Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Checklist Manifesto - Atul Gawande

Now this book written by an oncologist and a bestselling writer ('Complications' and 'Better' being his other two bestsellers) certainly makes one reach for a paper and a pen to make out a checklist right away. Yes, checklists are a must and one must do what one's grandma's did so well for so many years. One tends to forget, miss or ignore important steps in every process and one cannot afford to do that if one wants greater efficiency and / or is in a position of responsibility. I fully agree with Dr. Atul Gawande and I shall make my check lists in all that I consider important starting today.

Penguin, 193 p, Rs. 399
'The Checklist Manifesto - How to Get Things Right' is a New York Times bestseller. Dr. Atul Gawande's is a MacArthur Fellow, a general surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for the New Yorker and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Medical Health. He has spent much time in understanding how to increase efficiency and bring in systems that reduce errors. His take in this book is that in a world of increasing complexity it is not possible to rely on any one person's internalised knowledge and experience completely. Instead we should work as team's, share every one's knowledge and tick off the dumb stuff so the basics are covered. It's safe, secure and process oriented. For me who is very interested in processes this book makes immense sense. In India we must bring in these processes in all public offices to make things simpler and increase efficiency.

Dr. Atul Gawande starts with stories across the globe of surgeons sharing their stories - the successes and the failures. The case of a young girl who drowned in icy waters and suffered a cardiac arrest, the man who got stabbed by a bayonet, the patient who was given an almost lethal dose of potassium on the operating table, line infections that almost killed another patient and so on. In each case certain small procedures were followed or rectified which could have been avoided in the first place if there was a checklist kind of a system. But how does one tell surgeons of great reputations that they should follow a dumb checklist? Would it not insult their intelligence?

But it's not so much about stored intelligence in the mind anymore. Now more than ever things are so complex that one person may make a mistake. It's all about team work now and about ticking off all the basics more so since all procedures are laid down and information is easier to harness. As a case in point Dr. Gawande goes back to the humble checklist that was introduced by the US Air Force decades ago to help pilots fly aircraft. He cites the example of a flight competition held in 1935 for airplane manufacturers for the next generation long range bomber. Boeing's Mode 299 which was nicknamed the 'Flying Fortress' was being piloted by one of the most experienced pilots but crashed during the demo - the pilot had forgotten a simple procedure to unlock a system after take off. Considered the plane that was too much for one man to fly, Boeing's engineers got together and came up with checklists to avoid pilot error. Airplanes have step-by-step checks for take off, flight, landing and taxiing - all the dumb stuff which made the same planes fly 1.8 million miles without an accident. We could use it in our day-to-day stuff too and see results.

Dr. Gawande cites the Keystone initiative by Dr. Peter Pronovost who compiled a doctor checklist to check whether central line infections could be reduced by following a checklist. The results of the initiative were astounding - by following a simple checklist of do's and dont's, infections decreased by 66%, quarter infection rates came down to 0, saved 175 million in costs and an estimated 1500 lives. When Dr. Gawande was invited on board a WHO program to reduce avoidable deaths and harm from surgery he knew where he was headed. With extensive research in diverse industries - construction of skyscrapers, investment banking, business and even high profile chefs - that combine similar level of complexities but with far greater levels of safety, Dr. Gawande arrived at the conclusion that the simple checklist can improve efficiency drastically.

Dr. Gawande looks at the four major killers in surgery - infection, bleeding, unsafe anesthesia and the unexpected. He looks at communication checklist and the process checklists. When finally he conducted his experiment with checklists in surgery in 8 hospitals across the globe, four in advanced countries and four in backward countries, the results gave him (and us) a big thumbs up. After three months of use,the 2 minute, 19 step surgery checklist brought down major complications by 36%, deaths by 45%, infection rates by 50%, patients returning back for complication by 25%. A clear case for following checklists in all our processes. It is interesting to see what Dr. Gawande says at the end when he finds about 73% in favour of checklists and 20% not in favour. But when asked if they would like surgery teams to follow checklists of the surgery was being preformed on them, 93% responded affirmatively.

Dr. Gawande speaks of how checklists must be short enough to be effective. Much thought must be put in to make them effective and cover critical areas (without going into stuff that experts normally would not ignore or forget). One must look at checking off things that might skip the expert's mind, procedural matters where communication checklists or information sharing checklist can rule out errors. Having said that I was hoping to see one checklist - of the aircraft pilots or of the surgery one.

I liked what Dr. Gawande says about the four aspects of professionalism - selflessness, high amount of skill and a search for excellence, trustworthiness and responsible behavior and an innate discipline to follow procedures. If you are a professional who prides his or her work go make the checklists right now. Even if you are not and still want to have greater efficiency in the work you put out make the checklists. It adds a lot to all effort. And thank you Dr. Atul Gawande. And Vinod Ekbote for lending me this fine book!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Bucket List - Movie Review

Watched 'The Bucket List' again recently. I'd watched in but in bits and pieces and never got down to watching it fully at one go. So when Raja came down for a day we decided that the bucket list should be watched.

A cast that has Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman is too tempting to let go and when it has a title like 'The Bucket List' its even more so. The veterans take it all to a new level living the roles of an intellectual car mechanic Carter, who missed his chances in life but still hangs on philosophically (Morgan Freeman) and a capricious, whimsical, rude, rich, self-made man Edward Cole who regrets nothing (Jack Nicholson). What's common to both is that they land up with terminal illnesses and end up sharing a room in Jack Nicholson's hospital. And so begins their journey of growth and adventure as they expand on a bucket list that Morgan Freeman starts to make and throws away when he learns he is going to die within a year. Funded by Nicholson's money the two take off to Egypt, India, China, Africa, France, Hong Kong, the Himalayas and more importantly - a journey of self-growth. Freeman realises that sometimes it is not bad to live for himself first and Nicholson realises that sometimes its better to accept that he made mistakes and rectify them instead of being stubborn. Carter makes peace with the way his life has panned out and Nicholson makes peace with his estranged daughter and finds love and peace in his reunion and his little grand daughter. (I'd rather be right than happy!)

Jack Nicholson is the type who says 'never pass a loo, never waste a hard on and never trust a fart' while Freeman is the type who says 'have you found joy in your life? has your life brought joy to others?'. It's funny because the two actors bring alive a morbid theme like dying of cancer and make it entertaining as they search for the joy in their lives. It also makes one think a bit about all the chances one has had that one has not taken and what one could still do while one has the time and opportunity. One of those movies you could watch again and again and not get dragged down by too much intensity or drama. Perhaps even take something back every time you watch it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shimoga in pictures

In Shimoga, now on the way to become Shiva Mogga, in Karnataka last week.
Statue of Keladi Shivappa Nayaka
It is the district head quarter of the district of the same name. Shimoga was historically the southern tip of Emperor Ashoka's Mauryan empire in the 3rd century, then was part of the Kadamba empire (4th century), the Chalukyas (6th century), Gangas, Rashtrakutas (8th century), Hoysalas (11th century), Vijayanagara (15th century) and got its independent identity under the Keladi Nayaka rule. From late 17th century it was part of the Mysore empire until it merged into the Republic of India. The town is rather small, has several educational institutions, engineering and medical colleges, hospitals, and much more. There are fresh fruits everywhere, sugarcane and paddy fields line the roads and the ubiquitous temples, mosques and churches are seen in plenty as in all Indian towns. But what Karnataka brings is the old-world buildings that it has preserved, be it colleges, homes, temples, schools and it gives every town in Karnataka a whiff of the mythical Malgudi that R.K. Narayan has created for us.
Fruit stalls abound

I walked about the streets as I normally do, found a nicely maintained park that seems to be quite popular going by the number of people who come there. It has a walking track, a jogging track, a jungle gym, a toy train, lawns, water bodies, a nice garden, places to sit under tall, shady trees, gazebos, places to play and much more.
Mahatma Gandhi park
Platform to sit in peace
Gandhi statue
A gym for children
A group doing yoga
Animal figures
Entry is free which was surprising since we are used to paying for everything in Hyderabad.

A walk further down the road took me to an imposing church, the Sacred Hearts Church and I visited it.
The imposing Sacred Hearts Church
Temple
Further along I found temples and the path that leads to the river Tunga which flows by the town (it meets river Bhadra later which flows through the Bhadravati town and becomes Tungabhadra). I found an old, old post office which must have been around from the days of the British, old houses and colleges.
Old world post office
Tunga river

Fishermen in coracles
Old world house by the river
The fishermen used coracles in the river.

I saw an old cafe. Krishna cafe and stopped by for a cup of coffee and started chatting with the manager Mr. Balakrishna Nayak.
Krishna Cafe, since 1933
Mr. Balakrishna Nayak, Manager since 25 years
He told me that the cafe was started in 1933 and is now 80 years old. It has lost a bit of its frontage due to road widening but still has the aura of the Boardless cafe that is described in Malgudi books.
Inside of the Krishna cafe
Though Mr. Nayak told me about their famous dosas I could not go back there to taste them. The coffee was excellent. I loved the way he would play suprabhatam in the mornings, the smell of agarbattis and fresh coffee. Brilliant stuff.

Riaz and I went to the lion safari near Tyavarekoppa. It is a nice place with a small zoo that has leopards, panthers, bears, python, birds, tiger and lion safaris. The zoo is small as far as animals are concerned but it covers a large area for the safari bits.
The Lion Safari
Map
Tigers circling one another
Tiger fight
We saw the tiger safari and were suddenly witness to two full grown tigers fighting with one another, standing on their hind legs, eyes locked, growling at one another and roaring in that deep, majestic manner of theirs. It's certainly worth a visit, this safari.

One another day I went to the Shivappa Naik palace in the town. Once again there was no charge, not even the Rs.2 that some places here charge.
Shivappa Naik palace, Shimoga
Shivappa Naik palace
Front view with Riaz in the foreground
Closer look
One of the many sculptures
It is well kept and maintained and some rooms are used as offices for the archaeology department. There are security guards. Inside the palace there is a museum of sorts where manuscripts of all the Hindu scriptures are kept in glass cases, some fine statues of the Buddha, Ganesha, Durga and so on. Shivappa Naik was the most famous of the Keladi Nayakas and ruled Shimoga from 1645-1660.

Watson vs Clarke - The Effect of a Good Captain

My take on captaincy has always been that the right bloke can add 35% to the result. I concluded from what I saw in Hyderabad that Michael Clarke is too unimaginative and unadventurous to be a successful captain in hostile and alien conditions. He belongs to the let's-wait- and watch-and hope-the guys do something. For one, it is an uncharacteristic style of leading an Aussie side which is naturally full of aggression, and that is what gets them about 30% of its winning edge. Clarke is probably one who prefers to bat and contribute his best for his team and not someone who enjoys the burden of captaincy which asks much more from the player.

Having said that I liked what Watson brought to the side as a captain in the fourth test. Though Australia lost the test they showed glimpses of their famous fighting spirit as they took India on. Watson piled on the pressure both tactically and psychologically, getting into verbal tiffs with the Indian players and pushing them every bit. As a result of all this he created enough tension in the game to give Australia a good chance of winning by the time India batted.

Much of the captain's desire to win, his keenness to take responsibility, to get his team to perform their roles, to do the best for the team, shows up in the final result. Watson threw all he had at the Indians and that's how that team got closer. As captain one cannot expect the team to figure out a way to deliver on their own - you have to make it happen - one way or another.

Who Let The Dork Out – Sidin Vadukut


The third book in Sidin Vadukut’s hilarious Dork series ‘Who let the dork out?’ does not disappoint. In Robin Einstein Varghese, Sidin has created a parallel to Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole who is one of the funniest characters I’d ever met in books. So is the full-of-enthu Robin, always out to do good but falling prey to his own enthuness and his slight weaknesses, phobias and fears in his own search for excellence in a highly competitive corporate world. But Einstein conquers in the end and there is much Indiannesss o the way he goes about doing things and certainly a lot of malluness as he brings in his various Malayali exclamations like Daivame or adipoli and stuff. One cannot but shake one's head and smile when one thinks of Einstein.
Penguin Books, 253 p, Rs.199

So Einstein is now in Delhi as interim CEO of Lederman Associates, hoping to be CEO if he performs well. and gets stuck in the Allied Victory Games in New Delhi. Inspired by the Olympic Committee no doubt, Sidin lets Einstein loose in the Ministry for Urban Regeneration and Public Sculpture, and we soon find ourselves meeting Minister Kedarji, his secretary Joyonttoh, Tihar Balakrishnan who sole aim is to get into Tihar jail and others. Meanwhile Einstein is negotiating his way through the corporate jungle against Rahul Gupta who is now a high profile consultant with Braithwaite, his suspicious peers Raghu and Rajeev, his not-too-happy boss John from Tokyo, Joel from UK and not forgetting to mention his close associate and confidante from Andhra, Sugandh who helps him out with all things related to information technology. And then we have Gouri and her uncle Colonel Kalbag who is also not too happy with the Einstein, Jesal, Gouri’s gorgeous cousin, and Anushka Sharma, Shruti Hasan and Raveena Tandon too. (I am really keen to know if that tunnel to Tihar exists and if those parties really go on – could be true for all we know.) But despite all the hurdles Einsten gets a good rapport going with the Prime Minister and gets a mandate for Lederman worth millions of dollars. All's well and that ends well - or so we think until Einstein gets going again.

I liked the idea of taking off on the goings on in Delhi and I am sure most of it is pretty accurate including the Tihar jail business. It's a good way to get it out of the system by laughing about it. I loved the scenes where Einstein gets ecstatic at finding the perfect loo, the part when he vents his frustrations at Gouri's behavior, his interactions with Joyonttoh, the parts where he discovers how the government works (three quotations)etc. Someone should make a movie out of it so we can all laugh a bit more. But one can see that Einstein has now matured a bit and I can see he is now CEO material. For the third time in a row Sidin Vadukut delivers a book that provides many hearty laughs (he is one of the few Indian writers who must come with a warning sign - his books can make you burst out laughing uncontrollably as a Dave Barry, a P.G. Wodehouse would) not to mention such wonderful insights into the Indian mind and how it works. Well done once again Sidin and thank you for adding this much needed humour in our lives.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Snow Leopard – Peter Matthiessen


Vinod gifted me this wonderful book many moons ago and I have been waiting patiently for the right time to read it. I carried it along with me to Goa last month and started reading it. Within a few moments I knew I was holding something of extraordinary value in my hands as the author effortlessly transported me deep into the Himalayas, into his own personal jouney and that space in the spirituality he experienced through Zen Buddhism and other philosophies in his life.
Peter Mathiessen's book got published in 1978. He probably went on that trek in the early seventies when he was ‘forty five years old’. Described as a naturalist, explorer, novelist and some more, Peter Mathiessen was a man with a heart that was set on adventure and life all through. Being born in 1927, he went to Yale in 1950, to Sorbonne in mid 50s (and edited a magazine there), returned to be a commercial fisherman and was captain of a charter fishing boat. He explored much in his life and has been to several parts of the world - Africa, Alaska, South America - and others that I fail to recollect. But impressive on its own.
‘The Snow Leopard’ is his account of the three months he spent in the Himalayas seeking a sighting of the elusive snow leopard. His friend and biologist George Schaller invites Mathiessen on a trek he is taking to the Crystal Mountain near the Annapurna range of mountains for his research on the bharal or the blue sheep of the Himalayas. GS is trying to figure out of they are sheep or goats. Now he invites Mathiessen with a carrot of a sighting of the snow leopard which is known to inhabit that area. Mathiessein, in turmoil, after having lost his partner D to cancer, decides to go on a rather risky expedition leaving his sons behind in the US. As he enters Tibet through India he speaks of his own jouney through life, of drugs and alcohol,of Hinduism and Buddhism, of flowers and animals, of poverty and wealth, of life and of death. It is fascinating to see his journey through his eyes.

Accompanied by their sherpas and cooks – Jang-bu, Tukten, Phu Dsering, Gyaltsen, Tamang porters and others, the author and GS set off on September 28 towards Dolpo through treacherous routes, narrow mountain ledges, extremely chilly nights spent in little tents, eating basic rations. The route they took goes from Pokhara on the Kali Gandaki towards Kusma, Magyandi road, Dhorpatan, Churen Himal (24000 ft), Tarakot, Jang La, Damashi, Bheri, Rohagaon, Ring-Mo, Phuksundo, Shey and Saldang. They sight the bharal but Mathieessen acquaints us with the abundant flora and fauna that he observes in the Himalayas, his own deepest and innermost feelings, the rigors of the strenuous journey. His relationship with the Sherpa Tutken whom everyone perceives to be a trouble maker and unreliable (but who is a soul brother to Mathiessen), the people they encounter along the way, the pain of separation when their faithful sherpas and cooks part at the end of the journey, the bittersweet end of the journey all add to the experience as we read the book. But does Mathiessen see his snow leopard? Or does he, as he says, not see it because sometimes it is better not to see certain things? You must read it to find it.
The Snow Leopard is a rich, slow read and I took longer than usual because I somehow connected with each word he wrote. One truly admires the sense of adventure of men like GS and Mathiessen who give up the comfort of their homes and push life to its limits, exploring all that it has to offer. And then, me and my lfie seems so small and mediocre in comparison. The risks I have not taken, the hesitancy at taking the first step, at stepping out of line, at walking out into a world that the good lord made for us but which I somehow feel barred from. I have only lived vicariously through the accounts of PM and such and hope that someday they will inpire me to fly a little, to expand my boundaries, to merge into a universe that even I belong. Surely everyone who reads the book feels that same moistness that PM feels when he sees a majestic sight, a vision that draws him into its lap and one can only feel extreme comfort deep within. This again is so unlike many other books and I know it will stay with me for this lifetime.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Visit to Chirala Beach - Sea Breeze Beach Resort

When my friend VJ said he was heading to the beach at Chirala I did a double take. Was that not Bapatla - where the famous Surya Lanka beach was located? No, he said, he had information about an amazing resort on the Chirala beach. Now I had no clue about either beach but Anjali decided it for me by starting to make a list of things to carry including her 'swimsoot'. Shobhs was keen too so there was no turning back. I got the car in order and took off from Hyderabad on the morning of the 11th, for a drive that was to be around 5 hours from the town.
Sea view from the infinity pool

I took the Hyderabad - Vijayawada highway up to Narketpalli which is about 80 kms from Hyderabad. The road is a toll road and in excellent condition. We bypassed Narketpalli and followed the signboards to Nalgonda which was the next town on the list. The state highway was in excellent condition too, though  there are a few ups and downs because it is being widened, and we went past Nalgonda and then Miryalaguda. We passed by Dachepalli and sometime after that started looking for a turn on the state highway to Narasaraopeta. the road narrows a bit but it is still in excellent condition and you hit a prosperous Narasaraopeta and drive through it until you hit Chilakaluripeta across the NH. From Chilakaluripeta you head towards Chirala which is a road that takes you through the towns of Paruchuru, Karamchedu and then we enter Chirala, a famous textile town, weavers and all. (Chirala actually means saree in Telugu). We drove through the town and sought the Ramapuram Beach road which comes after we pass the Baptla-Ongole bypass. A 4 km drive and we hit Sea breeze Resort which is sitting right on the beach with fine white sands.
View of the pool

The first thing that hits you about the resort is that it looks too good to be in a place like Chirala. The reception area to the construction, the signboards to the general activity around it, the proximity to the beach and the lack of other crowded structures around it makes Sea Breeze Beach Resorts pretty inviting.
View of the rooms from the poolside

We checked in and found that the sea facing rooms really open out on to a lovely view of the sea. The beach is not more than a five minute walk from the rooms, there is a lovely swimming pool that straddles the land between the rooms and the sea, a well laid lawn in the open auditorium, a restaurant, a garden cafe and pretty much all that you would like to have in a beach resort.
Play area that leads to the beach

The rooms are clean and well appointed, the furniture is extremely comfortable, the bathrooms are clean and functional and there is hot water running.
Open air auditorium
Pub

The air conditioning works, cable tv works (goes off during power cuts though while all else runs on generator) and there is nothing much to complain. The tea was good, the food was fine. There were swings tied to tall palm trees and the extra length of the swing made it all the more fun.
A private beach all to yourself



But the biggest attraction of Sea Breeze to me is the fantastic private beach it offers you. You can step off the property directly into the soft sands of the Bay of Bengal coast with not a soul around for miles. 
Sea Breeze resorts from the beach

To the left there’s a fishing village but that’s faraway from the privacy of the Sea Breeze beach. 
Fishermen shelter
Fishermen's boats
Shobhs and Anjali walking along the beach

What is truly magical is the bonfire and the table they set up for you on the beach at night if you wish. We skipped the bonfire because it was a bit warm but the dinner under the sky by the sea was magic. On a moonlit night it must be sheer poetry.
Sunrise at Chirala's Ramapuram beach
I chanced to meet the owners, a well-known doctor couple from Chirala, Dr. Manikyam and her husband Dr. Dasarath Ramaiah and asked them how and why they came about starting this property. They told me that after their children grew up (two daughters in the USA, and their son and daughter in law now taking care of the Hospital in Chirala) they had been looking for a beach property to build their guest house. They found this rather large tract of land and then decided to build a resort there beside their lovely guest house. They started the construction in 2008 and got it formally inaugurated in 2010. Their entire focus is on quality (and it shows) and it has all facilities for families and corporates. 
‘We’d rather not encourage walk in couples but have a decent lot of people coming in’ they say. ‘We try to provide the best experience we can. It is safe, secure and we provide good food. We pay our staff higher than the average here.’
Indoor Conference Hall

The power goes off once in a while as it does in all Andhra Pradesh but they have a back up DG set. ‘For corporates,’ said Murli their Manager, ‘we have a conference hall that can accommodate up to 150 persons at one go. We have a small pub constructed beside the auditorium as well. There is Wi Fi connectivity too.’ There are games to play, volleyball, basketball, swimming, movies etc to watch and lots to do on the beach.
Anjali in the pool
Jai and Anjali watching something apprehensively

What else does one do near Chirala I asked? Murli told me that one could go and visit the Kotappa Konda temple at Narasaraopeta, the Hanuman temple at Ponnur, visit the weaver industries in Vetapalem and Jandrapeta (both extremely close) and watch sarees being woven on handloom. Chirala is famous for its sarees, bed sheets and covers as well as the cashew industry. You could pick up cashew and if its summer the town offers some great mangoes and bananas. 
‘They taste a lot different,’ said the doctors.
‘It’s also famous for its plays,’ said Dr. Dasarath Ramaiah. ‘There are folk artistes here who perform the plays of Satya Harischandra, Krishna Rayabaram. They also perform the famous burra kathas as well.’

One could visit the famous Surya Lanka beach at Bapatla which is 18 kms from Sea breeze.
What about local cuisine I asked? ‘Chirala offers some great sea food,’ said Murli. ‘Natu kodi pulusu, fried prawns, gongura mutton curry, chinta chinguru prawns and mutton curry, fried crab, ulava charu are some of the local specialities if you love your sea food and spicy Andhra non-veg dishes.’ They can all be prepared at Sea Breeze if one gives half a day’s notice.

‘We’re planning to expand our facilities,’ said the ever smiling Dr. Manikyam who is always on the property guiding her staff and goading them to perfection. ‘We’re now building 24 more news rooms, adding indoor games like snooker and pool, table tennis, add some more conference rooms. We also have plans to introduce water sports. And certainly there are plans to open up spaces for locals to sell their merchandise here – cashew, sarees, bedsheets, covers and other such local items that one does not need to go into town to buy.’
I wanted to know if they could organise a visit to the weaver colony and Murli was kind enough to arrange that for me. It was wonderful to see the old handlooms working adnd the weavers working hard at it through the afternoon. ‘a dying profession,' said the weavers. ‘Our children have found better paying professions through their education and handloom is dying anyway once power looms have arrived.’ It was an experience to see the care and work that goes into making one saree. 
Sreenu weaving

‘Could take me anything between one day of 12 hours or 3-4 days,’ said Sreenu the first weaver we met. Sudhakar, a more experienced weaver said he does complex jobs only -3-4 days per saree. They get paid according to the job and their expertise of course. For example Sreenu could spend a whole day making a normal saree and would end up making Rs. 400 for it. Sudhakar could make anything up to 3000 or more. The better weavers get better work and more remuneration. They are all paid for in advance by the master weavers who give them the design the material and then the weavers get to work on their looms which are installed in every home in Jandrapeta. 
Old lady helping in the process
Loom

The clackety clak of the loom being worked at rings in your head as you walk by and wonder how much work goes in for so little. But they are happy and I am happy that I  could witness this profession and the concentration and focus the weavers bring to their work. One knot and it could all go for a toss said my guide. It’s well worth a visit to the weavers.
Beach walk

On the last day I spent time finishing reading 'The Snow Leopard' which has been on my hands for a long time but which was a truly enriching and fulfilling read. A walk on the beach in the morning with Anjali and Shobhs set the tone nicely for the day. 
Road to the sea

Then of course the mandatory dip in the pool for Anjali. We left at 10 and took another route back – the one that the resort recommends. This route goes to Chirala-Parachur-Guntur-Vijayawada-Hyderabad. It adds another 80 kms to the journey and though the road from Vijayawada to Hyderabad is in excellent condition it still takes longer and adds a further Rs. 300 cost through road tolls. I think I prefer the Chirala-Chilakaluripeta-Narasaraopeta-Miryalagua-Nalgonda-Narketpalli-Hyderabad route which is about 310 kms or so compared to the 390 kms from the other route.
Old mosque
Old mosque
Another one

As for stay I’d recommend the Sea Breeze Beach Resort unreservedly for anyone looking for a nice, quiet holiday on a great private beach in Andhra Pradesh. The drive would be about 5 hours and some, the view is wonderful, the pool is great, food and service good, rooms and loos clean and comfortable, great beach to walk in solitude for miles. For reservations and further details call Murli at 08594-202011 or 098499 60727 and check out their website www.seabreeze-beachresorts.com.