Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oh !!! this is called dying !!!

Action : A brush with death.
Place : Hornbill resort on side on Kali River in Dandeli.
Members : Abhinav, Ankur , Mohit and Shantanu

Mohit was the fun of the trip, the guy with never say die attitude, he can go on and on.

It was April of 2008 and we had a long weekend with us. we needed a plan and a destination. Abhinav always believes that this trip was his brain child and I leave it to him. I had just joined my new company and it was 3 month for abhinav in Microsoft. Mohit and Ankur joined us for a trip to dandeli we had the route map with us , couple of beer can and all the chips in the world to eat.

Somehow I get bored in a long trip when I am not driving, so had a couple of beer and slept off peacefully at the back of travera, while Abhinav and company explored the map. I woke up in morning when I saw some ready to sleep while others already there. I took the command from Abhinav and started steering the way to our destination. The jungle were quite facinating. the road even more with bamboo covering from both sides of the road.

We reached the resort somewhere in afternoon. Abhinav the last day had been pretty busy in getting us accommodation at dandeli since it was long weekend and we had a last minute plan. He succeeded in convincing the resort owner to let us a single bunglow for 4 of us. We checkout out our accommodation and it was awesome. Kali river coming straight to our doorstep and turning to right. An isolated place it looked like heaven amidst all the greenery.

We got back in shape after a long ride and jumped in to lunch right away. The afternoon started with natural jacuzzi. We laid around the gushing water of kali river in comfortable rocks, after which it was time to explore the area on boat. We had two boats men from the resort accompanying us, both of them wanna be rafting instructors. So here what we did stupid afteron a high. We started to do a reverse rafting, i.e. instead of rowing with the flow we wanted to do it against. The first time it was good we went uphill the class 3 or 4 rapid and the boat made a nice u turn. The wannabe instructor then asked us to keep all the items we had in a bag and give it to the to tie to the boat. I never estimated the gravity of that request. I kept all the things in that bag and it was tied. it had camera . specs, clothes, wallet and mobiles. I kept the newly bought shoes with me. We did it again this time we went dangerously close, but in the end it was nice beautiful then back. We wanted to do it the third time. We rowed and rowed forcefully making all kind of noises, and we were there. Right where the rapid drops on the rocks. But wait what happening, where am I ??? why am I not able to breathe?? what is this in top of me ? ah my backs hurting against the rocks.

Possibly I am dying!!!

This is what was going in my mind for the second. We toppled towards right in the rapids , me and mohit were under the boat and abhinav , ankur were thrown off. I remember trying to shove off the boat on top of me, but with no avail. After some time the boat went away and I came back to the top. Still flowing with the river hitting against the rocks in middle of no where.I shouted is everybody around/alive i could see abhinav he was on the other side, but eventually all of s were floating again. We jumped back into the the boat and all hell broke loose.

We lost the shoe , clothes and spec. The mobile and camera were as well taking a bath in river.

Good part was we were still alive. Let check if we are fine. I had my back and legs all red with scratches and lost one of my nail. But hey we are still alive.

Back to the resort we ordered some snack with vodka to remove the pain. Next day morning was again pretty good. we went to the town to get a pair of glasses for abhinav and a manual camera since ours went into water. We had a good time relaxing in a local bar while abhinav got his glasses fixed.

The owner of the resort learned of our misadventure gave us a tree house to spend the next day and man that was even more beautiful then the bungalow. the windows looked at the kali river flowing underneath and the jungle on mountains the other side. I spent the afternoon relaxing on the sofa while the rest of the guys went for the rafting again but this time with professionals.

the evening came in and we planned to go for night walk in the jungles, The bad habit agian we convinced the guy who was to take us to jungle to go at 10 o'clock instead of normal 7 when its considered safe. The night walk to the jungle was scary with no one ready to be the last person while walking. the shiny eyes of the wildlife did not help much. After a while we reached a open space which the guide said was once a mining site. We saw the clear sky with twinkling stars. The calm of the night was disturbed with the guide's voice "all come closer" we spotted something in the bushes with bright eyes looking at us. Not sure of what it was the guide made sure we were watchful next on. We walked back though the forest and it was wow, just too beautiful.

The next day was a non exciting Jeep safari to the jungle. Comparing it to the last night walk it was just too non-adventurous.

The trip was amazing with so many things in it. Some day I'll go back to find my shoes, clothes and spec which was a gift not to be lost.

The Kali river water was so sweet to drink that mineral water tasted bad. I would not have tasted it if I wasn't drowning :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

a trip out of no where

This trip is a little hazing in the mind. In the first place I didn't even remember that I had this till Sattu reminded me.

When was this I guess in start of early 2005 or later 2004. We were having a usual party at our rented vijaynagar house. Sharan , harish , sattu , pratik , suparn, rajesh and me. The party in general would be having drinks , rock music and hot chip's snacks.

The party was going good till somebody challenged me "Shantanu seems you have the ability to plan a trip anytime anywhere". And then you had travel agents cursing me for waking them up at 3 in morning. After a bit of hustling and bustling we got a travera. So where do we go ? "mekedatu" sharan suggested. That's it !!! exclaimed sattu. Ah but by the time we called for cab and the cab reaching our door half of the people are into their sleep.

They have to sacrifice their sleep today. They had supported a challenge and guys then started getting up cursing in sleepy voice.

We were on way a couple of beer was spared and cigg supported us, other were asleep as fast as they got up to get in cab. It took us 3 and half hours to reach the place. Guys woke up to weary eyes and looked out it was 6:30 in morning and sun was settling in. We need breakfast I am hungry was Raje's concern. OK so what do we have to get food. Ah this looks like deserted place with a small hut open. we ordered some dosa's. I wasn't sure how they cook that as there wasn't any amenities to cooks it. but any how got a dosa to feast on.

Whew!! we made a plan at 3 in morning and are finally somewhere, let's now figure out where are we.

So I see a river or is it just a stream with muddy looking water. No it river man it summer so has dried up, i was somebody explaining from the back. So what do we do ? Let swim the other side it looks clean. Right, but the water is cold. This caused a lot of water splashing and every body getting wet. It was past two hour that we realized it getting hot and we need to go to mekedatu. Thats a hill cliff from two side and water gushing in between with lot of speed.

And guess what we got a bus top to travel to the place with trees and branched hitting us from all sides. We reached mekedatu screaming on top of bus. where we had to calm down figuring fellow traveler will get irritated. The place was awesome with climbing rock. some of them closer to the ravines and people scared of the danger which me sattu sharan and pratik only overcame.

After climbing back to bus stand it looked like we had our share of fun and was time to go back. The trip back was all sleeping in the cab pretty non-adventure against our experience.

Awesome fun!!!

PS: we had a swim but never had a spare piece of cloth remember we came without a plan.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What do you remember from your engg course ?

I remember a bike ride to GRS water park in mysore to bunk a exam. Although this is not the only thing I remember but this was funny.

It was just another night in Vijaynagar Bangalore though with a exception that we had exams the next morning CS had Microprocessors , EC had ( I don't remember). I know this since most of the friend staying in Vijaynagar were either in CS or EC. All of us were drenched in reading for the exams , I went off for a regular routine those days, Drive to Harish House wake him up go to Majestic get the regular dose of smoke and chai.

Generally we would discuss a lot of things during out chai trip like career , study , Bangalore but this time we were planning. A get away from exams and the trouble of reading all night. So we went back to Anand's house. His place was the same people preparing for exams. then as you say in hindi " bato bato mein" we started planning to go to Mysore, in the start it just looked as we were trying to diffuse the stress / tension of exam but wait we are actually serious now.

"We don't have enough Bike" exclaimed Anand. "How many do we need" asked Harish and soon we were in Indra nagar at 3 in morning to wake harish dental college friends to loan a bullet for a day.

Ok so last minutes question were doing the round before we start for GRS. few of them " are we sure we are going ?" "do we have enough money for all of us?" Brushing aside all the question we started on our way to mysore. We had almost all types of bike, Hero honda cd100, caliber , pulsar , cbz , bullet , fiero this was kind of colorful on highway.

Mysore Road was good and quite and as we passed through are college I heard somebody yelling " Man we have a exam today". The thirst to run away from exams made us bike faster towards mysore. We stopped every 15-30 minutes for chai-sutta and by 8 We were at GRS gate by 8 am.

We went to park the bike and the pillion riders to get the tickets. Here comes the first problem on way, the park opens at 11, we would have to wait till then. This was a problem since none of us has slept in the night and now we have to kill 3 hrs it looked like "giving a exam".

We managed to finally kill the time and it was time to get in. The rest of the day was fun in water games and all the rides, it was 4 PM when we thought ok now we are tired let get back home.

Everybody agreed and we were out of park on to the highway by 6 PM.

We started seeing the fatigue come after night drive and day full of physical activity but then we were in college. We thought in another 2-3 hrs we will be back to home and sleeping peacefully for a free Sunday.

Somebody said what you get in life is all balanced. I am not so sure of Life but in this trip fun vs pain was equal.

As soon as we reached Mandya it started raining heavily or rather excessively. We had no option but to stop. "Oh crap where did this come from it was bright clear sky in the day" somebody said. We waited patiently for the rain to stop and get back on way home.

But god had other plans for us, the rain continued for an hour and we started losing our patience. We started the bike and then thought of going back home drenched. Bangalore was still a 100 Kms away. we were ok to drive in the rain but the wind wasn't allowing us. My bike was tilted while driving because of the strong winds. We had no options but to stop again.

After waiting for another hour we gathered some courage to drive back as where we were stranded was just a bus stop on a highway and no lights to be seen to a distance.

We had a couple of problem for which we needed some solution. We weren't wearing helmet so we had to rely in squint views, which could lead us down the highway road and eventual fall. Lucky we had Sidharth who had a helmet so he would use his wiser against rain to see properly and the rest of the bike will follow th tail lamp of preceding bike. the solution for not steering out of highway was left to the pillion rider who would warn if we were dangerously close to the road edge.

All agreed we started off on small speed of 40-60 and it worked out, we were in Ramnagar in a dhaba drying ourselves out of tandoor fire sipping hot tea. The contrast to the bus stop was huge.

We reached home dead tired, mind completely switched off. But it had to think. Think about a reason to give for entire group to bunk the exam and then Explaining why we were at GRS. Yeah the teachers knew because one of them was in GRS that day and saw us having fun.

The Trip so far

1. mysore trip ( train and ambassador)

sattu, pratik, harish, ranjit, sumit and shantanu

2. goa trip 1 ( train and local bus)

rajesh, supran, sudhir , sumit, manish and shantanu

3. nandi hills ( Bike)

sattu, pratik, harish, ranjit, sumit and shantanu

4. ooty 1 , 2 and 3 ( 1 and 2 on bike 3rd by indica)

sattu, pratik, ranjit, shantanu, sameer, rajesh , supran

5. madekeri - Coorg - cochin - kovalam - kanya kumari - madurai ( Toyota qualis)

pratik, sharan , rajesh, suparna , ranjit , chinku , Chandra

6. hognekal ( bike)

pratik , sharan , shantanu and anand

7. pondicherry 1 ( train)

Shantanu and Ashutosh

8 . pondicherry 2 ( Alto )

anand patre , rajeev , Mahesh and shantanu

9. hyd- bang - waynad - calicut -cochin -kovalam -bang ( Alto)

sattu, pratik , abhinav and shantanu

10 . goa 2 ( bus )

sattu , pratik , shantanu , ranjit , harish

11. mysore 2 ( bike)

aditya , chandra , takli and shantanu

12. mysore 3 ( bike)

sattu , pratik , ranjit , rajesh , anand , himanshu , .........

13. dandeli ( travera)

abhinav , shantanu , ankur and mohit

14. nagarjuna sagar 1 ( Alto)

ankur , abhinav , rajeev and shantanu

15. nagarjuna sagar 2 ( bike)

chandan , abhishek , abhinav and shantanu

16. nagarjuna sagar 3 ( bike)

vikas and shantanu

17. goa 3 ( sid's alto)

abinash , anurag , sidharath and shantanu

18. goa 4 ( alto)

adiya , ankur , abhinav and shantanu

19. yellagiri hills ( inova)

chandra , kundan , sattu , ranjit , rajesh , supran and shantanu

20. sri sailam 1 ( alto)

kundan , abhinav and shantanu

21 sri sailam 2 ( bus)

abhinav and shantanu

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Go Goa

Goa formed part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3 rd century BC under Chandragupta Maurya whose capital was Patliputra.

It must have been in subconscious mind when I was traveling to Goa for the first time. We were in our first semester of our engg. and had a long weekend ahead for Dusshera. I was trying to plan out for goa but as usual it took a lot of convincing from my end for our kengeri folks to get ready for it.

It was a common affair for my freinds in other colleges to come over to my house on long wekends either to save themselves from Seniors or just chillax. Manish was one of them visiting me that weekend from tumkur. little did he know that we were already planning for Goa.

Ok, its decided we are going to goa. So what if we have only 7000 Rs and we are 6 people, me , rajesh, supran, summit, sudhir and manish. Manish had just arrived in bangalore and was on a bus to kengeri unaware of the plot. I said it 9 PM we can pack up in 30 minutes by then Manish will be on the bus stop and we can take him back to Majestic for the train which was supposed to be at 10:30 PM. Every body hurried on and we were a little exited little nervous anxiously waiting for manish to arrive. He arrived at 10:35 and there was a bus back in another 5 minutes. He was a little surprised seeing all of us at the bus stop with bags. We shocked him with our plan made on fly which he didn't believe till we wre on our bus to Majestic. We took almost an hour to reach the railway station. "We are late" was playing on everybody's mind for the train. Some were happy some nervous. Sudhir ran for the tciket counter asking for ticket to Londa. The person on the ticket counter said casually that we are late and the train is signalled to leave. Sudhir got a little impatient he asked him to give him ticket on his risk. After which we ran for our life leaving on the platform 11 , yeah the irony that far away.

Sighting our train the platform from the foot over bridge we sighed a sense of relief, but not for long as it started as soon as we touched the platform. we somehow managed to get in the train in time. Caounted that everybody is in we shouted in euphoria of the battle just won against time. And as soon as the euphoria dried out we saw the reality.. the train was crowded for the general compartment image. Supran was smart he had packed up the food we cooked which we never had time to eat along with that he had packed a few newspaper. This came in handy we spread the newspaper on the floor and sat down.

I was little tired of the entire planning and running scheme. I found some space and slept off while friends took to playing cards.

I woke up in morning and found myself on the wooden seats sleeping peacefully. My freinds shifted me on the seats when it was freed in Hubli. I lazily saw outside of the window the train was at still on some station. I tried finding what station we reached and since the general boggies would stand way behind the actual station platform, I wasn't able to figure out. But then for a few seconds my eyes got stuck to a board which read " sub engg office western railways Londa" I shouted in restlessness "Guys let jump off we are at londa". cards flew bedsheets cover were snapped and we jumped off the train on to muddy platform cursing the govt on creating small platform.

Wow that was fast, finally we are close to Goa. Ok now we need to goa what do we do ? we asked a couple of peole on the platform who suggested taking a bus to goa. We directly went to bus stand searching for a bus to goa. But wait... there no bus which says its going to goa. Some have name plate saying vasco, madgaon, panjim etc. How do we go to goa? then we decided lets go to Vasco that was the name of the place in goa in the movie "Josh" Lets go there. We hoped on the bus to Vasco.

There was a stark contrast between the bus and the surrounding, which was overwhelming . The view was enchanting out of the window and the inside was humid, sweaty and filthy after a night ride on general compartment.

We reached Vasco in around 2 hours sat in the bus stand cafeteria and had a sumptuous breakfast. Now we are ready to explore goa right so where should we start with ? "let go to the beach" said somebody. Ok we found that we could walk to the beach bogmalo or something. The scene we got in the beach was pathetic in the sense that it indescribable, filthy bad and sick. Frustrated we started to think of picture postcards and thought how different is the reality. Saddened by our discovery we went back to bus stand and then we made a plan to go to Panjim the capital of goa and decide then after.

The trip to Panjim was silent and then there was fatigue overcoming us. We reached panjim in evening and things started to look up for a moment. The bus stand looked like a flee market with agents trying to convince us for accommodation and sightseeing. We finally got a deal 2 rooms for Rs 400. We took the pamphlet as well of what to see in goa.

We started at the same night for a boat ride on river mandovi , next morning to calungute , next day to vagator/anjuna , next to that to Mayhem Lake . then Miramar beach for sunset , old goa for all the church and we ended up with 1000 Rs in cash.

Ok we still have a day to spare but we are running short of cash again. We decide to go to madgaon to catch a train back and soon disocvered the train is in afternoon we have a night and a morning to pass. We decide to sleep at railway station and visit the Colva beach in morning the only golden sand beach in Goa. Sudhir in meantime
parted way for change in plan.

Rajesh and I couldn't forget the walk on the Anjuna beach. Supran shared his one bottle of beer with all his friend at the calangute beach, so humble of him.

We went back to the college with friends wondering that either we were tanned or we came out of a coal mine.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

taste of a first trip

The value of a plastic money was never felt more before this trip. We a group of 6 students were strandled in Mysore with no cash in hand. What do you do ? cry out that somebody should have planned better, but Sattu akin to his mind called up his native place friend doing his engg. in mysore to the rescue. it wouldn't have been big deal but realizing that you haven't talk with him for a while the guy was humble enough to lend us 500Rs to go back to Bangalore.

The world was a little new for a group of friend who joined VIT ( Vivekananda Institute of Technology, Bangalore ) for a course in computer science. Sattu , Pratik , Ranjit , Harish , Sumit. Harish would be regular to my house on mysore road for a cup of tea, after which we would drive to his house in Vijaynagar on his TVS Fiero. This time we went to out VIT hostel in rajajinagar to meet our rest of the newly bonded friends sattu pratik and ranjit. Discussing about the long weekend ahead out of a blue we decided to make a trip to Mysore.

Questions started flowing out from every one ? how do we go ? how much money we need ( since we used to have student account and in those days you need to go to bank on a working day to withdraw money) ? who all are coming along and so on and so forth.

We thought let tackle all the questions as they come little we knew what planning is. Ok its decided we will all to go to my house in kengeri have dinner take the last train which starts at 12 midnight. In the mean time collect all the money we have and loan the rest from our local moneylender friend Ranjit. One last issue cropped up everybodies clothes are in wash bucket oveing the weekend. I told never mind I bought al ot of t-shirts last weekend from a roadside shop on brigade road, we will share them.

12 O'clock midnight not a soul on the small kengeri railway station, we eagerly waited for the train to arrive exited about our trip. The train came on time and the first time in few months we saw the "train" whose whisle was no stanger from us given the fact we used to hear that everyday in our house.

Its kind of a strange feeling you get when you go on a trip with bunch a new friends. we chatted throughout the night on train sitting on the compartment door and then on the wooden seats when a railway police guy forces us to close the door. I always think that we started to know each other only after this night. As the night came to close with dawn on the anvil our eyes started showing signs of fatigue, the euphoria was settling down.

We jumped off the train as we touched Mysore. Its still 4:30 AM somebody said what do we do till its morning. the common answer came let have tea and we will chat out time away. Sattu had different plans he went to a tourist information center on the railway station and figured out that for 800 bucks a cab would show us around in Mysore. Little we realized that till we heard what Sattu has in plan we didn't know what and how to roam around in Mysore.

Voila.. we have a ambassador and a driver for sight seeing hurray... Our first sight seeing was to Chamundi hills an abode of goddess Chamundi the way to to hilly top was fantastic. the faitigue was lost again for the time being. cameras came out different poses were tried with the analog camera to get to full view.

The sight seeing went on to see Bull temple , botanical garden , mysore palace , mysore church and then we realized we are left with 870Bucks. Oops... the dream run came to an abrupt end. "We need money to go back", I remember somebody yelling. Couple of sane minds said let evaluate our course of action. We need 127 bucks to get the train ticket back, we haven't had lunch yet. ok so we are left with 70 bucks after we pay the taxi and assuming that we dont tip the driver.

What are the options ? let go WT ( without ticket) drink tea instead of lunch, or let say we take one ticket at least so that if we are caught one person can go home get the money and rescue others. Nah.... 2700kms away from native home neither of us were ready to take this big risk. Fortunately Sattu's mind came to rescue again, he said during his visit to home before joining college some friend said about a common friend joining a college in Mysore. Wow some ray of hope in the end. The problem is how to contact , we don't have his address / phone or even the college he joined. After talking to couple of his friends Sattu managed to get his Mysore friends number.

We were all anxious what if the friend is not in town , what if he refuses to help ? But he came directly from hospital helping somebody else. Gave us 500 Rupess and we took a photograph together for our memory. Each of us thanked him telling him, "you are like god to our rescue".

we took a sigh of relief had our lunch ( dosa) and train ticket back to home with a few lessons learned.

1. let one person handle money
2. plan out a trip in advance, rather than at last moment.

We adhered to the first lesson learned in future trips but never managed to get the second one right as I will key out our second trip in less than 2 months to Goa.