Bengaluru

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I hope I spelt it correct. The trip was damn good. On Saturday I visited the salon and rushed to the airport. My flight was from the new terminal. I was thirsty and hungry but guess what… none of the 5-6 outlets had bottled water. There were taps around but no glasses. Anyone know taps for drinking water in USA… where you have to place your mouth above the tap and open it? The water flows into your mouth… well, they were definitely there. I do not understand the logic… after all, 90% people using the domestic airport are Indians and would we drink water like that??? Never!!!

Anyway, KC picked me up and we headed to his guesthouse in Ulsoor. I had asked him; “Is it cold in B’glore?” and he said; “No”.
Me: Will I feel cold there?
Him: It is neither cold nor hot. It is pleasant.
I decided to carry my stole anyway… since I am more sensitive to cold climate.
We walked around 1 km to the guesthouse. The plan was to meet Dhruv for dinner at Spiga.
Spiga is a nice lounge in the Crossword building on MG road. It is a rooftop restaurant with lots of lights. I loved it. There are not many options in food but I liked my red thai curry and chicken satay. Dhruv booked us for dinner on all days thereafter.
On day 2 we met RT, Appu and Arjun for lunch at Hotel Richmond on Richmond road. I had my fill of sambhar rice. After watching Khelein Jee Jaan se we headed to Mainland China for dinner with Dhruv. The night ended with chocolate fudge at Corner House. KC and I walked in the winter hand in hand. What a night!!!
I was in no mood to socialise on day 3 and cancelled plans. We had lunch at Ente Keralam (don’t remember the exact name) near Manipal Center. The food was superb… appam, chicken curry and chicken briyani. They served us coconut water in actual coconuts. It was also reasonably priced. Yum!!! After spending a few hours at Forum we watched Social Network and ended the day with dinner at Nagarjuna on M G road.
KC was working on day 4 and I met Sinha and Sahana at Barista in Leela Palace. Time flew as they shared details of their life in Sweden. I got many many many stares and looks while waiting for them to pick me up at Manipal Center. After lunch at Nandhini I headed back to wait for KC. The flight was at night… I wanted to spend 2-3 hours with KC even though that would mean reaching home after midnight.
It was a good trip and here are my thoughts:
  • I miss winters…. B’glore winter was so good.
  • I loved walking in B’glore… there is space to walk… unlike in Mumbai… where we have to walk on the roads and jostle for space among vehicles
  • B’glore has many rooftop pubs/restaurants due to the awesome weather… Mumbai lacks those
  • I love South Indian food… and finally I managed to have a meal at Nandini
  • I bought KC a new perfume to replace the one I broke
I am feeling extremely tired today… managed to finish a lot of chores- unpack, wash clothes, grocery shopping, tailor etc
I was afraid of travelling alone at midnight but there was enough traffic and police on the road. The biggest advantage of Mumbai- safety.


Comfort Zone

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I travelled to Pune yesterday by bus. I got onto a bus after almost a year and had forgotten how pleasant the journey can be. There was also the fear which made me realize I have entered a comfort zone. The thought of getting out of the cocoon is so tiring that I have stopped making efforts. I love to travel…. entering a new terrain gladdens my heart… whether it is the ghats near Lonavala or the stone houses at Saurashtra or dry land at Kutch… it is a new experience with new possibilities. Bus journeys have the maximum scope for imagination. Another great part is that travelling cuts me off from people… there cannot be long conversations on the phone (atleast not throughout the journey). All I can do is read and listen to music. I get the “Me” time. And since there are no distractions the thoughts come unbidden.

I wondered why I have not taken my car and driven to Lonavala. It would be extremely refreshing.
Through FB I realized an old friend is in Pune. I wondered if I should give him a call. We did not part on good terms. On reaching Pune I decided to throw caution to the winds and made the call (God bless FB… anyone contact is available there). He didn’t answer. “Oh well!!! What would I have said anyway.”; I thought. But he called back and sounded happy to hear from me. The meeting in Pune stretched till 7 pm and there was no time to meet up which was disappointing. There are some people we can call even after 10 years of not staying in touch. I have quite a few such friends.
On the journey I thought about my “happy places”… places in my mind/memories where I turn when life gets too much:
  • My bed at home. I dream of going home and sleeping on that bed. Everytime an opportunity to go home comes I somehow shirk it. If things didn’t go well there, the happy place will not give me happy thoughts. I am just keeping the door open.
  • Taking walks at Manipal. You never knew where it would take you. Every path (even the well trodden one) managed to surprise me. The best place was “the hillside”.
  • My trip to Corbett. I had the best time with Abhinav and Dhruv – specially our all night talking and drinking.
  • My trip to Bangkok- again with Abhinav and Dhruv. Those were good times and I am lucky to have such friends.
  • The time with RT and Appu at CCD in Manipal…. dinners of paratha and khichdi at Sheela (did I get the name right?) with them
  • Bike rides with KC when we started dating… I wish I had a bike instead of the car and he would still take me around everywhere

And this is probably the most “open”, “frank” post of 2009. Savour it…

The reason I have not been writing anything with “substance” is I am so distracted I don’t have a heart to heart with myself. I need to travel more… much much much more.


Sambhar Rice

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I headed to B’glore over the weekend. It was very difficult to work on Thursday… I kept thinking about the flight on Friday. I am very bad with packing… usually, end up packing too much.

Here is the excess that was packed:
  • All the clothes I bought in Globus… to show KC. I don’t have the patience to wait for a week when he comes home
  • An extra pair of formal footwear since I had to go to office on Monday morning from the airport
  • Extra pair of formals… incase I am not in the mood to wear what I plan to wear
  • Extra pair of casuals… incase I am not in the mood to wear what I plan to wear
  • Jewellery… even though I will wear only 2-3 pairs of earrings
  • Toiletries… I prefer to stick to my preferred brands and don’t like sharing KC’s… though he is free to share mine
  • CDs with all the downloaded “stuff”.. for KC
  • 3 flavours of Smint… lemon is my fav

You get the picture.

KC and I rushed to 13th floor on Friday night to meet Dhruv. We met after 6 months (Dhruv and me… not KC and me). Unfortunately, it was dry weekend and 13th floor was closed. We had an Italian dinner at a restaurant on the same floor. It was fun… I missed Abhinav a lot. It is so strange… three of us are in different regions again.
I headed to RT’s home on Sat while KC was at work. We chatted lazily in her room. Appu joined us for lunch. The plan was to go to Medichee (hope I spelt it right) but it was closed (damn.. the dry weekend). We had no option but to go to ‘100 feet’… very expensive and not so great. KC joined us for lunch. And then… it was shopping time.
I wanted to watch ‘LSD’ but KC was exhausted… or maybe he wanted to watch the match. For dinner he took me to a chettinad restaurant. I was super excited about eating sambhar rice… the sambhar is Mumbai is so pathetic… it is sweet and tastes like piss. I craved for some authentic sambhar. The sambhar cooked in the cafeteria of Taj Coromandel is the best I have had… they add loads and loads of baby onions. Yum!!! It is almost orgasmic.
Anyway… the restaurant had run out of rice. I was devastated… we inquired at Nandini, they refused to deliver if the bill was less than 200 bucks… and sambhar rice costs only 38 bucks. I ordered food worth 200 bucks and viola, had my fill of sambhar.
The next night I wanted to eat sambhar rice again. The chettinad restaurant didn’t have sambhar. I convinced them to give me “tiffin sambhar” (sambhar served with idli/dosa) with rice. Yum, again!!!
Guess, whats for dinner tonight? Sambhar rice… 🙂


Not looking forward to weekend

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It has been a frustrating day. Apart from work woes I missed my driving classes (more on this later)… and to relieve my stress I went for some retail therapy. I went to Big Bazaar to buy a body scrub but could not find it and ended blowing money on crap I am never going to eat. Atleast they accept Sodexho meal vouchers (my company has started giving us Sodexho meal vouchers as part of our salary… I have to search for places to use them). Sigh!!!

I am not even thinking about this weekend in Rajkot. I will be so bored I might end up working.

Some good things I want to talk about:

  • On my B’day Tangy posted the below poem on the FB Wall:

It’s a perfect multiplation,
Feel the vibe, enjoy the fascination,

It’s a perfect situation,
This poem might seem to have have an ugly word combination,

Once again this is your Day,
Enjoy it in entirety in your unique way,

Wishing happy birthday to you,
And may all your dreams come true,

Get high tonight, even if it is on Red Bull
Happy happy birthday again to you Bulbul

It reminded me of my B’day 2 years back in B’glore. I had worked all day in the heat, fell ill and went to bed early. I didn’t even have the energy to answer the phone. The day I was supposed to leave for Chennai Tangy met up with me in CCD on Brigade road. He gifted me a pair of wooden bangles (I still have them) and I was touched. It was the only B’day gift I received that year.
Thanks Tangy… again.

  • Appu called sometime back to tell me that Sakshi and Siddarth won Splitsville and it is good I didn’t ask Joanna at the airport about the winners. She would have murdered me.
  • KC has decided to stay home and play Scrabble with me all night instead of meeting his friends. Sweet!!!

Now for the driving classes… I bought a car last month. I have been planning to buy one for a year now… come to think of it, if I would have purchased it last year the car loan would have been paid off by now. I learned to drive 2 years back (I remember writing about it on my blog and Gunj’s comments… and Nick letting me drive his car in A’bad). Since then I have not touched a car. But last week I wanted to take KC, his bro and bro’s friend for a drive. The other two were unaware about the lack of my driving skills and KC was holding on to his life. I could not drive it well and the car stopped in the middle of a busy road. That was the end of the drive. KC nagged me into learning to drive all over again. I spent half hour making “8” on the ground in the car. Today I practised using the clutch and accelerator such that the car doesn’t stop on a stimulator… and my car will come to Rajkot on Monday.

Yippie!!! I just need to find a driver by then.

I am watching Lipstick Jungle on Starworld… I have read the book… hope the series is good.


Munnar Trip

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I had been looking forward to this trip for months. I was stressed and so was KC.
RT, Appu and I had planned to go to Kerala after placements but it didn’t work out (‘coz I had dropped out). I have wanted to visit Munnar since then. The first time RT went there she called me and declared what a beautiful place it is.

It was decided then… KC put Lakshwadweep on the list but I campaigned for Munnar and took care of the details. The plan was to stay at Club Mahindra (which is the best resort in Munnar) for 3-4 days… next 2-3 days we could go to Thekkady, Backwaters and Cochin. But RT insisted that I travel less since it will be terribly hot and humid in Kerala.

We took an early morning (6 am) flight from Mumbai to Cochin and hired a cab from Cochin to Munnar. Munnar is 2.5-3.5 hrs away. The drive is amazing… greenery everywhere… I was reminded of Mt Abu and Manipal. I missed Manipal terribly and kept repeating over and over again; “Manipal is this beautiful” which irritated KC… don’t know why. I forgot to ask.
Here is a pic of the first view of Munnar:

Everything is green as far as the eye can see. When we arrived there was fog/mist everywhere. Our room had a huge living room; bedroom; dining room cum kitchen with utensils, microwave etc; bathroom and a balcony with a view of the lake. Right in front of the window was a tree house where you can have your meals (at a higher charge, of course).

Day 1: The stress of the last months got to us and we slept all day after lunch. The food in the resort is freaking expensive and there is tax on bloody everything. We woke up to rains splashing on our window and the evening was spent playing Scrabble… I am bad at Carrom, Chess bores me to death (My sis used to make me play Chess for hrs as a kid… she didn’t have anyone else to play with… I would lose asap to end the game), badminton was not available, kids were playing snooker and air hockey.

Day 2: We went early morning sight seeing to Munnar. The resort is 20 kms away from Munnar. We headed to Periakanal falls, Mattupetty Dam for a ride on speed boat, elephant ride (didn’t do that), flower garden (totally avoidable), echo point (avoidable). We didn’t get the opportunity to go to top station. It is the highest peak in Munnar.

Tea plantations
Matupetty Dam

The evening was spent playing Scrabble, Pathwords and watching IPL. It was raining again and the weather was so good.

Day 3: We headed to Gudampara estate which is a private estate. From the top of the hill we could see Kerala and TN border. There were lot of opportunities for clicking pics. There is a lake where we went fishing. Obviously, we didn’t catch anything. The last stop was at the hanging bridge. As soon as we reached it it started raining. The evening was spent playing Scrabble, Pathwords and watching IPL. This is the first time in my life that I am watching cricket. Cricket is so boring. It should be banned.


Kerala TN border


Path in the estate

Lake where we fished

Day 4: We skipped Night Safari… there is no point going to a jungle from 11 pm-6 am. If we don’t come across animals also we would get irritated. We skipped the tea plantation tour… everywhere we looked there were tea plantations anyway. We headed to Thekkady for a visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Thekkady is 2-2.5 hrs from Munnar. There is a boat which takes tourists into the sanctuary. The view is breath-taking. There is a cool breeze blowing and you can easily fall alseep. But our eyes were wide open on the look out for animals. We spotted elephants, wild buffalo and deer. There is a resort in the middle of the jungle and trekking is regularly organized. We decided to come here again just for trekking. Thekkady mein ek aur trip banta hai.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

It rained again but now it was warmer… the fog/mist had lifted. We spent the evening playing Scrabbles, Pathwords and watching IPL.

Day 5: A week earlier I had a discussion with KC and his friend, Rohan.
KC: She likes to plan her trips to the dot… there is a time table as to when to wake up, have b’fast, sight seeing… it is so tiring. Trips are meant to relax and sleep.
Me: Why the hell go all the way to a remote location just to sleep? Why not just take leave and sleep in your house?
Rohan: Obviously, you have to sleep on trips…
Me: Why???
KC: You won’t understand… you have stayed in good places like Mt Abu and Manipal… I have only been in Mumbai where you can hear traffic even at 3/4 am. The undisturbed sleep that you can get in remote locations on trips is blissful.
He is right. We decided not to do anything that day. We clicked pics, took a walk and generally chilled.

Day 6: Last and final day in Munnar… I wanted to shop a little in Cochin. We left at 4 pm thinking we would arrive comfortably at 6 pm… shop at M G road and reach airport at 8.30 pm. We had miscalculated. It took us 3.5 hrs to get to Cochin. M G road was an hour farther. We shopped at the airport. Thank god, there are shops at airports.

All in all a wonderful trip… relaxing and fun. If I had to do it again, I would visit back waters first… then head to Thekkady… go trekking there and then head to Munnar to chillax… ‘coz once you are in Munnar you won’t have the heart to leave.

We reached Mumbai with a leaden heart.

PS:

  • Munnar is covered with tea plantations owned by Tata, RPG, etc. You can stay in a cheaper resort/hotel and still enjoy the view
  • There were mostly families staying at Club Mahindra which shows that their business model is very successful. And these families were middle class. It shows that the people find the membership economical and affordable. We were tempted to take up the membership but have decided to wait a few months.
  • A bike ride around Munnar would be divine


Happy Holi

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Hiya… Happy Holi… forgive me if you messaged a greeting and I didn’t reply. I am quite lazy.

I am exhausted today and plan to sleep by 10 pm… have come to Veraval to spend my Holi.
My 2 younger cousins are quite excited and have been threatening to spray me with color even though I have warned them; “Plz don’t… I don’t want to play Holi… my skin is quite sensitive”.

Right now Nani is cooking something (don’t know the English term for the Sindhi food) on cakes of cow dung like they did in the old days.

Me: Umm… that is being cooked directly on the cow dung…
Mama: So? They cooked like that in old days… it is quite hygienic
Me: I thought they used utensils
Mama: Bhaati (of Daal Bhaati fame) is also cooked directly
Me: I am not eating that.. ok? Holi or no Holi

Me (to cousin): Oye… go spray water on the dogs…
Cousin: I can’t… they will fall sick
Me: And I won’t???

Anyways… enjoy your Holi. I was in Gurgaon last year during Holi… hated every moment of it.

The year before that I was at Manipal… RT and I had pulled Appu for the Holi at the boys hostel when we found out she has never played it. She was so much a part of us that we forgot she is Mallu.