Saturday, September 20, 2014

Random Musings of a Romantic kind!!

Romeo! Romeo! Where art thou Romeo!!
Don't let me go 'Ayyayyo'!Don't let me go 'Ayyayyo'!

(Sorry, I could not help resist coming up with that one!!)


We keep on hearing of flash sales these days. Mobiles and what not getting sold in .00000001 of a second! Wonder if matrimony sites would come up with something similar!! This would be called 'Flash Matrimony - get your loved one in .0000001 of a second'!!


Saw this on someone's Facebook timeline, and couldn't help but think 'OK. This is sound advice. To be followed religiously.'

Talking about Facebook, it's uncanny how they manage to bring you the right advertisements at the right time.

When you are a bachelor : It's all matrimony sites! FIND YOUR LOVED ONE HERE! ONE IN A MILLION AND JUST FOR YOU! CLICK HERE! And what not...

Once you update your status to "engaged" though, the whole thing changes.
Now I see "Wedding Photography.... for the best clicks of your special moment!"
"Choose the best Wedding locations and Honeymoon destinations. CLICK HERE!"

I can only wonder, after I get married, what would Facebook throw at me?


I just realized that the heading for this blog post may be a bit misleading. The random Musing bit would be perfect, but the romantic kind? Is there any romantic bit in anything I have written above?.....well, that's a tactic to bring people to read this space!! HA HA!


Random conversation with a friend of mine.

Friend : Dude, What are you doing now?
Me : Hey buddies! Whatsaaaappp! I've just finished dinner at home. You?
Friend : Oh man.... Stop being such a Husband already!
Me : :| :| :|

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Great Indian Love Story

NOTE: I do not know anyone by the names I have mentioned below. If there is someone by that name, it is purely coincidental! PLEASE EXCUSE! AND BE HAPPY YOUR NAME IS IN A BLOG! OK let's move to the post now.....

Ah yes. Love. The time when the guy sees the girl and gets that feeling neither he nor she can describe. That innate feeling of happiness, joy and freedom. The need to keep on staring, whatsapping, FB chatting or Facetiming the other person. On to take the relationship ahead, and end with marriage, if the girl accepts his proposal. Oh! The good times!

However, in a country like India, things are not as simple as that. Oh no, not by a LOOONNNNGGG way. We Indians, when at the ripe age of 25 - 30, look at taking it to the next level. And that is where all the complications arise. For we are not a country with a single religion, single belief, same customs. No we are not!! Far from it, even God would have a hard time finding out the total number of religions and customs in this country!

We, as the youth of the country, are at the forefront of technology. This means, free access to all religions, beliefs, and of course, the women (or for the women, the men) of other religions, castes, creeds etc etc.!!! So much choice!!! What can do we do at this point?

  1. Go after who we want : In 99% of the cases, this would mean going against our parents wishes. This invariably leads to years and years of bloodshed, chaos, and most importantly, missing out on those delicious home made goodies!!!
  2. Go with what they (meaning, your parents) want: This way, your profile would be posted on all matrimonial sites, with yourself being projected as "Another man Superman!" instead of "Anantharaman Subbaraman". Families from the boys and the girls side meet, exchange many pleasantries, plan the engagement, wedding and the honeymoon of the boy and the girl, before the boy even gets the chance to meet the girl.
  3. OR, follow a third way. A blend of the first 2 ways. A 1.5th way, if you may put it that way. In order to illustrate how it goes, I shall put a "case study" below.

So say we have this guy, a queer sweet vegetarian Tamil Brahmin who goes by the name Thiruvillai Krishnaswamy Ranganathan Kunjappan Iyer (Yes, we Tam Brahms have tongue twisting, never ending names too!) . He sees a girl.

Immediate thoughts in his mind (basic instincts, rather, of any male)
"The girl looks good!"
"Oh man hope I can talk to her atleast once!"
"Hope she can say my name properly! Otherwise I'll just ask her to call me KR... much simpler no?"

He meets the girl. He asks her name
"Harminder Singh Sobti"

His heart sinks. "OH NOOOOOO!! Ayo parents will never accept! Marriage alliance down the drain, we can be only friends!"

The problem doesn't end there. KR meets another girl the very next day! The same thoughts go through his mind...... He asks her name

"Sapna Narayanasami"

His heart skips a beat. "TAMIL IYER PONNU!! OMG OMG OMG! YESSSSS" He thinks. He smiles at her and decides to take the next step in interacting with her. There is only one way this conversation is going.

"What is your Gothram?" (Don't ask me what this is called in English, I have absolutely no idea!)
He screams his head off! ITS THE SAME AS MINE! NOOOOO! All efforts to woo this girl down the drain!! Have to go back to friendship zone! What a waste of effort!

LO AND BEHOLD, the very next day, he meets this simple, studious Pattathi (Iyer) called Azhagia Brahmakumari Chidambaram Dorai (or, very conveniently, ABCD in short! I'm not sure Azhagia is a girl's name, but I just wanted ABCD to come in the first place.)

Our dear KR goes through the motions once again. This time his hopes are a bit low.

"Azhagia?? Is that even a name?? Ummm... she looks cute BTW!". For us men, after sometime, all it takes is a bit of cuteness, to set the ball rolling.

This time however, ABCD starts asking questions to him. His antenna goes into alert mode. He thinks "This is not standard protocol!!! Better alert the relevant authorities!!" and swiftly goes and tells his parents of a possible alliance, even before he talks to ABCD.

The parents huddle together and deliberate. KR watches on nervously as they go through her Facebook profile. "Good looking", "Well educated".... the vibes are coming out good! KR gets asked a lot of the standard questions. However, as he has already gone through the motions a lot of times before, he had done his homework!! He already got all the relevant details from ABCD in his own sweet way and presents them to his parents.

And finally, the outcome. Parents say YES!!! KR is ecstatic! FINALLY ALLIANCE APPROVAL FROM PARENTS! I CAN GO AHEAD AND ASK ABCD OUT!

Parents ask "DAI! How are you going to take this ahead?". KR actually becomes "Another man Superman" and replies "Don't worry Amma, Appa! I got this!" and promptly goes ahead to date ABCD, and get things in place before the parents can change their mind!

So you can see, the Indian Love story is not a simple "I love you, you love me, lets live happily ever after". There are a lot of external factors, unknown variables, and complex solutions, that even a creative MBA (HA, yeah right, that was an oxymoron right there!) would find hard to decipher. And that is what makes this, the great Indian Love Story (Or South Indian, as I have put all Southie names here, ah but it would be the same all across the country!!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What I took from the first week of the BPL

YESSS!!! It's that time of the year when all males (and a few females too, I must say!!) find themselves more busy than the president of their respective countries. Want to go shopping? Plumber come home to fix the pipe? The girl you like/love asking you out on a date? BAH!! All that can wait!!

Weekends are never the same without the beautiful game coming every weekend on TV. We watch with bated breath every pass and assist made, free kick taken, goal scored! We scowl at every foul,  swearing at the referee and the players alike! (That's a #^$£#+#^#£#£ foul!! RED CAAARRRDDD!!)

So it all started last Saturday. And there were quite a few things that happened that would indicate how the rest of the season may go. Of course, this is just one game, you would say. But there's a lot to learn from a single round of games!

1. Man Utd fans of the world (me included!!!)!! Please stop having very high expectations of the team. It has not changed much from last season (I would say it has reduced in quality!!). Please wait for a few months to see how many formations Van Gaal can make the team play properly. And what reinforcements he brings in the summer transfer window. The team is in dire need of reinforcements at the back and in the middle. The formation change will take time to adapt. The lengthy list of injuries are not helping either. But not all is bad!! This is United. We will recover!

2. Arsenal are looking quite the compact strong team this year. Winning at the last moment, the never say die attitude is in the team. But why do I keep getting this feeling that Arsene Wenger will 'Arsene'  himself again this year? (Going great guns in the beginning, only to falter in 2 weeks of continuous losses) The FA cup and Community Shield wins (Especially the community Shield) were impressive. And they have the German trio yet to come!! Things are looking up at the club now. But then, it was looking up at the same time last year as well!!

3. Liverpool might just end up doing a Tottenham this year. The only difference being they should still make it to the top 4 (Stress on JUSSSSSTTTTTT). They did buy half of the Southampton team (and a whole host of others) over the summer using Suarez's money. But they are still a bit short in the midfield which may just haunt them later on. Meanwhile....

4. Tottenham would look to push for the champions league spots. Lloris showed once again why he is pivotal to their charge this year. Some quite brilliant saves made!! This should be the season where last years recruits should start paying dividends, and they should be playing exciting football.

5. The major contenders for the title look to be Chelsea and Manchester City. Both eased to wins in the first round. Chelsea have made some fantastic signings (Mourinho factor always plays a part, of course!!), while City are consolidating on last years champion team! But I would not be surprised one bit if any one of Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool or even Tottenham give them a scare!!!

6. Will Keane (now assistant manager at the club) be able to make a difference in Aston Villa? They did start off well against Stoke. Some good play and a disciplined defence, I expect the fiery former Utd captain to make his presence felt in the style of play at the club!

There's so much more to happen over the rest of the season! So much to look forward to!! The scrap at the front and back of the league table will be exciting! New signings, new formations..... Each season just gets better and better!! BRING IT ON!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A different world, a new perspective!

Imagine yourself in a place where you are the odd one out.  A place where you are the only one with the kind of education and work background. Yes, I understand. Given that most of us are MBAs who have also been Engineers, it will be pretty hard to imagine!! But still, give it your best shot. 

So you are in this party, and you have budding singers, bass guitarists, people from the media and advertising industry, a cricket player even, all around you!! It's like a whole new world out there, and you are a new entrant to the scene.

At the tender age of 30 (actually, if your a normal Indian, you would at any age after 20), a whole lot of things start going through your mind. 
  • THERE IS A WORLD OUT THERE OTHER THAN ENGINEERS AND MBAS!! This is a world I never knew even existed!! There are people out there with lives outside of a laptop, iPad and smartphone!! 
  • You would start questioning your own life, as it is. "What the hell am I doing? Going for an 8.15 hour job, working on excel sheets and ppts. Look at these guys!! Value creators right in front of me!! What awesome lives they must be living!!"
  • Giving business cards and waiting for the other person to comment on it may not be the best way to introduce yourself. You may actually have to say something!!
  • People cringe when they hear what you do. "So buddy. What is it that you do?". "Oh. Well, I work in a manufacturing firm creating innovative strategies for large corporates to make immense profits!!". "WOW!! You must be earning enough to buy flats in Colaba man!!". At this point you just nod. It's better if they have that image of you. You'd rather not spoil it by telling them the truth!!
  • You wait for sometime to try and understand the language they speak, for you have been too long in the corporate world to understand words like chords, octaves and clefs. The words you would be comfortable with are synergies, syndications, and Eyyafyallayöküll.
  • You hear someone talk politics, and jump on it, talking in true MBA style, starting from the history to the mystery of the current elections. This is the one chance you get to open your mouth!! You suddenly realise, however, that the room is quiet and everyones gone to the other room!! You also overhear the media guy say "I said anything is better than politics" and realise you had been listening too little, or were just not able to comprehend the conversation that was going on.
  • Hitting on someone is next to impossible for you, for they would assume you're imitating a character and call you a copy cat!!
Me : Heyy.. How you doing?
She : Ugh!! Look at him Joeying me!!
Me : What? No way!! Have you met me?
She : Oh now he is Stinsoning me!!
Me : :|
  • Everyone has an interesting story to tell. And I mean, EVERYONE!! The closest to interesting you have ever had was when you went to the amusement park, with your parents. Sigh!!
  • They start talking about places you could only think about going, and as though they have been there their whole life!! "Oh yeah New York! The Brooklyn area is just awesome. The media scene is just amazing!! There are some outstanding singers on the scene out there!! The burgers over at 5th avenue, 2 blocks away from the subway, is fab dude! Don't you dare compare New York to New Jersey!! I shuttle between NY and Mumbai". You think in your mind " Ummmmm... Have you ever heard of a place called Surat? No? Durgapur? No? OK.." And continue listening to the rest of the conversation intently, nodding your head as though you understand everything they say.
  • People actually know to dance! It's not the usual two hand up in Bhangra dance, or the dhappanguthu (south indian) dance that you would normally get to see in any normal party. No. People dance and dance to the tune of the music. 
So, I guess it's good that you be out of place once in a while. Gives you a whole new perspective on yourself, and on the world around you!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Final Reckoning!

Right. It's been twice unlucky, but there has been a lot of fast paced action and a whole lot of photography involved till now. Very nice indeed, but all would come to waste if we did not get to see the things that we came here for. The reason why the trip was called "Trip to Velas for TURTLE Sightings". Yes friends, if you did not guess already from my previous posts (here, here and here in order), we were here to witness TURTLES being born and making their way to the sea. Treks and Trails India had brought us here all the way from Mumbai and Pune for us to see this beautiful event happening! I was sure hoping it would not go to waste!

So enough of the intro suspense thriller that the first paragraph brought (or so I hope!). Let's get down to business.

Time : 5.20 AM
Place : Velas Village (I think that the village is named after the beach, if not then I do know someone who reads this will correct me in my comments, and I get that many more hits on my blog! *WINK*)

The alarm rings. I wake up. AND IT'S FREEEZZZZIIIINNNNGGGGGGGG!!!!!! Early mornings at this place are very VERY cold. So cold that you would get stuck to the bed, and you would not be able to get up. So cold that if you open the tap, the water would not reach the sink, and would freeze mid air. So cold that...... OK i'm just over dramatizing the coldness, but you get the picture.

I wake up to see my blanket gone! VANISHED INTO THIN AIR! Was this why I had painstakingly washed and neatly folded my blanket in my bag? So much effort gone to waste. CHA! So I wake up and search around in the darkness, trying to find my blanket. And there it is, neatly covering my dearest best friend who had taken the bed right next to me. I turn around, and see a whole set of blankets lying unused. WHAT THE! HOW CAN HE! OMG! THERE WERE SO MANY BLANKETS THERE AND HE COULDN'T USE ANY ONE OF THEM! After that "WTF" moment, I proceeded to give him one tight slap, and go ahead and have my bath before he could realize what hit him.

By the time everyone got up and got ready, it was time to go to the beach for the final time. THE FINAL RECKONING! Would we be third time lucky? Or would the Gods conspire against us this time, and deny us this beautiful sighting?

The suspense fills the atmosphere around the beach. Tensions rise. You can feel the tension in the air.

Organizers : Let's open Basket No. 1.... (opens basket no.1)
OOOFFFF... AFSOS!! Nothing there

Crowd : BOOOOOOO!!!

Organizers : Let's now open Basket No. 2!!! (builds the tension by going slowly to the second basket)

Crowd : OH NOOO!!

Organizers : On to Basket No. 3 we go! (Builds the tension... ok you get the drift now...and if you feel a sense of deja vu, fear not! A copy-paste operation just happened here)


Me : I'm glad we got to see 2 turtles atleast! TRIP NOT A COMPLETE WASTE. I got to see my awesome photographer skills AND see the turtles! I guess Treks and Trails India were right in calling this VELAS BATCH 2 (Get it? Batch 2...2 turtles... No?)!! HIGH FIVES!!

Another sighting of the reaction of the general public.

A few of us had a feeling that something would happen this time around (You know, our photographer instinct always kicks in at the right time.) So, us photographers started hatching strategies in order to get the best seats in the house to take the awesomest pictures of the 2 turtles moving to the sea.

Prime Strategist (AKA Me) : "OK. So we are expecting it to happen, right? Why simple stand at the enclosure then? Let us go ahead and stand by the beach in the perfect positions now itself! I am sure they will all come here itself and thus we get our prime seats! YIPPEE"

Subordinate Strategist : "Ummmm... All that's good, but what if they don't come to where we are and go else where?"

Prime Strategist : "ELEMENTARY WATSON! We will move accordingly!!"

Secondary Strategist : "?!?!?"

Prime Strategist : "LET'S GO GO GO!!!"

So, as soon as we saw the green light, we tried running (of course with the sand it was pretty tough running) towards the sea and took up the best seats in the beach! WE WILL DEFINITELY TAKE SUPER AWESOME PICS NOW! And, of course, witness the event!

The enclosure's made. The turtles take their catwalk to the ocean from here.
So we took our prime locations, and started clicking away! The turtles were so kind to us, they even came all the way towards us just to pose!
WEEEE!! I want to flyyyyyy!!!
OK! Wait! I'm coming towards you. AREY WAIT NA! You will get your super awesome clicks! DON'T WORRY!
And that was that. The grand finale. Done and dusted. Our money's worth seen. And delivered. We were happy. End of story.............or not!

This was not the end! We still had the rest of the day to go! What did we do in the meanwhile?!

After seeing the turtles off on their voyage, it was time to head back to the village, freshen up, have breakfast and leave for the temple at Harihareshwar. At breakfast, each one of us was asked to give a feedback video to the resident videographer and professional photographer (RVPP) (well, he did have a lot to learn from me, but I let it go this time...). We were given very strict instructions on how and what to talk in the video.
  1. The video would last only 20 seconds.
  2. You would tell your name, what you do (if you want), and a brief feedback on Treks and Trails and the trip in general.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, thankfully there were no Gultis (People from Andhra Pradesh) in our trip. Imagine what would have happened then.

RVPP : OK Buddy, your time.... starts... NOW!

Gult : Hello! My name is Venkatesh Rama Lovely Kattamuri Krishna Kumuri Vemuru Lakshmana......

RVPP : ....AAAAANNNNDDD that's it! Your time is up!

Gult : ...Chandrasekhara Rao.. WHAT!! I haven't even finished my name! What about the feedback?!?!?!


Gult : :| :S :|

Once the video session was done and we had our food, it was time to head to Harihareshwar! As usual, the roads were narrow and very tricky to drive on, but leave it to the super awesome bus drivers to take us to our destination in no time! We had to ferry through a river to reach our destination.

A bit about Harihareshwar...Harihareshwar is a town in Raigad district, in MaharashtraIndia. It is surrounded by four hills named Harihareshwar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri and Pushpadri. Harihareshwar Temple complex has two adjacent temples. The smaller Kalbhairav temple is expected to be visited first, before entering the main Harihareshwar temple housing an ancient Shiva Linga. (That last paragraph means I DID get something from GOOGLE Uncle. Pretty satisfied with my research, I decide to show the fruits of my efforts to all of you!)

After the visit to the temple, it was time for lunch! And we were famished! We were fortunate enough to go to a restaurant that served non-veg too! What's a trip to the coastline without yummy seafood, right?
Look at their faces. The satisfaction of having sea food! 
And to add to it, those who finished their lunch late got free ice-cream! I take this opportunity to profusely thank the person who went out of their way to having those ice-creams and the seafood delivered to us to gorge on! Much appreciated indeed!

And that was it! We got into the bus and in no time we were in Mumbai. Along the way, we were whiling our way our time, reminiscing on the trip that was, and finding innovative ways to display movie names like "Astitva" and "Rakhwalla" to the junta who were willing enough to play a game of dumb charades.

And thus ended the trip! All of us were so sad that it got over! I thank Treks and Trails India, and in particular Mr. Ankit Savla, Ms. Bijal Gala Savla and Mr. Hiren Vora for organizing this trip, and for giving me memories that I would cherish for the rest of my life!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

To Bankot and the Second time

Please read Part 1 of the trip HERE, and Part 2 HERE.

OK. So we were unlucky first time, and had the rest of the day, till evening to while away before going to the beach for the second attempt. What do we do?

After getting ready and having breakfast, we were off to see the Bankot fort. A bit about the fort first....Or maybe not, Google uncle will help you out anyways. (This also means I couldn't get much from Google, hence the need to put it in a very sophisticated manner. HA!)

So we reached the fort at around 12 (which means we were supposed to reach at 11. Leave it to us to reach every place on time!), and went about doing what we did best. Posing in front of the camera when someone was taking a beautiful picture of the scenery, trying to capture the essence of the moment! (OK I'm guessing by now this same theme is running around most of the posts. But then, what else do we do when we go to a fort other than pose for photographs and.....well.... click them!)
Anyone notice the pyramid like structure in this photo? No?
Probably the best picture of the fort....showing the valley below. Gives an aesthetic feel to the fort, the right feeling. And the last few sentences makes me sound like the professional photographer that I am!
Had to take this picture from Google, because I did not find any photo taken of the front of the fort in any of the pictures!!!

After spending a couple of hours enjoying the sights of the fort and the scenery around it, and posing for photographs, it was time to go back to the village for lunch and our afternoon siesta. The road back is very narrow. So narrow, in fact, that the bus we were in could not take a few turns! Finally we reached, had lunch and was ready to take a nap.

But NO! HOLD ON A MINUTE! If you just wanted to sleep, you could do that at home too! Why simply travel so long just to have a few hours of shut eye?! BAH! NO WAY IS THAT HAPPENING! So a few of us grouped together, took out a pack of cards, and started deciding what game to play.

Now, if you are in a group, coming up with a game to play with a pack of cards is a herculean task in itself. I'm sure Hercules himself would have said "WTF I cant do this!" and gone somewhere else where and taken a nap.

"Let's play rummy! Everyone knows the game, and its easy to play. COMEON!"
"NO DUDE! Lame game. This place needs some spice, let's play DONKEY" (I go "Donkey" and "spice" don't mix together!)
"Chal hatt! What donkey konkey you are talking about, I know this truly epic game called Mafia! It is the best game ever!"

And thus the game was decided! You would think that now we would go about the business of actually playing the game. BUT NO! We had to decide how to play the game itself! Apparently the game had a lot of twists, and sub twists, and sub sub twists! It would have taken Sherlock a long time to figure out all the puzzle pieces that went on to finalizing the way the game had to be played.

The game brought out the cunningness in everyone. Absurd accusations were flying left, right and center!!
"You are the killer because I can raise my hand and it points to you!"
"WHAT?! Me? No ways man, I am being schemed here, the real murderer is him, because his name starts with an M!!!"
"Somebody has been very quiet this whole time......laughing from within huh?!?! YOU ARE THE KILLER!!"
All this was made even more interesting with the moderator, directing the discussion in such a way that it kept us on our toes the whole time!! We did try with another moderator, but was soon back to the master mayor, willing the city and its residents on a murder mystery to find the ultimate killer!!!!

And just like that, it was evening! THE SECOND COMING! TIME TO FINALLY SEE THOSE TURTLES HATCHING AND GOING TO THE SEA! All of us got ready and rushed to the beach, early enough so that we would get those coveted seats this time too! Unfortunately, the public were WAAAYYYY ahead of us in the game.
The crowd that was already at the place by the time we reached. OK maybe I'm exaggerating a bit here. Or am I?
So we got those last few places that were remaining. The wait ensued. Where were the organizers? Why were they taking so long? Where were the turtles? Were they hatched? Or were they still inside? Why am I asking so many questions which actually din't arise at that time? What is 2343 multiplied by 4532? (HA If you guys haven't read till here, GOTCHA!!!! Otherwise, read on... )

The organizers arrive at the enclosure. Tensions rise.

Organizers : Let's open Basket No. 1.... (opens basket no.1)
OOOFFFF... AFSOS!! Nothing there

Crowd : BOOOOOOO!!!

Organizers : Let's now open Basket No. 2!!! (builds the tension by going slowly to the second basket)

Crowd : OH NOOO!!

Organizers : On to Basket No. 3 we go! (Builds the tension... ok you get the drift now)
AAAAAANNNDDD... It's a negative... NEXT TIME GUYS! (Swiftly goes away from scene)

Crowd : (Doesn't know what to do, just looks at each other)
OK. Not to be this time either. SPARTANS!! LET'S MOVE ON!

So we were unlucky the second time as well. But, as we moved towards the beach, we saw the sunset, and what a sight it was! As usual, for me, it made for some super awesome outstanding clicks that no one else would ever be able to take ever!
Did I specifically tell them to position themselves at those particular positions? Or did it just happen on its own? You'll never know!

So after an evening full of sun set photo shoots, shadow figure shoots, a bit of beach football and 100 m dash running races, it was time to head back to the village for the night. 

The night sky at the beach and the village was stunning! Mumbai would never get to see such a flurry of stars shining brightly in the sky! It was well worth just standing and staring at the sky, seeing the massive worlds that lay in front of us, and imagining how small and tiny we were in this entire universe!

After the sky gazing, all of us had dinner, where we photographers had very interesting conversations on how to take the ideal picture, what would be the ISO, exposure and what not needed in order to take pictures of moving objects, still objects, animals, self portraits and what not. As I was way above all that, I decided to just stay mum and hear the conversation happening. Because, you know, if I did start, all the others would just keep quiet. Or go away. Or both!

Soon it was time for bed. I took my blanket out and slept in a room inside, and my dearest friend soon came and took the remaining bed that was spread in that room. It was lights out at 10.30 PM, as we had a long day ahead the next day!

So would we be third time lucky? How would the next day go? Read on here!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

At Las Velas!

To read the first part, please go here.

OK. So where were we... Ah yes! The suspense! What is it that I can do? Can I get my talents out in the open?!

Out comes my friend to the rescue! Fortunately he happened to bring his dearest 600D camera (Not to be mistaken with the D600 camera. Apparently one's a Canon and the other a Nikon. Of course, I knew it all along, with my inherent photographer professional skills and all)

Me : My dearest buddy in the whole wide world!!! What's that you have in your bag?
Friend : It's called a camera dude.
Me : (Thinking fast before anyone could question my thorough professional skills in this area)... ummmm.. I KNEW THAT! HA! Can this camera take photographs at EXIF: f/5.3 | 1/40s | ISO-800 | 67mm??
Friend : ?!?!
Me : (Thank God for copy paste and Google I can still make myself look like a thorough professional in front of everyone!! I AM SAVED! YAAY!) Dude.. you know nothing. Give me that camera!

And thus I get my hands on a DSLR!!!

Now, it was time for the local team to go to the hatchery and check out the baskets where the eggs were carefully placed to see if any of them had hatched. We happened to get the prime seats to witness this event. All of us photographers sat right at the best locations, took our tripod stands and waited with bated breath!
The look on the faces of the people waiting to see the event.
Would there be turtles to see? Would we be first time lucky? Or would the worlds conspire against us and prevent us from witnessing this great event?

ALAS it was not to be this time. None of the eggs had hatched fully. "You will definitely see something this evening or next morning!!! DEFINITE!" Said the drama inducing, suspense generating organizers of the event.

What?! I was clean shaven when I came here! My beard has grown but the turtles haven't hatched! NOOOOOOO!
Having had failure in the first attempt, we moved on to the beach to see the sun rise, the calm ocean and experience the cool breeze. For me, however, being the professional photographer and all, I had the entire stage to myself. I could see a photo in everything, from the raging buffalo to the distant Supramax 50000 DWT ship, everything had a 1337 (elite in case you were wondering) photo waiting to be uncovered. And sold at the Jehangir Art Gallery. MASSIVE PROFIT MAKING OPPORTUNITY!

So I got started, and started clicking photos at every moment. People came to me saying "Hey! Looks like you are the thorough professional! Too many photos you have clicked man! Do show them to me! I would like to learn from you!" and I would go "All in due course my friend, it is an art not learnt by all!"

So what happens next? Do I get to see the turtles on Saturday itself? Is it second lucky? What do we do in the meanwhile? Please read it HERE.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Off to Las Velas!

It all started 2 weeks ago. A friend of mine and me were having a certain fermented grain mash drink and enjoying the best home made mutter paneer that the world could make, when suddenly my friend remembers something.

Friend : DUDE! There is this awesome trip organized by Treks and Trails to this place called Velas in Ratnagiri, where the annual Turtle fest would be happening! It's going to be so awesome! The Olive Ridley Turtles get to see land only during this time!! All the eggs laid on the beach are collected and placed in a common hatchery which is barricaded from all sides and is guarded throughout the day. Each morning at 0700 and evening at 1730-1800 the baskets covering the lid are open to check if any turtles have hatched, if they have they are counted and carefully laid in another basket and taken closer to the water. They are then gently placed on the sand and they slowly make their way to the water. Their first baby steps are not only endearing to watch but also important if it is a female, as she records in her memory the site of her birth only to return here after 15 years to lay her eggs!! There's going to be lots of people in the group! I'm going, are you game?

What I heard : DUDE!..... awesome trip.... Treks and Trails...............Lots of people! (The grain mash did have its effect of course)

Having worked in the corporate world and mastered the art of the ultimate survival kit, I realized that the last word was the strategic word I needed to make my move.


And thus started the trip to the Turtle festival!

We now go to Friday evening, when the bus would pick us up from selected places within Mumbai before going to the destination, about 4 hours away from Mumbai. The bus was scheduled to reach Dadar at 11 PM. I had packed up my bag and with full enthu walked the way from my home to the pickup point, where I met up with the Leader of the Group, his wife and their cutest, sweetest little daughter.

Others in the group started coming in a bit later. I took this opportunity to introduce myself to them, you know, to get to lighten up the mood, and to get to know a few of the chicks (yeah all us men are alike! :P)

Me : Hey! I'm Kartik.
She : Hi... I'm xyz... (and goes back to looking at her mobile phone frantically moving those opposable thumbs in a quick typing motion)
Me : ummmmm...... (looking around. Find another guy in the Group)
He : Hey.. I'm abc  (and goes back to looking at his mobile phone frantically moving those opposable thumbs in a quick typing motion)
Me : (Thinking the world has been taken over by smartphones. There is no need for aliens to come here to take over the world.. Smartphones have already done that!)

Meanwhile, I keep getting a whole lot of messages on my smartphone. I look it up to see what all the activity was going on, only to find that the Velas Whatsapp Group was full of activity!

An excerpt from the same is given below

Guy 1 : Reaching place in 2 minutes
(after 2 seconds)
Guy 1 : Reaching place in 1 minute
Gal 1 : Bus has reached Goregaon
(Picture of some mall posted)
Guy 2 : GUYS BUS GOING TOO FAST! IM JUST OUT OF MY HOUSE... please don't mind if I'm late..
xyz : I am here at Dadar now. (AHHA so THAT's what she was doing!)
Guy 1 : Reaching place in 2 seconds
Guy 1 : Reached
Guy 1 : In bus
Guy 1 : Bus started from Goregaon, reaching Bisleri in 5 mins

I now understood why everyone around me was so engrossed in their phones, and I went back to listening to the radio. Finally in sometime the bus came, and we were all in! Only 2 more stops and we were on our way! W00T!

Me, being the smart one, thought "I might as well sit in the back, so that when my friend comes we can sit together and then talk and what not!". So I ran in first into the bus and went directly to the back and took a seat. Oh, how I would regret having done that.

If you are taking the bus to the place, please take with you some padding for your bum. You would really need it during the bus ride to the place. The route was a rollercoaster of a ride! There were so many bumps and speed breakers that you could not shut your eye for even half a minute before you were thrown to orbit. Add to it the bus going at full speed, and my pathway to the moon was only blocked by the ceiling of the bus.

We reached Velas at 6.30 in the morning, next day. The plan was to go to the rooms given to us, freshen up and then go to the beach for the first attempt at seeing the hatchings. But, as you would know, nothing happens on time over here. If we say 6 AM, we actually mean 6.30-6.45 ish. This meant that we had to get out of the bus, all dreary eyed and walk past some mangroves to the beach to get to the enclosure where the turtles were being hatched.

And I was astounded by the scenery of the beach. The mountains to the north and south, and the rising sun from behind was a magnificient sight to see! The silence and calmness of the sea was a great break from the loudness and the cacaphony of Mumbai. I could have spend all day just lying down and gazing at the scenery ahead of me all day. If only the summers wern't so hot here!

I suddenly felt an intense need to capture the moment. Capture the essence of what was the Velas beach. Capture what would be a memory to cherish for the rest of my life! Yes, my dear friends, the photographer in me had come out! Only one problem though, I did not have any camera. CRISIS! What do I do?

To know more, you would have to read the next part in this series!(Wah! I loved the suspense created in this ending! :D)