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The Mumbai Museum

The Prince of Wales MuseumFor this week’s photo-walk, I decided to visit the Prince of Wales Museum; the idea to go there is basis the comfort of taking pictures without people bothering you, also it had been a while since I had gone to the Museum, so kind of 2 birds with one stone thing happening. Like most of my trips this one also was on a weekday, but it also was a public holiday so there were hordes of people there. From a search engine point of view must also add the new name of the museum  is called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya- Like VT now referred to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)

The first thing you notice with tStone Sculpture 1he museum is that the ticket counter is very polished, not like the one at the Zoo, the people also are rather helpful, I walked in with my camera bag, the gaurd informed me I need to get a clearaStone Sculpturesnce for the same, hence I requested the ticket vendor, he quickly took out two passes one for mobile phone and one for my DSLR the cost for the same 300 rupees. The guard then wrapped a thin strip of paper around my hand this to inform all other guards that I can use a phone camera, they also tied a badge onto my DSLR this to further ensure I don’t get probed at every security zone, the only request they made is that I don’t use flash in the museum and disturb people. I walked towards the entrance shooting pictures of statues that areplaced all over the lawns, the entrance is deceiving and opens into the reception area of the museum, here you can rent translators and tape guides to help you through the museum, I have been here so quickly moved towards the stone sculptures exhibit. I was very surprised they had added lighting to most idols and they made for some great pictures, as with everything I got bored fairly quickly and moved to the 2nd floor, herThe Samurai Dolle there was an exhibit that I had not seen before, it had ornaments, dolls, cutlery, decorative items stocked in a room that looked like it was straight from Hogwarts. I loved the samurai dolls on display absolutely amazing.The Painting Exibit

From here I moved to the painting exhibit, this one is sponsored by the Tata group and is spectacular, they also have benches with paper and pencil for artist to draw inspiration from the paintings on display, they also have some awesome benches there, it’s quite a sight feel like you are in a Museum in Paris. Next on the agenda the 2nd floor and the weapons exhibit, this use to be my most favourite displays as a kid, I never got the sculptors, but stuffed animals and weapons always rocked. Unfortunately the weapons are encased in glass aThe Rhino nd don’t photograph to well so I moved on changed my lens to a zoom lens and went on trying to capture some raVintage Furniturendom portraits. While on my way out I also dropped by the animal/bird exhibit, missed the large whale there but the rhino compensated for it – from there I backtracked towards the exit, there I spotted a paint exhibition sign, unfortunately it said no pictures so totally avoided it, sat in the lawn for a bit taking HDR shots and then headed out (featured on the top). The museum in Mumbai is awesome, the exhibits are brilliant and the place is really well maintained. I would definitely recommend it to all, if you have not seen it it’s a definitely must visit.

Our trip does not end there,Statues Decorating the lawns froGreat Workmanshipm there I moved towards Jahangir Art Gallery which is about 1 minute away from the museum, the footpath is layered with artist who have some awesome pictures on display, as I moved ahead I saw a boy desperately trying to pose so some photographer (currently me) would take his picture, he had a wierd hat on but really I could not take his picture did not call out to me, what can I say too bad…from there on to my regular destination Rhythm House – its an old music store which has been in Mumbai forever, did not end up buying anything but going through the very large collections of DVDs was a lot of fun. Finally I took a cab and headed home. If you are in Mumbai and end up visiting the Museum, do take some time off to walk around that are, its called Kala Ghoda and has some awesome places to see , eat and just window shop. (The gallery plugin is not working to well so could upload all the pictures – if you have a solution to the issue please write back to us)

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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Winter Bike Rides & More

The weather in Bombay at most times is at an average of 28 to 32 degrees celcius, Come December into January & February is the only time the weather cools down a bit going to an average of about 24 to as low as 18 to 16 degrees Celsius. All times are good for a bike ride but these 3 months are the best 🙂

Early Winter View of the Moon

Early Winter View of the Moon

This is my first winter (if you can call Bombay climate & temperature winter) with my Bike, so the last few days of November where the temperature dipped have been absolutely brilliant for Bike rides. More often than not, I leave for a bike ride early in the morning between 5:30 am & 6:00 am – yup! a lot of you may think this is crazy but trust me, this is the best time to ride on the streets of Bombay which go crazy with traffic post 8:00 am. The weather around daybreak is absolutely amazing, add to that the roads have absolutely no traffic & its just you & your bike cruising, the wind has a brilliant chill & you can hear some awesome birds & sounds other than cars honking away & people abusing. Also, it’s not yet sunny considering Sunrise is at its peak post 6:45 am.

Daybreak to Happen soon!

Daybreak to Happen soon!

Interesting View to Start the Day!

Interesting View to Start the Day!

Awesomeness!!!

Awesomeness!!!

Most of the time, the route I take is from my house towards Nariman Point past Marine Drive. This, according to me, is one of the most scenic & open view places left in Bombay; cruising past Chowpatty & the different Gymkhana’s (Club Houses) towards Pizza by the Bay is absolutely brilliant. Nariman Point itself offers a great view with people jogging, walking, exercising right next to the sea. Also from NP you can see the complete Queen’s Necklace which is what the stretch from Nariman Point to end of Chowpatty looks like when seen from a vantage point :-). Heading back from Nariman Point, you are riding next to the sea & the breeze literally moves the bike…. this is a super feeling! From there, I take the route towards Walkeshwar & past Hanging gardens down Malabar Hill, this is by far & I kid you not, the best part of my bike ride in the morning. The descent from Hanging Gardens & Malabar Hill towards Peddar Road is like you get transported into another zone, there is a clear drop in temperature by about 5 degrees, lush greenery around & the peace & quiet. You have to ride this stretch, it is an absolute must for all whether you are on a bike, car or taking walk do visit this area in the morning it is an experience you will love…

The Queen's Necklace

The Queen’s Necklace

The Best Place for a Bike Ride...

The Best Place for a Bike Ride…

Worli Seaface

Worli Seaface

From the Malabar Hill descent I move past Peddar Road, stop below my in-laws building (in my mind at that point I am stalking them 😉 ). Moving on from how my devious mind works, to the bike ride past Mahalakshmi temple towards Haji Ali & Worli Seaface, the Haji Ali Stretch past the racecource towards Worli is again highly recommended, not for any other reason except the wind which literally smacks you in the face & the trafficless 5 lane road. Worli seaface, again like Marine Drive, is an experiance as you ride next to to the sea. Also, the view overlooks the Sea Link Bridge which is totally spectacular. This is where my ride ends & I head home passing the Atria Mall where the BMW & Ducati bikes’ showroom forces me to stop & stare aimlessly at some stupendous bikes. From there, riding past the race cource always is special considering I learnt how to ride at this place i.e. in the parking lot of the race course which is massive & totally empty in the early hours of the morning. For people who want to learn how to ride a bike in Bombay, I strongly suggest you come here to learn & practice.

The Sea Link

The Sea Link

All in all, I ride for about an hour in the morning which is also kind of therapeutic. Over a period of time, I have realized I have 3 really good shrinks 1) My wife 2) My bike 3) Alcohol  ha ha ha ha ha seriously twisted I am :-). Having said that & before I end this article, let me just reiterate to all reading this blog & are planning to visit Bombay or are living in Bombay, you have to take your ride out past the mentioned route whether the same be a car, bike, shoes or flip flops in the early winter morning, Trust me, you wont be disappointed with the awesomeness you experience!!!

That be my Awesome Bike!!!

That be my Awesome Bike!!!

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Crazy Car and Tech Expo

I am not that into cars, don’t get excited seeing many of them (Jaguar is an exception) or drool when people talk about speed, etc. This year however, I went to the Autocar Expo which showcases some of the most awesome cars and bikes across India. Of course, I had a hidden agenda here, the Stuff Gadget show was also in the same premise, the very lovely Mrs works for the magazine and hence would not miss it for the world.

We started off early to avoid the mad crowds, got to the venue by about 10:30. As soon as I walked in, the first thing that caught my eye were custom bikes – a company called Verdanci – I had seen their work before online, but was very impressed with the quality of bikes they were making. As a promotion activity, they had decided to build a bike at the expo and launch it on the last day. I spoke to one of the promoters there and he told me the bikes cost anywhere between 5-10 lakhs basis customer requirement – a bit expensive if you ask me, but then again, the bikes look kick ass! Further on, there were more bikes – BMWs to start with – they look like cheetahs ready to pounce, I quickly took a few shots and then moved towards the cars…. the first few Porsches, Audis, Mercedes – while I was shooting the Porsche, a gentleman approached me and asked me for my email, he apparently forgot his batteries on his Nikon and wanted pictures of the event; this was a first for me also so I happily obliged (just sent him all the pics last week). Moving on, I stopped at the Jaguar booth for about 10 minutes and just stared at the car, that is one car that I would love to own in my life :-). Post the foreign cars, there were the standard India brands on display; what impressed me was how they had setup their booths and were rallying people around with contests, pictures, etc., something international brands definitely need to learn.

Moving further, reached the Ducati booth, 4 monsters parked there, that’s about it no flash lights, no booth babes, nothing – just 4 bikes and it was spectacular – these are monsters, not ordinary bikes. Post these, I did catch a glimpse of a Harley, but the crew there was rather unfriendly, they had issues if people came close to their bikes, so I said thanks but no thanks and moved on. By now, I was getting impatient as I had not yet reached the Stuff enclosure, I quickly asked someone and he directed me towards it. On my way there, caught a glimpse of some awesome car systems – they looked like they are straight out of The Fast & Furious… beautiful. Just before the Stuff enclosure, I ran into the Bat Mobile, well not really the Bat mobile but the Lamborghini Aventadore – hands down the greatest car that I will ever see in my life time – pity the Lamborghini booth was very small and restricted movement for Photography.

Finally made it to the Stuff enclosure – the walkway towards the expo was lit up and paintings of movies with gadgets lined the walls, my favourite the Godfather and the Guitar on display; from there the first store I caught was the LG TV booth. People! the booth babes in there looked like aunties, but the products on display pretty much killed it. The Stuff gallery had Bruce Lee guarding it and had some really fancy Lomo cameras, speakers, television and video game rigs on display; talking about rigs, the car simulator was suspended 4 feet off the ground and moved basis the steering wheel, please note even the screen moved giving the user a visual like none other. There were people riding Segues, trikes around the area and the sound system on display were to die for, they cost a crore+ so yes to die for. The mandotory smartphone displays drew in crazy crowds. I did hear a rumour that the Iphone 5 was going to be made available for display, but did not end up confirming the same. Another interesting toy/gadget was qaudrocopter or A.R Drone. It was in this huge enclosure and was being flown around by some very talented kids, it moved in all directions and could hover seamlessly in one place. After all the gadget porn, I went to meet the Mrs and all her collegues at the show. As usual, they were all working tirelessly for days but greeted me with a smile and offered to take me for a whole lot of demos, etc. I politely refused, have one policy in life if I can’t buy it, I don’t try it. After exchanging pleasantries, I decided it was time to leave, I had had a late night due to a kickass office party.

Going out, I noticed car companies had created drag, dirt and mountain tracks for people to try. There were also ATVs available to ride, honestly I was very impressed with the setup. All in all, it was a great experience. I definitely look forward to the Stuff show next year, Autocar may be but only for Photography. DO check our slide show for all the pictures from both the expos and don’t forget to favourite the blog 🙂

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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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Rocking The Blues

Our fascination with the guitar started about 8 years back, a friend of mine used to play and loaned me an acoustic guitar to learn. We took it up rather seriously considering we did not have much to do at that time, bought a few expensive guitars picked up tab books and started listening to Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen and other guitar virtuosos. I would like to believe that we were very good at playing the guitar, but in reality we sucked big time, could barely play a few phrases and even those were played in some whack timing…..anyways, post a few years of playing, life took over and we pretty much forgot about playing the guitar.

So why am I telling you this? Well, post our very eventful birthday in October, we have rediscovered playing the guitar. We also got a brand new acoustic guitar and started learning the instrument the correct way. This time around, we decided not to go the rock way, instead basis our love affair with the blues, we decided to learn the style. I do believe I have learnt more in the last month alone than I had learnt playing for 3 years; The reason is simple – better learning tools, the Internet and the fact that I am older and things are slowing down. Learning an instrument can’t be hurried, the slower you go the better it gets.
If like us you are into the blues he are some awesome tips to pick up this awesome style –
  1. Listen to the blues, learn to appreciate the music….if you don’t like the style you can’t play it.
  2. Start off with popular music: Eric Clapton, B.B King, Muddy Watters and so on. Don’t jump the gun…. Buddy Guy, Hubert Summlin, Howlin Wolf will come later…you need to develop a liking for the blues first.
  3. Start with the absolute basics, a 12 bar progression and then the minor pentatonic scale.
  4. Find a great teacher online or offline. There are few self taught guitarist in this world. Always learn from someone who knows better – we recommend Guitarjamz.com.
  5. Always use a metronome or a drum machine. If you have a smartphone or a tablet, there are dozens of free apps available for the same.
  6. Convert whatever you want to learn into an exercise. Play it ridiculously slow and don’t speed it up until you can play it in your sleep.
  7. Watch Cadillac Records and Nothing but the Blues.
  8. If you are playing the guitar for the first time, we would recommend you go in for an acoustic cut away. This will help you build strength in your hand and also ensure you can play beyond the 12th fret.
Take it from us playing the blues or any other style will take time and will require you to invest a fair bit of it. To start off, try 15 minutes in a day, but if you want to get any good let it go up to at least an hour. Don’t give up if things don’t come naturally, eventually you will pick it up. Playing the blues is probably the most relaxing part of the day and will definitely put a smile on your face. Hopefully, our post will inspire you to pick up the guitar or fall in love with it all over again. Check out some awesome videos to get you started and inspired below :-). If you have some crazy bluesy riff, share it with us in the comments below.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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The Super Chinese Brunch & More

About a week ago, Ritika & I were planning to meet up on a Sunday; during a random discussion we were having, we decided to go have duck & that’s when we zeroed in on Vong Wong, one of my most favorite Chinese restaurants in South Bombay. Before I forget, on Saturday, the day before we went to Vong Wong, Rachita, Ekta & me visited Smooth, a lounge at Shalimar Hotel at Kemps Corner. This was the 1st time Rachita & me went to this place. Details of both these places & our awesome experience there follows…

Smooth!!!

Caipirojka & Watermelon Martini

Saturday morning started off with a bike ride past Marine Drive & Nariman Point. The morning was then spent strumming the guitar & playing NBA2K13 on the Xbox360. Ekta & me decided to go get drunk in the afternoon & were trying to figure where we should go for the same. Also, we were looking at trying out a new place, so post a bit of thinking, I decided on this place which I had heard about during my work days at Hungama called “Smooth”, located at Hotel Shalimar at Kemps Corner. We decided to head there at about 1 p.m. On entering the place, I was pleasantly surprised as the the look & feel of the same was pretty damn snazzy.

This be Smooth!!!

The decor was sofas & chairs in silver with white coloured walls which looked very cool. For a Saturday afternoon, the place was surprisingly empty & when i say empty there was 3 of us and the staff …. which worked well for us :-). The menu also had a great mix of food & lot of choice around alco… For food we ordered some starters which were pretty damn good & for the drinks we ordered some fruit flavored Martini’s & Caipirojka’s. Post having a couple of those, Ekta decide she wanted to have Rum, Thumbs Up & I decided to have a Bloody Marry followed by some Johnny Walker Red Label… Yup! By now we were pretty damn high / shit faced, came home & crashed. If you guys are looking at a place to hang through the afternoon which is not very noisy then Smooth is ideal; also evening is when this place gets decently crowded. Pretty well priced also for the drinks as well as food…

Best Brunch Spread Ever!!!

Yummmmy!!!

Moving onto Sunday & the brunch at Vong Wong with Ritika, Mihir, Yooti, Ekta & yours truly. Ekta & me decided to ride to Nariman point where the restaurant is located, Rachita & Ritika were out shopping at Crawford market & were joining us directly, while Mihir & Yooti took a cab. Considering it was afternoon, the weather wasn’t ideal for a bike ride but what the heck, we were totally kicked about it as we were dressed like we were in Goa & were living the same experience on the bike!!! Reaching Vong Wong, we realized they had a buffet brunch going on which was priced at about Rs 2000/- a pop with unlimited cocktails. After doing some mental math, we decided to go for the same & make the most of the food as well as the cocktails & mocktails…

Awesomeness!!!

Before I get into the awesomeness of the cocktails & super duper food, let me tell you about the ambiance of this place. The same is pretty classy, the furniture has an authentic feel; there are these giant Chinese vases, also the restaurant is very spacious and if you are a big group of people then you can book the round tables which have curtains to enclose the space & give you privacy; there are 3 tables of this sort. Also, the bar is amazing & most importantly, the view is absolutely stunning as it looks into the sea, past Nariman Point & what used to be the Oberoi Hotel which now is the Trident Hotel.

Sensational!!!

It Doesn’t Get Any Better…

Now for the food & drinks! We immediately ordered some caipirojka & some martini’s to start off with…….. the agenda, clearly, was to try all the cocktails on offer and get shitfaced, atleast Ekta & me had decided the same. Starters were served on the table – there was chilli chicken, momo’s / dim sum (5 different kinds – pork, vegetable, chicken, pakchoy and mushroom), crispy vegetables in a spicy wasabi, etc.  There were some awesome salads like Som Tam, Kimchi, tofu & french bean salad, absolutely sensational stuff!There were 3 live counters serving, make to order eggs i.e. omelets, poached eggs & eggs benedict; there was also a khao suey counter which was the hands down the best we have eaten & a counter serving duck rolls with plum sauce which was super yummy!!! There was this guy who was strumming the guitar & singing songs on request which added to the overall experience. This guy’s singing had an amazing voice at least Ekta & Ritika thought so… Another cool thing they had on offer during brunch was shots & to take that experience to the next level they had this waiter & waitress come to your table get you to open your mouth stuff it with Watermelon, Magic pops and then pour in loads of Grey Goose vodka which was the highlight :-). Post going through all of this & a crazy amount of dessert, we moved to some exotic fruit cocktails – those also were delicious & exceedingly potent but by now we didn’t care & were loving the whole experience!!!

Must Visit Vong Wong!!!

We were there for a good 3 hours and loved every moment of it! After that I rode back with Ekta which was an absolutely amazing experience  we also switched between who was riding across Marine Drive as that feeling was totally surreal. Also before I sign off, let me very highly & strongly recommend Vong Wong to all; if you like super yummy food & cocktails with a dash of an awesome experience then you must must visit this place. Finally do check out the slide show below, it has some awesome visuals which to us are like a full-on spiritual trip!!!

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Zoo Visit

For the longest time I have wanted to visit the Zoo in Mumbai. Over the last year I regularly passed by it while coming back from work, but never visited it. Finally, over the weekend, I decided a little photography needs to happen and hence the visit to the Zoo was planned. For people who want to visit the Zoo, it is open Tues-Sun 9:00am to 6:00pm.

I picked Friday to go there, I thought it was a weekday and there would be less people, unfortunately that was not the case; due to it being Friday, there were schools and menacing kids waiting outside, yelling and creating general hooliganism. I manoeuvred through the crowds and managed to reach the front gate; it took about 5 odd minutes before they opened. I quickly ran to the ticket counter, out running about 50 kids and waving my hands as if I have won the 100 meters world championship. It cost about 5 rupees to enter the zoo and another 20 if you have a camera, I had 2 cameras so cost me double. As soon as you enter the zoo, the first thing you notice is all the greenery and vast space. I was surprised to see a dedicated work force of people running to keep the place clean and also take care of the animals in the there. I moved clockwise. The first thing I came across was a green house, the same can only be seen from the outside, visitors can’t actually walk through it, next on the cards the monkey cages; please note our zoo is prehistoric we don’t have open areas for animals we still have cages, which is very sad. It was early so there was limited activity in the cages just a guy cleaning the place. From there I moved on to the deers, these guys had it set, large open grounds where they can move around; unfortunately, taking pictures was a challenge, purely based on my distance but managed to sneak a few in courtesy the zoom lens. Next on the cards the elephant enclosure and the crocodile enclosure. The elephants were kept very far away and were having their breakfast so could only spot one of them, the crocodiles were lying in a dirty swamp motionless, onlookers watching them kept saying they’re dead……I wanted to throw one of them in the pond to test the theory 🙂

From there, I moved to the Hippopotamus shelter. There were two large hippos resting in the water all I could see was their backs, I was disappointed I was really looking forward to seeing a hippo in all its glory. As I moved away from the enclosure, I heard a loud noise that startled me a little, moving towards the sound I saw there was another enclosure where a Hippo was eating. I quickly grabbed a picture of the enclosure with a smile on my face. From there I moved to the lion cages, unfortunately there were 2 domestic cats sitting in the cage, the cleaner informed me the lion had passed away. Next was the birds, the smaller birds are kept in small cages which is sad, the silver lining here is the cages are clean and the birds are fed well. The bear enclosure was massive, but unfortunately I could not spot the bear, he probably was trying to avoid the morning sun. While I was near the bear enclosure, some kids yelled out “UNCLE, UNCLE”. I walked there, they called me to show me a Porcupine cage, where they had spotted an albino Porcupine, I quickly took a few shots and moved towards the last exhibit in the Zoo.

Final destination in the Zoo the very large Bird cages. While on my way there, I noticed a few large statues, placed in the middle of floral arrangements – these immediately reminded me of Gears Of Wars, do have a look at the picture to your left. After a fairly long walk and empty enclosures I reached the massive bird cages, these were birds that lived around water, Flamingos, Swans and so on, I was fairly impressed with the way these birds were kept, of course I could only stand a few minutes near the enclosure, annoying kids came and started going “Uncle one photo, one photo”. After not taking their pictures finally decided to exit the Zoo, all in all I was disappointed with the experience, not only the photography, the Zoo has become a barren place with hardly any animals; I would not recommend a visit here unless you want to be very depressed. Do check out some of the pictures around the blog and comment or send us feedback in the section below. All images shot using Nikon D5100.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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Our Own Food Festival Part 1

While the country celebrates the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, we have been celebrating our own food festival which is totally in sync with the Ganpati festival as the elephant god also loved food & sweets!!! So since last week, there have been multiple places visited & also loads of great food cooked at home by the lovely Mrs. (Rachita). Do continue reading for the details of the same its yummylicious!!!

Best Cheesecake Ever!!!

Yummyyy!!!

Cinnamon Rolls to Die For…

Last week, we were working from our fort office & right next to the same is a quaint eatery called Lalit Refreshments which serves fabulous value for money food. We ordered some awesome rotis, paneer in a red gravy, papads, pickle and dosas from there for lunch! As you can see in the picture, the food was pretty damn awesome!!! The next day was a holiday, as it was the start of the Ganpati festival. For the same, Rachita baked an awesome cheesecake with cinnamon dusting on it…. matlab post eating that we are totally clear about our patisserie business 🙂 The next day we decided to make Cinnamon rolls. Please note I was there helping Rachita a.k.a. The Food Magician in making this piece of awesomeness; for a 1st attempt, the rolls were delicious & we made a lot of them & kept aside and ate them regularly till end of the week. For dinner that night, was Samosa Chaat which was courtesy my very lovely mother; needless to say it was totally killer… In this whole thing, I forgot to mention that the Bike Rides were also happening regularly considering the weather has been super awesome, I mean no rains. How awesome is that!

My Prized Possession!!!

Hand Tossed Home Made Pizzas!!!

Then came the weekend & full-on party mode was in progress as Ekta was back from Baroda so Beers, Rum, etc. flowed like the Nile… In the morning, Rachita & me had made preparations for hand tossed Pizzas. Do check the pictures in the gallery below. Also then there was some super sensational chocolate cake with yellow butter icing which was in the shape of modak (ladoos) ha ha ha ha! Our tribute to Ganpati 🙂 Next day post morning bike ride & general chilling, Rachita & I decided to go & check some speakers at Phoneix Mills. Visited JBL, Croma & also Bose, the experience at the Bose showroom was the best! They showcased  a demo of the crazy Video Wave Experience which was the greatest sound experience of a television ever!!! If you guys are around a Bose showroom, do walk in and check out the demo its sensational.

You have to taste it to believe it…

Delicious!!!

Droooooooooooooooollllllllll!!!

Post the retail therapy session, we decided to go to Cafe Zoe as we had never been there with Analushka / Anus who’s picture is also featured in the slide show below. The place has a nice decor – is very spacious. Post being seated, we checked the menu. Immediately I ordered the steak burger which was extremely inviting also added some bacon to it, Rachita ordered a basket of breads, fries and also some vegetables with red and white quinoa, also ordered some Hoegaarden. Post a leisurely lunch and a gossip session, we decided to head home and crash for a bit. In the evening, I decided to go out for the bike ride. While riding, figured it’s Gauri day which is part of the Ganpati festival where in a statues of the Goddess Gauri are also bought home & immersed in to the water in a day’s time. There was crazy traffic across the roads but on the bike it was totally a breeze, en-route also visited the in-laws house which I was stalking through the day as it was my random activity of the day (stalking the in-laws building). Ekta rode the bike home with me after the in-laws meet & greet. For dinner there was some crazy super awesome Enchiladas. You have to check the pictures of the same in the slide show. All in all, we been eating awesomeness and just thought the same needed to be posted on the blog. Hope you have had fun reading this post as much as we have had eating the food 🙂 Don’t miss the Slide show below it has some delicious & yummy pictures!!!

Heaven!!!

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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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HDR for Beginners

High Dynamic Range Photography – this has been the debate basis the ever growing photographer community for the past few years now. HDR, as it is popularly known, is definitely gaining momentum; pictures taken using this method are regularly displayed in museums (Trey Ratcliff’s famous fireworks picture at the Smithsonian) and considered works of art. Then there are the DSLR snobs, people who believe that manual mode is the only way to go; if you use a photo editing software you are a scar on their perfect portrait, they noise police pictures and so on. My take on this is fairly straightforward I love HDR, I also use a lot of editing tools and 99% of the time I don’t shoot in manual mode. I am what you may term as the rogue community; please note this community is much larger than the DSLR snob community. I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience with HDR on this post; also have added a few tips in there so you can get started with HDR if you are already not an addict.

I happened to stumble on HDR by chance, a couple of years back when I bought my first camera. I was looking at tutorial videos online and just happened to catch a video showcasing HDR images, I was hooked from that point on. Unfortunately, I used a bridge camera then and hence could not really work on the technique. About a year ago, I bought my first DSLR – and that’s Tip 1 also, when buying a new camera, get one with a bracketing option it’s a must for HDR. Moving on, it’s been a year now and I do believe I have the basics down and am moving in the right direction basis the technique. Below are a few standard questions and answers which will get you started on this awesome technique:

1) What is HDR photography?

Putting it simply, HDR is a photography technique where images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, from direct sunlight to faint starlight. In normal English, it shows you what the eye see but with enhanced colours and lights.

2) Do I need a special camera for shooting HDR?

Not really, any camera will do, but it helps if your camera has a bracketing option.

3) What is Bracketing?

Bracketing is basically when you take pictures at multiple exposures. Most entry level cameras allow you to take 3 such pictures – normal, over and under exposed.

4) Do I need a special software for this?

Unfortunately yes, there are tons of them available in the market; I would recommend Photoshop and Photomatix for the same.

5) How do I get started with HDR?

The following is a simple guide to start using HDR in your regular photography. I have tried to keep it simple and easy to understand, but if you do have questions, please add them to the comments below. Start with setting your camera to multiple shots, then go to the bracketing option it will be listed as exposure bracketing in most cameras. Set the value to 2. This will take 3 shots at different exposures once you press the shutter down. If you are like me and your hand is not very steady, use a tripod. Another tip here: shoot in Raw mode, the flexibility raw images give you while editing is amazing. So now that you have your first images, what do you do next? Download the images on your PC and import them into Photoshop or Photomatix, you will have to use the bridge option in Photoshop and then select merge to HDR; in Photomatix, load Bracketed pictures will do the same for you. Now this will open Pandora ’s Box for you, I will briefly touch on Photomatix options here to give you an idea of what each does and how it will shape your pictures; in Photoshop the same happens but for some reason it is not subtle and images tend to look un-natural. This holds true for CS5… I have not yet used CS6. Note: this part of the tutorial only covers the first few options, I will be covering others in a more detailed post. The first options you will see once Photomatix merge options, you can align pictures here, remove ghosts and reduce noise. Once done the following options will show up:

Strength

Controls the strength of the contrast enhancements; a value of 100 gives the maximum increase in both local and global contrast enhancements.  I prefer this to be at around 80 as 100 makes certain colours bleed.

Color Saturation

Controls black and white to colour settings; the greater the saturation, the more intense the colour. A value of 0 produces a gray scale image and 100 pushes colour all the way up.

Luminosity

This controls how light or dark your highlights are in the image. Moving the slider to the right boosts shadow details and brightens the image. Moving it to the left has the opposite effect, and gives a more “natural” look to the resulting image.

Detail and Contrast

This is self explanatory; this will increase detailing and contrast giving your picture a smooth or a hard feel.

Lighting Adjustment

When you’re just starting, I would suggest you click the check box in this option and use the preset tools – natural for a natural look, surreal for a look which is more HDR like with Halos and medium for a combination of both.

Once you are done playing with these settings and happy with the image you have, select process and you will have your first HDR image. I hope to put up a more detailed article on HDR in the future, but the post above will get you started in a short period of time. I have put some HDR images on this post. These were shot during our recent Monsoon Roadtrip. One point of advice: first try HDR in the day time, night has its sets of challenges and you will need a lot more equipment to get it right. Like with everything, the more you practise HDR, the better you get at it. Do share your pictures with us via comments or on twitter. Enjoy shooting! Incase you’re wondering which camera I use?  Nikon D5100.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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Food & More Food

Gujrati Thali Rocks!!!

So by now, most of you who have been reading our blog know that we are obsessed with Bikes, Movies, Gaming & Good Food!!! This post is more or less a tribute to the good food part and is basis the awesomeness which has been eaten in the past 2 weeks 🙂

David & Goliath Papad Style 🙂

CupCakes

So a couple of weeks ago, Ekta & me from work went to Bhagat Tarachand  where we ate some awesome Gujju style Thali. As you can see in the picture above, it was pretty damn crazy! We also ordered some masala papad and khichiya’s :-). The overall experiance was decently phenomenal!!! Another day, over the weekend we decided to go to Soul Fry Casa and ate some awesome prawns, crab, chicken & naans; this meal was the breakthrough variety as Mihir & I have been allergic to Shellfish & some other seafood, but after eating the meal here nothing happened in terms of allergies.

One fine day at home & this is post Rachita & Ritika’s shopping escapades at Crawford Market, my wife decided to make cupcakes and ice them using fondant which was like super cool! Not only did she make some awesome cupcakes but covered them with all these cool & cute designs using fondant the same was absolutely and totally exceptional :-). Another day, we decided to eat Ceaser Salad and Mushrooms on Toast; the same was accompanied by Carrot Soup with Cheese Balls! The Mushrooms on toast were made like the ones you get in Goa, sauted in butter and garlic which is totally super duper yummy. Going with the fillings on toast bit, we also made some awesome american corn in white sauce with barbecued onions and chilli sauce…

Mushrooms on Toast!!!

Crazy Tiffin!!!

Giant Puri’s

Now the part in office, where Mother in Law sent across a tiffin for lunch with a meal fit for kings. Just to give you a perspective, there was Roti, Panner veggie, Black Daal, Sliced Onion & Chilli, Papad (3 kinds, no less!) pickle! Yup! Unbelivable but true, after eating so much you just cant work! One fine day from work we (Rachita & me) went to the mall where we ate some Chole Bhatura which is basically chick peas made in a gravy and add to that 2 giant puri’s (deep fried) as you can see in the picture below. Further to the same, we revisited Soul Fry Casa with Ekta got drunk on Boondi (Self invented, our Rum Based Cocktail) & Watermelon Martini. Watched a few movies like Avengers which is hands down the bestest movie ever! Also saw The Cabin in the Woods which is one crazy-ass twisted movie. In Hindi movies, saw Jism 2 which is so seriously bad it ain’t funny; also saw Ek Tha Tiger wherein Salman Khan rocked, though the movie was only decent. Watched the entire season 4 of Fringe & started Game of Thrones which is totally unbeleivable!!! Finally, played Sleeping Dogs on the Xbox360 & did some general chilling with Vishal, Beers & Rum!!! Interesting 2 weeks if i say so myself 😉

Yummmmmmmyyyyy!!!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Avengers Crew Part 2

Here is part 2 of the Avengers Crew, please note these are my least favorite heroes in the crew, I do believe it is related to them not having any super powers –

The Hero we all know as Captain America –

Really not interested in sharing details here, I would suggest you watch the movie(they have done a good job ), anyways here goes – Steve Rogers was born July 4, 1920, to poor Irish immigrant parents, Sarah and Joseph Rogers, and grew up a frail youth during the Great Depression in America. Rogers’ father died when he was a child and his mother died from pneumonia later, when he was in his late teens. Horrified by newsreel footage of Nazis ransacking Europe and atrocities in Asia that the Empire of Japan committed in China and Korea, Rogers tried to enlist in the Army, that rejected him as 4-F because of his frailty and sickness. Overhearing the boy’s earnest plea to fight for his country, General Chester Phillips, of the US Army, offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a top-secret performance-enhancing experiment called Operation Rebirth. This give him extraordinary physical abilities, of course, what people missed was that the good Captain went on to receive extensive training before he was given his first assignment (Three months): to stop the Nazi agent called the Red Skull. To help him become a symbolic counterpart to the Red Skull, Rogers was given the red, white, and blue costume of Captain America

Decades later, his wartime comrade, the Sub-Mariner, stumbled across his still-frozen form, which was being worshiped by a far-flung Inuit tribe. Enraged, the Sub-Mariner threw the ice block into the ocean. While opposing Namor, the newly formed Avengers happened upon Rogers’ thawing body and soon revived the legendary hero. Do note I have cut pasted most of Captain’s data, I just did not have the inclination to write it.

The not so “Black Widow” –

Rumour has it Natasha Romanoff (Romanova) was somehow related to the last ruling Czars of Russia, but was never proven. Nazis set the building Natasha was in on fire in Stalingrad(Nazis liked doing such things), and her mother threw her out the window to a Russian soldier before dying. The soldier’s name was Ivan Petrovitch, and he watched over Natasha for her entire life, to this day remaining by her side as her chauffeur.

As Natasha grew and matured, she proved to be an amazing athlete and scholar, while gaining distinction in the USSR as a ballerina. Eventually, she married Alexi Shostakov, a distinguished Soviet test pilot.

Soviet government intelligence (KGB), poached them both and trained them, Alexi would go on to become Captain America’s counterpart in Russia, he was not called Captain Russia but went by the name the Red guardian. Eventually Natasha was told that her husband died in an experimental rocket crash, and was drafted into the KGB. She became their best operative from being trained in the infamous Red Room Academy, becoming excellent at fighting and information gathering. During this time she had some training under the Winter Soldier. It was there she was first dubbed the “Black Widow.” After a few encounters of getting shot and brainwashing she joined the Avengers, she has always had a soft spot for the next character (Hawkeye)

The strictly Bow and Arrow type Hawkeye –

Clint Barton and his brother were orphaned at a young age they made ends meet by working in a circus; Clint was trained by the original Swordsman and by Trick Shot. Like most wannabe Super Heroes Clint saw Ironman in action and wanted to emulate him, he draped a fancy outfit and decided to fight evil in the world using his bow and arrow skills.

Due to his outfit Hawkeye found himself running from cops, during this time he came in contact with the Widow, she recruited him and also became romantically involved with him. Although Hawkeye became romantically involved, he was unhappy being a criminal. When he approached the Avengers and told them of his desire to reform, Iron Man sponsored his membership on the team. There’s not much beyond this about him to write, moving on…

Nick No D&%# Fury –

The eldest of three children, Nicholas Joseph Fury grew up in Depression-era New York City with his brother Jacob and Sister Dawn. Fury’s mother died while he was very young.  It wouldn’t be until Nick Fury became a solider himself overseas that he would learn of his father’s military service. Living in the tough streets of Hell’s Kitchen, Fury himself was no stranger to trouble, but more than often confined it to the boxing ring where he would bout, or in the Police Athletic League where he became one of the finest marksman.

Fury jumped from mission to mission, post the attack on Pearl Harbour he was elevated to command the “Howling Commandos,” a specially-trained band of soldiers who undertook some of the most dangerous missions of the war. As leader of the Howling Commandos, Fury struck blow after blow against the Nazis and their allies through missions that ranged from deep infiltration missions behind enemy lines to undercover work and even some home front action. It was during this time that he met Captain America, Reid Richards and confronted enemies like the Red Skull and Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker. This was also the period where Fury suffered to major injuries – both would impact him later in life: a grenade blast that began the slow deterioration of his sight in his left eye, and a landmine accident that led to Fury being inoculated with the Infinity Formula by Professor Berthold Sternberg in France.

The Infinity Formula substantially slowed his aging process, and Fury was thrust with a double edged sword: although his life was saved, the consequences of the Infinity Formula would haunt him throughout his life as he would see many friends age and die, as well as become the target of various villains seeking his secret. In the early 1960′s Fury was contacted by the Board of Directors of the newly organized international espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division) and offered directorship by Tony Stark. (An alternate theory adds that the Deltite LMD manipulated events so that Fury would be chosen). The rest as they say is history, Nick went on to form the Avengers to defeat Loki and Hydra. We can go on about his secret wars and all but the same would not be relevant here…

So that’s my take on the Avengers, big thank you to Marvel Wiki for a ton of information – I hope this post will add to your movie watching experience and give you some details on why the Avengers are the way they are.

Do check out the Blue-Ray Clips below for extras that feature in the movie 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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