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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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Drinks, Diwali & Pune

Bombay Pune Expressway

So the Diwali celebrations for us started on the 11th of November 2012; Rachita, my parents and I left for Pune as we were celebrating the festive season with the in-laws at their Pune house. We over packed, as always, stuffed the luggage all over the Ritz added 4 people to the same & started the journey. The weather was awesome & there was no traffic so we made some good time, reaching our destination in about 3 hours. Reaching there, we realized the house was in chaos – too many people and too little space, so quickly freshened up & then decided  to head out with Aashay, Ekta & Rachita. This is when the fun began…

Awesome Decor at Hidden Place

The Tower of Power

Day 1- Also, please note, going forward we will refer to Aashay as Alpana because he in Pune is the equivalent of the house help whose name is Kalpana; in effect, he is the male Kalpana – Alpana!!! So Alpana decided to take me to this pub he has been raving about called Hidden Place. Reaching the destination i.e. HP we realized it doesn’t open till 12:30 & we’d reached by about 11:45 am so we requested the manager to allow us inside a bit early considering I had travelled all the way from Bombay. The guys were kind and let us in by noon :-). The place, overall, had a superb feel to it; nice retro decor with posters on the wall & bottles used as lights, also good music playing. We went in and ordered the King Fisher Tower which is about 3 litres of Beer; side by side, we ordered some chicken wings also which Alpana had highly recommended. By the time we went through the Tower of Power, the girls had also joined us and by now food & alco was flowing seamlessly :-).  We decided to have a pint of Stella & moved to another Japanese brand, the name of which I cannot remember. Ekta was having some cocktails while Rachita & Analushka were ordering food & more food. The afternoon was well spent being drunk & catching up on all the happenings in Ekta, Alpana & Analushka’s life!!! The evening was then spent with family at home eating Dosas & generally chilling.

Tower of Power & Mojito Pitcher

Day 2 – Post getting up the next day, decided to chill on the terrace for a bit considering the weather was a lot cooler than Bombay, played the blues, felt pretty awesome about it then made waffles for breakfast for all & then decided to go a new place at Koregaon Park called Kebab Studio; this was where Turtulia was originally. Reached the place & ordered another King Fisher Tower; also there was a super happy hours scheme wherein Pitcher of Mojito was availaible for Rs. 499/- so like, defo dude, ordered the same as well.

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Kebab Studio

To accompany the crazy amounts of alcohol, we also ordered some Crispy Roomali Roti with Kheema & a Choora Paratha which were like totally out of this world…the kheema just melted, actually disappeared in your mouth & it was like marinated in super masala. An absolute must try if you are visiting this place. Post a crazy drinking session (considering we ordered another pitcher of Mojito), we headed home totally drunk, chilled at home for a bit. Then Disha decided to learn how to ride the Bike; Ekta’s Royal Enfield aka Goo was there so taught her the basics of the same. For dinner there was barbecue, though by the time things were ready, I had passed out as post coming home from KS, I was OD’ing on Millers…

Tower of Power for Day 3

Day 3 – The last day in Pune, went over to the Taj Vivanta to meet the parents & check how the Hotel has been treating them; post which, intiially we decided to go to Machester United Cafe though, after a few discussions & miscomunications with Ekta who went of in the direction of Man U Cafe, we decided to go to this place called The Ship; as the name suggests, the decor of this place is like a Ship. Here also & for the 3rd consecutive day, Alpana & me ordered a Tower, Ekta, who had gone in another direction came back and ordered a few cocktails. For food, we ordered some Nachos & Onion rings which were pretty decent, also this was Diwali day, so there was lots of crackers being burst on the roads etc. Got home, crashed for a bit. In the evening, there was a full on celebration happening with Bhajiyas, some awesome Grilled Non-Veg & Icecream on the menu…..obviously unlimited alcohol & crazy bollywood music was also part of the POA. The Non veg included masala sausages, salami, bacon, chorizo & seekh kebab which were absolutely amazing. There was also masala khichya & fried papad with the alcohol. All in all, the evening was a lot of fun; a few crackers were also burst to celebrate the occasion…

The Ship

All in all, the Diwali Pune trip went off well. Next morning, left for Bombay early & got home. The places in Pune to eat & drink were sensational, also considering it was Diwali time the water holes were empty and we had the places all to ourselves. It was great catching up with Aashay & going drinking with him, Ekta & Rachita. I also strongly recommend Hidden Place & Kebab Studio for anyone visiting Pune & looking for good places to chill at. Closing the article with a slide show of our experience of the 3 days & the awesome 3 places we visited in Pune & the festive Celebrations!!!

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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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 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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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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The Avengers Crew

Today’s post is about the Avengers. The reason for posting Avengers? The DVD is out here in India and it is one of our most favourite, if not the favourite Super Hero movie ever! The post is way too long so am breaking it into 2 parts.

I have been a super hero’s fan all my life… as a child I used to love the colour green and in turn, the Hulk became my favourite character; my brother liked blue and he chose Batman. Over the years, we have pretty much owned, lost, bought most action figures, seen both real and animated movies, put up posters at home and done all the standard things that Super Hero fans do. This morning I was thinking what to put up on our blog and the Avengers hit me. Over the last few years, Marvel has done a great job introducing us to individual movies of the heroes but very little is known about their origins, at least the normal fans don’t know much; below you will find interesting reads about your favourite Avenger characters, apologies if I missed all the generations, but currently they are inconsequential.

Starting off with The “Incredible” Hulk –

Few of us know that Doctor Banner’s full name is Robert Bruce Banner. The doctor was present in the instrumentation bunker at the test site for the first underground test detonation of the Gamma Bomb. Observing that a civilian had breached security and entered the restricted test area, Banner told his colleague Igor Starsky to delay the countdown while he tried to get the civilian to safety. Starsky, secretly a Soviet agent, did nothing, confident that Banner would die in the explosion, bringing the project to a halt. Reaching the civilian, a teenager named Rick Jones, Banner threw him into a protective trench. Before Banner could get himself to safety, the Gamma Bomb detonated, and intense waves of radiation reached the surface. Banner was irradiated with highly charged radioactive particles. Due to an unknown genetic factor in his body, Banner was not killed by the radiation, which instead caused him to frequently transform into the vastly powerful, humanoid monster named “the Hulk”. There are various theories on how and why Banner changes into the Hulk, the most popular being, he gets “MAD”.  Hulk joining the Avengers was more accidental then planned; he became a pawn of Loki who tricked Hulk into battling his half-brother, Thor. This plot was foiled, leading to Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp joining forces to form the Avengers and defeat Loki.

The insanely flamboyant Iron Man is next –

For all the retards who have no idea, Tony Stark’s full name is Anthony Stark; he is the  son of industrialist and inventor, Howard Stark, is an undergraduate electrical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with Double majors in Physics.  Contrary to popular belief, Starks did not become Iron Man after the Vietnam incident; he was injured in Vietnam and worked with Ho Yinsen to design and built an electrically powered suit of armour equipped with heavy offensive weaponry. The armour also contained a pacemaker-like device that enabled Stark’s heart to keep beating after the shrapnel entered it. He used this to escape; this is not how he became Iron Man – these experiences made him realize that the suit was too dangerous to be made available to the public. Eventually once he returned home, he was forced to use the suit to thwart a terrorist bombing attempt. Wishing to retain some degree of anonymity, Stark established the fiction that Iron Man was his paid bodyguard wearing a suit of armour that he had invented. Only his most trusted aides learned that Stark and Iron Man were one and the same.

There is only one God and his name is Thor –

Thor is the blood-son of Odin, All-Father of the Asgardians, and Jord, who was also known as Gaea, the elder goddess of the Earth. Odin sought to father a son whose power would derive from Earth as well as Asgard, and hence he sought to mate with Jord. Odin created a cave in Norway where Jord gave birth to Thor. Months after the infant Thor was weaned, Odin brought him to Asgard to be raised. Odin’s wife, the goddess Frigga, acted as Thor’s mother from that time onward. Thor became Asgard’s greatest warrior before he was twenty.

In addition to being the God of Thunder, Thor is also the Norse God of Strength; as such he is physically the strongest of the Norse gods and one of the most powerful beings in the Universe. His strength has been called unlimited. People don’t realise but he always restrains and holds back his vast strength against mortals, he has been capable of stalemating an enraged Hulk in strength (despite the fact that the Hulk was constantly increasing in strength every moment) for hours without tiring at all and while restraining himself as always, and knocking out the Hulk eventually. Loki was the reason Thor joined the Avengers – his manipulations forced several of earth’s mightiest heroes to band together to stop the Hulk, Thor was amongst them and became a founding member of the team of superhuman champions.

Here is the Home video announcement, for the lucky few who dont live in America the DVD and Blue Ray are already available 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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My First Road Trip part 2

The next part of our awesome road trip was about 30 Kms from Pune, a small village known as Saswad, which houses an awesome Fort known as Jadhavgadh. We started our journey early, had breakfast at the Machan and got out buy around 9:30 am. The drive back to Lonavala took about half an hour considering the crazy fog, we also got lost in one of the by lanes, anyways we hit the expressway soon enough and made it to the outskirts of Pune in about an hour and a half. Here it gets tricky passing Pune and onto Saswad took a good 2 hours, crazy traffic and bad road. At a time even google Maps failed and we had to ask a cop for directions (surprisingly he looked and behaved like Manoj Bajpai). After a fairly crazy ride up a fairly broad ghat (Mountain) we reached our destination.

The first thing you notice about the fort is the people, they are all dressed in traditional Maratha outfits. Our welcome was accompanied by a blow of trumpets and a crazy beating of drums by a frenzied security guard, we also got the very firangi “tilak on the forehead” treatment. We quickly finished all the formalities and headed towards our room, please to note had booked a suite which was a surprise for the lovely Mrs. I was surprised by the room – it was big and had a large balcony with a crazy view – do check the image below for the view. We settled in and ordered food, some traditional chicken in coconut gravy with bread, the food was finger licking good. I would strongly recommend that you try the local cuisine in the Hotel; it’s absolutely to die for. After a quick siesta we moved towards the pool, the Mrs quickly jumped in, me on the other hand thought the water was a little too cold for my liking and hence went on to check the Fort.

The Fort is not very large, if you have been to Rajasthan it may almost seem like a Haveli what stands out is how well it has been maintained and how the entire Hotel has been built around it. The lawns surrounding the Fort are massive and make for some great bird and flower photography. I ended up spending quite a lot of my time taking pictures. Late evening we decided to head back to the room – post more chilling time we went for dinner – the dining room is pretty standard looks like something out of a clubhouse, but the waiter suggested that we dine at the balcony. This turned out to be a great suggestion as it was only us and the experience of eating there was amazing. The starter we ordered was something called Jadhavgadh ke Sholay (Fires of Jadhavgadh – loosely translated) a tandoori paneer dish; we ordered it basis the interesting name – not bad it was, for main course we ordered mutton for a change, a dish called Mutton Tambya Cha Rassa – hands down the best mutton dish we have eaten, the mutton was softer than the paneer, we finished the meal with an awesome Kulfi (local hand churned ice-cream).

Day 2 was pretty much filled with photography, swimming, dinning had an absolute blast, before I forget the Breakfast – absolutely amazing and they had a decent spread also; to give you an idea, my breakfast included muffins, breads, juice, cereal, poha, parathas, grilled veggies, juice, eggs to order and milk shake – I could not move for a few hours after that but totally loved it. Moving on, day 3 is when we left for Mumbai, again got out by about 10:00 am the drive this time was surprisingly fast, the roads were empty and we reached the expressway in about 40 minutes. From there on it was a 2 hour drive to Mumbai – we stopped at a Khopoli, did not feel like eating so had ice-cream and then drove on. Took about an hour 15 to get to home once we hit Mumbai, the little Ashoooooo as usual welcomed us (he also makes an appearance on our blog 🙂 All in all, our first roadtrip was kick-ass we had a blast stayed amongst trees and in a Fort, drove across some of the best roads in the country, could not have asked for more during our mini vacation.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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