Monday, August 25

The Kerala Expedition - The final Chapter

So I’ve reached the final chapter of our journey.
We knew it was our last day here in Munnar, so, everybody woke up late to get ready. Nothing new to discover except the hill view of Munnar, we went ahead for the breakfast in a nearby restaurant. The place was overloaded with visitors so we had to wait in queue for our turn to roll. Consuming idly sambar dosa was always a tuff task for me. Saugata, sanket and jaggu had all their fingers soaked with sambar, and why not, they were enjoying the meals. A quick breakfast and we moved ahead for the view of the hill station.
The cab drove uphill and it was no doubt getting chilled every turn up the road. A small visit in the Munnar market followed with a view of few dams and the screaming point (This point was awesome as we all (including Vineet a.k.a jaggu) screamed in unison “JAGGU”. The sound echoed and hit every rock present there. We laughed and rolled all over to experience this and left from the place).
The last place left to visit was now the Top Station, nearly 34 kms. further up. So we marched our feet towards it. Once we reached the top, the first thing we experienced was that, the clouds were beneath us. We nearly touched the white flakes and took infinite snaps of the rare scenic beauty covered completely with white sheet of thick, moist clouds. Rare because you occasionally get a chance to visit such places. We missed our beer bottles in the hill. The heaven was below us. It started drizzling in there and Iris asked to revert back to Munnar before it darkens here coz of clouds and before the elephants block our way down. Guys, here’s a fact, do not make it very late leaving from the Top Station because elephants roll out on the muddy tracks and blocks the way very often.
The return journey went dead silent. Nobody spoke as each one of us could feel the nostalgia happening all over us. It took an hour for us to bag pack and vacate the hotel, and finally we drove off for Coimbatore. Now, Coimbatore from Munnar is 250 kms but it took us 5-6 hours approx. because of tortuous muddy tracks down the hill. The awesomely cool weather drifted away from us as we stepped bit by bit closer to the Coimbatore railway station. The moisture laden heat of Coimbatore was getting all over us. Iris dropped us on the station at around 6 in the evening. We thanked Iris for being such a great guide and driver for our journey and he left off after a while.
None of us knew that the best and the costliest part of the journey is about to hit us in Coimbatore. ‘The Chennai express’ was to arrive at the station at half past 10 in the night so we had around 4 hours to spend in Coimbatore with heavy luggage around. Now, we can’t move places with such a heavy luggage so I offered a suggestion to hit some bar nearby. I knew the best way to time pass, is to hangout in some bar plus enjoy the drinks there. We were lucky enough to have the H2O bar right opposite the station. After the common consensus we moved our tired butts to the bar. Alcohol flowed like water, beer bottles were uncorked, whisky rippled in glasses along with unlimited supply of add-ons. (For all dudes out there, a must visit bar for all those who just love the alcohol’s effect with UNLIMITED (it’s underlined…) snacks...oops, and one more fact, guys, alcohol in kerala (esp. Alleppy and Munnar) is pretty costly with 95% taxation. Better carry your own bottles along or add some more mint in your pockets to avoid road checks…lol). We spent some 2k cash till the clock struck quarter past 9 as we had nothing else to do, no place to go with such a heavy luggage. So we rested our butts at the same joint till it was time. With our lips imbued with nectar and steps playing snakes and ladders, we finally reached the place where our train was stationed for lifting the passengers. As we made ourselves comfortable, a couple chipped in and asked us to get up as it was their seat we occupied. Jaggu confronted on this and with a husky, vibratory sound asked the couple to check their tickets. The guy asked him to check his ticket and then do the talk. After a serious check, we found out that our ticket was booked for the next day’s train and not for tonight. Jaggu tore the ticket furiously and we all made our exit from the entry of the station. Nobody was interested in staying in Coimbatore for a day to catch the next day’s scheduled train.
Mithun Bhaiya suggested to take an over night bus for Chennai from the stand as early as possible. We agreed and ran for the bus stand. Last minutes check in the bus and we were finally on our way to Chennai. Each of us discussed in the down trodden bus how much we waited and spent for this scheduled train journey and everything went wrong. Beer’s effect was all gone and we regretted over the thought of spending 2k bucks in the bar waiting for something which was never there.
To this, there was some more icing on the cake left to be done, the over night bus journey turned out to be a full day journey as the bus touched the Chennai stand at 1 in the afternoon. We were dead by the time we reached our second hometown. Finally, took an auto and drove back home and rested for the whole day.
It was definitely a trip to remember and cherish for a long time. We all will surely miss the boat house, alleppy and Munnar hill stations, the beer bottles and the people there; in condensed terms, the whole of Kerala visited along with the last day’s final mess up happened in Coimbatore.


Friday, August 22

The Kerala Expedition Chapter 3

…So the Saga Continues…
We’ve made it to the third day of our excursion. Saturday’s early morning was gleaming brightly with soft cool breeze and light sunbeam permeating right into our cottage. Everyone was ready and upfront to explore the place further. We had around 100 more pics once everyone was ready. First thing we did was, we captured the cottage and its surroundings in our camera. A little search and we perched in a restaurant. The food was good, made out of coconut oil, frankly speaking, was not bad at all. The task on the list today was to cover the Periyar Wildlife sanctuary. We were excited to know that there’ll be rare bird species plus wild animals like elephants, lions, tigers, cheetah’s etc.. So the adventurous feel was all over us, especially Vineet a.k.a jaggu, who actually woke up everyone early in the morning to make it to the sanctuary in time. He didn’t wanted to miss neither a part of it. Neither us. Iris made it on time and our cab paced for the sanctuary after the breakfast.
After a little hassle over the ticket queue, as it was a long one (no doubt as hundred’s of tourists turn here to watch the place everyday), mithun bhaiya and sanket finally managed to buy 6 tickets. Man, the crowd there was amazing, especially the foreigners. The whole world seemed to have come up at one place to enjoy god’s hometown on earth. We were truly in love with Kerala. All of us sat at the corner rock, the place where the boats anchored. After a wait for around an hour, we got a miniscule glimpse of the boat that was suppose to carry hundred’s of people. We sat in pairs as we sit in our state run buses. The boat was as dull as it can be. Quarter of an hour was spent in reaching the place that was aupposed to be densely populated with wild animals. But, to our dismay, we didn’t find even one. Most of the snaps clicked constituted the forests, vegetation and the water running below us. Not even a wild canine was in there. Everyone was trashed. I wandered, our room was way better then this wildlife place as we had beasts like jaggu, Sehgal and me in there. Rest of us ridiculed jaggu for being our domestic elephant (seeing his size) on an excursion to Periyar to find his long lost siblings. After the complete round trip we finally reached the point where we started our expedition. I would say that the wildlife idea was a complete waste as we spent around 4 hours in there without even an iota of look for wild species. We moved and kept moving till we are out of the Periyar boundaries and nobody bothered to looked behind. Iris saw our sad faces and read what was next on the chart. It was an elephant ride. Hooray! But as we reached there, we were almost dumbstruck to know the prices for the ride. Per person they were charging 350 bucks for a 15 min ride. Our jaggu was far better then the elephant as he could have kept us on his back for full day in 350 bucks. No jokes guys. Anyways, we moved on and headed for Munnar. In the middle of our journey, we came accross few waterfalls so we halted at one of them which had the maximum crowd. We jumped out of the cab and raced towards the falling water to have some blurry snaps. White frozen air exhaled gave full competition to the cigarette puffs. The jackets were out. We did found some hot chicks in there enjoying. Further we swayed and finally reached to the 3 star hotel booked for us in Munnar. The dusk had already given way for the night to follow. A quick unpacking and we were on the Munnar roads searching for some eating joints. Unexpectedly, found a gujrati restaurant in the hills. A light dinner and we were back in the room. Sehgal, jaggu and sanket watched “Zamaane ko dikhana hai”, an old classic, on the idiot box and I, mithun bhaiya and saugata enjoyed the views from the balcony of our hotel (our rooms were on the fourth floor so we could see the entire city from there). The clock was about to touch 1 and that’s when we decided to lie on bed and sleep to take some rest. So, this way the third day ended on a much plainer note. And, eventually, the night gave way for the final and fourth day’s dawn.

Pics of the Kerala Trip

Wednesday, August 20

India Glorious Vijender Kumar

Vijender you rocked in the Beijing olympics quarter go beat the opponent....CHAMP....and make it to the earn 1 more gold for india....

Go India Go!!!!!

India Glorious Sushil Kumar

Go India Go !!!

Chek De India!!!

The Kerala Expedition - Chapter 2

...Friday morning, we were back from the land of water, I mean, the boat house in Alleppy and headed for the cottage reserved for us in thekkeri. Everyone was excited because of the start we got for the journey and had eyes glowing with the idea of staying in a cottage in a new place. But before we reach the cottage in thekkeri, en route we visited a waterfall where our very dear Sehgal a.k.a sumit slipped on a wet rock and had a small bruise over his left arm. If Vineet had not saved sehgal’s life then Sehgal would not have been with us today. Thanks Vineet a.k.a jaggu. Although Vineet felt a bit humiliated saving sehgal’s life because all the girls standing there were laughing at us after the sehgal’s fall from the rock, but he didn’t miss the chance to remind Sehgal about the favor he’s done for him by saving his life. Rest of us were repenting throughout the journey for the fact that why did jaggu save sehgal’s life. Anyways, after seeing the waterfall we moved ahead and stopped at a biological garden in the hilly area. Frankly, the road to the top of the station was pretty hilly, curvy, wavy and dangerous.
In the biological garden, the guide charged us 50 per head to show the entire garden full of rare medicinal plants species. Vineet asked for his favorite tree of daal chinni, and kept taking the flame test about the plants to test the guide’s I.Q. From there we moved ahead for the cottage, the dusk was almost set-in, so we decided to have our dinner first and then move towards the cottage. At the dinner table in a south Indian Punjabi restaurant, all of us ordered for the tomato soup initially. Sanket’s soup had a dead fly in it which was enough to trigger the anger in jaggu. He called the waiter and asked him about the soup. The waiter, a small Hindi guy, said,’kabhi kabhi ho jaata hai sir, makhi aa jaati hai (it happens sometime sir, the fly comes in food sometime)’. We were surprised to hear that and all of us charged on him like anything after listening to this statement. Jaggu was pretty excited and was scolding the guy like anything. The waiter later on said, ‘sir, you want to have here, you have, otherwise, you leave, I’ll cancel the order’. Knowing the fact that we are already late and the market closes at 9 in the evening, jaggu immediately geared a new expression on his face and said to the waiter, ‘brother, kabhi kabhi makhi aa jaati hai, fir kya ho gaya (sometimes, it happens with the food, so no big deal)’. Rest of us gave an odd look to jaggu signaling this was the same statement which the waiter made and we were boiling, charging on him, how dare he said like this to us. But now nothing can be done, jaggu had already said the same. We finished our dinner and moved to the much awaited cottage. Everybody unpacked their stuff and had a look of the cottage. It was again an amazing experience to be there. It was freezing out but it was warm and cozy inside. This way the Friday came to an end as we all doze off for the night’s sleep...

Pics of the Kerala Trip

Tuesday, August 19

The Kerala Expedition - Chapter 1

After a month's planning, we guys decided to rock our feet for Alleppy and Munnar this august. Sehgal initiated the idea and Mithun did the organizing part of the trip. Me, Sehgal a.k.a Sumit, Vineet a.k.a jaggu, sanket, Mithun Bhaiya and saugata started our journey Wednesday evening at 1900 hours. Late from the usual office work, we were already running behind schedule as the train’s departure was around half past ten and we had 3 hours only for making it to the starting point of our journey along with yet-to-be-done dinner, check-in and the most important of all bag packs. After a last minute mailing to the reporting managers about our leave plans and catching autos to the dinner tables in the railway restaurant and shifting trains, we finally made ourselves comfortable in the compartment of Alleppy Express.
The Doppler’s effect soon dried up as we left the station and our train took off for Ernakulum junction. Spending night in a sleeper class and that too with minimum 2 persons on 1 seat turned out a nightmare for all of us. Nobody slept but acted as if I had the best sleeps of our lives in that compartment. Thursday morning we trespassed pannukam followed by thissur. The journey already turned out to be a hectic one after the last night stand in the train. But everyone was excited about the boat house and the hill side view we were suppose to experience in Alleppy and munnar. So, the pain just dried up.
We reached the junction at 09:30 morning and Iris(the travel agent Alex’s driver) was there to welcome and escort us back to the cottage in Toyota travera. None of us expected a royal treatment like this (no doubt we all paid a lot for the trip), but, it was fun. There was no pain as we relaxed our butts in the cab with "TZP" running on the LCD in the cab. After the morning ablutions, Iris took us to the place we never imagined to be; “THE BOATHOUSE”. The scenic beauty of the place, the hill side view, the boat house, everything was out of the world. Our boat house named kingfisher arrived in no time. It was a luxurious mini titanic in itself with 2 rooms and attached bathroom, a hall, kitchen with a hall on the top. The boat was less a boat but more of an apartment. Our jaws touched grounds on seeing the wooden beauty. We hopped inn and took off for the journey of our lives, a full day & night hangout on water in Alleppy on a boat house. There were butterflies flying in our stomach. The idea of it just made us go gaga. We tugged our bags with last minute eatables and antiquity whisky with kingfisher beer in stock before risking at the thought of running-out and looking for a refill in the mid of the stagnant sea. Everything was loaded, the beer bottles enough to roll all over the entire boat and too many DVD’s in the case to carry out the night stand.
After a mild fresh up, we relaxed, enjoying the view and other boats floating nearby on the water and spoke about this experience. The first time joy of being in a boat house, the excitement of seeing something we always watched on idiot box, left us all ruffled. The whisky's effect was set-in and everyone enjoyed it with snacks. Afternoon in the boat house was more of a lovely evening one feels like spending with girl friend, only 2 of them on board with whisky glass in hand oozing cheers from the mouth and talking only romance. A perfect place for couples to be. But the saddest part of our story is--- [THERE WAS NO GIRL] :(:(:(. All of us gave a look of “what on earth you are doing on my boat???”, as if, the boat was booked only for each one of us along with our girl’s around. But all bachelors on board was fun too. After a heavy lunch, we relaxed on the roof and waved travelers on other boats. i imagined myself to be Jack Sparrow- the pirate, on a prowl to hunt some beauty on water. Guys, if u’ve been to south India and didn’t explored this amazing small house on water, then you really are missing something. The evening was spent drinking and taking snaps all around whatever we can catch hold in our cam’s eye. The sun never showed up throughout the day and it was turning out to be black in the evening. The lights were on. The view was awesome. If one had a top view look, the boat will appear as fireflies swimming in water. The light was glittering as the waves in the water shook the boats like a to-and-fro pendulum. The dinner was ready, Rock songs played on tube and heavy thundering around, it turned out a Kodak moment for all of us.
Man, Kerala’s food was amazing. After the dinner, we sat around with cool breeze flowing all over, droplets of rain in water and around the boat, beer’s in our hand, we loved every moment. The bantering went till 4 in the morning. Empty bottles were rolling on the floor and we woke up around 8 dawn and after the fresh up, took some more pics and headed for the point where we started our boat journey. Finally back, we missed the life on water like anything. We imagined if this would have been our permanent stay on boat, calm and serene life far off from a regular city’s hectic life. But, there’s an adage, “happiness is not forever”. We stepped out of the boat to the place where Iris was waiting for us to carry out our Friday’s exploration of the natural beauty. We knew there's lot more to come ahead, so we all drove into the car for our next station.
The first chapter, the first day of our expedition finally came to a close with the boat house journey. We guys were already in love with Kerala (God’s Own Country)...

Pics of the Kerala Trip

Monday, August 11

India Glorious Abhinav Bindra

Thanks Abhinav Bindra for conquering the Gold Everest. God Bless you. You made the entire nation proud. India winning gold medal at Beijing Olympics 2008.

Friday, August 8

Dude!!! Where’s the mobile??

As usual a boring Friday evening, surfing 3 hours long on the laptop, decided to hit the recently opened gym in my society before the laptop runs out of fuel. I took vineet and sanket along for the company. The weather was unexpectedly cool and showed signs of showers. As usual, the gym thing was not much popular among the majority families and we found none walking or doing some aerobics in the house. I kept my mobile and wallet separate on the desk and decided to hit the treadmill for some 15-20 minutes jog. Sanket and vineet were busy with their shaping chest and cycling respectively. The music was on with "jaddon tak nachengi mein vaari jaava note tera jije da hai dil dariya saaliya" song being played on vineet's mobile. Guys, it's a Punjabi number. After 20 boring minutes, a hot babe entered the gym and found the treadmill occupied, so, she only did her weight check (which I expected was never needed) and left the room. We 3 guys were dumb stuck and our jaws had fallen on to the floor seeing that rare beauty. Vinnet gave me a half smile signaling a thakyou for bringing him to the gym. I imagined being so very unlucky to have not had any conversation with the lady before she leaves the room. Same was going in my buddy's mind too. And after 5 minutes it was as usual boring when she's left the room. this time vineet offered me a plastic smile signaling as if I was responsible for the boredom with an add-on of not anyone amongst us saying a "hi" to the lady. I ignored him and concentrated back on to my running. Gosh, the machine was beeping 23 minutes run. I was surprised. After 2 more minutes I stepped out from the treadmill and check for any calls on my mobile. As I reached the table, I was in a total shock seeing the scratches on my device and I knew it must be either of them to spoil it while I was running on the treadmill. The screen was even trashed when I opened the flap of my moto razr v3i. Seeing this I was completely heart broken but after a short investigation found that, that was not my mobile. I kept it on to the same desk and shouted towards Sanket, "Dude!!! Where’s the mobile???” Sanket busy in his push-ups prompted back, “Dude!!! It’s lying the same place you kept it last....” "Dude, it’s not there...” came the call from Vineet.”Dude, I guess the lady took yours and kept hers, the mobiles got exchanged Dude", sanket answered. "Damn", was my reaction. I ran out of the room to see if I can find her anywhere but in vain. I came back and decided to call at my number. "It's ringing...” I flabbergasted. First try, nobody picked up the call. Second try somebody hung up. I was in full position to blame Sanket and Vineet for not taking care of the thing. After few more minutes, I decided to make a last call at my number. Somebody picked up the call. Lucky me, it was the same lady who entered in the gym 15 minutes back. Before I uttered a word of "hello", a voice came from the other side, "look, it happened by mistake, am so sorry". "Wow", it was a sigh of relief for me coz I got my gadget back and plus a chance to speak to the lovely lady. It started raining in no time and I was all wet outside the gym. Softly I replied back to her, “its ok. (After a long pause, not because I was angry but I didn't had any words to say after listening to the voice) hey, that's my mobile I guess with you. It must have come by mistake. No issues at all, but can you please come down here in the gym so that we can exchange the mobiles again." She was apprehensive in coming out as it was raining heavy. I gave her the second option of telling me the flat number so that I can come to her doorstep if it's not possible for her to step out. She asked me to stand in the parking area of F block building. I asked my roomies to join me to the f building and to my surprise, they were expecting the same to come from my mouth. Nobody wanted to miss the chance of meeting her. While we made our way to the building, I remembered that the wallpaper on my mobile was of some model in, i said it to myself,"U blewed it dude!!!". I decided to not to go and asked sanket to take it on my behalf. But the 2 of them were smart enough to take out their mobiles and started talking on the deadlines with none on the phone. I was helpless. Blood rushed in the brain carrying all sorts of questions about what she must be thinking after seeing the pic on the wallpaper. I prayed to god for not letting her see my mobile's memory card (I hope guys understood why I prayed). She was standing in the parking area and saw me taking the lead amongst us 3 stooges. She raised her hand and gave me my mobile with a half smile and said sorry. Before I could say anything, she turned and started walking on the other side. Damn, she didn't even tell her name. We came back to the flat with both of them chiding me for my failure to ask the name. Anyway, it was a fun filled evening for 3 of us. I narrated the entire story to prabhjot and he jumped from his seat and asked me, "Dude!!! What was her name???”
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