Archive for October, 2007

Journey Down Under

Let me start with clarifying any confusion that might arise after reading the title. I had a journey to Tamil Nadu and not Australia or NZ. The article is titled so taking India as a Universal Set.

This trip was to the place which was always on the top of my “NEVER VISIT” places. As I am happily writing about it, it certainly turned out to be one full of pleasant surprises.

We (Shreyas, Varun and I) had to go for visa stamping and as luck would have it (……or as we had planned it 😉 …….), we all had the stamping scheduled on the same date and time. And guess what; we detoured through Pondicherry along the way. It certainly turned out to be (Pondi)cherry on the cake.

Thanks to my vast knowledge and keen interest in History; I was never aware that Pondi had French people and has French as its first language :-P. The 1 day stay there made us taste some of the French and Italian delicacies.We were just trying to follow “When in Rome…………..” funda. Another startling fact we came to know about the place was that BEER is pretty cheap ‘HEER’E. Unfortunately we all are teetotallers.

The Pondi beach road was the highlight of the trip. Similar to Mumbai’s Marine Drive, it was a picturesque scene with road, followed by footpath, sand and then banking by stones finally giving way into the ever so vast Bay of Bengal waters. The other side of the road had everything one could imagine; from restaurants to hotels, to monuments of historical significance, to ALL the government institutions. Everything important in Pondi was on that road.

Another place of considerable significance was Auroville. We had hired bikes and roamed in and around the city finally reaching Auroville. It’s certainly one of it’s kind place in the world. Never knew that such a place existed on earth. It’s a place for people who come for introspection/ salvation/ spirituality. For me it was a beautiful beautiful resort covering 2000 sq kms having all the luxuries one could imagine. The whole place is so calm and serene built in natural surroundings, politely boasting of sites of great architecture with greenery all over.

Said “Au Revoir”(good bye in french) to Pondi and moved towards Chennai.

The journey from Pondi to Chennai made us view another spectacle; I still cannot digest it was India. Though it was only a road but the beauty on and off the road was exemplary. It was a flat racing track, a glittering road straight out of the NFS-II night mode, with sea on one side and cocunut trees on the other. By the way it’s called EAST COAST ROAD(or ECR) and has an accident rate of 8-9 per day. Beauty is always dangerous 😉 .

And finally we reached Chennai, the forbidden land because of the heat and many other prejudices I had. Here again it turned out to be contrary to what i had thought and heard about. Reached there at night and the biggest surprise was the dinner. We had Authentic Punjabi food at the Punjabi Dhaba located adjoining to the hotel we were put in.

Saw “Bourne Ultimatum” at Satyam; the theatre’s ambience and movie complementing each other pretty well. Also visited Snake farm, children’s park :-P, City Center and Spencer. Spencer was easily the biggest mall I have ever visited. Central was truly a MAAL decorated with amazing architecture, filled with exclusive showrooms of the top brands symbolizing the Moolah power of Chennai people.

Then came the D-day, the core reason behind the trip; the Visa stamping. Had a harrowing time standing for around 4.5 hours though it all paid in the end with all of us getting the visa confirmed. Given a chance to control the Indian consulate, I bet I would make Americans stand for 5-6 hours and ask them to come next day :@.

On the whole the trip turned out to be another good example of mixing business with pleasure.


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Finally…it happened, yes we had a trip to Goa. It’s been 2.5 years in Mangalore for me and Goa being 7-8 hours journey away, there was always that urge to visit. But somehow every time the plan used to get scrapped. But this time it wasn’t to be; and what a trip it turned out to be. Went with our project team, we were 14 in all.

Keeping our tradition of Ctrl-C Ctrl-V alive, I will start with borrowing the first line from one of our frens story telling ways.

Once upon a time we went to GOA………

Beach DAY
It was a 2-day trip. We had started on Friday night. Spent the Saturday on Calangute beach. A laid back fun filled day. Experienced some water sports too; bike riding on the waves, though missed para sailing because of off-season. Enjoyed the beach by playing in water, drowning the ones who were scared of it, some of us got ourselves tatooed, we discovered a mermaid too (in pic). A truly GOAn (there’s no better word to describe it) experience.

If the day was laid back experience the night wasn’t to be. No, we didn’t go into any club/pub/disco etc. But instead watched INDIA-AUSTRALIA T-20 World cup semi-final match in our hotel room. Everybody fitted into one room to watch the match. Each ball was commented upon, every shot was cheered and emotions/advice were flowing from each one of us with some of us overdoing it the SREESANTH way. ( 8-| Specky smiley). It all paid in the end when India won the match. I bet nobody in the world would have enjoyed the match and celebrated the win as we did. We had a little Sreesanth ishstyle celebration too.

A dig into history
The Sunday was going to be even more eventful. We started off with a visit to a famous church in GOA and then to the Archaeological Museum just in front of the church. Both the monuments are reminiscent of GOAn culture and architecture.

Then while going for lunch we saw the church shown in the movie JOSH. We were “joshed” up too :-); stopped there. And took some shots(took pics only :P). It was nice little fun with Habeeb standing posing in the middle of the road to take a pic of rest of us who had formed a V on the footsteps of the church. The passers-by were gazing and were amused to see what we were up to.

It’s F1 Season Dear
After lunch, we went for GO-CARTING. Another 3-4 hours of fultoo fun highlighted by Beena and Jitha’s S………………………………..L…………………….O…………………………….W driving, Habeebs crash with Amit and Ruby, exhibition of great driving skills by Shweta by not allowing Fahad and Avin to overtake her. The most exciting phase came when it started raining whilst some of us were giving the race track a second try. The cars started skidding; I crashed twice. It was like a godsend rain which made our experience much more fun than we would have imagined. It was pure luck which made us experience both dry and wet driving F1 😉 conditions.

Pirates on the Ship
It was evening by now and the rain wasn’t showing any signs of stopping. We were a bit apprehensive about our final target; the CRUISE might get spoiled. But it wasn’t to be as God was planning things well. The rain stopped right in time for us to board the CRUISE. We all were pumped up by now because of the excitement and the fun we had till then and that extra energy was spilled to the hilt on the CRUISE. Our group was the center of attraction on the Cruise, first because of Habeeb’s antics(ok dance) on the stage, then the wonderful dance display by Avin,Shweta,Habeeb and Beena and finally some energetic and to some extent wild dance by rest of us. This iTunes team was making people dance to their tunes. We were certainly CRUISING…

The last supper
It was a fitting end to a wonderful wonderful dream like trip. Had our last supper (of the trip) and moved back towards Mangy. But those 2 days will always be part of our happier memories.


For more pics and a glimpse of the fun we had click here

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