Saturday, September 22, 2018

Srutful thoughts

A lazy Friday afternoon. It was Shruti's birthday, she was her usual self and working from home.
We had just finished with a fulfilling lunch and Shruti was onto something that she does best.
She was planning the next set of actions for the day and the week ahead, and putting timelines to those.
"Vishy, I was thinking we can rest till evening and then push off to Nallakunta (parents' home). Then we will stay over there for Saturday & Sunday. Sunday I am planning to meet up with Ammu for breakfast. On Monday morning you can go from there itself to the airport directly. I will stay in Nallakunta for the week. Also, need to do a test on Wednesday. Dashrath will drop me to the bus pick up point and bring me from the bus drop point on each of the days."
I nodded my head & tried to process the information which had just been thrown at me all at once. But focused on the immediate course of action - Nallakunta.
Within minutes of sounding out her plans, Shruti was on her 2-hr afternoon siesta and subsequently we found ourselves preparing to go to Nallakunta. And there is a reason it is called a "preparation" as it opens up a mental checklist of things to be done, boxes to be ticked etc.-
  • Good thought has to be given to the perishable food which is there in the house on whether it has to be disposed off or carried to Nallakunta for better use. If it is the latter option, then it has to be packed properly in appropriate containers which go into clean bags.
  • Calls are made to the house maid & cook announcing a 2 -day 'chutti', much to their glee.
  • A bundle of clothes is packed (rather stuffed mercilessly) for a wash/press.
  • The air-purifier accompanies us as an occasionally companion in the car.
  • Office bags are packed
This is followed by a mandatory check of the house by Shruti once all the boxes are ticked, we are ready to go.
Some routines do not take a holiday even if it is your birthday.
We reached Nallakunta. Nallakunta, much unlike Rainbow, is an epitome of order, arrangement & categorization. It reminds one of the good old school days. Each thing is in place as if it is destined to be there, there is a scheduled time of activity, seating arrangements are assigned and respective room discipline maintained precisely at all times. Instructions/SOPs go out to the maids.
The travel from Rainbow to Nallakunta transcends multiple boundaries - new to old, apartments to independent houses, fast life to laidback environs, cosmopolitan to Hyderabadi lingo.
As per convention, Baba's Swiggy connection was already at work to get us a rich starter menu from the trusted 'family' restaurant. Given the regularity of deliveries there, I feel Swiggy would already have predict a order from the Nallakunta household even before it is placed and filling in the address field is just a formality.
The family had a sumptuous dinner that evening, with dinner table conversations.
"Out-of-the-box thinking hona, Bhai. Kitte ki loga faste ji, Plan B nahi hain bolke. Ino abhi court/lawyer ku bhaagra." flowed out the hyderabadi from Baba, as he was explaining a situation a friend had got into. Some light trolling followed. Lessons were learnt for the day.
As the day ended with the quiet celebrations, "Happy Birthday Sruts, again", I wished her, digging into the Ajmeri Kalakand as Shruti picked and nibbled some of the food contents from the utensils.


Friday, September 22, 2017

B'day achche lagte hain

Venue: My office
Pin-drop silence. Me being the sole occupant of the office. (By virtue of being a repeat offender at promoting rather un-Hyderabadic behaviour of reaching office punctually by 9 am, despite popular refrains like "Abaa, itta jaldi kon aataa ji?")

I was at my work desk analyzing an ocean of numbers on the laptop screen; as if staring at them long enough would make them come to life. Just when I realized there was a trend which I was beginning to comprehend, came the all-too-familiar sound of my phone buzzing which broke the lovely "main or meri tanhaai" moment.

" Vishy, I got a message saying X Rs have been deposited to my ICICI account. Correct hain?" asked the voice, breaking my "Eureka" moment.

Shruti's interest (or lack of it) in anything even remotely numerical like deposits, accounts, passwords, could bring Aryabhatta to life again and was enough to shake me off the analytical slumber I had forced myself into. The mention of "Rs" meant I had something to do with the transaction she was referring to.

"X Rs? Hmm.. yea..sold 175 units of KEI. Transferred that" I said as I tried hard to recollect the transactions of the recent few days.

"Oh ok. But.. but what is that?" she asked a bit confused.

Her confusion stumped me no less. What part of the conversation did she not get? "KEI"? "units"? "175"? I admonished & reminded myself instantly that not everyone knows stocks & scrip terms and that I needed to break it down, especially when it had to be explained to my wife.

"I sold shares of the company called KEI day before. It had run-up a lot in comparison to the market  indices and I had to book profits. You will receive a few more in the coming days " I said.

"Oh..nice. Awesome! Just wanted to check. You know better than me about this." She said, politely asking me to cut out all the market technicalities that I was spewing which made absolutely no sense to her.
"Sold" & "profits" happened to be her supporting keywords (in addition to the larger pool of keywords in her sensory list which include sale, discount, Hypercity, bazaar, dress, restaurant, bookmyshow et al)

"Btw..Amazon sale begins on 21st. But since we are Prime customers it starts on 20th evening for us at 6 pm." I initiated.

"Wow. I need a phone for my birthday". she said. The day was just 2 days away.

I couldn't agree more. The fact that she was accompanied by her 2 phones wherever we went meant that enough man-hours were spent on tracing one of her misplaced phones, more than once.

"I am checking out Redmi. Their 4A is dual-sim, good camera, long battery, 32 GB storage, 5-inch display, will be delivered within a day to us. Only 6999. Good value for money". I said, summing up all the salient features she looked for, to her understanding and in the process acting like a Redmi marketing manager + Amazon operations guy + Baniya, rolled in one.

"Too good!" she said. Her excitement stemmed more from Amazon's "1-day guaranteed delivery policy" rather than Redmi's low-cost, smart phone-making capabilities. The meticulous planner in her would have been impressed even if a RIN detergent-bar (or 3310) was delivered within a day, as long as it was dual-sim & had social media accessing abilities.

My mention of the 6 pm did its trick, for just when the clock struck 6 was the much-expected reminder call from her. I smiled as I answered the call. I was already in the shopping process and a few minutes later I even had a confirmation of the order placed; tracking details duly forwarded to Shruti as an assurance that her phone would arrive on time for her big day.

Despite Amazon's much-hyped delivery timeline guarantee over its lesser rival Flipkart's campaign, my own phone ordered through Flipkart a day later, was delivered faster by a few hours than what I had ordered for Shruti. Small indications that they cannot be written off the market yet, for a few years at least.

Shruti did not mind and like any excited birthday girl, she beamed as she quickly unwrapped the gift, wasted no time in transferring SIM cards and switched on the phone. Priorities were given to installing essential needs - Whatsapp, FB, Instagram and the likes. A few calls were made home from the birthday gift.
She was happy like never before as she dumped the now-obsolete phones in a drawer reserved by her for old sets. She then played around with her new phone like a toddler with her barbie doll.

"Thanks Vishy. You are nice." she said with a hug.

"You are welcome Shrut. And wish you a very happy birthday." I said acknowledging that my only contribution in the whole episode was the fact that I was an unassuming Amazon Prime customer.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

3 years with Srut

It was a good, lazy afternoon. Shruti seemed to be in a thoughtful mood. No, not that being thoughtful is something new to her.
Having spent 3 years with her, I knew that it was just the proverbial lull before the storm.

And as I was just decoding her silence, came the expected " Vishy, I was just thinking.."

"Bingo!" I gave myself a mental pat on the back as if I had won India's its Olympic gold.
I took pride in the the fact that very few hubbies could boast of sharing such telepathic compatibility with their better halves.

Only till the point to know that she was upto something in her mind! Nothing more than that.

"Hmm.." I replied as if granting her permission her to continue further (not that she needed it, she would have continued anyway).

" I was thinking we should do something for our anniversary".

I listened further with intent without interrupting her, for the options which would be spelt out shortly.

" Maybe go shopping and have a dinner out"
" We can also go to a movie followed by lunch at Taj"
" We can try out the new restaurant at Jubilee Hills"
" We can go have breakfast at X at Banjara Hills followed by lunch at the Mexican place Y at Hitech and can order something for dinner"

As the options poured in, with each succeeding option, the focus on eating out progressively went up.
And why not? She being a Hyderabadi, her gastronomic desires were on par with any in the city.

Just then it clicked on why not have a quiz with options to let her know herself better by picking the right alternative, to mark our 3rd anniversary.
Here it is.

1. Top among Shruti's needs is
- Good food
- Good uninterrupted sleep of a minimum of 10 hours a day
- Nallakunta

2. What is the first thing that Shruti does early in the morning?
- Sneezes her nose out in multiples of 4
- Checks her FB account for updates on celebrity hook-ups, break-ups and other general awareness issues
- Opens her eyes, notes that it is still not early enough, shouts of instructions to cook, closes eyes, pulls over her comforter, dozes off

3. Shruti's idea of a perfect day is
- Reaching the station in time for the 8:15 am train
- The cook listening to her and getting the upma first time right
- The day when the sun rises at 9 am and sets at 6 pm.
-  Planning for the days ahead and making plans for preserving the plans.

4. Shruti's favourite pastime is
-  Wet-wiping the already clean table so that she gets a good night's sleep
-  Unfolding, refolding towels perfectly to exact sizes so that no extra cloth peeks out of the shelf
-  Making a color code for wiping cloths, tiffin bags etc.
-  Designing a seating arrangement on who gets to sit on which of the table chairs

5. Shruti's often used line is
-  "Kya hain ki", "Kai ki"
-  " I was just thinking"
-  "We need to talk"
-  "Bas bundle maar raa"
-  "Naa peru Shruti andi"
-  No talk. only rolling of the eyes for the effect.

6. When Shruti says " We need to talk", It means
-  You may want to check your bathroom. You have not flushed properly or probably bathroom's wet.
-  You have not put on the bed-sheets & pillow covers the right way (her way)
-  You have not sat on your designated table chair as per her seat arrangement exercise.
-  You have arranged the plates in the cooking utensils/pans section of the kitchen

7. Shruti gets angry when
-  The food arrives late
-  Lesser mortals do not understand the essence of her planning & micro-planning
-  You might have done something you dint know should not have been done which could have been done differently or best not done at all in the first place

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Food for thought - A day at Nallakunta!

"What's the matter?" I politely inquired as I saw my best half Shruti unusually quiet.
She was perched in a relaxed position on the bed, in the TV room, at Nallakunta in Hyderabad.
Even though it appeared that she was watching her favorite sitcom on Star World, she was shifting uncomfortably. She exchanged regular glances in between and her expressions seemed to suggest she was thoroughly bored.

"I was thinking..." She started and paused for a few seconds .. to think.

Very few things manage to send a chill down my spine than a sentence from Shruti starting with these 3 magical words and more so the pause which follows. The impending suspense sounds to me like a warning bugle signalling that something big is to follow. Sometimes I think she does it on purpose just to have some fun at my plight.

A lazy Saturday evening without any call of crying urgencies from my work-place and pretty much nothing else to do, an atmosphere of eerie silence, a thoughtful pensive wife who had just woken from an afternoon nap; sums up as a potentially dangerous concoction.

"Yes?" I wondered where the conversation was heading, even before it had already started. I hoped it was something within manageable limits of effort, time and money.

" I was thinking, we can do something in the evening today a movie today and eat outside at Narsingh".

I heaved a sigh of relief and nodded my head in the affirmative, quietly admonishing myself on making a huge fuss on something as trivial as a movie and dinner.

Narsingh is the go-to place for all chat items, samosas, dabhelis; juices, snacks of all varieties; choc-a-bloc with fast-food joints. A snack-eaterian's delight, especially for someone from Mumbai who has feasted on them on a regular basis, it teems with a relatively cosmopolitan crowd!

For a first-timer, Nallakunta seems like an sleepy, unheard entity. But with theaters, shopping malls, eateries & restaurants within hitting distance and the Kacheguda railway station closeby, it serves as an important focal point. Rows of independent houses, old & new dot the Nallakunta landscape.
One of them being Shrutis' parents house in Nallakunta, the landmark being 'Fever' Hospital. Powerful irony, isn't it?

As you open the black gate leading to the parking space, one can't help but notice the generous amount of green cover and shade with trees, plants and shrubs of all types which surround the 60-year old, 2-floor independent house. A perfect simulation of a holiday cottage faraway in the woods.

Once you step into the home, the convergence of the traditional and modern just dawns on you. The CCTV cameras which greet you and serve to safeguard the home premises. The old doors with creaky latches. The collapsible grills with multiple Godrej locks. The presence of 2 Wi-Fi networks within the home. The sturdy, old-style teak wood structures. The 2 big HD TVs. The well... The list is endless as the present marries the past.

Shruti spent a considerable amount of her life in the comfy confines of the Nallakunta house which has now come to be referred as the 'ultimate holiday destination'. This, I assumed, was one explanation for her lengthy sleepy patterns at any part of the day.

For Shruti & me, Saturday evenings were the culmination of a hard-fought week in office. In the Nallakunta home, as per custom and by popular demand, such evenings would conclude and be celebrated with a meal/snack ordered from a nearby restaurant or in extreme cases a trip to the restaurant.

"Yes, lets go to Narsingh. Its been a long time since I had pani-puri." I said as we prepared for an evening out.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baar Baar Dekho

Location: IIM Trichy
Time: 5:30 am

Like a big mountain, lay a big creature deep in slumber, at times tossing and turning uneasily. The silence of the night was broken in between by sounds which resembled those coming from a 15 HP water pump, which were actually small intervals of rhythmic snores emanating from the creature. Then suddenly like a beast possessed, Dekho half woke up on his bed, still in his sleepy stupor. Without a moment's pause, he investigated his bed and looked to be searching for something very frantically on his bed. After a few minutes of excavating through heaps of bed sheets, covers and pillows that had covered him till then, Dekho finally found what he wanted.
His lungi!
It was a dark blue chequered lungi that had 'slipped away' just like every night, for Dekho was still a novice in draping it. Dekho looked pissed as he gathered the garment. It had become a real nuisance. Poor classes, utterly give-up students, bad syllabus - He had appropriately equipped himself to deal with all of that and better than most other professors. But, betrayal by the lungi - No! It was one issue which he helplessly grappled with despite spending more than a year in the vast IIM Trichy campus.
Dekho got up from his bed, wrapped the lungi around, folding it Tam-style and proceeded to his table. He then played his latest favourite on youtube as his mind flashed back to where it all had begun - His last days on the WIMWI campus in the dorm, a tear rolling down his cheek.

Dekho's last week at WIMWI - Dorm 7th heaven

The fachchas (juniors) and tuchchas (seniors) had taken to Dekho like new-born infants to their caring mother. And true to the title of "Dorm Maa" given to him, he had looked after one and all without bias and discrimination. Being the sole one from the Harrappan times , he would talk to fahcchas about the days that came and went, legends that rose & fell. Very alluring to the fachchas were his impressive story-telling skills that kept them hooked for hours together.

" Wow, today he told us the dorm names of all the seniors who lived in Dorm 7 in the past 10 years. That too with complete CCCF ( Conceptual Clarity and Contextual Familiarity)." beamed a fachcha on the last day. He wanted himself to be named but had a disgusting enough dorm name not to be mentioned.

True that. From the days of yore, Dekho was a man apart. A sense of which you got when you entered the Room 704. A room which seemed more of a cacophony of the following:

- Management books coated with a film of 2 mm of dust,
- A table burdened with xerox copies of finance equations featuring the choicest Greek symbols + gadgets like the Kindle serving the purpose of paper-support.
- Ready to make food.

Talking of food, Dekho's love for food was unparalleled. Be it an unlimited thaali or the midnight buffet at the Marriott, Dekho had beaten zomato at its game. He has moved quite swiftly, sampling (devouring) food at every eatery in Ahmedabad.

" Today Dekho taught us how to extort a treat out of an old tuchcha " screamed a visibly excited fachcha delightfully high on VAT 69, as he held the bottle in a hand and a pizza piece in another.

But today, on the last day of Dekho on campus, the fachchas & tuchchas of Dorm 7 were a sad & forlorn lot. Their despondent and fallen faces said a thousand words. With heavy hearts, they knocked on the closed door of Room 704. After about 11 minutes came a now familiar yawn and then a reply.

" Kya Chahiye tum logon ko ( What the hell do you want?)?"   

" Dekho, we want toothpaste." said one of the fahcchas.

"Nahi hain, Baaju ke dorm se lo (I don't have it, Take it from the  next dorm)" said Dekho

"Dekho, mazak kar rahe the (Just kidding Dekho). Infact we are sad that you will be leaving us."

"Thats ok. Kaam ki baat karo. Where are you guys giving me a treat? Pride or Marriott? said Dekho.

"Treat-veat baad ki baat Dekho. Today's day will be celebrated as Dekho Divas or DD. And DD will be celebrated for years to come in the dorm.

 "Achcha? What are you gonna do in that?" asked a surprised Dekho

"We'll play the latest hit song on loop at least 30 times and lie on the bed doing nothing or gossip about a tuchchi/fachchi."

"Oh, I am impressed! My fachchas I place Dorm 7 and its customs in your able and secure hands before I take leave. Please ensure that they cross all threshholds of give-upness."

Just as Dekho prepared to leave, a visibly emotional fahccha came running to him and asked him with a heavy heart.

"Dekho, you have given us so much. 
Can you please give me back my maggi which I kept in the dorm microwave"

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Being Shahi

The morning of 26th August it was. A special day. No, it wasn't one of those days which warrant a bank holiday. But a personal milestone of sorts. Shruti & me had just completed 6 months of marital bliss. Marriage does change things. For the better, I mean. Shruti had just celebrated the important day by waking up with 4 back-to-back bullet sneezes. She bent her head back and continued nursing her nose which had now acquired a distinct pink tinge from the night-long cold. Not a particularly good moment to wish your better half, I thought.

As we sat down for some tea, I remarked " You wont believe who came in my dream last night?", quietly hoping to lighten the moment a tad bit. As if the suspense accompanying the question was a better cure for her cold than the cetrizine tablet she was going to take.

"Whom did you see?" She asked not-so-enthused.

"Rohan appeared in my dream." I said.

Shruti clutched her forehead. No, it wasn't because of her cold, but her "not-again" reaction to my remark at the mention of her brother's name.

"How many times will Dada (Rohan) come in your dreams. Only Dada comes in your dreams. Not me." She said with a wry smile.

" I guess so. Especially if the dream is about food or cooking" I said, recalling the recent dream which had featured me cooking up scrambled eggs and Rohan making a small appearance to mock me saying "Yeh kya banaake khaa raha hain?" and then making a quick disappearing act.

Truly, his love for good food was giving him frequent guest roles.

Strong & towering in appearance with a well-built frame, long straightened hair, a signature moustache coupled with a trademark unkempt stubble, wearing glasses and with it a distinct swagger -.Rohan could easily pass off as 'Sanju Baba' clone without his trusted companion 'Circuit'.
His intimidating appearance has earned him the title of 'Bhai' among all & sundry and could potentially send any unassuming person scurrying for cover, be it Manipal, Hyderabad or Mumbai. With an air of dynamism and energy about him, many believe that he has been blessed with the gift of 'jugaad', the Midas touch to make things happen.

But besides this rugged aura of his, there is also a classy side to Rohan. His tastes are exotic and ooze Nizamshahi royalty; especially the food habits. Quality good food being an uncompromising weakness of his.

For starters, it is absolutely essential for any food product to have the word 'Shahi' written over it for it to be a possible candidate on his food menu (Shahi Pulao, Shahi badam, Shahi anjeer to name a few). Anything which does not have the 'Shahi' stamp on it does not stand a chance of being counted.

A foodie to the core having sampled many a restaurant, he is a food directory of sorts enough to put even to shame. As evidence of his gastronomic desires, his food palate is unconventional (sometimes unIndian) and his description of the recipes could have you licking your lips. Given an opportunity, he can easily strike off the traditional idli-vada-dosa off the Udipi menu and brand the following favorites of his as the national breakfast of the country.
  • Pancakes topped with maple syrup
  • Waffles with maple syrup (His demands for a waffle-making machine unfortunately being shot down)
  • 3 Karachi Bakery/Osmania biscuits and a mug of hot coffee
  • Hot Chocolate laced with mint flavor

" Its not easy. You need to be really classy if you have to get in." I said playfully, referring to the dream.
"By the way, What will be there for dinner?" I asked

"Shahi Paneer today" She said as we had a laugh

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting 'Trip'py - The Goa Trip

Our exams finally ended in the 1st week of March signalling the end of the academic schedule of the PGP programme. A series of 'lasts' filled up the FB space - people ranting about their last exam, the last presentation, the last assignment etc. as they heaved a sigh of relief at having completed the course in one piece. 
Travel plans were on in full spree and herds of WIMWIians were disappearing in different directions. Some of the most preferred destinations being the northern part, the North-east and Goa.

It was Goa for the 5 of us - Menon, Tappu, Natty Boy, Veera and me, as we headed for the sun, sands and water.Although we had our doubts about making it to the station in time for the 9 am train (obviously having Natty in our ranks was not going to help), we did reach in time.

Poker time
The long arduous journey started as we got accustomed to the cool environs of the 3 AC. Very soon the Poker set was out and what followed was numerous hands, countless buy-ins as fortunes fluctuated. The co-passengers looked on with interest as if Vegas had descended on to Indian Railways.
We reached Margao station early morning the next day. 

The fast and the furious - Natty Boy:
One among the numerous hilarious ones of Natty
If ever there was an award for the fastest decision-making club co-ord of a IIM-A student club, Natty boy would surely not make the cut even if he were the only one in the race. One whom even a tortoise could give a run for his money, as most of us had exited the train at Margao with our belongings, we realized that something was amiss. Natty hadnt exited the train and it had started to move towards the shed. Later we realized that Natty was apparently attempting a clean-up job of ensuring that none of our poker chips and cards were left behind in the train. This was to mark the series of many an amusing incident in Goa and subsequently down south in the western ghats. Also, the cap of his was a trusted companion, on occasions the only piece of garment on his body, a sight which left Tappu praying that he rather had been blind.
(Infact, Natty was refused entry by one of the beach shack owners because she thought he was not adequately dressed and that had led to a few foreigners fleeing the shack)

Prime among Natty Boy's early morning actvities was to check his IIM-A mail account, quite studiously, for any mail with the subject "Sangharsh reimbursement ". Umpteen internet hours spread over 4 days, countless phone calls (to Akash Shroff which had made him a popular household name) and many messages later, Natty was still left in the lurch.
If it was not Akash Shroff or Sangharsh, it was Ashwin - the new Niche co-ord, who grabbed Natty's mindshare, since he had been entrusted with the task of managing sponsorship funds (minus the spoils shared by Natty & Tappu).
And if it wasnt either of the above, it was good ol' wikipedia. For, Natty boy's German visa interview was a week away and Natty's romance for German cities, German football clubs and coaches, German beer and cuisine and the Nazis was bordering on fanaticism. We even had mock-visa interviews to simulate the atmosphere at the German Consulate, an attempt in which Natty failed miserably.
Colva - Vellankanni Hotels

So started our hunt for anything and everything cheap and wallet-friendly - the cheapest hotel, the cheapest and value-for-money eateries, the cheapest rentals for car and bike. Being off-season, our negotiation skills were not tested much as the the 2 hotels we stayed in  - First near Colva Beach and subsequently near Anjuna Beach, did not exceed a measly Rs 300 per person.

Anjuna - Poonam resort

The wounded tiger - Gokari
Unfortunately the 'wound' aint visible here
Each day started at 10 am for us except for Gokari (Our companion in the Goa trip who joined us late) who would wake up an hour early to follow a regular wound-dressing ritual like a wounded soldier. Technically it was not a wound, but a minor scratch sustained whle playing in the waters at Varca White-sand Beach. The sight of blood from it freaked him out enough for him to jump out of the water and ask the lifeguard for some first-aid. The lifeguard looked at Gokari as if he has just asked him the history of Goa. We deduced that perhaps this was the first inury in his life thus far. Below is the daily wound-tending sequence followed by Gokari with religious frequency:

Washing with water (10 min) ------  Scrub with Dettol (15 min) -----  Apply Soframycin (5 min) 

---------- Check if quantity is enough by running fingers on wound ----- Not be satisfied with it 

and re-apply more Sofra (5 min) ----- Stick a Band-aid on it and cover it with another band-aid 

to seal it and make it compleetly air-tight

This exercise was repeated a mnimum of 2 times a day. On occasions during the travel, the water was substituted by mineral water much to the agony of onlookers like us.

Khatron ka Khiladi- Tappu

In course of our 4-day Goa tourney, Tappu doubled up as car-driver. An epitome of dare-devilry and adventurism normally associated with Bollywood stuntmen, he would always take the toughest, the least-travelled and the most dangerous route as if it were a mundane experiment for him. A perfect example of this was our trek downward from the top of Vagator fort. Conventional wisdom and straght thinking would have told us to go the same safe way we had come from. But Tappu wasn't going to have any of that. He was hell-bent on taking us along with him on the steep descent downward (which was leading to nowhere), a plan which made Gokari flee for cover citing his still fresh wound. Although we finally made it to the beach in one piece, it was just a sign of what was to come in the later part of our tourney. As evident from the pic above, he is quite adept at striking visionary poses. His valiant attempt to retrieve the bat from the speeding train (completely ignoring Natty boy sitting inside) will be remembered.

The leader - Menon
Danger: Consultant at work
If ever there was any doubt regarding his consultant skills, Menon dispelled those with steadfastness. Armed with a laptop, at the end of each day, he would play with spreadsheets to ensure no one went scot-free in terms of the moolah to be paid. He protected and cradled the love of his life - "His Fast-track Shades", wherever we went. A stickler for good sea-food, he would touch upon each fish-item which existed on the restaurant's menu card while ordering, only to settle for a non-veg thali in the end.

Charlie - Veera
Veera played an important role in the group, as the the official butt (along wth Gokari) of most jokes.
He would himself at the receiving end of the obvious "Charlie" remarks. Most of these would be met by him with a timid 'LOL', a sign that he was more internet/chat savy than us. We instantly adopted the chat lingo like lmao, roflmao etc for ease of communicaton with Veera. We would constantly fnd him busy wth his cell phone, occasionally smiling away. At frst we had discounted it as his regular interactions with one/all of the angels. But later did we realize that he was sending promiscuous messages to a guy on campus and that sparks were flying thick and fast.
Veera's alleged hydrophobia ensured that he kept watch on our belongings on the beaches while we were inside the water. Infact one one such occasion on Varca beach, he made himself at home in the lone shack on a bottle-emptying spree to run a huge bill.

Our 4-day intinerary in Goa was as follows:

South Goa:   \
Varca "White Sand" Beach
Day 1: Velankanni resort + A rented car and bikColva
Varca Beach - was a delight to the eyes since it appeared a virgin white sand beach completely uninhabitated by Indians (except for the owners of the lone shack). Firangs where having a ball here and it just did not seem like India.
Palolem Beach - The kayaking in the middle of the sea was a mind-blowing experience, not to mention our numerous failed attempts with the kayal falling over us and we consuming gallons of water in the process.
Enroute to Palolem

Day 2: Same resort and same rented vehicles
     Dudhsagar waterfalls (which included a completely misguided de-tour for me and Menon wherein we came across "Welcome to Karnataka" boards)


North Goa:

Day 3: The morning when we checked out and changed 2 buses and a cab to reach the Anjuna Beach road to find a lovely resort-type hotel in the most unlikeliest of places, ust a minute away from the beach. The spic-n-span hotel called Poonam resort with a lovely swimming pool and a restaurant by the poolside and a big spacous room for all of us. Needless to say it was heaven !

We had covered Anjuna , Vagator fort (Where we had a mini-trek to the top of the forts to the much-vaunted Dil Chahtha Hain point. The crazy vagabonds that we were, we choose a much steeper descent which led us down to a shack on the beach directly.)

Day 4: We packed from the hotel and reached Calangute and had our share of water-sport fun.

By late-night we experienced the inevitable - bumped into 2 groups from IIM-A, one on the Calangute beach and the other on the Margao station. No damage was done.

And that night off we were on our way to Mangalore, in Sleeper Class I must add. So began the 2nd part of our exiting journey, down south as we treked in the western Ghats.