Trip to neiveli

I first met Ani when she joined iView team. I was with ASG team then and as Ravi was with iView. I used to have lunch with that team and so I met on her first day of her job itself. She had joined as a fresher from Anna University. I was told that she had received some color belt in karate. Still with a little boldness left in my mind, I demanded her an ice cream as a joining treat. She looked at me and said, 'tharen Prakash'. Not sure of whether it was an ice cream or a demo of her karate talents, I nodded my head. After I joined iView, I learnt that she is not only good in karate, but in few others too. She is a swimming champion; she remembers every song in tamil movies; she can reproduce the entire dialogs of all the comedy scenes with the same expressions; she can drive a bike in the ECR along with us to mayajaal; she is the one who can make the loudest whistle sound and finally she is the second best cook in our team (without me telling my name, obviously you know who will be the best) ;-)

Wondering why all of a sudden Ani came into my blog? She invited us to her native this weekend and we went there. It was such a wonderful experience. Forget about the funny happenings and silly teasing and the night rounding in the township in search of a tea at 1.30 AM. This blog is all about the places we visited in Neiveli. Now, over to Neiveli.

Neiveli is a township by the lignite corporation. Its wonderful in many ways. The whole township is well planned with neat and straight roads. People pay an ignorable amount as rent, cable tv fees and electric power. They can stay as long as they are employed in there. Once they got retired or terminated or they quit, they have to vacate the place and some other employee will move in. The net result is that the population of the town remains almost stable. Its a peaceful life there.

Apart from township, we visited two places. One is the thermal power station and the other is the mines. We could go into the furnace, the generator and to the control room too. While they were explaining about the functionalities with the software, I was wondering, what language might have been used?, If I'm to create a library for those strange looking controls, what will be the challenges I face, etc. hmmmm. can't help. After all thats what I do for my living. All these happened in the fourth floor. He had completed explaining the process of creating the electricity with the heat, I thought overall, its a good knowledge gaining experience. We headed for the lift. This time, it was a different lift. I noticed that it was showing 1st floor. I was telling our guys that the indicator was wrong. The lift operator with a smile said, "You are wrong. For this lift, this is the first floor". huh? what the heck? So are we going to the ground floor now? No. We are going to the 7th floor, which is the highest in this thermal power station. And it was around 75 meters. Almost thrice the height of my tnagar office and it says we are in the 7th floor! We were taken to some view point and while walking somebody screamed 'Don't look down!!!'. Everybody looked down and almost everybody screamed 'Don't look down!!!'. We were walking on a small path which actually connects two towers and we were walking on a grill and there is nothing between the floor and us. After that everybody was walking different. It was funny to watch. Esp. Venki. He was so scared. Gals were teasing him to wear a chudithar. Me and Mike went near him and jumped on the grill that we were walking. He was scared to death. Then after the enjoying the view from such a height, we were prepared to go down. This time, we stopped at around 35 meters height. We were taken to the place where a conveyer belt carried all the lignite for the furnace. With conveyer belts on both sides and a very steep elevation, we started walking down. It was a little tough to walk as there is no steps and just the elevated floor. After 10 mins of walk we reached the bottom. We went a little far and looked at the path we came down. It was really breath-taking. After that we went and looked at the cooling towers and the 400 kva switch that puts the electrical energy into the grid. We were not allowed to take photograph, but still managed to take one standing outside. Will post it later.

The next day first we went to a lake. It was an artificial lake and used to separate water & ash. The water which is used in furnace will contain lot of ash and can't be used with that contents. So they pump the water into this lake. The ash gets sedimented and the water is collected from the other side. The color of the water and the ash created a wonderful scene. I took a picture with Ani's camera, which I'll be posting later. From there we went to the mines. There are actually two mines and we went to the second. We were stopped at the main gates and then shifted to an NLC bus. We were taken into the mines. While we were going, we passed a place called 'crawler yard', where giant sized machines were repaired and maintained. The wheels were almost 6 feet height! hmmmmm. Mining requires this kind of large machines I thought. Few more minutes travel and a sudden turn in the road, we had a view of the mines. Its an open mine and they have digged 80 - 100 meters from the ground level. The area of the digged place was around 1200 hectares !!! And those giant machines which we saw a few minutes back were looking very tiny near the digging machines, which are bigger than several "sky scrapers" in chennai. The whole thing was looking something like the "star ship troopers" coming alive and you are going into an alien space where machines are working. In another 10 mins we were at the bottom most portion of the mine. It should be around 80 meters from the ground level. Each machine there digs around 30,000 tonnes of material everyday!!! We then went near one of the machines which was digging and saw how much of land is cut every second with that. It was really an amazing experience. And those 'giant' ones with wheels taller than me, are merely used to push off the left overs. Now big is just a relative term !!

We had fun, ate good food, enjoyed a lot and had a rich experience - one 80 meters above the ground and the other 80 meters below the ground. We all should thank Ani for giving this to us. Ani, but still you owe me one ice cream that you promised :-)

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