The prequel – A Tale of Six Islands

The previous diary that I wrote of North India, had 6 parts and I decided to shorten the next trip’s account to make it reader friendly. This will be a story of 6 islands – in three parts. A trilogy is the safest bet, at least in movies – LOTR, Matrix, Bourne, Oceans, Toy Story. The only thing that works for me with more than 3 parts is Federer’s Grand Slam victories. I wouldn’t mind seeing him win a 100 times!

This part is the prequel – the one where the story takes off.

This story starts off in a supermarket where we are holding tubes of sunscreen like monkeys holding an iPhone. SPF 20, 30, 40?!! Having no clue about the technicalities, we made a rational decision like a manager – after trade-offs between the price, brand and SPF level, we picked out a few. Pleased with ourselves, we returned to college. (We later found out that our choice hadn’t really been the best one! :P)

We were a group of 11 – six from our hostel wing and five adopted members. We started our trip with steak burgers at Downtown Café in Calicut. Super Yum! We then headed to the railway station to catch the West Coast Express to Chennai. It felt like a really short trip with time flying as we played bluff and mafia.

We were welcomed the next morning at our very own Mehtaji’s home with delicious grilled sandwiches, bhel puri and sweets. I had taken on my usual role of the money bank with my camera bag acting as the ATM. We booked tickets for the movie Queen, which had recently released. And missing movies in Chennai would be a crime, given the cheap ticket prices. We checked-in for our flight the next morning so that we got window seats. All planned and set, we walked to the Marina beach. Right next to Mehtaji’s home was the main office of AIADMK (a prominent political party). The shops near the place had small photos and frames having Amma’s photo – like you get the ones for Gods near temples. Chennai is indeed different!

At the beach, we shot some balloons (with those moong dal bullets), discussed the atrocities of the college admin while sitting at the shore (will never get tired of doing that), ate a sub (chicken ham with loads of mayo) and went in for the night show at the nearby theatre. The movie was delightful and kinda fit in with what we were looking for – a last big escapade to enjoy a long trip without having to worry about deadlines or leaves.

The next morning we took taxis to the airport. We spent some time doing bakar and cracking some very punny jokes – couldn’t help it with so many Mallu’s in the group. Soon, we were on our way to Port Blair as the rickety Air India flight took off to cover the 1200 km over sea. So as promised, this prequel is where the story literally takes off. Stay tuned. Click here for Part One of “A Tale of Six Islands”

A New Store Opening – Retail Diaries

It’s been almost 6 months into my first job. It’s been an amazing ride – a lot of learning, got exposed to corporate life, retail, Bangalore and a lot more. After stints as store fashion advisor, department manager, store manager and shadowing a regional manager (each having long stories of their own), I was in the middle of a retail operations project and this account is about the one which involved opening a new store. Continue reading A New Store Opening – Retail Diaries

Trains and Nostalgia

Travelling on trains always makes me nostalgic. It’s like that reset button. Brings back perspective into life. Today I’m travelling from Chennai to Bangalore. I’ve been to Chennai Central a lot of times. The first time I was here was at the age of 10, travelling from Patna to Alleppey. I think it was Patna to Howrah, Howrah to Chennai and then Chennai to Alleppey. Knowing the delays in trains from the east and north, we’d kept a gap of around 15 hrs between trains as a buffer and still missed our train from Chennai! I remember it was the time of the Sabarimala season and our train was full of black clad, bare footed swamis. I’ve been to Sabarimala twice and it’s an amazing experience. Continue reading Trains and Nostalgia

Down the Beas to the City with a Plan!

We wake up early the next day. The hangover of the snow experience is still there and it is something which I will never be able to forget.

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This day was to be spent exploring Manali with its temples and monasteries and of course the “Maaaal Road” (read Shimla to understand what Maaaal Road is 😛 ).  We first go to Vashishta Muni temple. The temple is a wooden structure with a slate roof.

 

 

There is a hot spring gushing out near the temple which has been converted to a public bath. ImageThe water was pretty hot indeed. However I was hoping to see more of an open hot water spring. But there is no “pool” as such. There are pipes which carry the water out of the mountain. Not entirely “natural”! 😛

Continue reading Down the Beas to the City with a Plan!

The Summer Capital of British India

ImageThe best thing about the road to Shimla is that the climb is not a painful experience. Travelling to the hills in India may not always be pleasant – going from Kozhikode to Wayanad in Kerala can be the most nauseous drive, thanks to the myriad hairpin bends and the crazy buses. Given that Shimla was more than 3 times higher in altitude than Wayanad, at 2400m, I kept my poly-bags ready. Our driver, Kalyan Singh was a Himachali through and through and the most talkative person I’ve seen. That’s what keeps him going without getting bored or sleepy – alertness is something which is really required in such treacherous terrain or the vehicle may casually slip down the slope (we saw quite a few such vehicles during the trip). This guy was a good planner and had packed these polybags before we left Delhi, as Himachal was a plastic free state. He knew the roads and mountains really well – something I relate to – remembering routes and places.

So let’s come back to the present. Continue reading The Summer Capital of British India

From the Capital to the Majestic Himalayas

ImageDone with Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, we move on to the next part of our trip – Himachal. I was quite excited as this was one state I’d always looked forward to visiting. This too was part of an organized tour by Panicker’s Travels. We bid adieu to the India Gate which we’re passing by for the umpteenth time. Delhi had been good to us – the summer heat hadn’t set in yet. Continue reading From the Capital to the Majestic Himalayas

A Day filled with History and Wonders

I finally got an internet connection! So I’ll continue where I left – Delhi.

After covering Delhi, our next stops were Agra and Fatehpur Sikri IMG_9764– a one day trip. It was part of a conducted tour. The bus left Delhi at 6 am – ya, we had to wake up early even though the previous day had been pretty tiring. Anyway, as long as you’re travelling to cool new places, these things don’t matter. Continue reading A Day filled with History and Wonders

Delhi in a Day

If you have one day to explore Delhi, what would you do? Explore the history of the city, visit monuments to enjoy the splendid architecture or find out places that showcase the amazing food? I would love to say – everything! But if a day is all you’ve got, you need to pick your agenda. This blog explores the historical monuments and major tourist attractions of Delhi – all covered in one day. Continue reading Delhi in a Day

A bird’s view – at Night!

After 6 long months of B-School I was on my way back home. I was hoping I’d get more frequent breaks when I first saw the trimester system (which would mean 3 breaks in a year as compared to 2 in engineering). I also hoped to go home more often as my college was in Kerala. Hehe! What wrong notions! 😛 Continue reading A bird’s view – at Night!

Creating memories – One Fridge Magnet at a time!