Speaker Profiles, Trek Polamaa IV, March 9-10

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Art of Photography"

by Karthick Rajagopalan

 "Sunday - Mar 10 - 5.00 pm"

    Silver halide and silicon was running through my veins at an early age before I even learned to read. I was suggesting f-stops for the family photos while in diapers at age 2. Well at least that’s the way these profiles tend to sound and include statements like: “Karthik saw a need to show social life of people captured on film for generations to see.”

      In reality the true story would read more like the following: I had just entered my corporate career as a research engineer and I still dint know where I had my interest apart from work, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” One fine day in 2005 I went back to my engineering school when I met Mr. Ajay Narendran who was taking care of our computer programming lab. On that day he showed me his canon Rebel and a set of photographs he shot. Drawing inspiration from Ajay, I joined Ambitions4 and first set of lessons on Photography were from Mr. Rajaponsingh.

     Later it was lot of self-learning experimenting, books, endless resources on the web which is responsible for who I am today. Though I did not concentrate on building a good portfolio for me, I have a very good understanding of photography and lighting. This is a place my engineering background comes handy.

     I joined Chennai Trekking Club last year. It provided the necessary fodder for my passion in photography as I visited some of the best unexplored, trailess & road less travelled spots in and around Tamil Nadu/ Andhra.

     During the course of many such explorations I started presenting Photography Workshops to the members of the Chennai Trekking Club which was widely appreciated esp by amateur photo enthusiasts.

     My dream is to have my own photography institute and take photography as my career. More information on his work can be found at https://www.facebook.com/karthikrajagopalphotography

"Adventure Sport Injuries and Prevention"

by Vallaban

  "Sunday- Mar 10 - 11.00 am"

MPT(ortho),PG.Dip.Emergency &trauma care,
Orthopaedic and Osteopathic manipulative therapist.

Started my Phoenix Physio care, Which stands for the Motto Reclaim Your life , after my Training under Dr.Kannan Pughazendi MBBS,MSM for 2 years. I being a CTC member and having my passion towards trekking, Shifted my Focus towards adventure sports.

After my 6 years of clinical practice started my sports training academy. The Academy provides scientific insights on sport specific performance. The prime tool of our Concern is clinical diagnosis with respect to Biomechanical evaluation.

The Concern spreads its wings into On-Field (in tracks and field), Management Sports injuries, Geriatric (aged people) rehabilitation and Women's Health management.

Official Physio :
  • Chennai Trekking Club.
  • Pedal Pusherz.
  • C Cube Cricket academy.
  • Loyola College, Chennai.
On Field Manager :  

  • Junior Boxing state level championship.
  • Chennai to Chidambaram Cycling Event by Pedal Pusherz.
  • CTC’c Buckingham canal Marathon.
  • Neville’s Dawn to Dusk Marathon.
  • CBSE National foot ball tournament.

"Rock Climbing and Life"

by Gujju Razak

 "Saturday - Mar 9 - 4.00 pm"

     An accomplished outdoor professional with an impeccable track record; my vast experience in different environments ranging from industrial climbing workshops to children’s summer programs has developed in me the physical dexterity, mental versatility and communication skills to outperform at any capacity of involvement.

My goal is to become an excellent climber and free runner.  I aim to motivate myself to learn and practice harder, whilst doing the same for the people around me.  My grander vision is to encourage an organic, yet sizeable growth of climbing and free running across the country.

Outdoor Qualifications :

  • Nehru Institute of Mountaineering – Basic Mountaineering Course
  • Program Leader Course – Idiscover
  • First Aid Course at St. John’s Ambulance Association
  • NOLS - National Outdoor Leadership School - Wilderness First Responder   
  • DMAS, Manali - Basic Skiing course.
  • Advance Industrial Climbing & Rescue Training Workshop in Switzerland / Denmark

Achievements :

  • Commissioned an Artificial Climbing wall for The Rashtriya Military School – Belgaum.  
  • Was also responsible for the training of 18 Cadets for a period of 4 days.
  • Participated and completed an International Marathon (42 kms)
  • Officiated in the Sikkim Mountain Biking Race in March 2009.
  • Represented Bangalore in State Level Rugby Tournaments.

    "Let’s Grow our own Oxygen"

    by Sandhiya Rajaraman

     "Saturday - Mar 9 - 10.00 am"

    Summary : 

    We are a club of trekkers, nature lovers, wanderlust travelers and environment protectors. The sight of a beautiful landscape thrills our very veins and we go ballistic clicking pictures of birds and sceneries. But why does that love for nature stop at admiration from a comfortable distance? Why don’t we attempt to create, restore and protect nature when it is clearly destroyed within city limits? In 2012, a bunch of social-minded CTC organizers invited volunteers and participants for a queer cause – The attempt to “Grow our own Oxygen”. Responses were modest (read embarrassing), sponsors were minimal and volunteers were down to a single digit in a club of 18000+ people (match that in comparison to 100+ registrations for a jolly trek). This didn’t stop the organizers. Against all odds, through scorching heat and cyclonic weather, this little group diligently went about planting 1000+ saplings. Even if you count a survival rate of 50%, I think their contribution was priceless. 

    I’ve taken it upon myself to tell you. the story of a dozen sunny sweaty weekends when our tree-planters went about town carrying saplings,  spades, manure and tree-guards and planted them in corporate compounds, colleges, schools and community houses. From choosing the right plants for each locality to  reminding the neighbors to water the saplings regularly, this back-breaking, time-consuming,  conscience-cleansing effort has been an eye-opener about the importance of trees and he step-motherly treatment we give to maintaining our surroundings. This session is about trees, the pressing need to plant, protect and preserve them, how you can help regardless of your financial or physical fitness and why it is important that you contribute before its too late.

    "The path to Ironman"

    by Dipankar

     "Sunday - Mar 10 - 3.00 pm"

          Have been working in the software industry for about 7 years. After 4 years of working in various companies, the balance between hobby of outdoor sports and daily office work felt disturbed and hence quit a comfortable well paying job and took up freelancing.

    Took up a basic cycle from Firefox 4 yrs ago to commute to office. After about 1 and a half year of daily commute of about 15 kms, I bumped into another cyclist on the road. Cyclists were very race to be seen during office hours at that time. He introduced me to some cycling clubs in Bangalore. Soon I started joining different groups for long weekend rides of 100+kms. 

    In no time cycling became such a craze that I purchased another better cycle from Decathlon and organised a 9 days south India cycle tour with a group of 7 guys and 3 girls. 

    I organised a Manali - Leh cycling tour and since then every year I have spent upto a month in Himalayas cycling. Bought another imported cycle which falls in a costly racing segment which I had started using for many solo self-supported long rides of 400+kms all alone. 

    Then to push the limits further, I signed up for an event called IRONMAN in France which happened on June 2011 consisting of 3.8km swim followed by 180 km cycling and a full marathon of 42.195kms to be completed in a strict cut-off time limit of 16 hrs. With a training of just 15 days, I completed the challenge. After that wonderful experience, cheering crowd and supportive volunteers, participating in Ironman and triathlons has become such a craze that I currently spend about 6hrs a day in cycling, running and swim training and will be participating in another Ironman in Zurich, Switzerland this year. 

    The Driving Force
    The fun, freedom and independence from sitting inside a boxed motor vehicle is bliss. The fun of cycling through the beautiful roads in France, the majestic Himalayas, the wonderful western ghats, climbing to Ooty with people cheering up at every turn is unmatched compared to a motorized tour and travel. For city commute, cycling zipps through traffic faster than most other forms of commute. And its GREEN! I am happy to reduce my carbon footprint to the best I can. 

    Daily training schedule
    Cycle on alternate days about 80-120 kms excluding the 10-20kms of city commute during the rest of the day. 
    Running on alternate days for about 30 minutes to 2 hrs.
    Swimming about 2 hrs on alternate days.

    The major challenge 
    Making my family and general public understand that I cycle not cos I don't have money to buy a motor bike or a car, but because I love to cycle and enjoy the freedom as it keeps me fit and active! Cycling has been such a craze that I did not even think about buying a motor vehicle for myself since cycling is lot faster in city traffic conditions and a wonderful companion for touring as well. 

    Best experiences 
    a. 1 month of cycling through the Himalayas Leh-Nubra-PangongTso-Manali-Spiti-Shimla for a 3rd consecutive year 
    b. Cycling and camping through the Alps in France all alone and self supported. 
    c. Participation in Tour of Nilgiris in December 2012 which was a total surprise gift to me from a fellow cyclist.
    d. Solo long distance rides of 400+kms coved over a span of 24 to 30 hours. (blogged in MyCrazyRides.Blogspot.com)

    Upcoming events
    This year I will be cycling in Switzerland after the Zurich Ironman in July.

    Life with CTC
    Got to know about CTC in 2011 and since then have been to multiple treks with them. Something about CTC inspires me a lot to venture into the unknown which I am normally scared to do alone. Wish we had a Bangalore version of CTC having a clone of Peter, Durai and others based here :)

    "Gharial Conservation"

    by Shakthi Sritharan

     "Saturday - Mar 9 - 12.00 pm"

       Shakthi Sritharan is a Research Assistant at Gharial Conservation Alliance (GCA), a project of Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT). She is responsible for all GIS related work there. Before this she worked as the Curatorial and Research Officer at MCBT.
        She graduated  from the University  of  East  Anglia,  UK  with  a  Master’s  in  Enivronmental Assessment and Management. There she researched on how social pressures such as human population, agriculture and density of the road network can be used to prioritise gaps in protection of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Tanzania. This work was published in African Journal of Ecology.At Trek Polama she will be talking about the Gharial, a critically endangered crocodilian species and how GCA goes about in helping conserve them.

    "Historical Fort Conservation"

    by Kedar Joshi

     "Saturday -  Mar 9 - 2.00 pm"

            An avid trekker and mountaineer, Kedar was introduced to the outdoor world by his parents early in his school days. He has trekked actively in the Appalachians, Cascade Mountains, Smokey Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Nilgirs, Himalayas and the Sahyadris. However, his first love are the mighty Sahyadri mountain ranges (Western Ghats of Maharashtra) that have over 300+ forts, peaks and ghats of historical significance. He also loves biking, cycling and any endurance related outdoor activity that involves exploring the offbeat trails in the mountains. He lives and breathes the maxim “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Adventure comes only to the adventurer”.

          He has been associated with Shri Shivdurg Samvardhan, a NGO based out of Pune with a focus on Fort Conservation where he gets an opportunity to give back and contribute his bit to the mountains that have given him so much joy. Each year he takes a lead role in conducting fort conservation activity at Rajgad Fort on behalf of Shri Shivdurg Samvardhan. The organization is made up of passionate people who work silently towards their objective of fort conservation without any dedicated financial support or political affiliation. Currently work is being conducted at six Forts viz. Rajgad, Tikona, Tung, Rohida, Bahadurgad and Antur.

           The ultimate goal of Shri Shivdurg Samvardhan is to create awareness and public support to conserve these 'temples of gallantry' that lay in ignored and dilapidated condition today. We strive to build a sustainable financial ecosystem around Forts with a theme to promote tourism, adventure sports, nature walks, historical tours etc. We also try and involve local villagers and various Government Agencies such as State Forest Department, State Archeological Department and State Tourism Corporation in our activities.

          A Chartered Accountant by qualification, Kedar is a Principal Partner in a business advisory firm (www.unique-systems.in) and a Promoter Director in a software product startup company based in Pune (www.qualitiasoft.com).

    "Bird Watching"


     "Sunday - Mar 10 - 12.00 pm"

    • Life member—Bombay Natural History Society.
    • Madras Naturalists’   Society.
    • Satya Mangalam Environment and Wildlife Association.
    • Moyar valley project of Arulagam and Care Earth
    Significant Works:

    • Gulf of Mannar Bird Survey Bird Survey
    • Coimbatore Division Bird Survey
    • Satyamangalam Bird Survey
    • Studies on Migratory pattern of waders with special reference to         Flamingoes;
    • Survey of Raptors in Southern Nilgiris;
    • Study on plant animal relation in SGNP Mumbai.

    Participation and Contribution :      
    • Man and Tigers - International Seminar at Periyar Tiger Reserve.
    • Presence of Tigers in Satyamangalam Forests Power-point presentation.
    • Significance of Satyamangalam Forests paper presented in Seminar of Tamilnadu, Forest Dept.
    • 2009 Paper on Bird Diversity in Satyamangalam Forests in National Seminar at Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding(an Govt Instn) Coimbatore.
    • 2010 In International Ornithologists Meet at SACON(Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Nature) Coimbatore.
    • 2011 Presence of Vultures in SatyMangalam forest.
    • Book on Bird Survey of Gulf of Mannar
    • Book on Bird Survey of Coimbatore Forest Division
    • Book on Bird Survey of Satyamangalam Forest Division
    • Book on Effects of Diclofenac on Vultures
    • Articles in Journal of Madras Naturalists’ Society
    • Articles in Journal of Nilgiri Wildlife Association
    • Reports to Bombay Natural History Society on works done with their aid(relating to Migratory pattern of waders at Dativare coast and SGNP monsoon flora and fauna)

    "Trekking and Adventure Activities in Offbeat Sahyadris"

    by Vikas Kaduskar

     "Saturday - Mar 9 -  3.00 pm"

    By Profession, I work as a Subject Matter Expert in Finance for a US based Multinational Company in Pune. This is my bread & butter. I have been into Mountaineering since 2003 & always like to Live RAW whenever get a chance to get into the mountains. During last 10 years, I have visited more than 280 forts in Maharashtra, Gujrat & Goa region. 125 Forts visited on Bike.  Also have successfully climbed pinnacles like Lingana, Tailbaila & Kalakrai. Lead more than 150 different grade Treks, climbing activities and Bike Expeditions till date.  Solo trekking & Biking in Maharashtra. Explored many biking routes into the Interiors of Sahyadri. Trans Sahyadri Bike Expedition-the Biggest & challenging in Western Ghats of Sahyadri covering 2200 Kms in 8 Days is one of them. Also started with Cycle Expeditions in the region with offroad cycle rides like Panshet Parikrama near Pune. Lead 3 different bike expeditions in Leh Ladakh & Himachal.  I am a first aid certified & strong supporter of NGO’s like Safe Climbing Initiative & Shri Shivdurga Sanwardhan which works for Mountaineering Safety & Fort Conservation activities. Participated in 3 Rescue Operations around Pune & lead one of them.  

    I was associated with Giridarshan Trekking Club for 9 years which is one of the oldest trekking club from Pune but wanted to take the opportunity to X’plore more in this world of Adventure & started with RAW Adventure Solutions in Jun-2012. Through RAW Adventure Solutions, I do free lancing & also lead different activities like River Trails-i.e.trekking through the River, Endurance treks like SRT(Sinhgad-Rajgad-Torna) in 1 Day, Pilot treks to Unxplored regions of Maharashtra, Bike Expeditions, Cycle Expeditions and many more such activities into Offbeat Sahyadri. 

    Future Plans are to take my Endurance level high through RIVER to SKY Activity & arrange for an Adventure Race as RAW V/s WILD. My Inspiration is Bear Grylls & I live with a dream is to do the most difficult trek of 500 Kms following Colorado River in Grand Canyon (USA) by year 2015 and also the toughest international bike expeditions in near future.

    "Youth in Conservation"

    by Arun Krishnamurthy

     "Saturday - Mar 9 - 11.00 am"

         Arun is an Environmentalist and Communication Professional who runs The Environmentalist Foundation of India and Krish Info Media. EFI is an environmental conservation group focusing on wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. EFI is spread across 9 cities Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Vishakapatnam, Coimbatore, Pondicherry and Chennai. (HeadQuarters)

    Current and Upcoming Projects of  EFI & KIM:
    • Lake Restoration
    • Bio Diversity Parks
    • Sparrow Reintroduction
    • Zoo Volunteering
    • EFI has a mobile animal ambulance in Chennai and is currently building an animal rescue center one each in Chennai and Hyderabad.
    • Environment Documentary Films made by EFI & KIM include the award winning “Elixir Poisoned” & “Kurma”
    • EFI & KIM are also a stage/street theater group.
    • 360 Degree creative communication for businesses through KIM.

    • Rolex Award For Enterprise - 2012
    • Youth ActionNet Global Fellow - 2012
    • Google Social Impact Award – 2011
    • British Council Active Citizens - 2011
    • British Council Climate Champion Excellence Award – 2011
    • The Jane Goodall Institute International Youth Leadership Award – 2010
    • International Visitor Leadership (IVLP – 2010) – U.S State department
    • Rotary Vocational Service Excellence Award (Eco Conservation.)

    "Elephant Ecology and Conservation"

    by Arivazhagan

     "Sunday - Mar 10 - 2.00 pm"

       I obtained my PhD in Zoology from the Bharathidasan University, My graduate and post-graduate in wildlife biology. I started my carrier working on leopard-human conflicts in the Western and Eastern Ghats. Working on the Asian Elephant in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Nagarahole National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve for my doctoral dissertation, I gained extensive experience on human-elephant conflicts that involve other wildlife as well. I have travelled widely in India, in pursuit of elephants. I have published 11 scientific papers in national and international journal and one book. 

    "Trekking and Life"

    by Manick

     "Sunday - Mar 10 -  10.00 am"

         Graduated in 1984 from Anna University as a Mechanical Engineer, continued to complete his MBA from IIM Bangalore two years later. After a stint with a voluntary agency serving in the villages of Tamil Nadu, took a franchise opportunity with NIIT at Trichy. That was the start of his entrepreneurial pursuits.

         A few years later, he left for the USA where he started his own IT consulting firm. He came back to India for a two-year stay in the mid-nineties to set up his India operations.

         On return to the USA, he took up a corporate opportunity to work with Deutsche Bank. After a seven-year exposure to the insides of Board Rooms and Wall Street, moved to the Healthcare industry. A successful spin-off and sale of the software company he created, he has been able to dedicate his time to Health IT standards. He has served several thousand volunteer hours along with the best in the US healthcare industry as the Co-Chairman of the Admin and Finance Domain Committee of the Healthcare IT Standards Panel. He was later tapped to be the Co-Chairman of the Interoperability Tiger Team set up to advice the Obama Administration on Meaningful Use stimulus guidelines.

            He co-creates and manages the prestigious Interoperability Showcase at the HIMSS Conferences every year thereby being a major influence among the Healthcare Product vendor community.

    He also has served as a turnaround specialist by pulling in several US Healthcare billing companies to offshore business processes to his back office BPO in India. At present, he is commissioned to design and maintain the Innovation Center which is a joint initiative of a leading hospital and a University in New Jersey. He is also consulting for the US Government Healthcare Initiatives under ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvesting Act). 

    Currently he is the Director at Velammal Medical Hospital & Research Institute taking care of the entire strategy, operations and management of the Group. His focus continues to be on the improvement of people, quality and customer service. He is a Lean Six Sigma Green belt in Healthcare.

    His passion has been photography, astronomy, cycling, archery and hiking. He has hiked over 120 trails over the course of 12 years and is a keen lover of life and adventure.

    "Tiger Jungles"

    by SARA

     "Saturday - Mar 9 -  5.30 pm"

          If a simple thing could be done in a round about way, i somehow have the knack of finding that longer route. I was born and brought up in Chennai, India and till i finished schooling, never left my home state.  When applying for my bachelor’s degree i got offered a set in visual communication. At that time i was not even remotely interested in photography and so turned it down for a degree in zoology. Its an irony that three  years later, while doing my master’s degree in wildlife biology (from the Wildlife Institute of India) , that I started photographing and instantly decided it would be my career.  Ever since i have dabbled in many things, including graphic design and film editing. But the love for image making remains the primary driving force of my career and my life.
          I freelance as a wildlife and documentary cameraman, shooting documentaries for channels like National Geographic and the BBC. I would quite shamelessly claim that it is arguably one of  the best job in the world!! One gets to travel to exotic locations, see the best of nature and in the end get paid for it. When not traveling on assignments i love to get back to my still-photography.. I enjoy working with lights and it gives me more and more satisfaction to make images, rather than just take them. I also love to teach. Whenever i find the time i try to conduct  workshops, especially for beginners.  All my photography and cinematography is self -taught. In many ways, self-learning is a long and tedious process but by teaching oneself, one learns to carefully sieve out the incredible amount of information and retain the core. This  i try and pass on to my students, a process i thoroughly enjoy. I have my photo studio in chennai and am slowly being drawn into fine-art nature photography.

    "Social Initiatives"

    by S.Thilak Raj

     "Saturday - Mar 9 -  5.00 pm"

        Service has always been my passion, from young hood till now. Initially I collected old clothes and rice, gave it to the homes .I have visited home to help the kids with their ablutions and have taken classes for underprivileged home and students.

    Sevaai karangal:
        Wanted to start an orphanage, So I started visiting many orphanages and found that few orphanages are lacking capital and infrastructure to provide efficient service to the underprivileged society. Like a side of a coin ,There were orphanages which had surplus fund and on the other side,Some orphanages were out of fund to cater the inmate’s appetite.I Wanted to channelize this. So dropped the plan of starting an orphanage and started ‘Sevai Karangal’, an organization to uplift the homes which receive less funds.

        Practicing mediation from ‘94. Completed the master’s course and also teaching it. Have conducted classes for students, govt. Staff and corporate employers.

         Conducted sessions on various captions like Goal setting, Time management, leadership qualities etc.  Later I composed these topics into a personality development program.Have provided training to corporate employees and students.

    A Trekker:
          Never get tired of trekking in deep woods or steep climbs. Trek duration ranges from one day to 2 weeks completely into the jungle devoid of digitalization. Being an active organizer in Chennai Trekking Club, have organized treks especially the Social trek where we take kids from a home for a day’s trek so that the underprivileged can also enjoy the nature in every possible way.

    Pedal pusher:
         A regular long distance rider who prefers to commute by cycle. So far, I have covered the following routes,Chennai to Kanyakumari ,Chennai to Mumbai, Chennai to Bangalore

    Environment Enthusiast:
        Participated, co-organized, organized many cleanup, awareness wildlife campaigns. ‘Save Tada’ a clean up drive at Tada falls, couples of Mega beach cleanup program  covering 15 km of Chennai coast, starting from the marina and till Injambakkam by CTC where more than 2400 volunteers participated.  The motto of beach cleanups and awareness campaigns were the main is to create awareness among the public not to litter.



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