Why I did not watch the IPL Final

The title does not suggest anything sinister. The fixing controversy has done little to turn away a shameless fan like me away from the game. I could not watch the final for reasons which will be mentioned subsequently, but every match till then was followed as if nothing was amiss.

The first event post the finals and before the summer started was the Commencement or Graduation Ceremony. The University level event was held on Sunday (19 May) afternoon followed by colleges holding their respective ceremonies that evening or the next day. The main ceremony recorded an attendance of > 20000, a record. Many guests did not get place to sit as the seating capacity of the hall was comfortably exceeded. Some of us tried sitting on the stairs, but were promptly driven away by security. What was heartening though, was that the event started on time and speeches were short. The Chief Guest for this event was Cal Ripken Jr., a baseball legend, about whom I obviously did not know. He seemed to be a big draw judging from the reactions of a lot of students. The Engineering School held its ceremony the following morning. Seating was readily available in this case, but the downside was that the event took a long time to finish because each one was called on stage to receive his or her degree.

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Comcast Center during Commencement

Like last year, we had a mini VNIT reunion for the Memorial Day weekend. This time we went to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The three days are described in some detail below.

Day 0 (Thursday/ Friday (23/24 May))

Went to Vignesh’s place on Thursday evening. We had booked ourselves on the same flight for Friday. The major highlight of the time spent there was playing chess after a long time. The flip side was that I lost all the games we played!

We reached Denver minutes to midnight on Friday – the rest of the group had arrived before us. The hotel we had booked for that night was a stone’s throw from the airport. The plan was to leave by eight the next morning, but catching up after such a long time meant that we did not call it a night till well past two!

Day 1 (Saturday, 25 May)

Most hotels offer complimentary (and a sumptuous) breakfast, a spread consisting of cereal, bagels, bread, eggs, coffee, juice and muffins. We began our drive after stuffing ourselves. The first item on our itinerary was a 4.5-mile hike. It was a two-hour drive to the Bear Lake Trailhead. We had planned on doing the complete hike to the top of the Flattop Mountain, but snowy conditions stopped us around halfway to the top. Most of us also did not have proper footwear – the weather forecasts only said that it would be pleasant and sunny, nothing about snow not having melted and slippery terrain. We took a detour to Bierstadt Lake, a slightly easier route, but the presence of snow along the way was unnerving. Had nutella and jalapeno spread sandwiches for lunch by the lake. We took a different route down and took one of the shuttles provided by Park Services between trailheads to reach the spot where our vehicle was parked.

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Random Mountain

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Bierstadt Lake

It was a half an hour drive to the campsite we had booked for the next two days. Setting up the two tents took less than an hour due to the presence of only a few noobs in the group.

 We drove into Estes Park (the nearest place with an eatery) downtown for dinner where we stumbled upon a Nepali/ Indian restaurant – i.e. run by Nepalis serving primarily Indian food, with momos (not entirely sure if that qualifies as Nepali food) thrown in. The place had two tables too many – it took us almost 1.5 hours to get our food, which was as close to ‘ghar ka khana’ as one could get. The long wait however robbed us of ice cream as the shop next door had closed by the time we left the restaurant.

Day 2 (Sunday, 26 May) 

I was woken up at around 5:30 the next morning by the sun streaming into our tent. Our first stop for the day was at the Garden of the Gods, at Colorado Springs, a three-hour drive from our campsite. The place is basically a vast expanse of rocks, of a brownish red color, distinctly different from the rocks in its backdrop. There were a couple of short trails we took to get a view from the top of some of the rocks.

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Garden of the Gods

That afternoon, we had booked ourselves for a train journey to the top of Pike’s Peak. The train climbs to a height of 14,110 feet to the top of the mountain. The Pike’s Peak Cog Railway is the highest railroad in North America and the highest cog railway in the world. (A cog railway is characterized by a ‘middle rail’ that allows the coach better grip while climbing steep inclines). Along the way, we were exposed to different living conditions, ranging from lush greenery at the foot of the track to absolutely nothing beyond the tree line. The journey to the top took around 1.5 hours. We were allowed around half an hour at the top. The air at the summit was considerably thin and it took us a few minutes to get acclimatized. The journey down took a little under an hour. We then had to drive back to our campsite. We picked up pizza for dinner at Boulder, around an hour from our campsite. Dinner was around a bonfire, and it was past midnight when we went to bed.

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Vegetation Regions as seen from Pike’s Peak

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Self Explanatory 😛

Day 3 (Monday, 27 May) 

Packed up our sleeping bags and tents and drove on the Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in the country. The highest point on this road (close to 12000 feet) offered a superb view (of what exactly I don’t remember, but it could generally be classified as breathtaking). It was quite cold and windy. In fact, we had to stop midway because the road ahead had not been opened to traffic due to icy conditions. We wanted to drive back to Colorado Springs as we had booked ourselves for a rock climbing exercise at the Garden of the Gods that afternoon. However, we got stuck in traffic and we also saw that traffic on the other side of the road towards Denver was pretty heavy. Keeping in mind that all of us had flights to catch from Denver that evening, we decided to ditch rock-climbing and instead drove into Denver and visited the Botanical Garden. Apart from the usual collection of plants, there were also various structures, loosely classified as ‘modern art’. It was not a surprise that we were not able to interpret the ‘intended’ meaning of these creations!

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Trail Ridge Road

We didn’t have time for more; drove from there to the airport. It was back to the usual routine, starting Tuesday. That weekend, we spent some time making Cinnamon Dolce Latte at home. For the uninitiated, CDL is a favorite at Starbucks!

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Homemade Cinnamon Dolce Latte

Apart from watching sport, I’ve also taken to watching Sports Documentaries over the past month. I hope to document them once I watch a reasonable number.

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