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A Goa Story

Goa to me is now permanently linked to a certain soap that my company makes thanks to spending time on a shop floor. And also Indian uncles jumping into water at Calingute beach in their underwear. But I also remember the greenery and the beauty I used to savor every morning on the way to my workplace. Yes I have worked in Goa. In a factory no less.
So when AB announced the only way to ring in my 30 was to party in India’s party capital,I decided to make the best of the situation by getting started on my excel. Yes, I make holiday excels with itinerary, cost, must dos for all holidays and making the excel is one of the most exciting things I do to build up any vacation in my mind. Yes am an MBA thank you very much.
My Goa trip was very different from the past (and yet it was the cliche-d partaay trip)  and am sharing the things that made this an awesome trip to bid goodbye to my twenties.

1. Peak Holiday Season in Goa = Give me all your monies

So booking airfare and hotel between Christmas and NYE in the second week of December, not such a great idea. SKYHIGH is where the prices where if the hotel wasn’t fully occupied already. At one point we were looking at staying at the beach for 4 days or file for bankruptcy. This is kill time for the tourism business. That Activa you zipped around in for 200 bucks during monsoons, be ready to shell out a grand for it now.

2. Sunburn

Actually the VIP passes to Sunburn – arguably India’s only international level music festival is the one that really bought me in. And I have to say it was everything and more. There was music, food, rides and people. This year they had Afrojack, Axwell and Markus Schulz headlining but I also loved Arnej ,Shermanalogy and Shaan. The mega huge mainstage, lights and pyrotechnics was fabulous.

Morjim Sunset3. Morjim and Aswem

After spending the first evening in Baga, we headed north. The moment we crossed Chapora, we met a Russian overdose. Many restaurants in fact had only Russian signage! But The beaches were beautiful and also much source for eye candy.

4. La Plage

Took some effort to find this Aswem based French restaurant but it was worth the trouble. Beautiful beach setting and some of the best food I had in years. So much so we returned the next day, driving all the way from Candolim. We had grilled mussels, beetroot and mango carpaccio, ravioli and everything was superb. We tried some 4 items from the dessert menu and all of them were mouth watering. We expected to run a huge tab but I found it quite reasonable compared to what many places south were charging. Only word of advice- pre book, the place fills up fast.

5. Hike up the Chapora Fort

I climbed the slippery terrain in a pair of chappals to be greeted with a beautiful sunset over Vagator. Worth the risk of sliding all the way to the bottom!

6. Mum’s Kitchen, Miramar

Food in GoaI had read that this was one of the best places to try authentic Goan cuisine, so off we zipped to Panjim. Its here I learnt Goan food is spicy, spicy, spicy and cocunut laden-much like Kerala. AB had a fish which he couldnt stop raving about. Again the place filled up in a jiffy and we were lucky to have landed early without any bookings and in finding a seat.

7. Thalassa

A Greek restaurant at the edge of a cliff in Vagator overlooking the beach. The location is worth the visit, but the food wasn’t really that great for the money they charged. Add to it chaos due to overbooking and dishes taking more than an hour to get ready. Maybe they were having an off day. The baklava was quite good though.

8. Curlies

A landmark at Baga beach their egg poi sandwich and milkshakes really hit the spot at 1AM. After 6 hours of EDM I no longer had the energy to dance the night away but things would have been different 5 years ago 🙂

Eat. Sleep. Party. Repeat.

Twenties now am done with you!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in travel

 

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Memories

Memories are a fickle thing. And even then its shocking how much we rely on our memories. Our memories pretty much shape up the people we are. Good memories, bad memories-the whole lot of them. For a long time growing up I remembered my fathers ancestral home as huge with the gigantic trees under which I had sat and painted for hours. When I visited the place after 10 years the house was definitely large but not titanic and so were the trees. When many of us were newly reconnecting on Facebook with long lost school friends/classmates we hadnt seen or spoken to in a decade plus,my mind would bring back memories of young girls in skirts- some thin, some fat, some bucktoothed, some gorgeous. Time apparently has been a great leveler and yesterday’s bucktoothed nerd is today’s fashionista in a leading MNC, some are mothers to multiple kids and it was a shock to see those varied personalities in a totally new avataar. And that’s the trick your memory plays on you.

My undergrad days always bring back strong memories for me although the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia have kind of tempered them down. Last month Hubby and me went for a visit to Kochi and I couldn’t resist taking him on my own WSW tour of all my hot spots. Kochi has changed and how! The whole area around my campus has got a facelift (biggest Nissan and other car showrooms I have seen In India! ) that I missed the main gate. But the campus itself had aged. The brand new building had worn down with incessant Kerala rains and everything looked smaller and more small townish. I excitedly showed the eatery which helped me attain modelesque proportions in college with semi starvation owing to bad quality food and the photocopy shop where we photocopied entire books a week before semester exams. Many of the familiar landmarks were gone like the Indian Coffee House and I had hard time fitting the new reality with my memories.

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Sunset on the way to Ernakulam

I was anything but a travel freak during college days and so this time I thought let me do the touristy bits of Kochi. Thanks to pretty much doing all our bookings all the time on Agoda.com- we had a gazillion points lying which helped us get awesome seaside rooms at Taj Gateway (Friendliest front desk staff ever!) for a throwaway price. As soon as we checked in, I dragged hubby to MG Road to Goodwill, which was my holy grail for accessories in college. Once inside I realised I had clearly crossed the age for plastic baubles and settled for some nifty female utilities- colored safety pins and like.

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Heritage Hotel

The next morning we trooped to Fort Kochi on a ferry. Hubby was surprised to see our car getting loaded along with us onto the ferry. I remember being surprised at this totally different face of Kochi when I went there first many years ago and now with some travelling behind me I was mesmerized even more by its old world colonial charm.

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Searching for Kashi’s Cafe

Fort Kochi is a tourist magnet, not so much Indian as foreigners. Streets are littered with open air cafes, art galleries in addition to stately bungalows and heritage structures- The Dutch palace and St.Francis Church. The Jew Town of course is Fort Kochi’s start attraction. It was strange to see David’s star and the distinctively different facial features of the shopkeepers in that part of the town.

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Chinese fishing nets dotting the landscape

We ate at one of the more famous art cafe called Kashi’s, window shopped antiques and wandered around the beach. Surprisingly a large number of roadside vendors were from Rajasthan (strange are the ways of human immigration). We saw the Chinese nets. Hubby tried catching some fish unsuccessfully and we then drove back to the hustle bustle of Ernakulam. And no we didn’t visit Lulu or Oberon mall as advised because we pay weekly obeisance to consumer culture back home. That night we caught a bus back to Bangalore and I again wondered at the countless times I took such buses alone for interviews and such (I used to feel pretty safe at that point in time travelling alone and dozing off next to some stranger).

I guess reality can trump memory at any point in time. But then memories hold sway because they are subjective like most of human life.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in life, nostalgia, travel

 

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Epic!

Krish Ashok tweeted this link and since WSW loves everything kitschy, this had to be put up.

And on other news guess who visited Twitter HQ? Btw why does the HQ look like a home?

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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The Goverment’s attitude problem.

Courtesy TOI

“Due to the attitude of the government that it cannot provide security for the tournament, we are forced to take a decision to move the IPL out of India. I apologise to the people of India for moving the tournament out,” BCCI chief Shashank Manohar said.

Because elections come and go but cricket is forever.

Of course Mr.Manohar went on to show his caring and nurturing side as well.

“But we’re are going ahead with the event so that they can at least watch the event on television,” Mahohar added.

The Govt’s lack of consideration has angered Mr Bhalla from MP to question the government’s err..reproductive powers

This show how impotent and selfish Indian government is and doesn’t have foresight for plan B.

Lopesh requested the Govt to learn from Hitler

Hitler managed to host Olympics in Germany during Second World War. Second World War\’s magnitue was much larger than current terrorist threats. Olympics has been even bigger than IPL or even for that matter a Cricket World Cup. Its a shame that Indian Govt can not provide security to a sporting event during Elections. Its a victory for terrorist organizations in the end.

And lets save the last word for nan12345

I seriously think that the Home Minister should tender his resignation for being so inefficient.

As long as cricket is on schedule it aint my problem that Mayawati might be my next PM.

Update: Had to retrieve this solution to the Govt.’s problem from Akismet’s spam filter

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Panty-social post

Being a pubgoing,loose and forward woman its of course my duty to inform the 3 people left on the planet who are not aware of the Pink Chaddi movement.

This would of course put a damper my thrifty plans of a free marriage. But I can do this much for the upholders of the great Indian tradition (of beating up women of course)
I guess silliness is the only remedy for silliness.
So here’s a toast to jeans, noodle straps, masculine..err loose  morals and being forward!
PS: Ram Sena has promised sarees in return to chaddi donators. That is quite a bargain I say!
 
PS 2:This is fast becoming a farce. We now have the Pink Condom Campaign for restoring the image of Hindus.
 Think the irreverence and satire is lost on people who have taken the campaign a little to literally.
 Also the media attention is providing the very limelight the goons wanted by beating up women in an upmarket  pub. I have almost converted to the view that instead of disregard their diktat perhaps we should do exactly what they ask-empty the pubs, At the same time egg Ramadoss to ban all local bars as well.The alcohol lobbies should take care of the rest. Secondly total media blackout. If violence occurs, show those incidents on TV(without 24 hours loop) but dont showcase statements, interviews, discussion by netas of these groups. Just a thought.
Also was thinking how its easier for me to forgive a misguided zealot who actually believes he is waging Gods war than people who take the crutch of culture/tradition to gain limelight. Not just the Sena look at Mr and Mrs Dutt who after snorting cocaine through their brains, aiding anti-national activities and showing their underwear to the world in item numbers respectively think they have a right to speak and be moral leaders on Indian tradition.
Sometimes seriously Jai Ho!

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Yeh shehar nahi hain mehfil hain, yeh Delhi hain mere yaar!

Bada kaske gale lagata hai,
Dhadkan ki dhun sunata hai,
Iske baaye taraf bhi dil hai,
Iske daaye taraf bhi dil dil hai,
Yeh shehar nahi mehfil hai
Yeh delhi hai mere yaar,
Bass ishq mohabbat pyaar,
Delhi 6 delhi delhi 6 delhi,
Kabhi pyaar mein gaali dekha hai
Kabhi gaali mein pyaar bhi hota hai apni
Aankhon ka taara bhi yahan pyaar mein bilkul khota hai,
Bolo bolo milo se dilli dilli,
Bolo bolo milo se dilli 6,
Basti hai mastaano ki dilli dilli,
Gali hai deewano ki dilli 6…

I cannot think straight about Delhi. I cannot love it like Mumbai, I cannot “un-love” it like Bangalore and I cannot be okay with it like the other cities I have lived in.

I have realized that I end up loving some part of everywhere I stay, because of the memories and the part of life I have spent there. But if you ask me my hometown the narrow congested lanes of Karol Bagh, the dingy house I grew up in, the red-bricked school building, the endless circles of Connaught Place flood the memory on cue.

Home means and will soon become meant Delhi.Delhi-5 to be precise for a long time.

(Yes I am a product of the oh-so-LS Karol Bagh!)

My biggest regret about Delhi is that once I left it 7 years ago I never returned to it as an adult and I couldn’t explore and know its heartbeat like the other cities. I never knew what it meant to live in Delhi. Yes I spent 18 years there. But they were a ritual of home to school and vice versa accompanied by once a blue moon outing in and around CP.

I never got on a bus with friends and said “chal yaar aaj uss side chalte hain”. I never hung out at Priya’s eating at Big Chill. I never braved rikshawalas at Chandni Chowk(the flavor of Bollywood this season) to go to paranthewali gali. Never went to India Gate at 1 am to have ice-cream. Never shopped my brains out at SN or Janpath. Never studied at DU despite a Stephens admit. Never went on the Delhi-Noida highway to one of the glitzy malls there.

By never I mean relatively of course. I have seen these places, but they never assumed the normality of a Marine Drive-Churchgate or Linking Road.

Yes a lot of it has to do with the fact that being a woman in Delhi is much different from being a woman in say Mumbai. Even your gait changes to a little defensive I think.

To be never molested or even commented upon in 3 years of Mumbai shocked my bought up in Delhi sensibilities. But men have entered my space in Cochin, in Bangalore and even in Goa, so I have accepted Delhi as a norm and Mumbai as an aberration to the psyche of Indian men.

And you can’t, simply cant trust anyone even for road directions because in Dilli everything is “seedhe jake baayen (straight and then lef)”. Everyone or almost everyone is more than willing to take you on a ride. Dilli main no dil I remember someone once saying.

Then what makes me look forward to the wide open roads and the old world charm of Luytens Delhi. The memories of mangoes squished and eaten while sitting bang in front of a cooler, the fan of which would sometimes sprinkle your face with water when the temperature outside touched 45. The “loo” and the dust storms followed by quick showers. The rainy season of lower classes when my mother would carry Relaxo slippers I can change into so as to prevent my white canvas or brown Mary Janes from getting spoilt. Sometimes trawling through knee high water in school compound and the distinct memory of the slipper once slipping out of my feet and floating ahead of me. Yet there was never a flood as the drainage kicked in sooner than later. Diwali-when the nip in the air becomes just that tad more biting. The ostentatious display of wealth during the time. Rooms stacked of dabbas of mithai. The diyas on every balcony. The firecrackers which can suffocate and kill the weak lunged. No other city even comes close to celebrating it like Diwali in Delhi. The winters where getting out of the rajai is an early morning challenge followed by 5 minute baths and then plonking firmly in the small areas of house where sunlight would stream in for a few hours listening to my mothers halting conversations in Hindi with neighbouring aunties. 26 january parades where as a family we would watch and comment on each and every tableu and running out to the balcony or roof when the Sukhois came into action. Kanjaks where one ran around the locality with a plate collecting poori, halwa and cholle but more importantly 10 rupee notes and competing for the number of red thread on left wrist with other girls.

The tendency to shorten every word. Mujhe to wahi karma hain to maine to wai karma hain. The Punjabi which has woven itself into everyday Hindi. The roads populated with cars-every city has a definite taste in cars. Delhi’s is Maruti Swift-the one with a behind like that of a Punju aunty as AB says. Everyone is a big shot or beta of a big shot in Delhi. The most stylish and good looking people by a fair margin. The number of good looking people you can find in a year elsewhere can be found in a day in Delhi. To the roadside chaats like none another to the seats of power at 10 Janpath and 7 Race Course, this is like none another.

And perhaps the most remarkable for me is there is no authentic Dilliwala. It’s a city of migrants-some 50 years ago from Peshawar, some 5 months ago from Chennai.

This is the city I thank everyday for giving me the ability to dream for the stars. Which filled me with a passive aggression. Which assured me there is a jugaad for each and every thing in life. Blessing me with a neutral name, a neutral face, a convent education this is the city that sent me out to explore the rest of India. Who said Dilli ke paas dil nai hain?

PS: I thought of this post when I listened to Dilli-6 title track for the first time. Love it must be the understatement of the year!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Pub Bharo says Renuka and Shaadi karo says Mutalik

According to TOI

On Wednesday afternoon, Rashtriya Hindu Sena chief Pramod Mutalik went into a huddle with his band of supporters and declared war on what he called “anti-Indian” practices. The Sene asked the government, heads of educational institutions and the police to discourage this “Christian practice of celebrating Valentine’s Day’’.

THWARTING V-DAY
* Sene to submit memorandum to government to ban celebrations
* Write letters to colleges, hotels and greeting card shop owners not to promote V-Day on their premises
* Ask colleges to take strict action against students who celebrate
* In Bangalore, to protest before restaurants in prime areas promoting V-Day

WEDDING MARCH
* Tie-or-die is still the Sri Rama Sene’s slogan — firming up plans to marry off dating couples, they said it will have to be either the knot or the rakhi
* Sene has formed five teams comprising a number of members
* They will roam around Bangalore, holding a video camera and a turmeric stub
* On spotting young couples dating, they will be forced to tie the knot, not on the spot, but in a temple
* The couples would be taken to a sub-registrar’s office to solemnize the marriage
* In case they are brothers and sisters, they will be forced to tie a rakhi
* However, the Sene is silent on married couples. “In that case we cannot do anything,” Muthalik said

ROSES AND THORNS
Muthalik’s response to Renuka Chowdhury’s comments on his bachelorhood and ignorance of love: “Being a bachelor does not mean that I do not know anything about love. I am born in a cultured family. I love my parents, sisters and brothers. I welcome her to Bangalore on February 14, as she intends to come here.”
However, he did not comment on whether he would accept a rose given by Renuka with sisterly affection, if she were to.

DRESSING DOWN FOR GIRLS?
Girls are free to wear anything they like. I have never commented about the dress code.

Thank God for Rashtriya Hindu Sena!

No more unneccessary kharcha on V-Day presents. In fact no more outrageously priced western wear, I mean why take the risk?From now on Khadi sarees for yours truly. But wouldnt a saree be easier to tear off by a violent mob?Not to mention more difficult to flee in? But I guess being true sons of soil and highest in upholding the Indian traditions they would be in white starched dhotis and hence be restricted in speed.

I like the “Tie or Die” bit too much. Would it be too Machiavilian to lure the underaged,unwilling to settle down now BF and stun the only our-religion-our-caste-our-subcaste parents by jhat magni phat byah?

I think am beginning to like this Sena..

PS: Its one thing to protest and quite another to fight off a frenzied mob. So please do take care.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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