Friday, March 17, 2006

Go Goa!!

Tuesday and Wenesday was Holi - the festival of colors. But before that, another update. Pre-Holi weekend was spent enjoying in Goa - the tourism haven of India. Actually, once in Goa, especially Panaji city and its environs, it doesn't look much like rest of India. Its like being transported to a foreign land - there are so many forigners out there who are either relaxing or holidaying. The fact that the summer sun was beating pretty hard didn't seme to make much of a difference. Actually, most took the opportunity to take their clothes off and get a good tan. We were just so jealous coz we could see ourselves turn darker and darker day by day frolicking on the beach sands or the smooth paved roads in Goa. That is one the main things that you - especially if you are a Bangalorean - the absolute absence of traffic signals, traffic cops, traffic jams and the biggest peeve, potholes. We did not find even one of them in all our 4 days of tripping around town. We had rented 4 good, powerful bikes - 3 Pulsars and a Karizma for the 4 days. And I got the honor of riding the Karizma :-D the machine is just awesome - compared to other bikes I have ridden - its pickup it just so fast, blink and you'll miss it! Was a real pleasure riding it around. and Goa provides th long, empty stretches to really give a rip on the throttle! Biking was one of the high points of the trip for me!
Travelling in the train was time for chatting and discussing all sorts of topics under the sun. While on the contrary, travelling in the buses (from Londa to Panaji) was for catching forty winks and reading up the Outlook Traveller's Guide to Goa :-)
The infrastructure difference was starkly contrasted in the state of the same National Highway in different states. NH 4A goes through Londa in Karnataka onto Ponda in Goa and further onwards to Panaji. The highway on the Karnataka side was so bad, even the roads here in Koramangala seemed better. And as soon as we crossed over into Goa state, the roads were as smooth as they could get! We were really shocked by this contrast!
Another great thing was the accomodation we rented out (West Horizon) - it was as close as we could be to the beach - the last house before the town gives way to the sand and water. And very light on the wallet as well - it was big enough to easily accomodate 8 of us in one single room. Additional facilities included 2 hammocks right outside hung on the trees surrounding the house and hardly 5 metres walk to the beach! Each of the nights were spent lying on the beach reclining chairs gazing away at the almost-full moon and the waves glistening under the moonlight with a (sipping either a beer or vodka acording to preferences ;-)).
The beach shacks lining the beach too provide cool comforts agains tthe hot sun with nicely thatched roofs, cushy sofas to sit and watch the waves crash into a surf, with a pool table to pot stripes and solids away!
Parasailing was another thing we literally got high on (lots of other stuff you can get high on as well :-D). We are taken about a kilometre into the sea and then set aloft with the boat doing a ballet in the water and you synchronize the same high up in the air. For many, it was a great experience. But if you have done the bungee jumping or been already airborne glider/microlite, its not as much thrilling. But once up there in the middle of the sea, you can't hear any sounds and its a very beautiful silence that engulfs you! And the sea does not actually look threatening from up there. Since I was the first person to go, I was skeptical to take my camera up there - who would want to let an S1 IS just go plunk into the water (Sath, Vikas and Vyb would have all killed me just for that!). But it seemed safe and now I regret not taking the camera up there :-(
We also went to the Saturday Night Bazaar at Arpora between Calangute and Anjuna beaches. Once inside, it was as if we were transported to a fairground in Europe - there was not an Indian in sight except a few Rajasthanis who were selling stuff a the stalls and the security guards. The place was filled with foreigners. Even the foodstalls were stacked with cusines ranging from American to Thai to authentic Chinese to Continental. We walked around a bit there and bought some stuff from the stalls there.
Sunset is another attraction on the beaches in Goa. Friday's sunset was a Calangute beach sipping beer, Saturday was at Anjuna beach which was an awesome sight, Sunday was in the interiors of Goa perched on top of a hillock watching the Sun go down in between the hills. The sight was great and the photographs completely do justice to it as well. We had 4 cameras between us - my Canon S1 IS, Vinay's Canon A210, Aravinth's Sony Cybershot and Niru's Sony again. Had about 200 pictures per day/night!! Man was it difficult going through the pics.
A few of us also visited the trendiest nightspot, Tito's. Man, it sure does live up to its tag. The people were trendy and hot and the dances even more so. We too shook a leg along with the crowd amidst all the smoke and alcohol flowing like water out there.
For drinkers, Goa is absolutely heaven with cheap alcohol prices than in the rest of India. Though, if you order at the beach shacks, they do cost quite a bit!
The big disappointment was the cruise thingie. They just take you for an hour on the Mandovi river with some people dancing on a stage erected on the boat. We regretted not planning to go to the casino instead. At least could have got a first hand view of what a casino looks like! Wonder when I'll go to Las Vegas and see the original one though! :-D
Finally, tanned and tired we returned to Bangalore but not without fond memories of white sands, crashing waves, sun bathing foreigners, winding country roads and amazingly architectured buildings.
The 4 days were hardly enough to cover North Goa. We would need another 4 days to go exploring south of Panaji beyond Margao. All that for next time though!

Here is the lowdown on the trip:

9th March - 13 March 2006

Bangalore-Londa-Ponda-Panaji-Calangute-Baga-Anjuna-Vagator-Arpora-Candolim-Aguada fort-Sinquerim-Old Goa-Mayem Lake-Mandovi-Panaji-Ponda-Londa-Bangalore

Prashanth, Ajay, Vinay, Aravinth, Niranjan, Praful, Bharath, Badri

See the pics of the trip at

Here are a few choice pics from the lot:

Current Music - All around me i can hear the nasal Himesh R singing "Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa". Also Dont Cha by the Pussycat Dolls and In the Shadows by The Rasmus

Monday, March 06, 2006

Tagged with 20 things!

Well, Charlie tagged me and Sath to write 20 things about myself! Wow! A pretty exhausting job it is, I must say. Is it really so hard to know and remember 20 things about oneself?? anyways, here goes my 20 things :-D

1. Love Bangalore and exploring it. Know almost all the areas in Bangalore like the back of my hand. For a few days, my favorite pastime was to pore over the Eicher map of Bangalore and check out shortest routes between different areas!

2. Avid information seeker. Google is my God. If I feel curious about anything, which is almost about everything, I immediately start googling!

3. Have a weird sense of humor - can come up with jokes (usually bad ones) anytime. Love humor of all varieties - from the intellectual to subtle to toilet humor. Very easy to make me laugh and keep me laughing :-D Have been called different names from Hasmukh to smiloo which speaks a lot about my default state of expression! Can sometimes play dirty practical jokes on people but I try to take care not to hurt their sentiments!

4. A great listener. Can listen to anyone talking about anything.

5. Am a pretty accommodating person with a block against saying No to people. Philanthropic I am. I hate very, very few people in this world, maybe not even a handful :-)

6. Can be irritating at times with my mood which swings from good to spoilt and back within short spans of time

7. Love cricket and very passionate about it. Try to absorb all info about it and follow every match from U-15 to Seniors cricket, if not on TV, then in Cricinfo and newspapers. Did you know I was impressed by MSDhoni about 2 years back when he was part of the U-19 team in Kenya! Thought at that time that he has to surely make it to the Indian team soon. Though it took 2 years I guess!

8. Non-fussy person. Can eat anything that is served without complaints or issues. I rarely complain of less sugar, very salty, too bland, etc, etc. Mom says wife will be lucky in that respect!

9. Very resistant health-wise. I fall sick maybe once a year - though I eat and drink anywhere - a roadside thela to a 5-star hotel. Touchwood! I hate going to doctors - no I don't mind the medicines or injections - but its just a pet peeve that I have.

10. Love travelling. While on trips, can stay up all night and still be fresh and fit all of next day. I like to have fun all the time when I am out somewhere. Don't like people who prefer to sleep rather than have fun!

11. Am a left hander. Slowly learning to be ambidextrous!

12. Family and friends mean a lot to me though I don't flaunt it. Also keep both of them separate from each other. Parents don't know who my friends are and much about them and friends don't know much about my family. People sometimes feel I don't care about either. But not always right!

13. Tend to be shy at the beginning with people, but once they know me well, God save them!

14. Pretty good at the English language. Love doing crosswords, scrabble, and any related word games.

15. Have a good memory. Can vividly remember small events that occurred years back, stuff people tell me, phone/vehicle numbers of friends, etc. Though, anything related to academics and it just fails to work! :-D

16. I try to be self reliant and not depend on anybody to get my tasks done.

17. Don't really have any strong likes or dislikes with regard to entertainment like movies, books, music. If its recommended, I try it out!

18. Can sleep for long hours at a stretch.

19. Can never sleep early! Even if I am done with everything early, will almost always sleep after midnight.

20. Love riding/driving - can ride/drive any number of ours without getting bugged of it. Though getting stuck in a jam is a bit off-putting!

Now I got to think on another 8 things I want in a perfect lover! Hee hee! That should be fun. Until I think of them and post, adios!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Of Namma Bengalooru and mobikes...

Well, Friday was a lucky for me. Was on my way to office riding on Hosur Road. Suddenly, I felt like one of the Gaulish villagers in Asterix comics who are always worried that the sky would fall on their heads. I felt something go 'thunk' on my head. Slowed down my bike and looked around. Realised that it was a big piece of the overhanging branch from the one trees that line the road. Patted myself for wearing my helmet. Else, it would have been a closed chapter! Not that I am a major fan of helmets or anything, actually I would prefer not wearing them! Today was travelling in an auto, and was thinking about different, innovative uses for bike accessories in Bangalore. Here goes:

Helmet - Used commonly as an oversized elbow guard. You can see most younsters on bikes with the helmet neatly safeguarding the elbow. Uh sure, the head is stronger than the elbows, so they need more protection ;-)

Horn - Used as a musical instrument. Especially at traffic signals and traffic jams! Any of them could give Rahman and Reshammiya a run for their money! I guess the typical Bangalorean is taught when learning to ride/drive that at any point of time, either the brakes (ref:see below for brakes) or the horn has to be used! Not using any one of the two would lead to harmful consequences!

Brakes - Used as an alternate to the horn in most vehicles in Bangalore - especially buses. When they got to slow down or stop, it almost sounds like an earthquake ready to occur!! Also vividly reminds me of the Hercules MTB bicycle (a brown colored one on which the guys used to try circus tricks and patao-fy the school babes ;-)) They used to have the loudest brakes around! (not the babes, the cycles)!

Rear View Mirror - Used almost ubiquitously as a green-room mirror - adjusting hairstyles, counting pimples, applying lipstick/kajal, and also to check out the Python (for the uninitiated, Pretty Young Thing on a kinetic HONda/HONda Activa :-D) behind you!

Petrol tank - Used commonly as an extra seat (especially where the family has 2 children). Usually the youngest child gets the dreaded tank seat. Something similar to the silly-point/short-leg position in cricket, where the newest team member has the honor of being in the firing line! No wonder the kid would grow up permanently scarred for life (no pun intended)

Headlights - Used as a WMD. Blind 'em out seems to be the motto! Always used on high-beam except for during daytime when they flash winking signals at passers-by.

Tail-lights - Eh? What are they? Does something like that even exist??