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Year End Roadtrip & More

So this year’s been pretty fun with roadtrips. If you have been following our blog, you’ll know we’ve been to Pune & Goa in the last 3 months, and most recently, that is last week, we decided to go to Baroda or Vadodra as people call it. Details of that trip are captured on this post. Do have a read, good people!!!

Brilliant Weather & Highway

Brilliant Weather & Highway

Danger Ha ha ha ha!!!

Danger Ha ha ha ha!!!

So Ekta has been in Baroda for a while. We have a house there & she had been inviting us there for some general chilling. Fortunately, the house was going to be empty, parents were vacationing in Kolkata so this was enough reason to go there & party!!! So last Thursday, Rachita, Vishal & me decided to drive down to Baroda in our trusty ride, the Skoda Laura aka Motilal. Also accompanying us on the journey there was Rachita’s grandmom who needed to be dropped off in Baroda at Rachita’s aunts’ and her daughter’s house. We started the journey from South Bombay in early hours of the morning, at about 4:30 am, & basis the fantastic roads and awesome weather, reached Baroda by in about 6.5 hours which was pretty awesome…

Gooooooooooooo!!!

Gooooooooooooo!!!

Super Awesomeness!!!

Super Awesomeness!!!

Reaching the house, we were greeted by Ekta who we think was in quite a shock as it was taking her a while to digest that we had actually made it there! In the past, there have been instances where in she has invited us there & for some reason or the other we haven’t been able to make it. Anyways, there was some awesome dhokla & khaman awaiting us which we hogged. Also had a few beers to kick start the party, please note Gujarat is a dry state & thus Baroda also is encompassed within that law, though if you have a permit you can legally get Alcohol; the good news is that Ekta’s dad has a permit :-). Post a quick nap, we moved to having Bailey’s Irish Cream on the rocks which was our drink of the trip i.e. Ekta’s & mine. For dinner we went to Yoko’s sizzlers had some good chicken sizzlers & starters & called it a day… Oh! before I forget, on reaching Baroda, Ekta & me went for a bike ride on her Royal Enfield fondly known as Goo after the game World of Goo. People in Baroda do not follow traffic rules & drive pretty crazy is what I learnt on my 1st bike ride in Baroda.

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Heaven with a dash of Butter...

Heaven with a dash of Butter…

Pure Brilliance!!!

Pure Brilliance!!!

Day 2 kicked off in the morning early. The weather was absolutely brilliant so I decided to take Goo out for a ride. In about 10 minutes on the bike, I froze stiff the temperature was about 14 degrees, though on the bike, at about 60 kmph it felt like it had dropped to about 8 degrees & lower – was pretty crazy, but fun. Got back home & played some blues on my blue guitar (that was cheezy, the line, but wanted to use it so what the heck). Playing the guitar in the brilliant Baroda weather felt sensational. Post that, watched some NBA on TV the Clippers take on the Celtics; this game saw Clippers win their 16th game in a row which was totally awesome! Hands down currently the most exciting in the NBA is the Los Angeles Clippers.

Slept again for a bit, woke up to beers & general chilling with Vishal, Ekta & Rachita. For a brunch, we ate some puffs & biscuits from a local bakery called Goodies. For dinner, decided to go have Raju Omelet; this time around, we went to another location which apparently is being run by Rajubhai’s brother who was the original cook for Rajubhai at the original flagship store. Yes, Raju Omelet has now got multiple branches! We ate some awesome egg preparations drowning in butter as you can see in the pictures! This time tried a new dish on the menu the Bhurji Wrap which was unbelievably delicious, diced egg bhurji & shredded boiled egg wrapped in an omelet floating in butter!!! Doesn’t get better than that…

Goodies!!!

Goodies!!!

Day 3 was similar to 2. Started off playing the guitar, though in the chilly weather gave the bike ride a skip, watched TV & passed out while Ekta & Rachita went shopping; slept for a good 4 hours & woke up to the fact that Rachu & Eku had bought out the whole of Baroda! For lunch, Baingan ka Bharta was had (Eggplant Preparation); post that there was like a fashion parade where in the girls were trying out outfits – were generally super excited about the whole experience. I was watching TV, while Vishal had passed out for a bit. In the night, we were going to get a few buckets from KFC, though when we went to pick them up, we found out that the store was still closed and that they were planning on opening come new year. So, next to our residence is this quaint eatery called Midday Munchies, where we went and picked up wraps & pizzas. We went home, ate & passed out.

Yayyyyy More Beer!!!

Yayyyyy More Beer!!!

Day 4 started off watching UFC 155….. Junior Dos Santos being walloped by Cane Valesquez; lots of beers were drunk. Lunch was a severely gujju style Bajra ni Khichdi with Lasan Chutney & Buttermilk. After this, we decided to watch some crazy south Indian movies dubbed in hindi on Tata Sky; we watched 2 movies back to back 1 of them was brilliant called Return of Chandramookhi starring Maamooty, also note in the middle of the movie, we kinda got hungry so decided to go grab some food & record the movie. We went to this place called 22nd Parallel which serves awesome South Indian food. We didn’t realise it was a Sunday evening when we left! The eatery was packed & we had to wait for about 20 minutes to get a table. Though, it was totally worth the wait as we ate some awesome Dosas, Wadas, Idlis, Rasam, Rice, etc. etc. Post getting home, we watched the recorded movie which was totally spectacular & went to sleep as Rachita & me had to head back to Bombay the next morning. Woke up again early & left by 4:30 am, I drove after eons for about half the journey & Rachita drove the other half; the roads & weather were super! Also add to that it was the 31st, so there was minimal traffic & we reached home by 11:00 am.

Shopping!!!

Shopping!!!

Woke up again early & left by 4:30 am, I drove after eons for about half the journey & Rachita drove the other half; the roads & weather were super! Also add to that it was the 31st, so there was minimal traffic & we reached home by 11:00 am. Overall, the Baroda trip was super awesome! For any of you planning a trip from Bombay to Baroda, I strongly suggest that you drive down; also the weather will be sensational till mid February so plan something soon. 2 places which are a must visit in case you are in Baroda – Raju Omlet & 22nd Parallel. Trust me, you wont be disappointed. Also here’s wishing all our readers a very happy new year, have a lucky 13!!!

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Ganpati Photowalk

It’s that time of the year when everyone in India welcomes the Elephant God into their house, fondly known as Ganpati. 10 days of every Indian’s life revolve around the worship of the God.  Ganesh has been an annual feature in our house for as long as I can remember, we don’t get in the clay idol, we have an idol made of silver which we offer prayers to. As kids, mom would make us clean the idol and also decorate temples made of cardboard or Styrofoam. We would also get a whole lot of guests who came to our house during these 10 days to offer prayers and generally socialize with the family.  Over the years our beliefs have changed, we are no longer actively involved in the ceremonies pretty much Mom, Dad, Uncle and Aunty who manage the same. We on the other hand definitely go to see the awesome idols around where we live and take pictures creating our very own unique Ganpati Photowalk.

The biggest challenge with the photowalk is the crazy and erratic Mumbai rains, I personally don’t like my camera and gear getting wet and hence have to wait for the right time to get out there. Saturday began with crazy rains in the morning but eventually the day turned out to be sunny, at about 4:00pm I decided to head out for the photowalk, please note the objective was clear take pictures of Idols, a few minutes away from our house is Grant Road vegetable market, this also houses the biggest Ganesh idol in our area – I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no security in and around the Pandal (temporary temple), people moved in an out easily and it was not mad crowded, I quickly setup my camera and started taking shots, to my surprise nobody disturbed me or said not to take pictures, instead they were more than happy to let me keep shooting, the kids there also volunteered to look after my bag so I could move around easily -Absolutely awesome

From there on every pandal I went to I was extended the same courtesy, my next destination was Grant road station, the Ganpati there was lit up, so time to crank ISO and shoot, note I hate using flash, I think it takes away from the reality of the image. I retraced my steps from the station towards the BMC station at D-Ward, this area has always had very creative idols, I was surprised this time around instead of going creative, the committee there had gone for a simpler much larger idol, it was very impressive. This pandal also had some kids playing carom; they were very excited when I took their picture. Next destination Papanas Wadi, this is a small lane next to my house, their theme eco friendly Ganesh, I did not realise I had friends here, these were kids who I had grown up with, in turn I was treated like a star, they cleared the floor and let me take pictures and fed me a whole lot of sweet meats. Next I moved onto a lesser known destination, this is a small bylane near Nana Chowk, they generally get a small idol but it is always very unique, this time around was exactly the same. Moving uphill I got to Kemps Corner, the Pan Gali idol was a black and gold idol and was huge, post taking pictures I moved towards my final 3 destinations August Kranti Maidan (Tejpal)  and Geeta building and old Gamdevi.

The final destinations are also the oldest as far as we are concerned, they have been housing idols long before it was fashionable to host them. The Tejpal idol was simple but they had surrounded it by envelopes of Ganpati, to my suprise there was nobody around the mini pandal, forgot to mention, I missed the Ganpati which use to be there at the Kharegat intersection, don’t know why it was not there. Anyways moving on the Geeta building Ganesh, was mounted on the shoulders of Hanuman, very different from anything I had seen so far. The volunteers there let me get close to the idol and take pictures, by now I was losing light so cranked up the ISO even more. From here I quickly rushed to Old Gamdevi, this idol was surrounded by women who were waiting for the evening Aarti, I did not waste time here, moved quickly and shot a few images and headed home. All in all the photowalk was an amazing experience the pandals are amazingly peaceful and people don’t bother you, also there are no annoying kids going ‘uncle take photo, my photo please’ and so on.  Really enjoyed this walk, and will definitely do this again on the day of immersion, this time around with my zoom lens.

Do check out our awesome Slideshow of Ganesh Pics below – Shot using a Nikon D5100 with a 18-55mm lens

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Bike ride around Home

Amazing!

This weekend’s ride started the way like any other, fairly straightforward around Marine Drive and back again; while on my way back, I realised I needed to pick up some Peach Nectar to make Peach Sangria later in the evening. So I rode towards Grant Road Station and soon enough realized that the area near my house is also a great place to ride and take pictures.

En route to the Station!

Construction at Nana Chowk

Cobbler Outside Our Lane.

General Notice – Riders who are afraid of narrow streets, please do not come to this vicinity; on the other hand, if you like photography, some amazing shots are there for you to capture. Back to me now, I started by parking my bike and walking across Grant Road vegetable market. The place gets mad crowded even as early at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. Once I picked up the juice, I decided to take a detour and move from the back lane of the station towards Tardeo, from where I exited and came back towards Nana Chowk. Around Nana Chowk is where they are constructing a sky walk which will lead straight to the station. My curiosity got the better of me. I parked my bike, took the camera and climbed up the Skywalk. The first thing I noticed is how clean it is, next that it is a fairly long walk towards the station. Anyways, I kept moving forward taking pictures. After a while I reached the station; surprisingly, the skywalk started to shake as I got close. At this point, I am thinking Earthquake, but a passerby informed me that the walkway vibrates a bit when trains pass by. I walked back towards my bike and moved on; next on my list was Mani Bhavan and the by lanes around the house.

Rumbling Skywalk!

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Off Mani Bhawan

Mani Bhavan, the residence place of Mahatma Gandhi is in the street next to where I live. I have moved up and down these lanes for 30 years now. The buildings have an old world charm that is hard to find nowadays. If you are around Gamdevi, be sure to explore the lanes, I took a few pictures of Mani Bhavan and then moved towards Kennedy Bridge which has an awesome view of the Old Gamdevi (we call it that….. it’s not really that old). Note the drive is fairly challenging, as beyond narrow streets, you are also avoiding people shopping and kids playing cricket J. Once on the bridge, I got off to take a few shots. At that time a bunch of school kids saw my bike – they were very fascinated with the customization and requested if I could show them if the Iron Eagle lights up. Of course, I happily obliged and left them smiling. After all this excitement, I went back home to watching movies. In the evening, the beautiful Mrs made us Peach Sangria, do note I got very high after 3 glasses! Post that, Rachita, my sister-in-law, cooked us some unbelievable Pasta, followed by a Peach Crumble for dessert. To round it all up, a Saturday well spent.

Temple around the residence…

When I look back on the entire day, I believe the sights and sounds I saw around my house were very fascinating; I would strongly suggest this to anyone, the important part is you need to change your mindset while walking around areas you have a million times. Think about it like a tourist and the amount of things you will notice will surprise you.

Total Awesomeness!!!

For all my alcoholic friends here is the recipe for the Absolute Amazing Peach Sangria! Enjoy!

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle rosé wine
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup peach nectar
  • 6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (6-oz.) package fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups club soda, chilled

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Preparation

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peaches and raspberries. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
  2. Stir in chilled club soda just before serving.
  3. Peach-flavored vodka may be substituted. In that case, omit the peach nectar.
  4. 1 cup frozen raspberries may be substituted or omitted.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The 5 Step Approach

Generally out of it… Hmmmmm so the thing is that a lot of times you hear things like take a break or you should figure what you want to do or really like what you are doing, etc. etc… All of us have gone through the same thought process or had multiple discussions with friends on this topic; though, somehow, taking that step seems to be a big issue. Everyone has reasons why they can’t take that step or don’t want to basis all practical reasons.

Step 1 Bike Ride

So how does this work? I guess I am using today’s post to convince myself of this concept. Also if the same works for you then great. For me it has been a work & home approach & trying to treat the same as 2 different worlds. Also, the same has worked by trying to make both aspects fun! Let me also add that I have also watched a lot of TED videos, read material online, etc. which makes things seem like a cake walk but when you actually try to follow them things just kinda become worse… I have thought about the same during multiple bike rides in the past few months. Over a period of time, what I realized is that the bike ride is actually a part of the overall experience of making things fun, so for me that’s Step 1: Get up in the morning, take the bike ride past empty roads….nothing to bother you except the wind in your face and the sounds of the morning. What is interesting is also in the morning, the world somehow slows down and you notice a lot more, e.g. temperature changes like when you pass Haji Ali, the weather is always cooler; then when you hit worli copper chimney then when you start to ascend the flyover near atria, just before that there is always a heavy breeze; marine drive somehow, at least in summers, even in the morning isn’t cool at all – you can always feel the heat on your back or on chest. Marine drive if like me you travel to everyday, then you also notice people and small, small details about them like there is this group of men who come for a walk and are in all white all the time. There are people who are not regulars but are seen on weekends only. Over a period of time all of the above make the bike ride experience super!!!

WIP

Step 2: work with people who you get along with and enjoy being around so that even if you don’t like the work at least people make things brighter, and finding like minded people aint so tough! Bitch about work, bosses and everything around the world and you will find people who are happy doing the same and so for every hour of work there is loads of bitching, so TP which happens. Important to note, if the work is what you like, then thats like icing on the cake. That to my knowledge doesn’t happen & even if it does, from time to time you keep fluctuating between should I be doing this or maybe something else…

Home Securely Away from Work!

Step 3: Get home from work & then shut everything which is related to work & do some fun stuff! Spend time with family, watch TV but shut the work part out. I know for most if the payout is fat, the employer expects you to be connected all the time – my suggestion, kick the job or the employer as in try really hard to keep that time for just general chilling and other work beyond actual work. Shut all push mail notifications, try avoiding calls from work, if you are in a position of power, try not bothering people; if nothing else, you will get a shit load of blessings & goodwill.

Step 4: Take your interest and try giving the same some time. In my case food & video games. Weekends with Rachita are spent cooking, watching TV serials and playing video games. Also a big part of the week is spent deciding what to do over the weekend so then there is always something to look forward too. Also if you have have Saturday’s working, whether alternate or regulars, please quit your job with immediate effect – plain & simple. Trust me your lives will be much happier – a job you will get either today or tomorrow trust me on the same. Also on holidays, keep everything shut. Period. Life will be beautiful.

Always a Good Idea

 Step 5: Make it a point to go out once or twice a week for drinks or food, meet friends and all that jazz. Somehow this will just help you go through the week better as beginning of the week you have something to plan & look forward to and post the midweek meeting, the end of week will also be closer… ha ha ha ha ha! Also from time to time, try and do something which might be spontaneous & random….that definitely is an unmatched feeling which carries on for days…

All said and done, if anger & frustration gets the better of you, like it is for me, separate work life from personal life. Do fun things which you enjoy when you are not at work, don’t bring work home and even if you don’t have a choice there, try easing up the frequency. If you can create your own silver lining to the cloud, then you will be home safe & happy!!! Having said all of this, I got into a review meeting and got severly outraged basis an argument, and most of what I have written went for a toss so re-read it again now feeling a bit better…

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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