Monthly Archives: December 2007

Trip to Goa

Finally it did happen.
After years of ‘almost there’s and spontaneous ‘lets-go’s .. we finally did take a trip to Goa.
Goa was a dream destination for the people in my close group of friends, ever since the days of DCH. The fact that we could not take the trip, even after careful planning (earlier this year) or after in-the-moment cravings to go, made the dream even more distant.
The fact was, in part of our hearts, we thought that Goa was actually jinxed and we would never be able to go to Goa with our group of friends.
Finally, on 22nd of this year, the dream actually materialized.
I reached Goa, alone , on 22nd afternoon at around 12:30 PM. The rest of the cast was supposed to join me at around 2 PM. Unfortunately their train was delayed by a couple of hours and I was stuck in the hotel, all by myself, for about 4 hours. I made good use of the time by getting rid of the bush that had grown around my face, otherwise known as beard. I also made sure that I don’t stink too much by bathing in the steaming hot water at the hotel. Even these two activities put together, could not cover the 4 hour period. So, I did the unthinkable. I watched Goal on TV for 2 hours.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Rocky, Maddy and Pops arrived. We left for our first destination at around 6 PM.
1. Kolva Beach.
Maddy, Me and Rocky in Goa
Like most beaches in Goa at this time of the year, it was overly crowded by groups of holidaying youngsters and foreigners in equal numbers. We did little here apart from drenching ourselves in water and then hogging some nice food at the beach side restaurant. Since we could not arrange for bikes, we were dependent on public transport for conveyance. And in Goa, public transport is equivalent of robbery in bright day light. Auto wallahs charge double to triple the actual amount depending on the random number generator in their head.
Tip : Always rent a car or bikes in Goa. The public transport system is next to pathetic. Not just because of the auto-wallahs asking for your ancestral property, but also because they are always so united. They will never take you, if you have refused some other auto-wallah because he was asking for too much money.
We got back to our hotel by around 10:30 PM and wasted our time playing cards till some 1 or 2 in the night.
Day 2.
Since I don’t remember the beaches names, apart from Kolva, Anjuna and Baga .. I will just call them The_Boring beach, Beach_where_I_Parasailed and beach_where_I_went_on_water_scooter.
2. Aguda Fort
Maddy , Me and Pops
This was our first stop on day 2. It was far away from Madgaon (where our hotel was). And since most of the Panjim was to be covered on day 2, we decided to cover this place too while we were at it. It is not so much of a tourist attraction because of the huge walls and the scenic view. I think this place’s biggest claim to fame was that it was the same fort where the famous “Hum dost the, dost hain aur dost rahenge” scene was shot. Most the people there were making a bee-line for the exact spot where the trio in DCH were seated. Rest of the fort was mostly ignored by Indians. Foreigners were not too many in number at this place, which is understandable.
3. The_Boring_Beach
Maddy, Me and Rocky .. in Uniforms :)
This place was too crowded. Pretty close to the rocks, it did not offer any possibility for the on-the-beach restaurants. The beach width was hardly some 70-80 meters which most people used for playing either football or volleyball. We did not spend too much of our time here. We did take a dip here too (actually now that I think, I don’t think there was a beach where me and Rocky didn’t take a dip πŸ™‚ ).
4. Beach_where_I_Parasailed
Crowd at the beach
“A boy died on the beach some 20 minutes back due to some accident”
Not the most comforting words you want to hear when you are about 2 minutes away from para sailing for the first time in your life. Rocky and Me decided we should give it a try anyway.
Rocky went first and said it was great, but I still had my doubts. But once when you are going up, its a simply amazing feeling. The different thing about this particular instance of para-sailing was that it started in the middle of the ocean, unlike the traditional para-sailing where you start and end at the beach. Here you start and end on a moving boat in the middle of the ocean. It was all fun, when I was going up, while coming down I could feel my heart in my throat. With every pull of the rope in the downward direction, it made a sound which reverberated in the ropes that were attached between me and the parachute. In effect it sounded like the ropes that were attached to the parachute were snapping, one at a time. You just have to trust your better sense and the unknown boat owner to make sure that he will rescue you if you do fall off :).
Unfortunately, there were a couple more accidents on the beach that day. A total of 3 people died on the beach that day. A couple of them died because they ventured too far inside the ocean when they were drunk. The Ocean threw back the dead body of one of the boys. He must not have been more than 23-24 years old. What a waste of a life, just because of excess consumption of something that is not good for your health. How stupid is that.
5. Baga Beach
)
This beach is famous more for its surrounding night clubs and shady pubs that for its scenic beauty. We wanted an entry into Tito’s, which is a pretty famous pub close to the beach. But we settled for a dinner on the beach instead, when told that Stag entry was not allowed there. It turned out that Tito’s is not just a simple pub/disc. Lot more happens there :).
The dinner at the beach was probably the best dinner I had in a really long time, not least because of the company of friends. The ocean was right in front of us, about 10 meters away. Occasionally a wave would come pretty close to us, but never close enough to spoil our dinner:).
Day 3
6. beach_where_I_went_on_water_scooter
)
This was the loveliest beach we came across in all of Goa. Sparsely crowded, mostly with foreigners, nice places to eat and nice clean water to take a dip in. We settled on some benches at a restaurant there, and went for a dip there too. this beach was a little different than others. The water was at knee height for some time and then it came down to your ankle level after that and then again went to the knee height. We could venture far more inside the ocean this time than at other beaches. Since it was not crowded at all , we decided that we would spend a significant portion of the day there. We ordered nice food, some beers and sat down to enjoy the scintillating combination of the lovely sun, the burning sand and the brimming ocean. We just sat, sipped beers and talked. To take a break in between, we also went for a dip now and then, but mostly stayed under the shadows of the umbrellas.
Here Me and Rocky again went on a water scooter. From a distance, this seemed safer than the parachute thingy, but that was only a distant view. The life jacket that was tied to me, seemed like it was waiting for someone to perform its last rites. The person who was to operate the scooter, sat behind me and Rocky, two of the fattest asses possible. I presume there must have been little space left for him to sit. Still his driving skills could be compared to that of Bangalore Auto-Wallahs. Swerving right and left, splashing water, skidding at places .. I am sure he worked as a Auto-Rickshaw driver at some time in his life.
We left this place and headed for our next destination at around 5 PM
7. Anjuna Beach
This is not so much of a beach. Its more like a rocky place next to the ocean. We didn’t go towards the beach but stayed up on the rocks to sit and eat. We had actually traveled so far to get to this beach, that it seemed stupid to just come and see and return.
Day 4
8. Kolva beach
The world is round, so they say.
We ended at the same place where we started from on day 1.
My train was at 4 PM from Madgaon, and the rest of the folks were to catch their bus from Panjim at 5 PM .. and the checkout time at our hotel was 10 AM (weird rule .. isn’t it )
We decided to waste our time at Kolva beach again. We had a short breakfast followed by an early lunch followed by some cups of coffee here. All this was followed by the traditional good-bye game of cards at the beach.

The stay in Goa lasted about 3 full days (including the half days at the beginning and at the end). It was a fun filled trip, mostly because of finally being able to get to Goa after years of planning.
We made a pact that we would return to Goa in the next couple of years, preferably during off season, if not as bachelors then at least with our better halves. Lets hope it works out.
Rest of the pics can be seen here
Am waiting for Rocky and Maddy’s accounts of the trip .. lets hope the lazy bums do it soon before the feeling fades away, though I am sure that this was one trip whose memories will take a long time to fade away.

All 4

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A Day well Spent

Some might call me lazy .. but I actually wrote half of this last Sunday and was too lazy to finish this πŸ˜›

They say that a day spent reading is a day spent well .. I didn’t actually do any reading last Saturday .. but I did witness the best possible display of visual prose and poetry.

For the uninitiated, I was at the Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Let me first tell you that I was seated in the corporate box which was only 5 rows from the boundary line (Yes, I know I did message half my friends in my phone book with the above information, that doesn’t mean I can’t show off anymore πŸ™‚ ) , and the first thing that surprised me was the clarity at the stadium. Every thing was so obvious that I felt perplexed about how could the door-darshan cameras miss the ball so many times in a day.
By the time I had stepped inside the stadium, Gambhir was already cooling his heals in the player’s balcony and Dravid had greeted my arrival with an exquisite cover drive. The stadium seemed pretty small, but I am told that this was the normal stadium size. I guess things do look larger on Television.
Lets take a moment and admire that Cover Drive for a moment. You hear on the commentary all the time that everything was right about the shot. How right, it actually was .. you can appreciate that only when you are seeing it in person. The stillness of the head, the free flow of the bat, the elbow pointing to the cover boundary, the lean forward to get the the pitch of the ball .. pure poetry. I know it all sounds clichΓ©d, but you really have to see it to appreciate it. You can take a picture of any of his shots and put that in a coaching manual. Even Jaffer put one away in the same fashion pretty soon after that, but still .. I preferred the Dravid version, more for the visual beauty than anything else.
Dravid departed soon after that, and to my utter dismay .. so did Laxman and Jaffer. In came Yuvraj Singh in the midst of the loudest cheers that you can imagine. You see on TV people jumping up and down all day … they really do. I do wonder though why do the sound sensors switch off on batsman’s arrival. Yuvraj might not be a local boy, but still he got the same reception that Dravid or Kumble or Uttappa would have received. Its no secret that he is adored by millions because his one day success has not still got him a permanent seat at the Test Level. He probably gets the same treatment at Tests that Laxman gets at One Dayers. While he does seem like a misfit at the test level with his excellent fielding and hard hitting batting, he showed on Saturday that he can adapt very well.
The hard hitting shots were still there, but were played with the discretion of a monk. You could almost see him concentrating on every ball he was facing. The play back to the bowlers was as sweetly timed as was the clean hit through the covers. The sound of ball hitting the meat portion of the bat was to be heard to be believed. Anyone who has played cricket with a leather ball would vouch for the fact that you need not be a powerful player to get the runs, you just need to time the ball and the rest is taken care automatically. Yuvraj showed his entire range of shots, except for the sweep slog for six to mid wicket (that is where I was seated). the best shot of the day was probably the cover drive from Yuvraj.
Ganguly on the other hand, was more restrained for a large portion of the day. He did hit his shots, but it was pretty obvious that he had decided that he would not try to hit a cover drive off the balls that were pitched up to him. All his shots were from the balls that were marginally or largely short pitched. If they pitched the ball on the stumps at the full length area, he didn’t try to hit. Yuvraj usually stepped out to hit back at the bowlers, Ganguly never did. It was rather obvious that he was waiting for a short wide ball when he was batting in 90s. Call it concentration, or call it cutting down your shots to make sure that you get to your 100, either way .. his knock was as entertaining was was Yuvraj’s.
The Bangalore crowd is very appreciative of good cricket, Shoaib Akhtar’s bouncers were also cheered (at least for the time he bowled). He does seem to be trying to get extra attention on himself at all times. When he was fielding near the boundary, People crowded near him to get close to him to get an autograph. The Idiot of the day award has to be given to Yaseer Arafat, who didn’t respond to crowd calls for autographs and turned back and sometime made mocking faces when India were down four wickets. All this went away once Yuvraj unleashed a spectrum of shots in the late afternoon.
There was honest clapping every time a ball was well fielded, but the loudest cheers (yes, louder than Yuvraj’s arrival) were reserved for Yuvraj’s century. Ganguly’s century seemed a little less violent , more of a poetic assault. His timing on the off side was there to be seen. You see him hitting the shots on the off side and most of the time, what comes to my mind is that he only uses the bowler’s pace. But on Saturday, the cover drives and pulls were all reminiscent of the golden Tendulkar Era, though only in patches (No one replaces Tendulkar πŸ™‚ )
All in all, it was a day spent with excellent entertainment in excellent company at the lovely Chinna Swamy stadium, the place where I saw for the first time, a LIVE cricket match, the way it is actually meant to be seen. No disturbance of ads, no one trying to sell me a bike, a tooth paste, a mutual fund scheme, sanitary napkins .. nothing. Cricketers were doing what they do best, play cricket and entertain.
Before I forget, Let me also tell you about the stupid food situation at the stadium.
The normal 10 Rupee chips packets are priced at 20 each, coke bottles also go for double the normal price. Since we were in the corporate box (See, how I bring back your attention to the fact that I was seated in the CORPORATE box for free πŸ˜› ), we were supposed to get free lunch. It wasn’t so free actually, if you don’t just consider money as a criterion. We had to stand in a loooooooong line, sort of like refugees. At the end of the queue, the people distributing food put random stuff in your plates, whether you want them or not. The curry was highly objectionable, the rice was smelly and the parothas were probably prepared at the same time when it was decided that Bangalore would host the test match.

Bottom line –
10 Rupee Lay’s Packet at the stadium – 20 Re.
45 Rupee Coke Bottle – 80 Re.
10 Rupee Coke – 25 Re.
Watching Dravid, Yuvi, Ganguly live in Action – PRICELESS

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