Back to Childhood Days!

The picture of one's head against the door of a train, with winds gushing through one's hair even as the train decides to do a hair pin curve where one half of the train is curving and the other half is curling and catching up, you realise that these were the same emotions which meant joy, 10-15 years back, and to be more specific, you need to be in the 2nd class compartment to lean over, with the glorious smell of the Indian railways, yes.... its charecteristic smell of urine and the iron of the compartment that knock over your sensibilities as you try to get some fresh air through your lungs. Lonely travel brings a lot of thoughts
that your mind conjures up and 2 such recent journeys are being documented here.

In October and November, I decided to do some lonely train journeys as I was feeling bored. In October, I had a long weekend at my internship in Bangalore, and the dussehra weekend, was going to be dull If I was at the temporary accomdation that I was staying, so I decided to hit the Majestic bus stand, a sudden thought at 7 pm, when I left the office, and managed to reach the place (Majestic Bus Stand) by about 9 and discovered that the only probable places that one could go were Mangalore/Gokarna/Shimoga for Jog Falls/ Goa. Now, Mangalore seemed a students delight as a term called "inflation" had not made its way there to have very costly hotel and eating options. But Mangalore was heavily booked, so was Shimoga and Goa. Gokarna had one ticket and since Dusehra was on, a premium was charged to the tune of about 100 rs making the final ticket as 450 odd.

Gokarna it was...and I set on a journey, a holiday all alone, by myself... on a rainy chill night, but since I had a rather plush windcheater of my previous company, the chill winds were not a factor, but the bump on highway roads were, as I was sitting in the middle of the last bench of that bus.

Gokarna is like a place thats unaffected by technology and modernity. It has a lulling and a very slow pace towards life and thats the first thing that struck me about this place. More than that is the greenery around. For the first time in my holidays I gave up trekking and beach walking, as my bag tore, so I had to check into a hotel and decided to just walk aimlessly and explore the town.

This is when I am reminded of Chldhood, where I used to walk with my grandfather on the streets of Nanganallur, where seeing a road, a person, a bus..or any damn thing was enthusiastic, as I was learning new things each time I went on a walk.The same enthusiasm came to the fore. It was ages since I decided to explore a place at an easy pace. I went about photographing literally everything that came my way.

Here goes some of my exhibits

The Hotels in Gokarna are plain simple and you are transported to this lost world
where prices of eatables are a little above manufacturing cost and you have a very simple
ambience. Look at the chairs, everything has this plain jane shape and looks so uncomplicated.

Wherever I go, I seem to have this soft corner for "GHEE MASALA DOSA", and this time its no exception.

It had rained the previous evening, and it takes some Sun
to dry the streets. A peaceful walk, in the afternoon, explorning the extra rural side of Gokarna

Thats the bus, you would never want to get in. Extremely rickety and gives your shoulder and backbones a massage the wrong way, to make it as stiff as possible. This is the last option to Bangalore, if you cant get the luxury buses. This bus leaves at about 5 30 pm, on Sundays to Bangalore. Travelling 14 hours in this bus requires some courage, and since I am a student and cash strapped, I chose this :-(. The bus had a leaking hole right above the place where I sat, and all the water found its way to my seat and shoulder.I couldnt move an inch as this bus had hardly any leg space, and already had a vendors vegetable bag in between my legs apart from my huge blue bag. Next to me was a corpulent Bank officer, who was sharing his stories of life at Shimoga and Gokarna. It was great getting his perspective of life, and all his mythological stories about Gokarna, but he gave me a mythology dose, all through the night till 3 am, until he got off.

From the modernity of an INFOSYS campus, it takes 12 hours to be transported back to time, in Gokarna. Look at the pyol of the house, looks like R K NARAYAN had taken inspiration from this place :-), but actually its is widely rumoured that Malgudi came from Malleshwaram+ Basavangudi. I last saw such houses in Chennai, at Dakshinachitra, when I went earlier in the year with Prasanna and Kishore.

When it's a misty morning and you are on a walk across a bridge, it makes for a lovely sight. This place must be some small tributary of the Arabian sea.

Outer Gokarna reminds me of the villages in Kerala, all green with overcast skies.

Driving on empty roads with lovely weather and trees by the wayside is a lovely way to unwind.

Some times food can be a huge problem on the western coast, as you have to make to do with what is available in smaller bus stands like these. Grossly unhygenic, but thats also a part of travel

This photo was taken at PAI Restaurant at Gokarna. This along with Gokarna International are the best places to eat good quality local food at Gokarna.

Now that's a Garage... They dont have 4 wheelers here. This is just enough to dump a couple of cycles and lock it for the night.

The Brick sizes are very big on the western coast, atleast in Gokarna and Goa. I dont know the reason behind such huge boulders, but since I saw them and it looked unique, its claim to fame since then on has been that its been featured on Katchucrap!

Looks like Gokarna has its own version of Hermione and Harry Potter

Cricket on the Pyol! I was reminded of the days in the early 90's where all i needed was a tennis/rubber ball, to insantly start a game of cricket. The strategy part involved trying to score heavily by not playing power strokes and adopting to the area of the place that was available. Most of the places would be relatives houses, Marriage halls, Terraces and open verandahs! Aaah those were the days!

Thats the way back to the Hotel!........

For a more detailed journal on the beaches in Gokarna, I suggest you click this travellogue, written by me, a year and a half back


Back to Childhood days and Memories

I just started typing and my computer conked off...so will retype this laer today :-(


The Velachery MRTS Finally Opens!

This is where I got the train. The train starts at Chennai Beach station. This would be the fourth station in the Beach-Velachery route.

The Park Town station has very few paengers for the 6 46 am train.The passenger surge generaly takes place around 8 am. But the MRTS has by and large remained not that effectively used, due to poor transport services from the MRTS stations.

If you are confused where to stand, spot this board, as you will have to go to Thirumailai side to reach Velachery. This is the best form of commuting for people living in Velachery/Madipakkam/Adayar who would want to commute from the Chennai Central Railway station. From Chennai Central, one has to cross the road and walk over to the bridge and walk 50% of the bridge before a cutting that takes a person down to Park Town MRTS link. Instead if one were to walk eastward of Central station for about a 100 metres and go to the side opposite the Chennai central syburban station, one would find the Park Railway station which is the link for the Beach Tambaram Sector.

It could have well been renamed the Vodafone express, :-) it seems that commercialisatio has given way to colourful trains. I still love the green and red colour with a striped top, which is so reminscent of the way the local trains in Chennai have operated over the years.

As the train chugs into the Triplicane station,one observes an excellent view of the Marina beach from the top. Chennai's Marina beach never looked more attractive to me than the moment from the Triplicane Station. It takes roughly about 45 minutes from Beach to Velachery and about 10 minutes from Tidel Park, to reach Velachery.

Right now, there are a few autos waiting at the stand, but a 10 minute walk is what seems imminent to reach the Vijaya Nagar Bus stand. All in all a great and comfortable experience if you are travelling to Chennai via train and have to reach either Adayar/Besant Nagar/Taramani/Velachery/Madipakkam...which pretty much houses the bulk of the software employees.

Enjoy some more snaps of inside the train, and a few shots from the train in the rains.


I Just Want to FLY

This Paragliding was apparently done at a place on the Goa-Maharashtra Border. I so much feel like going and flying like a bird over the mountains and the Arabian sea.

Back to Late Nights

If Internship was about long work-days and relaxed night sleep at Bangalore, normal B school life is about long days and longer nights. I have test today at 2 pm, have slept 2 hrs and am hoping to pass this test, as its touted to be a tough one. I have an oral test, for a test that I missed in the last week of term 4, as I was ill then.


Om Shanti Om at Karur!

Karur, a sleepy industrial town near Tiruchi, would be an unlikely place to get a decent theatre. As I was walking down the roads, my eyes glanced upon a screaming Shahrukh Khan poster that said "OM SHANTI OM". I went in the evening to see the movie. they were selling at a premium price in the box. 30 rs ticket for a 25 rs printed one. I was only too glad to pay for it as in Bangalore, the minimum cost of a movie was Rs 130 if one chose the economy mode of watching at PVR. The theatre (Amudha) wasnt bad at all, it had decent dts sound, which didnt put me off and more than that, fans which didnt make me sweat. No frills cinema, if I could say, Amudha was the air deccan of the filming industry. After a long time, I didnt have to be tense about getting tickets for a movie, getting worried about striking a black ticket deal with a tout and getting a seat with a proper angle. In a place like Karur, there's hardly any competition for places and tickets, so I led a charmed life pre-OSO.

The Movie was an expected Shahrukh Farah movie that showed that the duo have really enjoyed making the movie. The script is barely there, but it was a funny joyride all the way and is definetely worth a trip to theatre. They have shown the 70's era very well and the humour in the movie is entrenched and not as attachable bits and pieces. I liked the last part where they showed a video of every person who contributed to the movie, including cameramen,lightmen and make up artistes. Shahrukhs previous movies like PBDHH and MHN bombed despite some excellent songs, the reason being weak script and improper marketing. This film's script is slightly better though the genre of movie making is still the same and given the excellent marketing Shahrukh has done, this movie was a certified money spinner, even before it released.

I would be leaving to Chennai only tommorow as no tickets are available for today. It would be good to get back to classes after nearly one and a half months. I was hoping to go on a holiday on the diwali weekend from Bangalore, but all my friends were busy at work and some on social obligations at home. The trip stays postponed for a while, as I cant make any plans unless I see the schedule at college. But 99% getting break in between terms 5 and 8, looks tough, probably in term 6, I might sneak in a day or 2, after placements as classes would not be scheduled then.

Right now, nothing to do, just glancing through papers, sipping hot rasam,watching TV and sleeping at Karur, with Parents giving loads of advice- do this-do- that.......


PS: Karur is closer to Trichy and Yercaud. Click here to see my album on Karur. I had been there in FEBRUARY earlier this year and sometime in August for a friends's marriage


Celebritydom Calling?

I happened to be at Forum Mall on Tuesday night, and as I was rushing into the second floor, I stopped and checked my pockets whether my earphones were still there, and when it was there, I breathed easy. A sardarji spotted me, and said

" Are you Kartik" ?

I was looking, at my shirt whether my ID card, gave away something and when i found no traces of my existence on my shirt or my bag, I looked at him and nodded, and he said, he saw me on TV last night.

WOW....... I was pleasantly shocked... I thought Dream Job was one of the most under-rated reality shows, and this happens in Bangalore, it does light up your evening(or late night in my case). Went for dinner with the interns team and seniors at the place where I Intern. We were taken for dinner at Sahib Singh Sultan, a train restaurant in Forum Mall, and the whole night was spent rewinding these few seconds, while I had dinner. Small Joys of Life, however foolish it might sound, those words were for sure, music to my eyes.


How Real is This?

Happened to see this video on Youtube, and the dance-sync seems impeccably made for "Mauja-hi-Mauja". The video is "Where's the Party Tonight" from KANK.

Where is Anwar Ali?

I havent seen a more deadly swing bowler than this guy called Anwar Ali, who broke India's spine in the 2006, Under-19 world cup. This guy seems to be nowhere in the reckoning. Check this guy's first 3 wickets, the way the ball darts in and flummoxes the Indian batsmen. India chasing 110 for victory in the final, were undone by Anwar Ali' s pace and were reduced to 9/6 in the 4th over and later 23/7 in 8 overs.


Life in the 1 month at Bangalore

I think the past month or so roughly had as many interesting moments as dull ones.Some of them listed here..

Good Moments

1) Spending time with an old school mate(TRP). He hasnt changed much, and is one guy who probably doesnt mind a no-frills life, living a bachelor life in a normal middle class colony called Wilson Gardens. I liked it all the more, as the guy was simple and as crazy as me, when it comes to taking decisions in life. I guess a big similarity would be kareena kapoor's character in Jab We Met.

2) Walking across BTM Layout and Wilson Gardens to office. It was a labyrinth of crosses and mains( Bengaluru ishtyle) and often I ended up getting lost and exploring the place.The day I master the route, I seem to leave the place.

3) Watching myself in the finals of Clinic All Clear STAR CRICKET Dream Job. I have been appearing on television for the last 3 weeks and its been fun trying to get some one in Bangalore having STAR CRICKET. Have recorded a few moments on my mobile. I guess the decision to attend the auditions on a cloudy August morning paid off. I will be on air for 3 more weeks. I guess they have shot enough footage to feature me.

4) The Lonely Sunday trip to Gokarna from Bangalore. Enjoyed the trip for the solitude and the walk across the beach. What made it even more adventurous was that I had misplaced the hotel key on the beach, and after searching for an hour, I found the key, lying partially gleaming on the hot sands. The trip put me in conversation with unlikely travel companions like a 50 year old conventional brahminical bank officer on the bus and an Israeli female who was a deep sea swimmer, who gave me the shock of my life, when she warned me not to venture too deep into the sea, as it was dangerous. Her tales did rattle me that evening.

5) Listening to Fever 104 FM

6) The uninhibited joy of singing in a bus stand at 11 in the night,(the walkman was on, and I didnt realise I was singing loudly, until a group of people gave me a stare). Why did I sing? Well thats some more news... I got a Pre Placement Offer from Fashion Networks, the place where I intern at Bangalore.

7) Being at Prasanna's place on a weekend.

8) Catching up with an old Infy mate, who has now started partnering with an entrepreneur in some IT solutions firm.

9) Loved both the movies that I saw, Bhool Bhulaiyya and Jab we Met.


Dull Moments

1) When I didnt get a room in Gokarna on the beach. I felt frustrated lugging along my luggage on my back and when my bag gave way, I had stop my grandiose beach trekking plans. The shop owners in Gokarna never give a room to a single guy. The single guys are capable of looking at other firang babes and spoil the "main" source of revenue for the shack owners, so if you are a male and heading to Gokarna, to get a room, go in a group with atleast 1 female or get a firang :-).

2) The initial 2 weeks at Bangalore, with rather dull roomies...who infact happen to be class mates at Great Lakes. The day I shifted, to prasanna's place initially and then to TRP's place, life felt so much better. I guess that happens as if you stay with people on similar wavelength, you feel at ease in talking. Not that my initial roomies were so boring, but just that they were fine with work-sleep-work routine :-) and strictly nothing more.



Now that I am in Bangalore for my internships, I havent done my Sports Show for quite some time. I was thumbing through some old archives, and came up on this video


Only Mallya Can Do This!

Amazing piece of confrontational advertising. Loved it. Doesnt Vijay Mallya Love a Challenge?
India. Jet Airways, one of the leading Airways in India anoounced to their customers that they have changed. Kingfisher Airlines, on top of it whipped them by saying "We made them change".

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