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The Goa Getaway Again

One fine day, Ekta, Rachita & me met at gallops for a few drinks. The discussion revolved around going & seeing a house in Goa for their aunt. Randomly we all agreed & decided on a roadtrip to our most favorite holiday destination… somewhere through the week, we also convinced Vishal to come with us, a point to be noted here is we also tried to get Aashay to come with us, though he wasn’t allowed as his parents think we are a bad influence on him – this has definitely not gone down well with all of us…

Heaven is a place on Earth!!!

Heaven is a place on Earth!!!

Banyan Soul

Banyan Soul

Moving on & now to the interesting part, we started the roadtrip by about 4 a.m. on a Friday, made good time as we didn’t stop anywhere except for the occasional bathroom breaks & reached Goa by about 2 p.m. This time around, we were on a tight budget so were staying at a place called The Banyan Soul, a relatively inexpensive place at Anjuna. The Hotel is built around a huge-ass banyan tree as you can see in the pictures. It was nothing to rave about, but considering in Goa we use the hotel only for crashing, it served our purpose. After resting for a bit, decided to explore the surroundings on foot, walked passed German Bakery which was 100 meters from our Hotel, had a beer there, then decided to go to Curlies which was about a 15 minute walk away.

German Bakery

German Bakery

A Must Visit Place...

A Must Visit Place…

The place was pretty crowded, though we did get a quiet corner to chill, beers & rum were ordered. Also ordered some food which pretty damn awful, though the whole angle of being in Goa & on the beach with alcohol made up for the same :-). Next day started off with some photography and playing the guitar under the banyan tree which was super cool! For breakfast we decided to go to Lila’s Cafe where the roesti, sandwiches, bacon, etc is phenomenal. Side by side, we ordered some beer, which by now you have figured is mandatory with meals as well as generally while you are in Goa. Post a superb breakfast, we went to see the house. Nothing exciting happening there, as in it was a nice property and all that, but too far from the beach & general activity & thus a definite no show. Then we decided to go to Calamari, a shack ahead of Candolim. More beer was drunk & some more good food eaten, post chilling for a while, decided to head back to the hotel, crashed for a bit; dinner plans for the night were at Florentine, one of the most awesome places for authentic Goan food. We ate awesome vindaloo, fish cafreal & egg curry with beers, rum & fried papads.

Super View at Calamari!!!

Super View at Calamari!!!

Superb Crab Curry!!!

Superb Crab Curry!!!

Next morning, Ekta & me went out for a drive for some photography & general chilling. We went around Vagator which has some awesome opportunities for great photography; for brunch, we decided to go to Calamari again. Post general lethargy & laziness through the day with beers & alcohol, we decided to go for dinner to Souza Lobo’s one of the oldest sea food eateries in Goa located at Calangute beach, we ordered some awesome crab curry……. this was the 1st time we ate crab & it was instant love….. we finished every last bit availaible in the curry bowl i.e. ekta & me did. We also ordered vindaloo which was superb. Beach photography started off the next day, post which we decided to go to the Casino. This was interesting because Casino Royale is located on  a ship away from the dock, in what qualifies as international waters, thus making gambling legal. In the casino,  played some black jack & slots with Rachita, won about 2k & then after a while got bored & went home, though decided that at some point in life, need to buy a boat which is kind of cool. For dinner, Rachita & I went to this shack at Anjuna called Seashore Bar which had super view of the ocean, had a few mojitos & beers accompanied by bhajiyas which was total awesomeness!!!

We were chilling here...

Shopping!!!

Shopping!!!

The final day in goa was spent having breakfast at this quaint place called Artjuna which had some great food & a brilliant ambiance. The concept basically is an eatery with a selected menu card, add to that pieces of art, sculpture & a lifestlye store in the open where you can buy whatever you like. Post breakfast, Rachita & Vishal decided to go finish some shopping, while Ekta & me went to Anjuna beach, got ourselves a couple of loungers & lazed there for a while. Shortly Rachita & Vishal also joined us as the area where we were living had no electricity so the breeze on the beach was more then welcome. Early evening, went shopping again with Rachita at Candolim. Finally, dinner was at a place called Sussee Cafe which was ahead of the Kingfisher Villa at Candolim. Ordered mussels, chicken, etc….. ate, chilled with beers, got back to the hotel & crashed. Next day roadtrip to Bombay was in full effect. Goa, this time around, was a revelation in terms of all of us trying & eating different kinds of seafood. Other than that, it also reconfirmed the fact that there is no other place in the country which is so super chilled out. Now we have decided to go there at least once every 3 months :-).

Susse Cafe!!!

Susse Cafe!!!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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2 Days of Partying

Since 2 days we have had a house to ourselves…. reason for the same….. the in-laws are travelling & thus the house is empty. The same indicates that for the next 3 days we were going to be partying there without anyone around, kinda like school or college where in you wait for the opportunity to have the house to yourself when parents aren’t home & party like there is no tomorrow 🙂

Bike Ride View

Random Pic During Bike Ride

So the 1st day, due to excessive work, we could not capitalize on it as we got done late from work, post which a severe headache made my life hell. Day 2 (which also happened to be a Holiday due to Dassera, a Hindu Festival) was going to be a make up day basis the same. I woke up, went for a bike ride which was awesome, as the early morning breeze was spectacular. Also after a while, I rode past Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi, went all the way till Shivaji Park & back….. absolutely amazing the experiance was! If the breeze is an indication of the winter, mid Novemeber through till end of February is going to be awesome fun, specially for bike rides. Got home, decided to play some NBA2k13 on the Xbox360 which, according to Mihir & me, is the finest basketball game ever!!! Played with Chicago Bulls & Derrick Rose, awesome fun way to start the day!

Yummmmyyyyy!!!

Post that, crashed & passed out for about a good 4 hours, woke up to an awesome lunch at home which was a full-on punjabi cuisine spread & included fried papads… Confession time, I love fried papads, I can like just keep eating them without stopping. Through the afternoon, decided to go to the in-laws house for some general chilling & to make up for lost time the night before. Chilled over there with Vishal, Ekta & Ra. After ages, did lots of Sheesha also had loads Beer, current favorite in local beers is Miller! Evening was spent eating Dosas for Dinner & a Telegu Horror movie on cable…

The Only way to Drink!!!

Awesomeness!!!

Day 3 began with work as usual, though the POA was to have this major Non-Veg feast at the in laws. For lunch, we ordered food from The Bombay Kitchen which was brilliant: the Chilli Dog, Rice with Indonesian Gravy, Stuffed Chicken & Tenderloine was amazing! Come evening, we all were there – Mihir, Yooti, Vishal, Ekta & Rachita. On the menu, which was totally being managed & cooked by Rachita, there was Salad with Chorizo & and an Orange Reduction dressing, creamed Spinach & Mushroom, Masala Sausages, Chicken Sorpotel & Rice (Do check the below slide show to see the amazing food pictures). The food was simply delicious every one ate to their hearts content & more. Obviously there were beers, though this time, due to non availibility of Miller, we had ordered King Fisher Ultra, there was also a Rum, Thumbs Up, Ice & Chaat Masala Cocktail we call Boondi made, again lots of Sheesha was done & general chilling happened. Also through the day, Mihir & I played a bit of Guitar, currently our obsession is learning how to play the Blues.

Happiness on a Plate!!!

Overall, out of the 3 days where we had the house to ourselves, we made most of the 2 days & had awesome food, alcohol & loads of fun!!! The food, courtesy Rachita, most definitely was the show stopper. Also occasions like this somehow just become so much more exciting as there is a time-line attached to having fun before the house gets occupied again. Hopefully in a week or 2 we will have the house to ourselves as most of the family is travelling basis Diwali, fingers crossed 🙂

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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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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