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A week that wasn’t…

One week I went away on a break and it seems like things went all wrong all over…I didn’t expect the world to be a different place altogether.

Last Saturday evening, I left for Mumbai on a week long vacation not for any occasion/function but just to get in touch again with an old habit of visiting my cousins there. Till about the time I joined work, I used to visit Mumbai every year without fail. But in the last 32 months this was just my second visit, the last time being a short visit of 2 days to attend my cousin’s marriage. So this time I decided to take a week off and along with my sister visited the city that never sleeps, Mumbai.

But hardly did I foresee that the world would be a different place in a week’s time. On landing in Mumbai on saturday night, we were welcomed with the news of serial bomb blasts in the capital of India, New Delhi. On reaching home, this was the topic of discussion among us all…my aunt (mom’s sis), uncle, uncle’s dad and me. Little did we know then that much more was in store for us the next day.

On Sunday morning, I got up early at 9 am to the news of an email alert that had been sent from one “Eric House” in Chembur (and my aunt’s place was just that!!!) and to our astonishment, the person (Mr. M. N. Kamath) whose insecured Wi-Fi network was used to send that email was none other than my uncle’s dad’s cousin.  What came to my mind suddenly was the open insecured Wi-Fi network that I had at my Adyar flat. We have it switched on almost 24/7. Phew! The whole of Sunday was an ordeal for the entire Kamath family and my Uncle’s dad with the cops. I had been to the area where Eric House was, but was not allowed near, and it was also decidiously covered with cops and reporters, police jeeps and OB vans. I was back at home in no time right in front of the idiot box to follow up on that.

Meanwhile on the other side, a ship with 18 Indian crew members was hijacked in Somalia…and their demands, phew….nearly 7 crores INR…I was kidding with my cousin, saying that it must again be one of us only (a Konkani speaking bloke) since 7 is considered lucky by us…for some GOD damn reason!! 😀 What to say, the pirates are weird psychos!!!

In the evening, took part in a Ganapati Visarjan procession too but sadly could not get pics as no photography was allowed due to security reasons. Surprisingly I was asked not to click pics in both the shopping malls I visited…and I didn’t feel like going to any other mall after that. And the famous Mumbai rains showered its blessings on me and by the time I got home, I was all drenched. And the nut in me loved it!! :mrgreen:

Monday morning we left Mumbai for Pune…to visit my aunt (dad’s sis) and cousins…and I utilized this opportunity to meet a few of our beloved Ch1 Pune Bloggers (a photo-blog on this one will follow soon! :)). It was a great feeling to meet them all in person, after having known them for over a year just by their blogs and names. In the excitement of meeting them all, I even forgot that I was on an anti-biotics (which were battling with the virus within me) course…period. Weather in Pune was pleasant…with periodic drizzles but the night was very cold.

By Tuesday evening, we were back in Mumbai welcomed by the pouring rains only to reach home all drenched. It was the last thing I wanted to happen on a vacation, to fall ill. And this rain was just the right doze that I needed to hit the sick bed. Wednesday went off “silently” trying to persuade the virus to let go of me…I must say, it was lenient enough not to sap into my energy levels. There was no fever, but there was no voice coming out of my vocal chord too…I learnt the sign language to an extent on that day…the same day that Lehmann Brothers declared bankruptcy leading to the downfall of the markets, including our ever-ready-to-fall Sensex (the Indian stock exchange)!!

Almost the entire Bangladesh Cricket team decided to join ICL, the (so called – by BCCI) rebel Cricket league. Inspite of having resigned from his Bangladesh Contract, Habibul Bashar was foolish enough to quote that he expected to play for the Bangladesh National team irrespective of having signed the ICL contracts for a staggering $200,000 per year for the next 3 years. Sadly two evenings later, he seemed to be shocked at Bangladesh Cricket board’s decision to present him (and other ICL joinees) with a 10 yr ban.

Thursday, there was no rain and inside me, no pain. It was time for some shopping as well as for some relative-visits. We were 6 hours on the roads of Mumbai (Crawford Market, Linking Road, Santacruz, Andheri, etc) and 2 hours at 2 houses…to come back home late in the evening all happy, tired and dead.

Friday looked happy and beautiful with the light drizzles till about mid-day when the news of an encounter in Delhi rattled all peace. 30 minutes of firing…2 militants dead, one caught and 2 escaped…2 policemen severely injured, of which the constable survived and the inspector sucummbed to injuries on Saturday. The people in Jamia Nagar where the encounter and firing happened blamed the police saying the encounter was fake…but if it was fake, why would any police inspector give up his life?? And in fake encounters, no AK-47s are recovered from “students”. The people also had complaints as to why the police chose close to prayer time on Jumma – a Friday – in the Ramazan period to carry out the encounter. Did they forget that the blasts took place in the holy period of Ramzan??? Hats off to those ppl…Idiots!!!

Saturday as I landed at home in Bangalore, I was relieved that nothing much had happened this day….only to be made aware of the twin bomb blasts at Islamabad in Pakistan which killed and injured several innocent people including quite a number of foreign nationals…Sigh!!

On reaching home at Chennai, I got to do something about the Wi-Fi security…the last thing I would want is to be caught for some wrong and unsuspected thing!! Though I wouldnt mind the appearing-on-the-television jig…good or bad, publicity always helps!! 😉 

From last Saturday to this one, from the Delhi blasts to the Islamabad one, from being in Mumbai to being back at home…it has been one long sad sick week…a week that wasn’t weak, but full of energy. Hmm…

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Posted by on September 21, 2008 in Thoughts

 

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[Pic-Blog]~ Bekal Fort, Kerala! :)

Long ago, but not so long ago (actually I did try to remember…) I had been to Bekal, a very small town in the North-Western part of Kerala. Bekal, being the birth-place of my dad…is one of the mandatory trips that my family actively takes part in…and why not, we are excited each time we visit as we love going to the fort and the vast expansive beaches over there… 😀

If anyone of you have been there, you would agree with me…but I bet you would have seen this place if you have watched the Aravind Swamy-Manisha Koirala starrer “Bombay”! :mrgreen:

I will be sharing a few pics I took the last time I had been there!! 🙂

The fort has now come under the Kerala Tourism Department, and is being revived from its ruins…such a pleasant thing to see!! This is a top view of the fort (I had climbed the tallest construction inside the fort to capture this :P) with the Arabian sea in the background! 😀

This is the very stretch where Manisha Koirala runs towards Aravind Swamy as he sings the song “Uyire” in Tamil and for the benefit of others “Tu Hi Re” in Hindi…and man, she runs both the times!! Anything is fair in love (and war)!! 😉 Btw, I have tried singing the same song over there, and don’t believe me, but I have seen many run!! :mrgreen:

The beautiful sea and the unending horizon…

I had waited for quite a while to click a pic when the waves would hit the rocks…Murphy waited all along with me to see that it didn’t happen…I love you buddy, on the rocks! 😀

All you can see below is the sea waves kissing the rocks near the shores…and a few bushes!! But even in that hot noon, the bushes were not left alone!! 😉

Ah! The cocunut trees…how can one miss them in God’s own country?? Lovely sight!! 😉

This spot below (in the ring) is my favourite…When the tides are high, the water splashes all over us if we stand in that ring….amazing feeling!! 🙂

If you haven’t been there, do plan sometime…its simply an awesome place! 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2008 in Pics

 

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Chennai to Bangalore…of routes and jams!!!

I had been to Bangalore…err…Bengaluru (let me correct it, before the fanatics kill me for getting it wrong) last week on my usual bi-monthly trip home. This time for a change, I got this opportunity to go by my colleagues car. Started on a friday noon around 12:00pm (yes, I did take permission to leave early…Thank you for the concerns! :)), we took the route via Vellore…had our late lunch (around 3:00pm) some place after Vellore and then chose the route that would go via Hosur into Bengaluru. The other route would have gone through Chitoor (spell check needed!!) into Kolar and finally to Bengaluru. Our thought approach was that the Chitoor route would be crowded with buses and hence would be crowded whereas the route via Hosur would be free to reach quicker. On getting into that route we got to know as to why the buses chose the route via Chitoor. On this route, there were FIVE toll gates and they charged us in a good numbering sequence – Rs. 25, Rs. 35, Rs. 45, Rs. 35, Rs. 25 – yes typical to the inverted bell curve!! Phew…Our only job was to ask, “How many more toll gates ahead?” at every toll gate irrespective of knowing there were 4 more at the first toll gate! 😉

We reached Hosur by 6:00pm and we were happy to have reached that early inspite of taking over an hour of break for lunch and beverage. We didn’t know what was in store ahead. 6:15pm we entered the Hosur road – Electronic City road junction and to cover the next 12-13 kms we took 2 hours…during which time both our morale and the car’s mileage took a beating! 😦

My colleague who was driving (for the first time on Bengaluru roads) complained of not being able to get past the first gear…I told him “This is how we drive in Bengaluru”…For those 2 hours he didn’t touch the gears…it was always on the first and all he had to do was manage the accelerator and brakes! The traffic situation was terrible. There were motorists all over the place and the only way they didn’t prefer to take was over us. They even resorted to the footpaths to reach their destination faster. Bengaluru drivers have this habit of overtaking from the left (I sometimes tend to do it while driving here in Chennai only to realize that this is not a place to do that!) without honking which would take anyone new to the Bengaluru roads by surprise, shock and possibly even lead to an accident. There’s no use talking about traffic management in Bengaluru…its been long since its gone to the dogs.

The sigh of relief coming from him on crossing the Hosur Road and entering the Residency road was shortcome when a fellow driver waved his hand at me shouting “The back tyre on the driver side is completely flat!”. It was 8:30pm and our hopes of reaching home at least by 9:00pm seemed to be fading away. Since I had the experience of changing the tyres of my dad’s old Maruthi 800, I told him that I could do it in flat 10 minutes time. The look on his face said two different shades. One seemed to say, “you are very overconfident about it” while the other said, “Since there’s no other go, I have to take your word”! Phew…thankfully he said ok to me, when I told him “we’ll get even late if we wait for some mechanic…its already late”! He parked the car at the side of Residency Road and he helped me change the tyre…we were ready to leave in 10 mins. I got down a little ahead as his house was on a different route and took an auto.
“Nandini Layout?” I asked the auto driver in Kannada (I know those 2 words are English, but we can use it as if its in Kannada).
“Hmmm…do you know the route sir?” he interviewed.
“Yes, don’t you know?” I politely asked.
“It would be One and half on meter” he demanded, ignoring my ‘don’t you know?’ part of the query. Kalla.
“One and half?? Its just 8:45pm” I retorted.
“Yes sir, one and half. It may rain anytime and there’s no surety that I would get a passenger for my return journey” he smiled with a “gotcha” look on his face.
My mom had warned me about the incessant rains in Bengaluru and when the auto driver reminded me of it,  I just got into the auto and said “Ok, lets go. I am sure you know the way”.

He started the engine and like any typical auto geek in the messed-up-traffic city of Bengaluru would do, sped through every nook and corner of the available space on road and yet took about an hour to reach my home which was just 10kms away from where I took the auto. 110 bucks at 7 bucks per Km and at One-and-Half times the meter!! Talk about inflation and my screwed up bank balance! They go right in the opposite direction!! 😦

Finally I reached my destination…home sweet home…mom, dad and granny were waiting with yummy Chicken tikka masala which I savoured as I narrated the above experience to them with all the expressions, of course! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2008 in Happens~2~me

 

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