Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Dreamer

It was 6:30am, bright nice sun rise, hot bed tea, beautiful Himalayan range all around u.

I was sitting on a slab just outside this only tea shop around on a cross road, when I heard a beautiful voice. I did not bother for a while, then I realized someone was in fact trying to talk to me, I turned back, A cute Lady, probably the most cute girl I had seen till that date spoke out. “Hi, Can you tell me how we can go to Jalori Pass”. She was beautiful, cat eyes, long hair and a voice to die for. I was so stunned that she had to almost hit me to wake me up. She along with quite a few were in a Jeep, looked like some family trip, there were two of these vehicles. I did guide them to the way to Jalori Pass and was still lost about seeing this beautiful Girl. I sat there completed my glass of tea thinking about her. I could hear whatever she said again and again, making me actually turn back and see if she came back. She was in a total joy mood, all enthusiastic about going to Jaori pass, the nearest peak from where you could get a glimpse of ever beautiful snow clad mountains of Himalayas. I could not wait for rest of my group members to get up from their sleep, as I badly wanted to cycle to the peak to get a glimpse of what I had cycled for three days, No No, it was not just the Himalayas, but also the Sweet Girl added to the agenda :D. It was 7:30 when we finally left the camp and started upwards. The whole ride was just super, and I was surprised with my own pace, I could not believe my energy, probably the desire to see that gal got me going on and on.

I did the reach the peak and was so surprised and happy to see the sweet girl on top, She was sitting in the temple and praying a little aloud. I heard her pray, Dear God, Can you see those snow clad mountains, somewhere there is Mt. Everest and I am told it is very beautiful, I want to climb that one day.......... I was stunned, she had so much enthusiasm about mountains, she even was busy telling about how much she enjoys walking and hiking to the people who she came with. Never before had seen such a dreamer, climbing Mount Everest was just a small dream; her bigger dreams included becoming a doctor, working with under privileged. Now this got me even more interested to talk to her, know more about her. After some hiding and following her, I did manage to talk to her, before I could talk more, we both were interrupted with our respective groups that it was time to leave and head home.

Never had such a beautiful morning in my life till then and I knew I will have a trip to remember forever. If someone asked who is a dreamer, I wish I could show her picture. As we were riding back, we were halted by a Police patrol vehicle, asking us to be real careful while going down as just 10 minutes back a tragedy had struck in the mountains, A jeep had fell off a cliff 400 ft down. I could not just hear probably what was going, it was my team lead who was talking to the police. All I could make out was a bad accident, we started riding very slowly as directed by the patrol team and our team lead. All along I was only thinking of whose jeep could that be, I had already lost the strength, I could not ride anymore, I was literally pushing the cycle and walking. Something I sensed wrong and did not have the courage to pass the accident site. But then I had to, I did the reach the site eventually, Police vehicles, lot of people, Ambulances, people running around, Not a scene u would want to see after a lovely morning. I was just looking at only one thing, frantically searching for a bright red jeep. I was relieved to see the jeep in which the sweet gal was sitting when I last saw her, I was trying to smile, just when I saw two people carrying a gal in a stretcher to the ambulance, I tried to see who it was, The doctor came by tried to retrieve her. He gave up hopes all the people around moved away, and there she was Sweet girl was one of 11 people inside the ill fated jeep, hardly 7 years of age, resting in peace, still carrying that beautiful smile on her. Tears all over my face, only wondering how a dream had been shattered. How destiny can lead you or control you. She was supposed to be in the other jeep, but then destiny probably had some other plans. I never expected that I would remember this day for all the wrong reasons. One drivers fault and a billion dreams shattered. A Lesson learnt, Drive safe, it is not just you and your dreams, there are millions other dreams with you in the vehicle, and respect that.

This is based on true story.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A trip to New Zealand - Part 2.

Also See A trip to New Zealand - Part 1

Airport was little far off from the City Center where our college and our Temporary accommodation is located. We were getting the drop in a Airport Shuttle and ours was the last stop, By the time we were dropped and got to the room, it was almost 4pm, We dropped our bags immediately set out to the University Campus to see if we can meet someone, But we could not anyone since it was a Friday and by 4pm most places are off by then. We did manage to speak to a very sweet lady who gave us some nice advice and tips and the required info for the time being.

We then set out to find a Vodafone store to get ourselves a Sim card, Unlike India, Vodafone guys did not ask for any documents or photo, All they wanted was money and lots of it, Guess how much did it cost us for the sim card???? $30 and it came with a talk time of....... just Zero $. Minimum recharge was for $20 and we had to pay $50 for the sim card and $20 talk time valid for a month, and do you want to know the call rates, $0.89 for local and ISD calls, strange hun? yeah, it is, we were cursing Vodafone so much, but then later we realized, ppl hardly use there cell phones here, they often text (they don’t call it smsing here, rather called texting), for $10 a month, we get 2000 Texts, which is considered as a Awesome offer, When I told the locals here that back home in India we had unlimited smsing (texting) and for $2(just 2 bucks) we could get 600 calls, He was shocked.

The next few days was just roaming around the city center and we did roam quite a lot, The whole of City centre is hilly with ups and downs, this place reminds me of San Diego and Walking was not easy, but in last few days we got used to walking that we don’t mind it any more, But first day, we almost thought of investing in a car, only to realize later that owning a car was costly mainly for parking as it costs easily $10 a day. But Good thing is we are walking quite a lot and kind of enjoying also :)

We met couple of Indians (seniors) and got some inputs on courses to choose, Job market etc. We also checked out some India eat-outs and also Indian grocery store, where all the Indian stuff is available. I have been spending quite a lot for food here, almost 90% of the places I have been, I have been ordering something that is not there on the Menu and it was specially made for me, for Example, We went to a Mexican eat out and there was some plain rice with Chicken Combo, But they also had Burritos(In Indian terms, Chapathi Rolls), They had Black Beans Burritos and Guess what I asked him, I asked for a Plain rice with Black bean, though he said that is not there on the menu, he was more than happy to serve me my combo :). Seriously speaking, the people are real nice here and surprised to see the same.

We went apartment hunting from the day we arrived till now; we are going to every apartment around this area. This may sound weird, that we went to each apartment and asking if there are any vacancies, something that I am an expert in, because this is what I used to do in India. Strangely this is how people here find an apartment. There are real estate agents here as well, but they charge just like in India, very costly and they don’t deserve it. In India they at least take you door to door, here they just sit in office and tell you where to go. The charges here are 1 weeks rent + $80 + tax. Man, things are real costly here and 90% of the apartments are sold thru agents here

But fortunately, we found an apartment in which there was no letting in fee (They call it letting in fee here for the non-refundable stuff that we pay the agent). Though the weekly rent is high, we are saving a $500 on letting in fee for this apartment, and the apartment in two blocks and 2 min walk away from the University. So it is almost like we are staying within the Uni Campus. Will upload the pics of the apartment and University shortly. By the way, the apartment is a Studio flat with Kitchen cum Living, a balcony and a small bedroom with attached bath.

We still have not got our Student ID cards, once we get it, we will get lot of discounts, Like 40% off for the Public transport buses, and otherwise they are very costly, with a minimum fare of $1.5. I saw some Indian Police here and also saw an Indian Police in a Hot Pursuit, that was pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A trip to New Zealand - Part 1

It was around 8:50pm when we left my home, on reaching the airport, it was all about weighing your luggage and taking out stuff so that it did not cross the weight limitations, I un-fortunately had to remove all my Concert DVD's :(. I even had to wear the blazer to reduce weight, It was now time to say a small good bye to all and went in to the check in counter, fortunately and un-fortunately the weighing machine was not correct and he just let all my bags in, :( should have taken my DVD's.

I got the boarding pass and then headed to immigration, only to realize that I had misplaced my Passport and the boarding pass too, after some frantic phone calls and searches it was found in Friend's bag, which was traveling with me too. Strange enough on how it reached his bag. All this took a little time and finished the immigration procedure and the security just in time to board the flight. The flight took off at the right time and in three hours; it landed all safe at the Bangkok Airport. We had a 14 hr Transit at Bangkok, so couple of us, took the Visa on Arrival and went for a 5 hour tour to Bangkok, by now we already the feel of being a student, thinking 10 times before we took the money out to spend on anything, including food and water.

The Bangkok trip was nice but very hot and humid; we went to couple of Buddha temples and back to airport in time for the transit flight to Auckland. The Thai people were nice, very helpful, and very patient. The traffic situation in Bangkok is horrible than in Bangalore, in the 5 hrs we were out in Bangkok, we were in traffic for 3 hrs and we hardly traveled 50 km. But it was fun, the guide told us some interesting facts about Thai people worshipping Buddha and also link with Lord Shiva, that was little surprising for me, I even saw the Shiva Linga in couple of places.

We were early to the airport for the next flight, so we waited at the waiting hall that had recliners, the moment I sat on them I went off to sleep for about 2 hrs I think. It was very relaxing.

We boarded the flight and it was a B777 flight with individual entertainment system that was pretty cool. Then came the dinner time and there began my hunt for veg food, The flight attendant told me they had no veg food, but when I told him I don’t eat meat, he somehow managed to get me some fruit salad and curds and believe it or not, two Aloo Paratha. I was so happy to see that, and thank the flight attendant for being very sweet. :)

Landed at the airport and customs clearance was all fine, we had a warm welcome from the university people, and the people were sweet and helpful, they arranged for our airport transfer to temp accommodation. They even gave us couple of chocolates and a Tetra pack Juice.............

More to come…………

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trip to Raniganj

I wrote this one long time back, but I have no clue why I did not post. Any case here it is, I have been writing, but never posted, no clue why, will post others when I am able to locate them on my hard drive

It was 6am, trying hard to sleep more, but was not able to, Got down from my Upper birth in my train, and was lucky enough to find a window seat empty, sat there and opened the window, there came a voice from somewhere, "Please close the window, it is very cold", I had no choice, I had to shut, then went straight to the door, opened it and turned around for more voices, ah, Good, nothing heard. I sit there on the door step, looking out, hmm, bad luck, visibility was just about 5 meters, heavy Fog, but it was fun, train moving at a speed as that of a snail or may be slower, I don’t know if heavy Fog was the reason.

Then started my long wait for my station, where I had to get down and head to Raniganj, but then I am known for it, it always happens with me, Train is running very late, may be up to 2 hrs late, went back to my seat (the window seat), with window still shut, thanks to those who were still sleeping and making me jealous. I thought it was time to read something, took out a RK Narayan’a malgudi story book and started reading from where I left previous night.

7am, 8am, 9am, Train still happily moving at its own phase, and stopping at every station(wow, it is supposed to be a super fast express). By now I already started to get worried on missing my connecting train to Raniganj which was at 10:30 from Bardhwan, time passed by, it was 10AM (I was to reach bardhwan at 7am),

When I finally asked a local Tea vendor on how far is bardhwan, and reply was, "Sir, yeah Train tho bardhwan nahin jayegi".. I was like, what??????. Not surprised, things never go the right way for me.

Thanks to the same tea vendor, who suggested me alternative to reach Raniganj. I was to get down at next station which was to arrive in 5 minutes and then take a bus to Bardhwan and then another bus to Raniganj.

Before he could complete his suggestion, the station arrived, I just took my Bag, with the book still in my hand, I did not have time to think, and I just blindly believed the tea vendor and got down.

I was reading that part of the book, where the author is describing a tea stall and that the things cost less in the tea stall that was the last thing I read. I walk out of the station and there it was a Tea stall, similar to what I read lot of flies on the Bread etc, Best part was the cost, A puri costs a buck and a glass of Tea costs a buck too. For a movement I thought if I was lost reading or I was actually in the process of eating 10 puri's and a glass of tea for 11 bucks. The whole setup up of that place was very imaginary.

I went to bus stop, all the people waiting there were busy smoking bedis, and nobody seem to know Hindi. But somehow managed get a bus ride to Bardhwan, It was three hours Bus ride, ON ROOF TOP OF IT, then those three hours ride happened to be the most scariest and best rides, best because it was awesome fun, scariest because I almost got knocked out by a tree branch(phew, that was really close), after that incident, I was just holding tightly to the railings and dodging the tree branches, bend to left or right, or sometime just go on your back, all the people around were buzy laughing at what I was doing, I was toooo scared, I would bend to any tree branch that I saw, irrespective of how far it was from me.

Finally reached Bardhwan, and then took another bus ride to Raniganj, a label on the bus read "Super Fast Express, No concession allowed". only after the bus started to move I realized meaning of it, it meant, it would stop every 2 km. 60 km ride took almost 3 hours on a 6 lane highway.

It was around 5Pm I finally reached Raniganj, Maddy picked me up from the Bus stop to his house, A feast lunch was awaiting me at his house, it was the best North Indian Food I ever had and I don’t remember how many different varieties of sweets and dishes I had that day. Celebrated tasty food with fine Indian victory against England, with Tendulkar hitting a brilliant century, and according to me this is his second best Hundred till date, first being the century at the same venue against Pakistan...

And what followed was a much deserved rest..............

The End..

Do Dreams really come true?

I hear this quite often, I mean the phrase, "Dream come true". what does it really mean, after much debate with myself, I decided and came to a conclusion, that dreams are something u will never achieve, and aim is something that you know u can achieve and work towards it.

For me these were some of my dreams.

Cross country road trip to leh ladak from bangalore on bike.

Drive a Ferrari or rather own one (dream because, Even if I have so much money, I would never buy this one, when obv this money can be used for so many other good causes) and many more alike.

Some of my aim in life are, Travel as much as you can, etc, etc.

Ok, here is the reason why I am writing this, I had a chance, a chance of lifetime go to leh ladak biking, I was all exited and was telling abt it to many of my friends, also started wondering "Dream come true movements do really exists, but then, I was told by the organizers that my bike is tooo old for the same, Even before I could realize the moment, and started to think and debate abt what dreams are etc, there it was, what many would like to call Dreams shattered.

So I still stick back to my old thought of Dreams being just dreams, I don’t think in reality they ever exist and those dream come true moments really don’t take place, at least in my life

Hmm, for now, Leh Ladak bike trip is still a distant dream.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Black Magic??.

I have all the reasons to believe that some one was doing black magic on me (or may be still doing). Wiki defines black magic as 

Black magic or dark magic is a form of sorcery that draws on malevolent powers. It may be used for dark purposes or malevolent acts that deliberately cause harm in some way. It is alternatively spelt with a 'k' (magick). This term is also known as the dark arts of magic and dark side magic.
You can find more about it here.  

So here is what happened. I had Five Punctures (all on my bike's BIG FAT back wheel) in less than four days, followed by two more in as many weeks that followed. Each and every picture was similar; a small nail was the destructor.

  Day 1(Wednesday) Morning: I was in a hurry to go office for an Important meeting, I had to go to Tippasandra for a small work(drop cheque) and then head to office, I reached ATM at 9am, dropped the cheque and was heading office, and that was the time for first puncture (after almost an year). I have this Rescue membership(24 hrs break down assistance), to which I thought, I will give a call, only to realize that the membership had expired, I had paid 365 bucks for the membership for one year and had used it only once. Luckily I found a mechanic just yards away, Got the bike fixed and went to office in time,

  Day 2(Thursday) Morning: I wanted to go to office early as I had to leave office early that day. I went to basement parking of my apartment to find a flat tyre on my bike, by then (luckily) I had renewed my Rescue membership for another one year. I called them up; the mechanic arrived in about 15 minutes and fixed the bike. Previous day the mechanic who did my first puncture had told me to change the tube next time it goes flat. So this time I changed the Tube and hoped the things to be fine. I reached office 1 hour later than expected time.

  Day 2(Thursday) Evening: I was at home with my Friend, and we decided to go out for dinner, to a place close to my Apartment. On the way I got a call from my friend and I had to reach BTM and it was urgent. I was low on fuel; I went to Shell petrol bunk on Old madras road and took off to BTM, 500 meters into the ride, Boom!, it was time for Third puncture, and at a time when I was in a hurry. To my luck, I found an Auto guy who agreed to take me to BTM and drop me back to old madras road and best part is he did not demand any extra money; He just put the meter! and that too at around 10:30PM. On the Way I called up my friend and the Rescue guy and asked them to co-ordinate and get the bike fixed, I was back in an hour’s time and by them the bike was fixed.

Day 3(Friday): All was fine. And I thought three punctures in two days was too much to be happening to anyone.

Day 4(Saturday) Morning: I had to go to my new house site for some documents signing and I came to basement of my apartment to find a flat tyre again. By then I was wondering (yeah, you all can think what all I could have been wondering about). It was time to call the Rescue guys again, called them, got it fixed, went to site, finished my work and went to office for some urgent issue (yeah, urgent issues are always on a Saturday!). I finished the stuff around 4 and went to BDA complex for a small snack. I came back all tired to go home and Boom! Time for fifth Puncture. In one whole previous year, I did not use the Rescue card for any emergency as much as I did in last three days. Phew.

I decided then that I will write about it, but only after this thing (If I have to call it Black Magic) stops.

This was about three weeks back, after that I had two more punctures and totally 5 punctures on my new tube and the new tube is due for a change in another 2 or three punctures.

I have waited enough for this crazy ride to stop, but it has not, so I am going ahead and posting this, May be everything will be normal after this. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ragi Muddhe with Chicken Curry

Saturday morning, I woke up early (as always) at 6:53AM, My maid, she always comes early on week-ends!
After a dull morning, I messaged Satish, Pooh and San, if they want to join me for Rotti oota(North Karnatak Cuisine lunch) at one of my favorite places in Bangalore, Amruta 
Restaurant. After two hour's of waiting, no one replied back :(. So I decided I will go alone this time.

As I reach to the my bike in the basement, I realized for some reason, I did not feel like taking the bike out that day, I decided I will use public transport instead. I walked upto the C V Raman Nagar bus stop and to my surprise I find the Rupee one Volvo bus again!. WOW, Awesome. It looked as if bus was waiting for me, I  just got into and it started to move!

As the bus neared the Lido mall, My phone rang and it was Satish, he said he and Pooh will be joining for lunch, Yipeeeee! :), I was not alone anymore for my favorite lunch.

After about an hour of ride, I finally reached the place, waited patiently for Pooh and Satish to turn up, they finally did, and we had a nice lunch.

We started walking back to the bus stand, when all of a sudden, we started talking about favorite dishes etc and then I happened to say Ragi muddhe and chicken curry happens to be my favorite dish and Pooh was quick enough to say that her mom prepares awesome muddhe and chiken curry, and she also prmoised me that she and her mom will cook my favorite combo meal some day.

Some time late in the day, I was chatting with Pooh on gamil chat, and she asked me if I was free on Sunday(the next day), when I asked what for?, she told me that we all are going to have Ragi muddhe the very next day!. I was so happy. You made my Day! Pooh. After that it was all about waiting for lunch time on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon 1PM, Pooh and Satish landed at my place with Ragi muddhe and Chicken Curry. We all enjoyed the lunch.

What a lunch I had that day. Thanks to Pooh and her mom, I got to eat one of my favorite combo meal, Home cooked Ragi muddhe(Ragi Balls) with chicken curry. It was yummy.
Now, I need more of it, and more often :). And best part is I know who to ask for :)