazed 😛 ),  the other day Amazon launched a new product (company ?) which is very exciting for people who like reading comics and manga. ComiXology gives you access to tons of comics from top publishers (Marvel and DC) and is based on a subscription model like Netflix. Its $5.99 a month only, and f you like reading comics I don’t see you getting a better deal.

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Iron Spider: Probably one of the best costumes of Spidey. I really hope they use or atleast tease this armor in Spiderman: Homecoming

Right now they have a one month trial. I already checked and they have all the Civil War story line bundles. You like the movie? Well the comics are better (reason why they made the movie ?). If you have a 5+ inch phone you can totally enjoy reading off your phone. And here is the suggested reading order, not that you need it as Comixology already takes care of organizing that for you. Well then, go on now and read, you can thank me later :).