Saturday, 28 March 2015

Heads up Captain cool, we are Proud of you and the boys!

A Haunting summer down under in Australia which never read India won and the crushing defeats in the Carlton Mid One-Day International Tri-series, which just sucked the morale of the team and the rest of the Indians, back home to a new low much ahead of the Cricket world cup.

Whole of media and the so called self-acclaimed critics hurled at the Men in Blue and their leader. It was so disheartening to demean Dhoni and his boys with the Cricket world cup just ahead. Every time when those sick people hurled him and his men in the media, he just kept calm, backed and safe guarded his boys just like any mother would never give his kid up during the lean patches.

I did quiver like many others did “what are these boys in the blue and their captain up to in this most trivial Cricket world cup? The defending champions are going to be humiliated like never before and we are going to give it back very easily without a valiant fight at all”.

Trust me we all knew it even before the WC started that “The Coveted trophy is not going to be ours this time and we are going to easily give it back”. It was a collective team effort from there on, a fairy tale turn around, a dream run from nowhere coupled with the tactical brilliance of the astute craftsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni. You can never deny that whatsoever.

Yes we weren’t even at our best, we beat our arch rivals Pakistan comprehensively and the fairy tale continued when the most daunting task was comprehensively accomplished in style when we convincingly defeated the mighty Proteas who were the favorites in the tournament very.

We knew it had to stop somewhere, the winning streak was supposed to be halted by any of the better teams and it happened against one such cricketing super power who were any day better than us throughout the tournament, the mighty Aussies.

We were impractical and greedy enough if we had wanted India to lift the world cup. Pragmatic people knew that India has had a decent world cup if not the best one. We cannot ask for anything more from a team that has had a poor run before the commencement of the world cup.

77/80 wickets, bowling out the opposition 7 times, 10 continuous wins in the WC campaigns, 7 consecutive wins, no losing of wickets during the power play 7 consecutive times, some brilliant bowling spells, some splendid batting display and some magnificent fielding display is no joke at all from a team which were under dogs earlier, which had no big names with the ball, which were away from the home for almost 5 months, which had to adapt to a different climate.

Come on boys Chin up, we have had a good run in the WC. We need to be sensible here; there is no big difference between the disheartened Bangladesh fans who still keeps cribbing about the no ball and the Indian fans who blame Anushka Sharma for the poor performance of Virat Kohli. We may win another world cup in the future but trust me there is not going to be yet another MS Dhoni for us. There can be only one Dhoni; nobody else can ever come close to his legacy and genius.

In a span of 8 years we have won 3 major ICC events, we lived the dream along with Sachin Tendulkar after 28 long years. We have been a super power in cricket. Dhoni and his boys have given us numerous reasons to celebrate, shout out of joy and happiness and have even made the dormant patriotic Indian in us peep out many a times.

It isn’t fair by any means to degrade and demean the boys just because of a single defeat that too in a semifinal against a better side. Success isn’t always about winning the trophies; champions aren’t measured by the number of trophies it’s about the passion, drive, commitment and the collective effort put forth. Our captain and his men were valiant enough to have won it 7/8 times in the tournament.

People, we are gifted to have a captain who has taken India to glory more than a hundred times, blessed to have a leader like whom other teams long to have one, a Captain who has always been humble when his team won and gracious to let it go and blame no one but him when we lost, a captain who has never played the blame game on others and who has always given credit to his boys when it was due, a leader who has never gloated in the limelight of others.

Thank you MS and the boys for the beautiful memories all throughout the tournament. It’s time you and your men spend some good time with your family before the IPL extravaganza begins. Well MS your princess is waiting to be held by the arms that won and held so many coveted trophies for the nation, go hold and hug her. The very moment of holding the little bunch of joy shall eclipse all the bad memories you and the boys have had so far.

It’s time we spare the boys and our captain some love for all that they have given us. One bad game and we shouldn’t forget the seven brilliant wins that our team put up. For a man who has told his wife “She is only the third most important thing after his country and his parents” all I wish is I could just go give him a tight hug and say keep your heads high captain, you and your boys have done us proud and we all love you and will continue to bleed blue whatsoever!

Another Proud Indian,
Mukunth Bhaskaran

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Enakkul Oruvan Movie Review!

Hey People, how have you been doing? It’s been ages since I reviewed a movie, only for the reason that I did not happen to see a movie off late that created an impact in me. Yes, I review only the movies that are close to my heart. Nevertheless I have missed reviewing many good movies in the recent times.
Okay here we go, let me walk you through my beautiful experience of watching the blockbuster Kannada movie “Lucia” remade in Tamil as “Enakkul Oruvan”. Prasath Ramar, the Director of Enakkul Oruvan has indeed given us a Master Piece, he has sublimely done the narration. Prasath’s work doesn't look like someone who has just made his debut through this movie.

The Protagonist is Actor Siddharth, Blimey, what does Siddharth do to stay smart and fit as ever is still a mystery? Siddharth as Vicky has outperformed everybody in the movie to be frank; this movie shall take actor Siddharth to an all new level of brilliance and acting. Female lead Deepa Sannidhi as Divya has done her role to nothing short of sheer perfection; she is bound to go places and indeed is a revelation. “Aadukalam” fame Naren as always never ceases to amuse us with his naturally gifted acting skills.

The plot is a psychological thriller or a fantasy that we as a Tamil audience would have never witnessed before, Vicky (Siddharth) is a torch-shiner in an old run down theatre in reality and a chocolate boy and female fawning rock star actor in his dreams. The Non Linear story telling is kind off new to Tamil Cinema and is indeed worth the brag. The stories of Vicky (Both in Dream and reality) move forward instantaneously and harmoniously shifting between reality and the dream world. Vicky suffers from insomnia and during one sleepless night, he meets a drug dealer who suggests him to take the magic pill “Lucia” which makes a dis satisfied man in reality to lead the life that he wants to live, in his own dreams or in the world of “Lucia”.
The way the complexity in the movie gets to unfold is an absolute ecstasy to watch. I don’t want to be a spoilsport by narrating you the entire plot because, the Director has narrated it brilliantly and beautifully on the screen that anybody can never narrate by writing.
Leo John Paul, the editor has done commendably well in what is supposed to be an intricate story telling that shifts between the dream world and the real world. The screenplay wasn’t lucid, it did drag many a times in the first half but the drag indeed proved that the new way of storytelling is worth the brag.
The Movie has got two heroes as such one is Siddharth and the other one is the rock-star Santhosh Narayanan and his music. All his songs and BGM are witchcraft and a magic spell to the film that keeps you spell bound and engrossed all through out.  With the song “Prabhalamagavey”, the actor, Producer, Director Siddharth turns a singer too. What on earth this man Siddharth cannot do?
Thanks to the Producers CV Kumar, Varun Manian, YNot Sashi and Abinesh Elangovan for having witness us such a high quality and a thought provoking movie “Enakkul Oruvan”, More power and success to all those above who produced such a wonderful movie for the Tamil Audience. Trust me people it’s going to be a visual delight for you.
Last but not least, thanks to Pawan Kumar, the director of the original Kannada master piece “Lucia”, without Pawan Kumar, the classy “Enakkul Oruvan” would not have been possible.
VERDICT: 'Your small life is somebody's big dream” and this small dream of the Team “Enakkul Oruvan” will leave you mesmerized. DO NOT MISS IT. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

A Road Trip with Friends to make Memories ~ Destination Hyderabad!

 Hello People, It gives me an immense pleasure in welcoming you all to my first post of 2015.

A New Year and a new beginning, and I wish all my readers’ very happy and prosperous new years ahead. Maturity is when we understand that a New Year has got nothing to do with the change of fortunes but the attitude with which we approach the newer years and I am not an exception; I fall among the many others who superstitiously believe every New Year shall bring in the much needed change of fortunes way better than the previous years.

I always wanted to visit the city of Hyderabad, not because of its historical importance, not just because my history teacher or the history books had a lot of story to tell about it, not because it is a metropolitan city, not because it is the fourth most populous city in India, not because Hyderabad is the sixth most populous urban agglomeration in India, not because my favorite commentator whom I try to emulate or follow the most Mr. Harsha Bhogle was born there and not because it’s the place that gave us the Cricketing legend Very Very Special (VVS) Laxman. The above reasons and the statistics apart, I wanted to visit to the city only because I have some awesome friends who hail from the “Hyder’s Abode”/Hyderabad.

23rd January, 2015 (Friday):

After a not so great lunch at the destination, I was in a hurry and utmost excitement to leave the office just like how a school going kid would be longing for the last period bell to ring, like how the Indian tail Enders and Shikhar Dhawan will be in a hurry to get back to the pavilion in no time. I was eagerly waiting for the clock to tick 4 so as to move out of office and start to Hyderabad. Thanks to my friend Shubham Bhardwaj who took care of my pending and impending works for the whole weekend. At least I would say I was freaking excited if not for Kavita, Uday, Praneeth or Roshini because it was my first ever trip to Hyderabad.

Uday reached the office bang on time, sharp at 4 to pick us up and was waiting for us at the upper basement with a brand new Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R. It didn’t take much of time for Praneeth and I to reach the basement followed by Roshini from her office nearby and at last Kavita came who was held up for a while.
With the big bazaar signal giving us a green signal and with the seat belts on, the 5 of us (Kavita, Roshini, Praneeth, Uday and I)left the office campus say at 4.45 in the evening. The sound system’s first song was “Chinni Chinni Aasalu” from the blockbuster movie Manam which Roshini felt was the talisman or the lucky charm for any successful long trip. Within some few minutes of the travel we had to cross the Kadugodi ground where in we played some good amount of Cricket together and then the Delhi Mahal which was almost the favorite Friday lunch destination for all the friends of mine (Priya, Sunil, Paul and Vineeth are not to be spared here), it evoked a tinge of nostalgia in me for all the good times we, as a team and friends spent together.

A journey of “n” number of miles begins with the first toll plaza in India, and there came in the first toll plaza of the trip, it was just the beginning for the “n” number of toll gates that had to follow. There was no looking back for the next one hour until we spotted a tender coconut vendor. Probably it was one of the tasteless tender coconut we would have ever imagined to have. We resumed the journey with some Tamil numbers on the sound system this time. After Roshini’s call, there came in the Magic of the Mozart of Madras to sweep us off our feet, “Ennodu Nee Irundhal” from the Shankar’s magnum opus “I”. Trust me when I say this, AR Rahman had Indeed ripped it off from the God’s own IPOD, such a divine and a soul stirring composition. Probably the music system would have lost the count of the number of times “Ennodu Nee Irundhal” was played.

I am eternally grateful to Music, as it has always been there for me whenever I felt low or lonely.

Drenched in some divine music it took a while for us for the next tea and snack break. There was no looking back then, Uday mutated himself into a F1 Racer there was no slow down or deceleration. 120 kmph was the average speed; we were covering a good 80-90 kms an hour easily. The much needed next tea break was at Anantapur. With Hyderabad nearly around 180 kms, we halted for the supper at a Dhaba.

The most beautiful and important things in life are the easiest to obtain: Great friends and Good food. Some great friends were already there along with me, it was time to get some good food and the food over there was indeed sumptuous.

“Music is to the Soul as food is to the body”.

With some heavy dinner and a light heart we started marching towards Hyderabad. Shiva Reddy and Sunil were fervently waiting for us to arrive more than anybody, it was evident from the way they kept calling us every now and then as to ask where we had reached thus far. The girls in the car were fast asleep.

Selfie is the Order of these days
24th January, 2015 (Saturday):

It was around 12 am when we reached Jadcherla, and found that the car ran out of fuel. After having filled the petrol, we reached the outskirts of the Hyderabad in no time. One hour later, Hyderabad it was, the beautiful 11 kms long flyover from the outer ring road was a testament to that lovely metropolitan city. Friends around me started show casing their immense patriotism for their home soil, they were explaining about the buildings and areas from there on. The Fish like construction was indeed eye catchy. 11 kms in fewer than 7 minutes, as we came to the end of the Flyover, the five happy faces inside the car beamed with joy looking at 3 more happy faces that were waiting for us at around 2 am.

“I’ve learned that waiting is the most difficult bit in our lives, but not when you wait for your friends to come”

Sunil, Rohit and Shiva were damn too happy to have been waiting for us; it was evident from their innocent smiles that welcomed us to the city. Thanks to Uday for we all had a comfy drive more than what an Airavat could have given us. We boarded a fancy numbered Innova of Shiva Reddy; Rohit’s place at Miyapur was the first destination. After having dropped Roshini and Kavita at Roshini’s place, Uday and Sunil were back in no time to the bountiful Janapriya Apartments where Rohit stayed all alone. Rohit’s apartment was more like a labyrinth maze. Uday and Sunil had already got lost once.
Sunset from Rohit's Balcony
We reached Rohit’s alluring 2 BHK; it never looked like a bachelor’s stay at all. Rohit had indeed kept the home too clean and beautiful. With some regards having exchanged amidst us all started feeling hungry as it was already 3.30 in the morning. It was time for Shiva Reddy to unleash his culinary skills and he did that to perfection, he made me delicious veg pasta for I was the only vegetarian there and some mouthwatering egg burji for the others. It didn’t satiate our hunger, On Sunil’s call; we were later taken to the famous “Shree Purna Tiffin Centre” at Yousufguda. I was told by Sunil that the drivers of celebrities would flurry in to this particular hotel to get their owners the utterly butterly delicious breakfast from there. It was just 5.45 am in the morning, and there were already people inside an Audi and a BMW that were waiting for the hotel to open. The food indeed swept us off the feat, the Ghee idly with the podi and the chutney was just out of the world, it was heaven early in the morning, thank you Sunil and Shiva for having taken us to such an awesome breakfast, the travel of some 15-20 kms for that Particular food was indeed worth the brag.
Shree Purna Tiffin Centre- Yousufguda
We came back home around 7 am only to find that our body badly needed some rest. The eyes were drooping on its own; it was already 2 pm when Sunil and I woke up to delectable strong tea of Rohit. Sunil and I rode Rohit’s Royal Enfield for “CafĂ© Baahar” for getting us some lunch. The short waiting time for the parcels to come took us to the olden days in Capgemini where life was nothing short of bliss with the set of friends we had amidst the politically and partially biased people who were there around us.

“Don’t we get way too much happiness from good food?  I got that for all the two days that I stayed at Hyderabad. SVM sports inn was the next destination. Shiva Reddy took us to the SVM sports inn that was there at the Jubilee hills. We were probably the first set of people to reach there. It all started with some veg starters, non-veg starters and a mock tail and went on and on and on. With some karaoke on the background, Roshini broke everyone’s Ice and indolence by giving her stellar performance by singing “the Cranberries- Zombie” to mere perfection. It was 11 pm when Uday and Kavita tendered the bill for such an awesome party they threw for us. It was a night out from there on, the next halt was Roshini’s call; it was “Creamstones Concepts” at Kukatpally.

 “We can’t buy happiness but then we can buy ice creams and that’s the kind of same thing”

Thanks to Roshini for those palatable Ice Creams that were as big as a full meal for everybody. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad and the freaking crazy go carting out there was the next halt. 2.30 am and when the stomach started whining for food, Uday was yet again generous enough to have taken us to the MCDonald’s out there at the Airport. Uday and Kavita were at their unstinting best those two days.

That's a 2 am Snack at McDonalds and Uday is Protecting himself from the H1N1 Scare
It would not be fair if I don’t mention about Shiva Reddy here, having sacrificed his complete sleep the previous night, he did that again the very next day for his friends. Sunil, you are indeed gifted to have got such good friends, as Mark Twain quoted “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” 

We were back home at 3.45 am only to hit the sack as we all were deadly tired like someone who just completed his marathon running and it was indeed a marathon day.

25th January, 2015 (Sunday):

When the clock ticked 5.45am Kavita, Uday and I were all set to visit the Visa granting Balaji as he had already granted them their US Visas hands down, while others were just about to enter the second stage of their subconscious mind we had already left the house.

 "Visa Balaji"'s Residence - Chilkur
A visit to this temple reminded me that USA is still a land of dreams for many of us here in India. Praneeth also accompanied us as he had to get down at the nearest railway station to board his train to Warangal on our way to Visa Balaji’s visit. Kavita and Uday had to complete their remaining 54 Pradakshina’s as they had already completed their first 54 out of the vowed total of 108 pradakshinas. I accompanied them with many others in the crowded but a very small temple, 54 pradakshinas almost took us some 105 minutes. The Priest over there was very jovial and fun loving much to everyone’s excitement; he made the Pradakshinas to look less tiresome with his hilarious but thought provoking words.

An hour later I reached my College Friend’s place at Gachibowli. It was around 12 when my friend Navaneetha Krishnan picked me up from Gachibowli flyover to his place. After a short nap, we both had a sumptuous lunch at the Banana Leaf restaurant that was nearby. It was around 5 pm when I had to board my bus back to home. Navanee accompanied me so as to send me off. There ends my 2 exhilarating days of happiness at Hyderabad.
 Any journey in life is best measured in friends, rather than miles. I had some beautiful friends who made the 2 beautiful days at Hyderabad an eternally indelible and immortal one.

It doesn’t matter where you are going; it’s who you have along with you. Without any second thoughts, Hyderabad was beautiful but it looked even more beautiful probably because of my friends who accompanied me.

And to my friends out there,I always wanted to watch a Tamil movie with you all, in particular a Vijay Movie. I wish we had relished the magic of the five letter spell "Vijay" and his all new Tamil Blockbuster of 2014 “Kaththi” together, but nevertheless there is always a next Vijay Movie . 
Probably the next trip of ours shall be to the Athens of the east (Madurai) may be after Paul and Vineeth gets back to India. I will be more than happy to have you all out there.

 Post Scriptum:

Dear Kavita and Uday,

Thanks a lot for those two beautiful days of awesomeness that I had at Hyderabad; I would have never ever visited Hyderabad had you people not forced me to come.

Thank you Praneeth, Roshini, Sunil, Rohit and Shiva for the beautiful company that you people gave me.

Colleagues as friends in an irksome office form the strongest friendships they may ever know with each other.Thanking you people for enriching my life in ways you people will never know, if at all happiness could be measured it shall be measured with the number of friends like you.True friends are bound to be friends forever immaterial of the distance, language and what so ever it may be.

You guys were indeed so very nice to me and I felt very special after a long time and I believe that I won’t be spared or left behind for any of the future trips that shall be on your cards even after I quit CG.

Trust me Paul, Swati, Vineeth and Priya you all were truly, badly and dearly missed.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

When Strangers become Colleagues and When the Colleagues turn into Buddies…

Hello all, it gives me an immense pleasure in catching you all yet again, a belated happy and a blessed Easter to all my friends and readers, and not to forget the little master and the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 today. Older the fiddler, sweeter the tune. Has India found someone who is as good as the master who united the diversified Indians belonging to varied caste, creed, region, religion, language and what not? Unity in Diversity and Sachin Tendulkar... can there be any other two synonymous phrases that would go hand in hand? I would go with a big noooo....

For an introvert like me, who was already lost in the transition from college life to corporate life due to the apparent insecurity or coyness or whatsoever you would name it, what could have been the one X factor that should have brought me out of the shell called shyness? Yes, I may not be open to many, I am usually personified to be quiet and to be frank I really don’t know how to grab attention like few others. So if I like you enough, I will show you the real me, you must consider yourself to be someone special in me. My shyness has ruined so many good opportunities. Yes I do confess that I am shy at first, most people don’t find the time to get to know the real me and those people who tried to explore me, despite my shyness, have now become my best buddies all throughout my thick and thin.

The Strangers who became colleagues (From the left Praneeth,Kavita,Uday,Rohit, Roshni, Sunil,Paul,Swathi, Santhosh, Mukunth)
I consider myself to be fortunate enough to have found few strangers who later turned to be my colleagues and those colleagues and their family who later mutated to be my buddies. People please don’t panic, this isn’t an autobiography. Let’s get into the topic of interest now.

Yes it was my second tour with my office friends, the first one being the beautiful and the all extempore Gokarna trip. Being away from home and being away from your School and college friends regardless of the pay you get, what is the one thing that keeps you bonded to the office life, that keeps you moving forward with joy and an exuberant excitement and that keeps your professional life engaged without getting bored in the so called politically biased and the partially prejudiced corporate life? Yes it is your colleagues who turn into your camaraderie and the rapport you develop with them.

The Colleagues who turned into Buddies
The Colleagues who turned close pals here are: Paul,Praneeth,Kavita,Sunil,Vineeth,Roshni,Santhosh,Priya,Rohit,Akash, I (Mukunth)  and last but not the least Uday and Swathi who are the better halves of Kavita and Paul respectively. Everyone mentioned above are idiosyncratic and versatile. They are more than just friends with whom you intend to share anything and everything in this world without any hesitation in the course of time as and when you get acclimatized to them. The beauty of this kind of friendship/Relationship is that there is nothing called a boy's thing or a girl's thing to be hidden from each other. No gender discrimination, we all fell under only one category that has been beautifully christened as "FRIENDS". Be honest to yourself and you can be best friends with a guy or girl with the same kind of intimacy that you would have with the person of the same gender.

Once again we all found a beautiful place to get lost, this time in the God's Own Country, Kerala (Wayanad). Like how most of my Chennai friends jinxed the perennial Bangalore weather, it became damn worse and sultry hot as that of Chennai. So we thought we would land up in some hill station to enjoy the climate, after a series scrutinization we ended up in Wayanad. Everything was perfectly planned much in advance this time. As usual few dropped out due to unavoidable circumstances. I still wonder has there been any trip with a gang of over 12+ in it where in people have never dropped out till the end?
The All Scenic Pookot Lake
Let me brief you about my friends who were supposed to make it to the trip, Pleasing, jovial and a gregarious Paul and Vineeth, The all geeky Praneeth, Patience Personified and a happy go lucky Kavita and Swathi who will always be there to take care of everyone in the gang and to make you not to feel aloof, The all Hilarious and a friendly Rohit and Akash, the affable, live wire and the ever cozy Sunil and Roshni, Amiable and a warm hearted Santhosh, Multitalented and a jovial Uday(Dancer, Singer and on top of it an awesome Cricketer),last but not the least the cricket crazy Priya (the girl whom any guy would love to have her as his friend just because she follows cricket closely) girls who follow cricket are very few and one among them is you... hardly I have seen girls follow cricket and I was awestruck with her freaking crickenomics apart from her amicable nature. Unfortunately our camera man Vineeth, Priya and the all new dad Akash had to drop out.

Praneeth and Paul were well ahead with the perfect planning and execution this time, as we had ample time in prior. The Friday at the office was even more frenzy than the usual ones. Without any second thoughts, the sheer anticipation about the trip brought in the wild excitement and the delirium that made the day move faster. Paul and Praneeth were the trip organizer this time. We all were supposed to assemble at Kavita and Uday's place say at 7.30pm. I would personally advise every one of you to always have a grace period of an extra half an hour whenever you plan something especially in the Traffucked Bangalore. After a huge hiatus I was able to reach Kavita's place only after everyone had already arrived. Much to everyone’s surprise and happiness we had a cute little guest who was the center of attraction for the next few hours at the terrace. It was Avyaan (Who was Just 180 days old, Akash Junior) who had come all the way just to see and play with us.

The All Excited people at Fish Spa 
After a brief Pizza dinner which attributed to bit of drama in the delivery and the supper, we had to bid adieu to Akash and family as they were in two minds whether to join us for the tour or not. Hope Avyaan grows sooner and Joins us for our upcoming trips. Thanks to Santhosh for getting some good music and movies loaded for the trip.

It was around 12 am when we started playing Ragini MMS 2 and people fell fast asleep within no time. So the cab was called around 1 am with everyone all set ablaze with their back packs and luggage moved to the ground deck to board the cab. Finding a good driver is as important as finding your life partner, in both the cases our precious life is at stake. We were lucky enough to have had Mr. Nagaraju as our driver. He drove the Tempo traveler very subtly and he was patient and silence personified all throughout. So with bits and drabs of sleep we reached the forest entrance say around 5.30 am. It was pretty cold and we thought the weather would be the same as we were marching towards the God's Own Country whereas on the contrary it never seemed to be hill station as it went on to resemble the same Bangalore weather in no time.
The Trial selfie which paved way for the best in the business
After a brief photo session near the Road tax toll plaza we went on to halt at Sulthan Bathery for breakfast. As no one had freshened up and brushed we went on to buy parcel so as to take in the home stay where we were supposed to lodge in.Yes we reached Kerala by then, our built in 576 Mega pixel camera called eye confirmed it, as we were able to spot people with Dhotis and dense dark oiled hair and until vodafone beeped with a message of welcome to Kerala and a happy Roaming message. This time it was Praneeth's Lumia 525 which came in handy with the GPS for us. Thanks to the 31+ satellites zipping around the world that made us navigate bang on to the destination every time we typed one. The Trip Advisor website played spoilsport as we headed to a home stay which was scenic but then that was never meant for our crowd that had come only for partying.
Bit of heated argument followed by the light hearted hospitality of the guy over there melted us, it was say around 9.30 am until our stomach started cribbing and grumbling for food. We had to procrastinate our hunger until we reach the next home stay. The Kurkure, Lays, Gems, Silk, Kitkat etc that were left untouched vanished within no time. The Squealing stomach that was cribbing for food didn’t stop Sunil and Roshni’s photo shoots over there. So Vinu or Binu or Manu (The discovery and the fact was that 90% of the Mallu guy's name ends with a "NU") we reached the guy who was instrumental in booking us our home stay. So in no time we moved away from the wonky, muddy road that literally seemed to be a Quagmire, to the main road where that Binu had asked us to assemble. Binu took us to the home stay which he had given us in the mail. It was pretty eye catchy from outside but then it didn’t have the AC we had requested for.

Selfless Selfie at its best... The Seflie which would be cherished for the ages to come 
We had no other go but to settle down there as we were freaking hungry and tired. Idli, Kadla Curry, Puttu which had never been my favorite seemed to be a sumptuous breakfast for the kind of hunger we all were stricken to. It literally meant elixir of life to most of us at that instant.
After bathing and dressing up we headed to our first site seeing for the day. Soochipara falls it was, and the God was never kind enough to us in his own country. It was closed to due to scarcity of water. It didn’t stop us we then headed to Chembara peak which was closed again. Disastrous start to the trip aint it? We were never disappointed or dejected we went inside a tea plantation and took as many snaps as one can so as to subside or evade the disappointment that everyone were hit by. It was fun out there. We didn’t even leave the selfie untouched. Thanks to Roshni for her beautiful selfie that shall stand a testimony to trip and the bonding we all had and will have so as to cherish it for the ages to come. (It would not be fair if I don’t confess that I revisited the selfie innumerous times, which I had lost the count already) and people with all your due permissions and patent I would like to send across the above selfie for the various selfie contests that are on the run. I am very sure we are going to win it hands down and the prizes shall be partitioned amongst the ten of us and the majority shall go to the one who clicked this.
Oh Boy...This is not a palace but the Home where we lodged in
We then moved on to the Pookot Lake, much to everyone's bewilderment it had water, but none of us were interested in boating as it didn’t have a ten seater so as to accommodate all of us. It was the eye catchy fish spa that then grabbed the people's attention. Swathi, Kavita, Praneeth, Uday and Roshni gave it a try and the rest of us enjoyed watching them being bit and licked by the fishes. It was around 3 pm when we were all damn hungry yet again and halted in a hotel for a Tiffin. Surprisingly the food was too good over there. kerala Parotas, Egg Dosas and Ghee roast made our late afternoon lunch a pretty decent one.
A series of disappointments and failures during the expedition kindled a serious thought in Paul, which just meant we had to party hard all night and we shouldn’t be sleeping until the next day's dawn greets us. Paul had a terrifying punishment for everyone who felt sleepy, it was to just go and bathe to evade the sleep.
Yes we were surrounded by water on all the four sides here
The Rain God was kind enough to shower his blessings later that evening. We all went for a short nap so as to stay awake all the night. Rohit and I went to a Kerala restaurant for ordering a pompous supper. People back at the home stay were all set with the stereo system in the terrace. Once the food was brought we moved to the terrace and therein started the party. Some good bollywood numbers were played and people were unleashing the innate dancers in them. To be frank except for me everyone had discovered a Prabhu deva in them that night. Sorry Uday and Roshni, you guys literally got your arse out in teaching me dance but it went in vain. I will make sure that I become an improvised dancer in our next trip if at all we plan one.

Enroute to Kuruvu Island
After some 2 hours of dance and music. We went on to play truth and dare, which had many embarrassing questions and dares to many of us. It was fun and we were lucky enough that none were asked to narrate their love stories for the nth time in their life. It was around 1 am we started having our supper which was yet another slump. Food was ok kind and we were just able to get away with it.
Say around 2 am when people were almost fast asleep and most of our eyes were drooping automatically, Roshni had brought in the most interesting game of everyone's life time. “Risk” it was as the name suggests she did risk all those small coins that were meant mandatory for play as majority of us were totally out of control, Such a strategic game to be played at the very wrong time. Roshni had a horrible and a strenuous time in explaining each and every one of us the confusing game rules, as most of us were already into our sub conscious state. Utmost fun it was. Thank you Roshni for such a fun filled game. Make sure and check out whether you have all the soldiers, Canons and the nights. I would rather say we were prone to conquering the whole world at the wrong time.People fell fast asleep. (Santhosh and Praneeth's fun filled laugh riot is skipped here, if you know what I mean). We all slept around 4 and got up say around 8am.

The Breather of a Stream there at Kuruvu Island
After a not so great breakfast which wasn’t worth the brag and which proved to be fatal as time crept on? We headed towards the most beautiful Kuruvu Island (Sarcasm at its peak). A travel alongside hills is always incomplete without motion sickness. Roshni, Paul and Rohit were the victims of motion sickness and rest were quite immune and didn’t puke.
It was a strenuous travel from then on. We would have travelled more than 80 kms to reach the most beautiful place on the universe called "Kuruvu Island". Never ever miss out such a scenic beauty. It’s a must watch and a highly recommend spot to all those who plan to visit Wayanad. Phew after having a horrible time in the Kuruvu Island which was fun only because of the people who were with me, we were completely drenched in sweat and it was sultry to the core. The only sigh of relief and a breather was the stream of water that ran there in the so called island.

The Unexpected Safari near Nagarahole Sanctuary

A Paul Praneeth Raj Capture (Don't you get a sound sleep when people around you are too sweet and too good to resist? yes, you get one and here is the proof...
It was around 4 pm when we started our way back to Bangalore. We were lucky enough to have had a walk in the park wild life safari near the Nagarhole National park. Deers, Elephants and the bison were spotted. The picturesque Meander of the Kabini River swept us off the feet as we were heading to Mysore.  Hunger took a toll on us yet again; we halted some 40 kms before Mysore for a snack break.  We plundered a bakery; Egg puffs, Aloo bun, dil pasand, badam milk, coke and sprite pushed the people around me to oblivion. The Bakery owner must have been the happiest man in the vicinity. At last we reached Mysore around 7.30 pm. The next destination was hotel Mayura Jewel rock with bit of struggle the GPS came in handy for our rescue. The food was utterly butterly delectable over there. Thanks to Paul’s friend who had directed us to eat there. The food was too good that the allergy that had already crept on my face restrained me from enjoying the grandiloquent supper. 
The supper was followed by a nostalgic Tonga ride around the palace. Swathi, Roshni, Kavita and I were a part of the exciting Tonga ride. Roshni even went to the extent of displaying her mastery and prowess in riding the horse. Horse’s name was Gabbar Singh. It was around 10 pm when we all started to Bangalore. It was driver Nagaraju’s heroics from there on. There was no looking back as we landed Bangalore at around 2 am.
The All Elated Crew
There ends the beautiful and exhilarating 2 days (12th April-13th April 2014) with my friends and not at the so called God’s own country or Wayanad.  I literally leave humbled and say this with a candid admission from the bottom of my heart - "I will treasure this spectacular and a home away from home association, support and camaraderie which was felt over the years among my colleagues who turned into buddies of late. I have learnt a great deal from every single one of you and without any second opinion I will for sure carry a small piece of your mind with me for the days to come. As Helen keller quoted “we would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light” won’t we?

Love this Pic a lot
It’s the time that creates a new buddy to us and everything happens for a reason as we know friends are born and not made. No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel with your friends until he comes home and hits the sack and cherishes it soliloquizing for quite some time before falling asleep.
Thank you everyone for your continued patronage and your forbearing patience that made you read such a lengthy post. Catch you all in another travelogue wherein none of us gets spared and let us all optimistically hope that the next place turns as beautiful as that of my friends. Happy reading…

Saturday, 5 April 2014

My Beautiful School days: a Nostalgia

Nostalgia is the most powerful and a beautiful feeling that can be used to while away or kill your time when you have got absolutely nothing to do in the office. When you don’t have a VPN connection and when you have read through all the online news magazines for almost the entire day and when your brain gets fatigued staring at the screen it voluntarily seeks for your good old memories and cherishes it to keep you active and happy.

Down the memory lane I have had beautiful friends around me who were solely responsible for the eidetic memory I have been having these days. The memories have been shedding gladness over the past.  I thought I would recollect my beautiful pass times during my school days so that you people can match it with all those you had in your lives.

Fluorescent Sketch Pen:

Many would say “Once choosing color of a sketch pen was a tough process” I would rather say it was easy for me. It was the fluorescent color all the way for me. Fluorescent was always the first sketch pen that I used to pull out from the pack followed by blue. Fluorescent color had always been an eye catchy color for me and it will always be the first color to get over during my childhood, was it the same for you guys too?

Window seat at the bus/Train:

My travel has always been incomplete without the window seat either in the bus or the train. Like most of your parents, my parents sacrifice for me ever since I had developed an immortal memory should have started from when I was given their window seats. Yes, a window seat has always been an additional reason other than the travel fascination, for me to be all smiles during the first few minutes of travel. Though, Aisle seats can never be anyone’s preference even now at first.

My First Cycle:

Once owning a bicycle meant conquering the whole world to me. I would have easily been the happiest kid in the vicinity or say in the whole world when my dad had bought me my first bicycle. My first cycle was a small black Bazooka. I was so hard hearted, that I asked my dad and mom to push me as I sat over the cycle from my grandfather’s home to my home (Some 9  kms easily), because  I was some 5 years old and I didn’t know to ride a cycle at that time.  You won’t believe, as a kid I was never crazy about a gear cycle, because my cousin had a top gear and I have seen him struggle and fight with his cycle chain many a times. So I was content enough to buy a red Hercules AXN for the second time. 
I still remember it was exactly 1750 INR including the main stand at the “Gnyanam Cycles” Vanuvampet, Chennai. Thanks to my late grandmother who sponsored for it. The most painful thing during my childhood was not when I fell down and injured my knees rather it was those first scratches in my cycle that had brought those excruciating agony in me.

Lock and Key/Hide and Seek:

I would rather say I was gifted to have got very good friends at my neighborhood with whom I had played lock and key/Hide and seek for days and evenings together. Apparently I wonder whether the kids these days would know about these two games. Ideally they would be visualizing it as a real lock and a key/hide and seek biscuit to be frank. 
Most of my evenings would be incomplete without hide and seek say between my 6th grades to 8th grade from 7pm to 9 pm after playing cricket till our stomach starts cribbing for food. “All Safe” was the one word that we all would be waiting to hear while we were hiding somewhere in the apartments. Thanks to all those water tanks and terrace which didn’t reveal our presence to the catcher.

Big fun loved Cricket and so did I:


So I among with my other school friends and neighboring friends were crazy for the cricket cards that we used to get as free for the big fun bubble gum. You won’t believe if I tell you that I had more than 1000 cards and some 800+ non repeating cards. 

We didn’t have Cricinfo/Cricbuzz those days, all we had were those cards with the player statistics. I would right away tell you the player statistics that I had in those 800+ cards even if you wake me up and ask me during the midnight. Not to forget that the 3 big fun covers would fetch you one big card. Saba karim was the player whom I got most of the times when it came to the big cards.

We even played games with those cricket cards that we had, you will win your turn hands down when you had cards of players like Aquib Javed, Saeed Anwar, Michael Bevan. You will eventually become a hero and talk of the class when you have a rare card in your hand and when you take it to school and show it to your friends.

Wrestling deck of Cards/UNO Cards:

Phew… Undertaker and Kane…. “Clash” the one who says clash first would win it eventually. Do we even have those cards now? How many of you have ever experienced the joy of preserving the Hulkhogan card so as to use it at the end? Your childhood would have been awesome even if you had had the Hulkhogan/Mark Henry card at least once while you played. I have played those for hours together. UNO was one awesome game which I started playing very late in my childhood. Skip one, skip two and what not?

Milo Essential Facts/Milo Sports Facts:

I have had 100’s of those small beautiful green books during my childhood, such a wonderful book. I guess Even now I have few of those books in my shelves. The joy of smelling the plastic coated pages is just heavenly. Bringing the book to school and playing Country and Capitals with my geeky friends were more fun at that time that I still remember plenty of country capitals even now. 191 country capitals would have been onto your finger tips if you had owned that precious green book during your childhood.

Eat Cricket, Sleep Cricket, Breathe Cricket was our motto:

This topic will for sure need a separate post I believe. The amount of Cricket, football and Badminton we guys played can never be described in words. We here include Guru, Sathish, Santhana, Subbu, Ajay, Srinath, Sandi, Gokul, Sabari, VG, Vaidy, Bala and I. It would not be inane if I tell you that the ground water level of Papa ground, Voltas Colony ground, Lakshmi Nagar ground, Vijay Avenue, AGS colony and Chinna School would have definitely had a considerable amount of all our sweats for the amount of sports we played days and years together. 


Terrace Cricket with neighborhood friends was even more special. Srivatsan^2, Sriram, Balakrishnan, Ganesh and my friend Late Srikanth can never be erased for the entirety of my life. My neighborhood friends were mind-blowing wrist and finger spinners, Bala and Srivatsan Senior in particular. The Child Prodigy MRF bat of my beloved friend late Srikanth and the other MRF bat of Srivatsan Senior has indeed honed many of our batting skills particularly against spin as any other Indian batsmen. The Euphoria that the boost’s free red colored wrist band cum watch, cricket bat, shuttle racquet should have given us was immeasurable those days.

Coming early to the school after witnessing a very close cricket match the previous day, just to discuss/Analyze the match with friends was nothing less than being in a paradise. We mastered the noble art of discussing sports with each other ranging from Schumacher’s pole position, Hakkinen/Barrichello’s car failure, Patrick Rafter’s beautiful drop shots the other day, Andy Roddicks lightning quick ace, the mid fielding brilliance of Viren Rasquinha (Sathish this is for you and me), Brilliance of Anna kournikova and what not? Do we even have such sports buffs these days as friends?

Renga Lending Library:

Enid Blyton, Franklin W Dixon, JK Rowling and Herge had taught us as many things more than what our school teachers did. It was more of a one sided friendship for us with Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina , Timmy, Peter, Janet, Jack, Barbara, George, Pam, Colin, Tintin, Snowy , Captain haddock, Harry, Ron, Hermoine. Not to forget the good times with Chef Morton, Joe, Frank and James Hardy. Bayport city had then become more than an imaginary city in our lives.

Google and Yahoo were too costly to approach those days. The only search engine we guys knew those days was the old man who owned that library. He was the first search engine we guys got to know in our lives. I got my first library card with the ID number 5709 for just 200 bucks that was when my life began. The happiness and the joy the single library card gave us during our childhood can never match even the multiple debit and credit cards that we have in our wallets these days. The most valuable and the precious thing in my wallet those days was only my library card. I started using wallet only to keep my Library card safe and not to keep pocket money as we hardly had any those days. Hide a book inside the Renga lending library and we would find in no time.

Cycle Kadai @ CD Shop:

Sathish, Vaidy, Guru and I would spend our hard earned 5 rupees just to rent a movie CD for 20 rupees those days. There was a cycle shop if you guys could remember which used to rent movie CD’s those days for twenty rupees. Sathish’s home would soon turn into our theatre that afternoon. Rush Hour episode was one memorable incident. All we were worried those days were just what would happen to us if incidents in the movie happen to us in reality. We would end up discussing all those for the whole day and used to while away our time. If Guru and Sathish you guys can remember, Sathish called each of us when Chennai was hit by Tsunami and told everyone of us to assemble at Guru’s place so as to die together just in case if Tsunami hits us once again that very night :P

Cartoon Network and WWE:

Life was too busy worrying about the Swat Kats (The Radical Squadron), T Bone, Razor, Johny Quest and Centurions only. We didn’t have anything else to worry about those days. Rock was the only good and true fighter we knew those days. Days were more beautiful when Rock wins against Triple-H. We always wanted Rock to win against Triple-H at any cost didn’t we? WWE was such fun during our school days.

Undertaker was the only scary magician we knew as he was supposed to reincarnate every single time he dies. Do the kids these days have quality cartoons like that of what we had those days?

“Britannia Khao World Cup Jao”:

If you remember the above slogan, then trust me when I say this… you have had an awesome childhood. Britannia Cream biscuits would fetch you some 20/25 runs. Tiger biscuits would easily fetch you 10 runs for 3 rupees. So when you accumulate 100 runs and give it to the shopkeepers they used to give us a World cup scratch book. There were days where I have even collected the biscuit wrappers from the road. 

I was such a freak that I used to keep the world cup book in the pooja room before I go about scratching it for the prize. I even went to the extent of asking my dad, how will I go all alone to England if I win the prize ticket without even knowing that a passport and a Visa are mandatory even if you have a ticket: P Apparently all I won collecting those hundreds of biscuit covers and from scratching more than 30 world cup books was just a checkers wafer which I was not even allowed to eat as it contained egg and just because I am a pure vegetarian L (To KP Sudarshan: Contains Egg only)

Changing the Bat Grip:

As we were basically chennaite, our bat grip made of rubber won’t last long due to the low quality rubber and the heat of the city. So more often we used to change the grip of the bat in the nearby Bhai kadai (Modern Stores). He was having a beautiful cone like structure with which he used to put the grip to the bat with such an ease. Every time Sachin changes the grip, I would go and change it accordingly. Cream bun, Thaen mittai, 50 paise samosa’s, Colorful pepsi ice can never be an oblivion and can never slip from our memories for a life time.

Eve of Diwali with Friends:

I had those selfless school friends who used to bring their Bijli vedi, kuruvi vedi, lakshmi Vedi, Double shot crackers to my house so that we used to burst them all together amidst those selfish giants who always boasted about the huge money for which their dad’s had bought them crackers. 4 am bang on time in the morning, we used to assemble near our apartments main gate with our neighborhood friends to burst the crackers together. There was a silly competition in our minds as to which apartment’s front area had more cracker papers. We even went to the extent of pulling out some of the burnt cracker papers from the neighborhood apartments to our front area. If Diwali was fun, wearing the Diwali dress and taking the sweets to the school after the holidays was ever more fun.

Relationships, Trust, belief, loyalty, sudden change in attitude of people, fair weathered friends, egoistic people, politics around us etc came into picture and started giving us woes only as we grew up. When I was a school going kid all I worried was only about India’s Victory in Cricket, Sachin’s performance in that particular match,Rock’s Victory in WWE. Will I be able to execute the shots tomorrow in the ground that I had dreamed up all the night? Will my D section win the section match against the A, B and C sections? Will the librarian ask for fine as I returned the story book a day late? Will it rain the whole night so that my school ground gets flooded and so they declare a holiday? We weren’t even worried about studies as our gang was always an erudite one.

Life was so very beautiful those days. My sincere thanks to all my school friends and neighborhood comrades, for without all of you the pages of my life’s diary would have not been as indelible as anything else in my life.

            I'd give away all that I have earned all these days,
           If someone guarantees me that they would take me back  
           to my school days,  
           To be once more a School kid at least for a single day....         

Pictures Courtesy: Google as always
Video Courtesy: Youtube

PS: Thanks to my friend Balakumaran who was instrumental in reminding me the Britannia Khao World Cup Jao and Changing the Bat Grip episodes.