Hungry Kya to Kaati Zone ka Roll Kha

        

 

 

Imagine this:- You are extremely hungry and want a filling snack.

 

Imagine this:- You don’t have much cash but you have to take your girlfriend out on a date and treat her well.

 

Imagine this:- Your friends have all managed  to grab a treat from you which you need to throw but you are almost broke.

 

Imagine this:- You are running late for a meeting and your grumbling stomach needs a quick lunch

 

Whatta do…?

 

Seemble, call Kaati Zone or simply walk-in

 

Kaati Zone is responsible for making the kaati rolls famous in Bangalore. It is a Bangalore-based chain of Indian fast-food restaurants specializing in Kati Rolls. Founded by Kiran Nadkarni in 2004, the restaurant is famous for its Chicken Tikka and Mixed Veg Rolls.

 

The USP  of Kaati Zone is the packaging and the pricing. For a megre sum of 100 bucks you can have a delicious, filling roll. The resturants are hygenic and the rolls are wraped in a special spill free wrap. So all you need to do is, drive in to the nearest Kaati Zone in town, place your order and enjoy a drive back with a hot and tasty roll without having to bother about all that spill or simply call them for a home delivery.

 

Kaati Zone not only sells rolls, but you can get vada pao, omlette, paranthas and chaats too. They also have diet rolls for the health freaks with a variety of fillings to choose from.

 

For people who don’t know what a Kaati Roll is, here is some information.

 

Kaati Roll is a  fast food popular in Kolkata, India. In Kolkata, it was introduced by Nizam’s, a restaurant in the city noted for its Mughlai food inMumbai, it is similar to a frankie.

 

It is said that the kati roll was the result of some quick thinking on a busy day. Apparently, on that particular day, the number of people asking for kebab and parathas far outstripped the number of plates available, or the pace at which the plates could be washed and recycled. It was decided to wrap the kebab in parathas, and in the process, reduce the number of plates required by half.

 

So next time when your stomach says, “Hungry Kya?” The answer will be Kaati Zone se rolls khaya kya?

 

You can reach them at:- 080-4112-2100

 

 

Toscano-A must visit for mouth watering Italian

UB City on Bangalore’s Vittal Mallya Road is the new happening place. It mostly has the up market international brands from Louis Vuitton to Dunhill to expensive gourmet places like Michael Besse’s Ecstasy. Few days ago we just happned to go to The Collections in UB City where they have a food court on the terrace.  Wrought iron chairs, a fountain in the middle and lots of open spaces are a treat to all the senses.

Vinu, our friend from Mumbai, just came in to have lunch with us and we decided to check all the new restaurants in The Collection. Toscano caught our eyes with its Olive green and Mahogany interiors. We have always been fond of salads and pastas so we decided to check that place and were completely bowled over by the service, decor and food quality. The place is a little expensive so in case you are looking for value for money this is not where you should go but if you are looking for a classy, delicious food at one of the most beautiful places in Bangalore, then Toscano in UB City is the place to be.

The lunch buffet is priced at 400/- though we went for ala carte. Grilled fish is something that one must try for the main course. Mixed salad is a must try for all cheese lovers. Since I am fond of chocolates, I would also recommend the cappuccino brulee.

The service is quick, efficient and the staff courteous. After a heavenly meal we all went to the kitchen to give our compliments to  Chef Gautam.

 

Here are the details of the Restaurant for you:-

Toscano,

Wine Bar, Resturant, Pizzeria,

Fine Italian Cuisine

The Collection-U.B. City, Level II, Concorde Block,

24, Vittal Mallya Road,

080-4173 8800

www.toscano.co.n

NOTE:- Photo Courtesy Vinayak Das

Wayanad

My first break in writing came to me as a surprise. Vinayak called me to ask if I would be interested in doing a copywriting work for a real estate project in Wayanad to which I coolly said, “yes”.

 

After a while I got a call from Deepak who asked me a few questions to which I answered and also gave him my blog link. I was convinced that I aren’t getting the assignment as I am an amature blogger writing mostly personal stuff.

 

 

 

But to my surprise in the evening I get a call from Deepak asking me if I would be able to leave for Wayanad on Friday at 10:30 p.m.?  This was an all expense paid trip. I had to say yes, but what about the apple of my eyes, my 2 puppies?  Sanjukta came to my rescue, as a true friend, she has always played the role of a nanny to my four legged babies. She agreed to stay at our place over the weekend. While I was making this arrangement with Sanjukta, Deepak called me again to know how much  would I charge? Now this was a tricky one which I comfortably left on Vinayak to handle. With no prior experience in writing I had no clue what number to say.

 

 

Friday evening, at 11 p.m. we left for Wayanad and as notoriously famous I am, I slept all along my way. Early morning we reached Wayana where we were introduced to Anil Abraham who is the owner of cottages and tree houses at Pristine Wayanad. A very friendly person with a very pretty daughter. He was covered by  Malayala Manorama in the month of February for making an eco friendly cottage all by himself when many farmers in his village committed suicide due to lack of agricultural facilities.

 

Pristine Wayand is a must stay whenever you are in Wayanad, simply for the homely experience that Anil and his family bring to you. All the meals are cooked by his wife and not by cooks. He makes it a point that you meet his family and feel at home.

 

 

I wanted to be there at Pristine Wayanad for some more time but work started soon. Vinayak was appointed for the photo shoot. We were taken to the site and unlike the typical barren, drab plots that I get to see in Delhi’s outskirts, here we were taken to a hill, where we trekked through the jungles. I, for a second did not believe that this is the site that I am walking on. Abundantly filled with lemon grass, Jack fruits, Guava, Mangoes, wild berries, flowers, the trip looked like a nature walk to me. It was the dry season and I could see the huge craters in the foot hills which would soon be filled with rain water by June making huge streams that will entwine the place like a serpent amidst the forests, hills and everywhere.

 

 

We had to cover a 20 acres of land on foot. Our greatest  discovery was an old, abandoned, dilapidated church on the cliff which the owner had bought along with all the other houses on that hill.

 

Our second destination was another 14 acres of land, where we plucked guavas and ate it while on a Robinson Crusoe like excursion on that treacherous hill. 

 

 

 

Our 3rd destination was in the middle of the jungle. We could see rain falling on one part of the area and creating ripples in the water, and there was another area which remained dry. I could see the misty mountains as I stood there with the child inside me waiting to go bonkers with all playfulness but I could not do as I was with the client.  I so much wanted to run around, get tired and fall asleep. This was also the area where elephants come to drink water. All along I just had 1 question in my mind that in the name of development we should not let go of such bountiful natural beauty and ecology. With the development of lands so many trees will have to be cut down destroying the homes of so many othert life forms.

 

 

Interestingly the tag line of the project is supposed to be  “a home away from home” and ironically that will probably be achieved by taking away the only habitation that the local tribal, animals, birds and other forms of life have.

 

 

I kept saying  to my client that trees should not be cut in huge numbers, nor the elephant’s path should be fenced. Wayanad mostly has lose soil which is held together by trees, with heavy rains and no trees, land slide is inevitable.

 

I was doing an internet search about Wayanad when I came across another sad fact about how forests have been cut down leaving so many animals homeless and open to being hurt, hunted and killed. Wayanad also has a lot of tribal population which again sustains itself on nature. I don’t know how are they going to cope up with it.

 

 (Our Host)

 

 

Though chances are with infrastructural development these people might get  jobs as  maids, helpers, gardeners in a state which virtually has no industries. But on a scale of balance, which one would you choose? Development and jobs or Ecological Balance and environmental sustainability which is so crucial at a time of global warming? In a battle between Nature and human race, we have always been winning only to lose in huge numbers when Nature retaliates with all her might and fury. May be we deserve it, may be we ask for it.

 

After 2 days of work, 8 kms of trekking, almost 12 hours of non stop sleep due to exhaustion and tasty local meal it was time for us to say adios to Wayanad.  Before leaving, we went to a local tribal settlement. Where we met a 102 years old tribal lady. She belonged to the original tribal of Wayanad called Paniyars. Another community was Kusavas, who are traditionally a community of potters. After a  live demonstration of pottery making, we left with gifts of  clay pots.  Anil gave us a jackfruit and two papayas as our farewell gift with a promise from us that we will keep in touch and gang up with him for fun activities.

 

I would want to come back here in monsoon and in winters. On our way back we saw few accidents which are better left unmentioned. Constant company was given by our ever chatting driver, Girish.  Another surprise waited for us at the end of Bandipur forest,  where farmers were selling fresh vegetables at 10/- a kilo.  This was a steal and both our driver and I went berserk buying vegetables for the entire East Villa Apartment where we stay in Bangalore.

 

Even after coming back I could not stop thinking about the tribals and the wildlife which are at stake almost in every part of this world where we are trampling on someone else’s world to make a way for ourselves.

 

Sometimes I feel we don’t need so much. There is enough for everyone only if we did not have so much greed.

 

NOTE:- We stayed at “Pristine Nature”

Anil K. Abraham

+91 94473 16363

pristinewayanad@gmail.com

Buna Vista Hut, Kavumannam P.O.,

Kalpetta, Wayanad, Kerala-673121

Misty Marriage

I never thought that my wedding was going to be something worth mentioning. I mean most of us get married and lavish weddings are talked about. I on the other hand, had a very simple, spurr of the moment wedding with Vinayak.

 

It was a simple affair, with no frills and fancies but extraordinary none the less.  After all not everyone goes to the Himalayas, at 13,000 ft. to get married and that is why I think our wedding story was on livemint.com as well as on Mint’s print edition too on 5th April 2008.

 

Our special thanks to Sumana Mukherjee for  narrating our wedding story in such a beautiful way.

Here is the link to the site.

Image of the paper. We were in Bombay, on our way to Vinu’s place in Colaba when we bought this paper from Church Gate station. 

Alternate Life-Misty Marriage

Run, Run, Run else Danny Sanjay will come

This New Year’s  day, I ran away at 2 in the morning with Vinayak, who ran frantically for his life without his clothes.  Yes you heard me right, Vinayak ran without his clothes. 

What else could you have done when your own pissed drunk, trusted friends threaten you to drag to a drunkards party, make you dance on Kannada numbers and pour beer, sticky fruit juice and ice cold water on you? 

That is what had actually happened to the 5 of us this New Year’s eve party which we celebrated on Sunil’s insistence at some random resort called the Woodrich Resort, which is just below the “Nandi Hills”.  

Sunil and Sanjay who had gone there before, could not find the way to the resort this time, as a result of which, all of us where lost. Later we found it out to be situated on  a “No Man’s” land (quite literally). 

This had turned out to be a disaster from the very start and we could not even check out other options.  Seeing Aunties, Uncles eating a quiet dinner was the first blow.  This is not how I would have wanted to party. My definition of party is music, dance and fun. But I should have seen the “Red Horns” and “Spiked Tail” on Sunil’s body when he took us to this DJ Ronnie all night dance party with a Bon Fire which started coyly on a “Couple Game” note.

Little did I know that I would end up seeing myself (a hardcore Delhiite), Vinayak (from Kolkata), my friend Abhishek (Poor guys is from Kota, Rajasthan. My apologies to him for making him go through this), Ayan (with 2 broken Ligaments, parceled from Kolkata) and Sweet and shocked beyond belief Vandana, dancing on Kannada numbers and listening to “Jai Karnataka” “Jai Dr. Raj Kumar” speech given by some local goon.  

We still tried to have fun in the middle of all this, even danced on ancient Punjabi numbers. (Thankfully DJ Ronnie did not play, “Tutak Tutak Tutak Tutia”). 

While we were trying to figure out ways to keep ourselves entertained, Sunil, Sanjay, Danny and 2 more friends were hatching plans to start a full fledged “water canon” war.  I did not read the warning signal and that invisible danger sign with a skull and 2 criss cross bones, tattooed on Sunil’s big Head, when he started telling us a story on how he celebrated his New Year’s Party last year.  Abhishek, smartly, saw what was coming and quietly sneaked out of the whole scene to hide inside the cottage along with fractured Ayan.  But in the name of God, the wholly spirit, the Dalai Lama, we could not save our selves from the water cans that kept coming on to me, Vinayak and Vandana. As if the water was not enough, we were given a Juice treat also.  

Somehow, we 3 sneaked out and went to our cottage, took shower.  Luckily Vinayak and I were carrying change of clothes but Vandana was not that smart you see. She remained in her wet, sticky jeans. 

Half hour later, I see, a doped out Danny and Drunk Sanjay coming with beer mugs and ice cold water cans and insisting us on joining the party again. 

In the words of Danny, “Its our party now. We will not let the DJ go home. All the 60 people out there are our friends now. C’mon guys, lets party.  Else I will call all the 60 people and they will drag you to the party, pour water on you.”  

I could imagine each scene as Danny went on blabbering. Saw Danny, Sanjay putting the entire Can of water on Vandana again. I immediately said, give us 5 minutes we will be there. Vinayak and the rest chorused.  

Danny, “Ok I will wait for 5 minutes after that 60 people will come and take you guys away.” 

As I saw, Sanjay, Danny leaving the room, and as I was thinking “how can I run away from here?”  We heard, Ayan saying, “Guys, lets run away” We all agreed unanimously, as if we were all saying the same thing at the same time. 

I saw, Vinayak run away with his camera bag, and leaving all his wet clothes behind. I with Abhishek quickly packed the lap top, the clothes, the speakers, the bags and dragged ourselves towards the parking lot, while Vinayak ran frantically, screaming run, run, run as if his pants were on fire. Ayan limped and reached the car before we did, even with a fractured ligament and a crutch. 

While we were still struggling to reach the car, I could feel, Sanjay’s cell phone which was in my bag, ringing. I screamed, someone’s calling which triggered the adrenalin button for everyone. We just “RAN” away without looking back even for a second lest we got chased by the rest of the 5 drunk friends. 

We lost our way again, but somehow reached a  24 hour CCD. By the way, before leaving, Vandana and I had picked up Sanjay’s cell phone and wallet to teach him a lesson.  And like I said before, Coffee is a source of mental ejaculation, I came up with an idea. While having coffee, Vandana and I smsed people from Sanjay’s cell phone.

1 sms goes to Sanju, my childhood friend, who was on a vacation with her mom, “I love you, muah. You are so sexy.”  

Another sms goes to Surabhi, Sanjay’s collogue, “I want to sleep on your lap, I want to bathe with you.” 

Prayed that Surabhi would file a sexual harassment case against Sanjay. 

Our fuel was over so went to MG road to get gas, then drove back to Nandi Hills. The roads were densely Fogged with “zero” visibility. Reminded me of Delhi winters.

Reached Nandi Hills, and saw the 1st sunrise of 2008.  

How significant, we successfully ran away from all the bad things, leaving behind 2007 and started 2008 with a hopeful sun rise.  

We could see all the fog that had settled on the city.  Had Maggie, bread, omelets, idli, coffee breakfast.  

And guess what, in the afternoon, made plans on how to take revenge from Sunil and Danny with guess who…? With Sanjay, who had come to our place to pick his cell phone. 

The whole thing had turned out to be quite exciting though and all my life I wanted to run away, elope with a boyfriend. Never knew this is how I would, partially live my dream…run away with my husband and few other friends from 5 other friends on a New Years Day. J    

Hoganekkal Falls

First of all apologies for the delay in posting the Hoganikkal Fall details.  Delay is an understatement  because I  by this time don’t even remember the dates of our travel.  

We were to meet at our BWS administrator Vinayak’s home at 6:30 am (BTW they have thrown me and Sanju out of BWS and am really upset about it. Not that it really matters but my ego is hurt big time. I am still mending it hoping an apology from any one of the BWS administrators. Vinayak are you listening?) .  We got late because of the lazy Saturday start. Sanju, me, Vinayak, Sunil, the 4 of us started at 7 am and picked up Ayan from somewhere (I don’t remember the name of the place and I am not the only one, I asked Sanju and Vinayak, they also do not know the name of the place where we picked Ayan from) then the gang of 5 musketeers started their Hoganikkal bound journey. 

Lola gets started.  Ayan singing along to some Bangla song, getting photographed by Sanjukta, Vinayak driving, Sunil sitting next to him and then I give a performance on “Namak Isk ka” song and get video graphed by Sanjukta again.  

As we started very early we had to stop somewhere for breakfast, so we stop at a run down shack on Krishnagiri road  scaring people away at that shop with our dancing  and our singing skills. I and Sanju jiggled on “Khaike Pan Banares Wala” and a small child (Look at Vinayak’s Hoganikkal photo) who was doing her homework there, packed her bag and fled.

After some ruckus, we hogged on some tea, idly and egg dosa. The food was ok but we still had each other’s brain which we could chew to wit’s end. Ate, ate, ate, then took a lot of pictures, everyone modeled and Sunil fell down with his jumping jack pose. Cuddled a small cat and fed it dosa, idly left overs. 

Now it was Sunil’s turn to drive, and I wanted to sit next to him to see his driving. But fate had something else planned, as we sped at 60km/hour, little did we realize that the Quails standing just about 15 meters away from us would be our reason to shell 1500 bucks and later half a lac as repair charges for Lola. Poor Lola could not stop and hit herself. Luckily we were not hurt, managed to convinced the owner of the Quails that we don’t have much money to give him, that we only have 1500 bucks which we eventually gave away.  

Started driving again, Sunil was feeling all apologetic and we all tried to cheer him up.  Stopped in the middle of the road because I wanted to run in the paddy fields as Vinayak went the other way to see some butterflies. Later we all had coconut water where a goat was drooling and tried its best to have my coconut. The Coconut man almost fell in love with Sanju and came to see her off till the car.  

We started again and reached Hoganikkal, went inside a very sad hotel to have some beer since it was very hot outside.  The bartender looked even more sad at our sight and reluctantly served us beer and fryums from a bucket.  Sanju and I sang, “kaise rahu chup ki maine pee hi kya hai, hosh abhi tak hai baki” to the gentleman hoping it will act as an anti-depresseant. Sunil all of a sudden wanted to become the barman and I joined him and asked everyone, “What would you like to have sir?” Later was corrected by Sunil, and was asked to rephrase my sentence as, “Try this sir, try this sir.” 

Later we all sat outside in the sun under a shade. In some time Beer started making calls; Nature calls.  Vinayak and I searched for a loo, which we found after 10 minutes of convincing to the hotel receptionist that we actually, truly, deeply, madly wanted to go to the loo. 

After sometime, when the sun was a little strong, we started for the falls by foot and the moment we were outside the gate we started our hogging sessions by trying out fish fries and some other kind of idly I don’t remember the name of. 

Shopped for some shorts and Tees, haggled, bargained and ended up looking like one  loser “chaddi gang” member who must have gone out to break someone’s house but later got caught and was chased out of the village. So there we go, reach the river bank, hop on to coracles and start our  journey in water.   

Guduk, Guduk, we go everywhere, take a merry go round ride, get splashed and then park ourselves at a safe fall side. “Safe” will not be a right word to use because Vinayak almost lost his knickers. While he made desperate attempts to save his chaddis like a man in a rescue team trying to save a dying, drowning, helpless man, I see Sunil and Ayan making out. Sunil towering over Ayan, making ecstatic faces while Ayan, from behind making strange moves loudly screaming out the “F” words.   

After 2 hours of getting machine washed in a natural Jacuzzi, we coracled to the mouth of the fall to shoot the sunset. Man what a sight!!! The monsoon was blaring and so was the fall which was at its full frenzy, gushing out oodles of water as if there is no tomorrow.  The sunset was amazing. It was dark and we were the only people stranded in the river. But I must say that our coracle man was an expert who got us back to the mainland in that pitch darkness with no safety regulations whatsoever. 

Evening ended with omelets, fish fries and cups of chai.  By the time we were ready to leave for Bangalore, it started raining again.  We called it a day with cups of coffee from CCD at the Bangalore Airport and some fond memories of the trip which ended in no casualties. J   

Pondi Trip

Here is the Pondi trip update. The trip started with some shopping plan. Wanted to buy a pair of shorts because I and Sanjukta wanted to cycle around the city but when I saw myself in a short, I thought I might as well, stick to jeans lest they stop me from entering  a pub in Pondi because I was looking like a school girl in that silly shorts.   Never the less bought a red duffel bag. 😀 After a lot of planning, 12 of us gathered at Vinayak’s pad, well, apart from being a group administrator he also had to attend to our occasional tantrums. A nice cozy house, where we all ate fried rice and Manchurian, and I tried to feed wasabi to many people but only Sunil liked it and found it sweet. As usual I allocated jobs to various people. Vishal was the official accountant, Sunil was our official showman, Sukumar was the assistant accountant, I wanted to be the official bar tender but my talent was never really appreciated, Sanju was the official real time message twitterer which I was finding very bugging and Sukumar concluded my thoughts by saying, “Twittering is online littering.” 2 cars, 13 people…but we all were eyeing Lola.  In case you do not know who Lola is, lemme take this opportunity to tell you that Lola is our administrator, Mr. Das’s girl friend, a red Honda City.  He is head over heels in love with Lola. Vinayak, me, Sunil, Vinu, Srividya hopped on to Lola and the rest went in Qualis. Before that we all had paid 1000 each to our finance head Vishal. Srividya whispered to almost everyone, “Tomorrow is Anupama’s birthday.” And I whispered back, “Yes, and we all stop at 12 midnight to celebrate her birthday.” Everyone agreed. Usually, people do not disagree with me. 😛 We bought a cake from a cake shop near Ulsoor lake and then rolled. All through the way, Sunil was being bugged by me, as I kept pestering him to play different songs. I kept screaming, “Volume, Volume” and Sunil looked bewildered and was continuously giving blank looks to Vinayak, who was at the steering. At the back seat Vinu got beaten up by me and Srividya for no apparent reason. At 12 we stopped and waited for the Qualis to reach. In the meantime, we decorated the cake with jeera (yes you read it right “jeera” means cumin seeds) which Vinu had got. As soon as the Qualis arrived I ran towards it and told Vishal and Danny to carry Anupama to the cake which they were too scared to do.  After the cake cutting ceremony and usual photos I smeared cake all over Anupama and got the taste of my own medicine from her. The ha-ha hee hee continued for 20 minutes then we started again. We heard, the Qualis guys had beer also (Sanju will talk about it later) and we, the Lola gang,  had jelly beans again thanks to Vinu. L The blaring music continued and it started raining all of a sudden when I asked Sunil to pull over. We all stood in the rain for 10 minutes and I and Vinayak ran in the rain. After sometime, we had tea at a local road side dhaba.  In the mean time we received a call from the Qualis guys that their tyre is punctured and that we need to wait. My reaction was, “Stepny nahi hai kya? Stepni lagao aur chal pado, ismei tension karne ka kya hai.” Morning we reached ECR beach to catch the sunrise while the Qualis guys were far behind us and they had to be far behind us after all we were at 150 to 160 km/hour. 5 of us started walking towards the beach and saw how it is to be a part of community beach side potty collective.  Ok, lemme put it straight, people  and potty, that’s all we could see for some time then we kept walking towards the other end of the beach till we found a clean stretch.  Sunil had gone missing with his machine and  Srividya was taking care of our belongings while, Vinayak, Vinu and I were playing in the sea like some 5 year old.  Before all this I had become a little philosophical at the sight of sun rise. By the time we were done, hunger pangs had already started to knock on our stomach lining and we were frantically searching for food but in vain. Saw the Qualis arriving, and found all sleepy heads coming out of the Qualis one by one.  After a lil chitchat we started again and stopped at a small time eating place, had idlis, sambhar, poori, chutney and suddenly I saw a bullock cart, I had to run towards it, as if the bulls were calling me so that I could hop on to them. I just had to do it.  Took a small ride on that bullock cart and again started for Youth Hostel of Pondicherry. The Qualis guys had already reached the dormitory and were relaxing. After a shower we decided to have breakfast and I went outside the hostel and stumbled upon a small tea shop who had a hotelier friend who could understand Hindi. So the process was, the chai wala calls the hotel wala, the hotel wala then call the PCO number which the chai wala has and then I place my order in hindi. Ok Process complete, results awaited. 30 minutes after, parantha and sambhar gets delivered for the hungry souls and before that I carry 12 cups of tea on an aluminum tray which almost burnt my fingers.  After  all khana shana, I had to return the tray to the chai wala as he had kept 51 bucks as security for it. Confusion begins:- We all want to do different things. Sanju and I stare at “ground zero” read Ayan, who was blabbering something. We wanted to cycle, some wanted to take pictures, we also wanted to party. Vinayak was given the task to find out about a place where we could party whole night. Seeing all this chaos, 2 strange looking men arrive in on their bikes as God’s messenger to our call, with an invitation to some party which had all that we needed plus French girls. Ok now, this looked like a shady party to me and I was not really interested in going to a party where I will be hooked up with a French girl.  After lot of brain storming in the hot humid sun, we started moving here and there.  Finally, like an oasis in the desert, spotted Promenade, a restro bar, to our rescue. Went inside but again the chaos continued, “to be or not to be, that is the question.”  Meanwhile, our super enthusiastic man, Sunil Kumar wanted to check out this funky place, but was a little skeptical in expressing himself amidst all the chaos. So I see him, coming and leaning over and asking me, “lets check the lounge.” And like partners in crime, the 2 of us sneaked out, leaving all the chaos behind at the mercy of the Moderators, Sanjukta and Vinayak. 😛 Upon entering the lounge, I induced greed in Sunil’s mind, “Sunil yaar eke k beer maarke ke chalet hai.” And like I had mentioned before, people usually do not disagree with me, so we rest ourselves on the bar stools and decided to have Vodka instead. We had just placed our order and I see Mr. Das entering the scene with a hopeful look in his eyes, as if he has seen God. 😛   The cocktails went on for sometime, and Sanjukta felt all dejected and left in lurch by her school time buddy that’s me. She took charge and managed with the rest of the gang. The sinners along with Vinu and Lavanya had our lunch at Rendezvous while the non-sinners ate at Madame Shanty. Then we went to Auroville, which was already closed, after that to a beach again, photographers took a lot of pictures, Sanju twittered, I again went in water with Sukumar, Vishal.  Later we decided to sin more, so all sinners, read, me, Vinayak, Sanju, Sunil, Danny , Ayan hopped on to Lola while the non-sinners were sent in Qualis to look for a restaurant where we could have dinner. We sinned (censored) laughed like crazy and had dinner till late night. Later that night, Ayan, me, Vinayak, Sanju, we all sat on the terrace of the Hostel and talked, giggled while a song from the film Guide kept playing in the back ground. Next day, the photographers were missing when I woke up. They had gone for sunrise. So Vishal, Sukumar, Sanju, Vinayak and me, we lazed around, fought with pillows. Before that Vinayak and I went to that chai shop had cake and chai. The breakfast was at Promenade with rounds of cocktails. Later, we danced inside the restaurant and were called “Polar Beer” by Ayan. Evening we went to see a Jetty, and on returning I saw an old uncle on a lady’s cycle, so I had to run after him. There is this freak side of me which may shock many. So I ran after him, “Uncle, Uncle Uncle…..(he stopped) huff!! Huff!!, Uncle I want your cycle.” Uncle replies, ‘But I can not work without my cycle.” Ok now this was an insult. Uncle may have thought that I probably will take his cycle never to come back to him again. But then I explained  that I wanted to cycle but could not find any cycle so I wanted his  cycle to cycle. Sanjukta also joined hands with me. I went to a point and she rode back. Since I was cycling after more than 15 years, I forgot to put the breaks and I thought what if I keep going on, it would have looked like a Piyadarshan film. Me on a cycle, Sanju running after me, Vinayak with lady’s purse in his hands running after Sanju and that Uncle running after Vinayak for his bi-cycle. But that plan did not work, you see I am too humble a soul to do that.  Evening we started for or return journey, Lola had her admirers all over her. But the chosen ones got to sit inside. Sunil, Vinayak, me, Sanju and Sukumar. Stopped at a place for dinner, had boiled eggs from a road side vendor. In the meantime, Sanju lost her cell phone, (it was a pseudo loss actually) and had gone berserk, seeing all this Sunil and Vinayak got scared and stopped talking, while Sukumar was bearing the brunt of Sanju’s constant cribbing. I was acting like this kewl chick who has seen it all, have done it all..Sanju kept crying, “Waaaa…waaa..waaaa” and I was laughing at her and interrupted, “lets have beer”. “Hum jaise dost ho to dushman ki kya zarurat hai.”  After 30 minutes of holding everyone by the noose, she says, “guys, I just remember that I had kept my phone in my camera pouch. I have not lost it.” After that, rest is history, she got beaten up by me.  The guys had bullet beer and Sanju played the DJ, while I, Sukumar, Vinayak danced like crazy. I screamed at every 5 minutes, “Volume, Volume, Volume” Sunil drove at 150 km/ hour.  We all behaved like hooligans, lost our way somewhere in Chennai. Found our way back. Stopped at a road side joint again, had goat brain, beer and tea made from cow milk, freshly milked from a sleepy cow.  Later I felt asleep in the car, while the rest of the gang kept singing, screaming, shouting..we reached at 6:30 am and crashed at Vinayak’s place. The Qualis gang had reached way before us.  I went back to sleep, woke at 8, and left for my home. This was the story from my side. I am sure each one of you would have a different version.  Letsgo and BWS trip to Pondi has been like merger of the equals. Would like to listen to each one of you  about your experience. And lastly thanks to Sunil, Anupama, Srividya, Vinayak, Danny, Ayan, Vinu, Lavanya, Tanmay, Vishal, Sukumar for bearing with our hooliganism, tantrums and eccentricity. Believe me, I have found some really great friends in you people.Ok lemme stop now, am getting all senti 😀 Please put your pictures too J   

Alleppey Trip

My Favorite SportHow does it feel to be one of the leading men of Dil Chata Hai?

How nice would it be if Amir Khan can be replaced by Sunil, Saif Ali Khan can be replaced by Ritesh and Akshay Khanna can be replaced by Vinayak? How would it be to replace Goa with Alleppey?

What does the scene make you feel when you see all the leading men, cruising away lazily in a small boat in Goa, laughing, screaming and enjoying their moments of silence.

How does it feel to have not just 3 leading men in Dil Chahta Hai, but 16 rock stars starring in the BWS productions called, “Camera Chahta hai?”

The star cast (In no particular order) with their introduction:-

Lenish:- A programmer by profession. Quiet and focused you can occasionally see him smile with some thing going on in his mind which you would try to figure out but would not be able to.

Sanjay:- Loves to eat and sleep. Our Official accountant for the trip.

FreeBird:- Well, The captain of the ship.

 Kosha:- Apple of everyone’s eyes.

 Ritesh:- Well, you can safely call him Saif Ali Khan of this film, “Camera Chahta Hai” for his always amused and confused glances.

Sabeena:- The iron lady who has gone to Leh trip and made friends with another amazing woman named Lakshmi

Ashish:- Another Leh trekker and a focused photographer.

Sunil:- The rock star and our official showman.

Nitin:- Has gone biking to Leh

Mochi:- A hard core trekker

Hakim:- An Olympic swimmer

Lijo:- The quietest guy. Arul:- The one with handle bar moustache.

Vinayak:- The Ring Leader

Snigdha:- An intruder

Story (from Snigdha’s eyes):- Snigdha gets to know from Vinyak that there is a trip to Kerala for the Snake Boat race event. She had always wanted to go to Kerala and how much she had wanted to be a part of this BWS trip but tickets were booked already so she stood no chance. 2 days after, she gets to hear that someone has dropped out of the plan and she can step in to the role of Ruchira Talukdar. All happy and merry she packs her bag and goes to Majestic for her Volvo to Kerala.

It was the 10th of Aug and around 5 pm when she reaches the bus stop along with Vinayak, she sees herself surrounded by 14 strangers flashing their gadgets. She also was carrying her small earnest humble Sony cyber shot gadget which was kept in some corner of her Adidas sports bag.

After the usual round of introduction, we hopped on to our bus and started our journey. The journey itself was quite eventful with Lenish playing the agony uncle for the bus conductor then asking me to choose one film to be shown in the bus for public entertainment. I honored every one by choosing the film Hungama but did not watch it myself.

After a quick dinner at around 9, we were settling down to catch some sleep when suddenly the whole bus of was filled with astonishingly crazy sock stench. I screamed and then sprayed my body spray all over.

My co-passenger was the leader of the pack Mr. Das, with whom I had a nice chat till 1 am and then I decided to put myself into a hibernation state however, destiny had something else planned. The moment I folded my legs up the chair to catch 40 winks, Lenish, who was sitting in front me gradually started to move backwards and I saw myself getting folded like a piece of paper all crimpled and twisted to be sent away somewhere. I screamed again, and that startled Lenish who realized that he was almost on the verge of wringing me to a fracture.

Next Day:- The journey seemed to be never ending. But then all bad things come to an end so this tiring bus journey also came to an end and we saw Mr. Varghese, our official care taker come owner of the home stay waiting for our reception. Mr. Varghese, a nice gentleman, with lot of warmth, helped us get auto rickshaws till his abode while I hopped on to his scooter and scooted with him as a pillion rider. It was fun.

The home stay was impressive. A huge house and a small puppy which eats only meat and the rest of the time only sleeps, this is what greeted us followed by Mrs. Varghese, who showed us our rooms. The living room was huge with a small pond kind of a thing in the middle with pebbles to store rain water.

We all hurriedly got ready as we were getting late for the boat race and we were planning to occupy strategic positions for photography. Auto drive back to our boat and breakfast on the top of the roof which consisted Appam and chicken curry. We all burped in chorus.

We reached the place where the boat race was to take place and parked ourselves. Cheered for many teams. Ashish hopped on to another more impressive boat, and his camera worked as a passport to use more luxurious boat as his “place to be” for the time being.

I was almost looking like a headless chicken, not able to decide what should I do as everyone was clicking away as if there was no tomorrow and I with my baby camera was thinking its no point all of us taking the same photographs. Never the less, I was enjoying the sport when I suddenly happened to see the boat parked next to our boat indulging in my favorite sport which is “gluttony.” I mean just imagine, lunch served on banana leaves, in the middle of water surrounded by cheering crowd. It was too irresistible. So I followed my instinct and jumped into their boat and asked them if I could also eat? And I was served a local lunch of rice, beef, curd and cabbage sabzi and it was fun. I was then joined by Vinayak and Sanjay in that feast. Someone offered us Johney Walker also, which we refused.

Our amusement got a double doze of awe, when we saw couple of boats getting capsized and the boatmen hanging on to the boats and floating along.

The evening was filled with lot of gupshup with our boat man. Who was is favorite hero, and how does one get a license to boat etc.

Ritesh and I were very much interested in the mechanism of how a boat runs and wanted to maneuver the boat but had to satisfy ourselves by blowing horns.

The late evening was a party time, at the home stay, with beef starters, and Lenish making drinks for us. Gradually we all started coming out with our confession stories which went on till late night interrupted by a tasty dinner of duck, rice, dal , fish etc.

The next morning again started at 5 am as many of us wanted to take sunrise photos. But by the time we reached, the sun was already out.

The 2nd days vehicle for the photo bugs was a house boat which had an upper deck with a hammock. The hammock was never available, that’s a different story though. Every time it was proving comfort to someone or the other’s backside. While the others where kept busy by the boat man to maintain balance and hence most of time we were running from one side to the other to maintain the balance. But it was a small price to pay keeping in mind what was coming ahead.

I was helpless in the hands of my freak streak and I sat next to the boat man and took control over the steering wheel while he controlled the accelerator. I was getting into the groove and started humming something when all of a sudden we were all startled by a strange sound which sounded like Bon Jovi singing in Kanada or may be kanadiga accent. The strange sound was coming out of a huge man’s mouth who had his ears blocked with I Pod and eyes closed to reality, it was none other than our rock star, Sunil singing along to a Bon Jovi song.

Looking at our baffled faces, Sunil got very hurt and he went to the other side of the boat and started singing there only to shock the hell out of this French couple who looked equally strange. 8:30 a.m. we stopped at a place where we could get fermented coconut water, or local beer called Toddi. We purchased about 12 liters and drank 8 liters, we displayed our gentlemanliness by offering Toddy to this couple who liked it too.

Turn by turn, we rowed a small fisherman’s boat in the back water after the Toddy shot. The breakfast was Tapioca and fish curry, Dosa and vegetable curry. After a late breakfast we all went to the upper Deck were Sunil again sang a kannada song and this time I recorded his song which now is my ring tone. Sabeena and Lakshmi in her bandana were lost in their own world while, Lenish and Arul lazed near each other wondering how can they make things more happening for them selves.

People again went down in the fields for pictures while Vinayak and I kept on blabbering about different things with Nitin’s snoring in the background.

Later we all went to a safe back water shore, where we all did chap chap in water, some swimming competition and lastly Sunil’s summersault after we saw a water snake.

 Lunch was again, chicken, fish fry, rice, vegetables etc and after that hearty lunch, when I was still chewing my food, I saw this boat man running and screaming something in Malayalam and then we hear a thudthudthud sound….

Apparently, our house boat had met with an accident with a tree which resulted in a ripped open wall in one of the rooms Thankfully no one hurt and the irony was a small sticker on that wall which read, something like Jesus saves…I don’t remember it correctly.

In the evening we came back to our home stay then got ready and went to Alleppey beach where again I waved my freak flag by flying kite, cutting 2 kites. I was later joined by Sanjay. Poor Mochi, Lenish, Hakim were given the most boring job of the world which is to keep a vigil on other people’s luggage.

The photo bugs in the meantime took a lot of pictures. Now it was time for us to say tata to Alleppey. So we went to the station, ate strange snacks, had tea and boarded our train. Blabbered many things, next morning bid goodbyes and went home with some amazing memories some of which are captures in frames.

Mr. Vhargese Home Stay Details:- Blue Bird Tours Finishing Point, Alleppey Mob:-09349838067 Aprox per Head cost:-2500/-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/93368044@N00/

LetsGo Bangalore is back from its maiden trip to Humpi, instead of Kumbakonam, as was mentioned earlier. The maiden trip of Letsgo Bangalore, which was scheduled for a trip to Kumbakonam, the
temple city in Tamil Nadu, had to be cancelled at the 11th hour on 30th March due to the state wide strike called by the ruling party against the quota issue.
 

On Friday (30th) morning most of the let’s goers in
Bangalore had gone to their work places with their back packs all set because we were to leave right after the work by train. Soon after the NEWS of strike on www.ndtv.com was out people started advising us not to go there as we might get stuck in the station that too in a city where language is the biggest barrier.
 However, we were still in double mind as tickets were booked for 7 letsgoers and we did not want to give it up. I was adamant till 2 pm that no matter what, we will take a risk and would surely go but then had to let go the idea of Kumbakonam because it would have been a very unpredictable situation. So with a lot of disappointment we called up the rest of the wanderers and went ahead with the decision of canceling the Kumbakonam trip.  But rebels that we are with adrenalin running in the adventurous minds, we decided we are gonna travel for sure, no matter what, to some other place may be in Karnataka if not in Tamil Nadu.  And thus started our Google search at 4 pm Friday in search of a destination. Uncalled for suggestions started pouring in and we decided on 2 places-  Medikari in  Coorg or Hampi near Hospet. 

Since, Sanjukta and I both are from
Delhi so we chose Hampi over Hills of Medikeri and made our plan.
The plan was like this, we first decided to get the Kumbakonam tickets cancelled, come back to office, research on Hampi and then leave. After cancellation at 6 pm at Cantonment station, we reached office at 7 pm and researched, took printouts of Hampi, tried doing online booking of train tickets but in vain due to bad server of Indian railways. We then picked our bags and at 8:30 pm were at  the City Junction station waiting for our turns for current booking to Hospet, the  nearest station to Hampi.   Major rush at the counter was for cancellations due to the bandh. After standing for about 45 min we were told that there were no tickets available for “Hampi Express” not even in the general class,  hence, as pre-decided, we immediately rushed towards Majestic intercity bus stop, boarded the bus to Hospet at 10 pm and congratulated each other for our backpacking spirit as this was completely on spur. Just look at the scene, two women in the night traveling to a place which was unknown, whatever was known was through the last moment internet research (thanks to Google). 

The highways in Karnataka are quite good and it was a smooth ride.  The 120 km/ hr speed of the rickety state government’s bus ride was thrilling for me and chilling for Sanjukta as we munched chips and biscuits bought from the station before leaving for the bus stop. We reached Hospet at 5:30 a.m. A big board on the header of KSRTC bus stop “Maintained by “Shivananda Hotel” was our first clue to accommodation. We asked around where is this Sivananda, and check in there at 5.45. Hospet is a quite, industrial town. It has steel plants, sugar mills and other industries with a population of a little over 3 lacs (Source:- a local autowala and a co-passenger with whom we went to see, Tungabhadra Dam on Sunday, the 1st of April ). 

We  were impressed by the rooms in Hotel Shivananda which was nicely decorated at a price of INR 500.00 for 24 hours but were more impressed by the staff’s kindness and hospitality. 31st March, the next day Saturday, 10:30 a.m., we boarded a local bus instead of taxi or auto unlike the other travelers as we wanted to travel in the true back packing ishtyle. It took us 30 minutes to reach Hampi; the city of Vijayanagar empire of king Krishna Dev Raya which is now in ruins and has been taken over by ASI.  

We hired an auto for 5 hours at INR 250.00  for a city tour but we recommend that one should hire bi-cycles or Scooty which are available in plenty in the city. One can easily cycle around the 60 kms radius in winters or take lazy strolls in the evening along the bouldered hillocks.  We were mesmerized completely with the sheer grandeur of the 3mts high Shiv Linga in water. The chambered
Krishna temple looked so haunting with 3 “Garbha Griha” covered in darkness and inhabited by bats. The basementShiva
Temple, which has its top at the ground level and the base submerged in under ground water with fishes in it.

The dilapidated ‘Krishna Bazar” took us in the past when a busy market was once held.  The heat, the dust, the hillocks, the banana farms, the sugar cane juice, the coconut trees, abandoned architecture, the adopted creations, we were completely into it till about 4 pm when our tour came to an end and we decided to have our lunch followed by a trip to Kishkinda, which has a resort, Pumpuhar and a temple dedicated to Hanuman’s Mother. 

The lunch was at a local restaurant which, like Pushkar, claims to serve cuisine of the world but we stuck to coconut porota,  toasts and eggs.  After a not so great lunch, we went to Tungabhadra Ghat to take the boat which is the shortest way to reach Kishkinda (though the auto wala said that there are buses from Hospet to Kishkinda). It was already 5:30 pm and the last boat is at 6 pm so we were apprehensive of going to Kishkinda jungles in the evening lest we get stuck there. 

Also, we had to get down from the boat in the river to reach the ground as there are no Ghats on the other side of Tunga Bhadra hence it is advisable that one wears Bermudas and not jeans like we did. We recommend that one should stay at lodges in Humpi instead of  Hospet, spend 1 and a half day in Humpi and around 11 a.m. the next day leave for Kishkinda, spend about 2 hours there then take a bus for Hospet or come back to Humpi for a bus or auto to Hospet. (there are plenty of buses and autos plying to and from Hospet and Humpi (bus would cost you INR7.00 and a shared auto INR10.00).  It takes about 20 minutes to reach  Hospet from where you can negotiate with an autowala at INR30.00 for a trip to TungaBhadra Dam and while coming back, say about 6 p.m. pay a visit to the TungaBhadra Garden, for its lighting and Musical Fountains. 

Though we came back the same day to Hospet after a failed attempt to Kishkinda. Partied in our hotel room after a tiring but eventful day.  Next day 01st April, we started for Tungabhadra Dam. We were left speechless by the vastness of the river span where the water is being collected. Sanjukta slept under a tree while I wrote this post. Later, I decided to visit the garden, the deer park, the aquarium (you can also climb up to see the watch tower to view the entire Locale) and Sanjukta went down to the exit gate. She was later joined in by me. I had taken a lift from a biker (only private vehicles allowed) to reach the exit gate which is about 1.5 kms away from the dam.  On the main road, there was a tamil festival going on. You can see the pictures always as we don’t know what is that festival called where people stick long iron rods to there skin and pull boulders and autos.  

After reaching Hospet, our auto wala shook hands and in broken English said, “You need auto, I come”. “Auto 2-in-1, gas and petrol both. When gas not possible then petrol”. “ You know Kanada?” To which I replied, “Salpa salpa Kanada. Kanada gothilla”. And we all smiled. 

The trip came to an end at 11:00 pm after reaching
Bangalore by state bus. And the entire trip costed us INR1000.00 per pax.
 

At the end of it the maiden trip was Adventorously exciting, Spiritually enriching, Mentally stimulating, Emotionally fulfilling. Click the link below for photos. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/93368044@N00/http://www.flickr.com/photos/7431039@N03/