Thursday, April 30, 2009

Munnar Trip

I had been looking forward to this trip for months. I was stressed and so was KC.
RT, Appu and I had planned to go to Kerala after placements but it didn't work out ('coz I had dropped out). I have wanted to visit Munnar since then. The first time RT went there she called me and declared what a beautiful place it is.

It was decided then... KC put Lakshwadweep on the list but I campaigned for Munnar and took care of the details. The plan was to stay at Club Mahindra (which is the best resort in Munnar) for 3-4 days... next 2-3 days we could go to Thekkady, Backwaters and Cochin. But RT insisted that I travel less since it will be terribly hot and humid in Kerala.

We took an early morning (6 am) flight from Mumbai to Cochin and hired a cab from Cochin to Munnar. Munnar is 2.5-3.5 hrs away. The drive is amazing... greenery everywhere... I was reminded of Mt Abu and Manipal. I missed Manipal terribly and kept repeating over and over again; "Manipal is this beautiful" which irritated KC... don't know why. I forgot to ask.
Here is a pic of the first view of Munnar:

Everything is green as far as the eye can see. When we arrived there was fog/mist everywhere. Our room had a huge living room; bedroom; dining room cum kitchen with utensils, microwave etc; bathroom and a balcony with a view of the lake. Right in front of the window was a tree house where you can have your meals (at a higher charge, of course).

Day 1: The stress of the last months got to us and we slept all day after lunch. The food in the resort is freaking expensive and there is tax on bloody everything. We woke up to rains splashing on our window and the evening was spent playing Scrabble... I am bad at Carrom, Chess bores me to death (My sis used to make me play Chess for hrs as a kid... she didn't have anyone else to play with... I would lose asap to end the game), badminton was not available, kids were playing snooker and air hockey.

Day 2: We went early morning sight seeing to Munnar. The resort is 20 kms away from Munnar. We headed to Periakanal falls, Mattupetty Dam for a ride on speed boat, elephant ride (didn't do that), flower garden (totally avoidable), echo point (avoidable). We didn't get the opportunity to go to top station. It is the highest peak in Munnar.
Tea plantations
Matupetty Dam

The evening was spent playing Scrabble, Pathwords and watching IPL. It was raining again and the weather was so good.

Day 3: We headed to Gudampara estate which is a private estate. From the top of the hill we could see Kerala and TN border. There were lot of opportunities for clicking pics. There is a lake where we went fishing. Obviously, we didn't catch anything. The last stop was at the hanging bridge. As soon as we reached it it started raining. The evening was spent playing Scrabble, Pathwords and watching IPL. This is the first time in my life that I am watching cricket. Cricket is so boring. It should be banned.

Kerala TN border

Path in the estate

Lake where we fished

Day 4: We skipped Night Safari... there is no point going to a jungle from 11 pm-6 am. If we don't come across animals also we would get irritated. We skipped the tea plantation tour... everywhere we looked there were tea plantations anyway. We headed to Thekkady for a visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Thekkady is 2-2.5 hrs from Munnar. There is a boat which takes tourists into the sanctuary. The view is breath-taking. There is a cool breeze blowing and you can easily fall alseep. But our eyes were wide open on the look out for animals. We spotted elephants, wild buffalo and deer. There is a resort in the middle of the jungle and trekking is regularly organized. We decided to come here again just for trekking. Thekkady mein ek aur trip banta hai.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

It rained again but now it was warmer... the fog/mist had lifted. We spent the evening playing Scrabbles, Pathwords and watching IPL.

Day 5: A week earlier I had a discussion with KC and his friend, Rohan.
KC: She likes to plan her trips to the dot... there is a time table as to when to wake up, have b'fast, sight seeing... it is so tiring. Trips are meant to relax and sleep.
Me: Why the hell go all the way to a remote location just to sleep? Why not just take leave and sleep in your house?
Rohan: Obviously, you have to sleep on trips...
Me: Why???
KC: You won't understand... you have stayed in good places like Mt Abu and Manipal... I have only been in Mumbai where you can hear traffic even at 3/4 am. The undisturbed sleep that you can get in remote locations on trips is blissful.
He is right. We decided not to do anything that day. We clicked pics, took a walk and generally chilled.

Day 6: Last and final day in Munnar... I wanted to shop a little in Cochin. We left at 4 pm thinking we would arrive comfortably at 6 pm... shop at M G road and reach airport at 8.30 pm. We had miscalculated. It took us 3.5 hrs to get to Cochin. M G road was an hour farther. We shopped at the airport. Thank god, there are shops at airports.

All in all a wonderful trip... relaxing and fun. If I had to do it again, I would visit back waters first... then head to Thekkady... go trekking there and then head to Munnar to chillax... 'coz once you are in Munnar you won't have the heart to leave.

We reached Mumbai with a leaden heart.

  • Munnar is covered with tea plantations owned by Tata, RPG, etc. You can stay in a cheaper resort/hotel and still enjoy the view
  • There were mostly families staying at Club Mahindra which shows that their business model is very successful. And these families were middle class. It shows that the people find the membership economical and affordable. We were tempted to take up the membership but have decided to wait a few months.
  • A bike ride around Munnar would be divine

Idiot Box

I came across 'NDTV Good Times' while switching channels. There was a program 'Highway on my plate' playing. 2 old, fat men with long hair had traveled to Ludhiana. After the initial introduction; "This is the city with max no of Mercs.... ", they proceeded to some pakora shop called 'Punnu ke pakore'. They ate pakoras and talked about pakoras for the next 5 mins. The owner of the shop was introduced and asked stupid questions in Hindi. The questions and answers were translated to English for the benefit of viewers. After all, it is an English program. A bit of Hindi just will not do. They then attacked some Kulfi shop and started eating again.

What a bore of a show!!! And where do they find such ugly, stupid, dumb hosts? Indian TV is going to the dogs... oops... sorry... didn't mean to insult the dogs.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Indians are bad with queues


This Monday at 4.30 am I was at Mumbai airport. The flight was at 6.00 am but I was expected to arrive before 4.45 am by the flight. I hate waking up so early. Anyway, bleary eyed I waited in the queue for a print out of my ticket with other passengers. There were long queues everywhere... print out, entry, baggage screening, check in, security, boarding etc. One smart, old gentleman cut the queue and moved to the front and asked the lady to give his print out. Everyone protested and he had to join the queue.

At the security check the crew announced the boarding. I got worried... I didn't want to miss my flight. I looked for a Go air employee, told him my dilemma and asked him if I was late. Do I need to move to the front of the queue? He assured me that I will reach on time. Another lady traveling on Jet gingerly moved to the beginning of the queue... I stopped her. "Excuse me, there is a queue".. "Yes"; she said "but my boarding has been announced".
"Same for us... we are still in the queue". She moved away.

I haven't come across such behavior abroad. There, people consider cutting queues rude and ill mannered. But in India discipline does not matter.

We had gone to Australia last year for a trip by the company. All employees above a certain level had come. At Movie world in Gold Coast, we were in a queue for a particular ride. There were 2 men who work at very high designations in the factory. They cut across ahead of me and went on the ride before us. I was disgusted... they were in their 40s... earned much more than me... but had no manners and acted like kids. I made it a point to approach them later and ask them not to behave like this ever again. It is disgusting. I didn't care what designation they hold. Kuch toh decency rakho.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Butter Chicken in Ludhiana

This is a travel book... atleast it declares itself to be one. I picked it up at some airport (don't remember which one... Cochin, Mumbai, A'bad)... The preface tells you that this book is an attempt to trace the upcoming middle class and their mentality in the teir 2 and teir 3 cities of India.
I was lost in the beginning itself... it was more of a travelogue than anything else. The incidents in the book don't shock or surprise. There is no learning. Maybe the way it is written does not bring out the thoughts behind the incidents.
The author was 25 yrs old when he published this book. It is quite obvious. I hope now he has written better and more mature books.

Avoidable. Borrow it from me if you want to read it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monster Vs Aliens

I have been gone too long but more on that later. This bloody strike has screwed up my movie watching experience. I have not watched a movie for a month.
Bugged and bored, KC and I headed for this movie...
It is a fab movie... very funny.... the 3D experience adds to the fun.
Very watchable.

PS: Love the recent Airtel and Vodafone ads... airtel with Vidya Balan and Maddy... Vodafone about the VAS

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reality Shows

I was watching 'America's next top model' today. I think Reality shows are the best thing to happen to TV after Ekta Kapoor. No.. no... I do not watch Kkkkk serials but know a lot of women and young nubile girls who get their home science education through them (a very scary thought for the men).

The other MTV Wassup (amazing advertising by Pepsico) surveyed youngsters and asked them whether politics, bitching, cat/dog fights, abuses on reality shows are representative of today's generation. Everyone's answer was positive.
The pressure that youngsters have to go through... top grades, well dressed, popular among opposite sex, talented... whew!!! The list is endless. Gone are the days when men only had to get good jobs and women husbands with good jobs. Life is much more tough now... we want it all (I am including myself in youngsters)... good jobs (well paying, good profile, good location), good hubbies (with good jobs, good companions who are madly in love with us), good lifestyle (nice house with maid, coffee at 5 star hotels, luxurious vacations, stints abroad). The competition is killing. Succeeding solely on merit is impossible now... PR is more important.

Coming back to reality shows... they are super duper time pass and have it all.... good looking men and women, loads of abuses, dumb tasks, bitchiness, skimpy clothes. Fultoo entertainment.

Roadies is quite good. I hate Palak... there is a community if facebook dedicated to her called 'I hate Palak'. Palaumi is cute with her obsession for make up. I was sad when Sufi left.
Splitsvilla is fun... I didn't watch the 1st season and don't miss even one episode now. It helps that the repeat is telecast everyday. I like Joanna... and I am waiting for the next episode when Mohit cheats on her with Sakshi. More entertainment.
America's top model is good too. Who said modelling is only about looking good? It is about the right attitude, confidence, good body, glowing skin, correct posture and lots more.
Big Boss was sad without Rakhi Sawant... The love triangle of Payal, Monica and Rahul was not spicy enuogh.
I tried watching the shows on Real but they were quite dull. Raghu is diluting his image by hosting them.

Any other good reality shows?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Train train ki kahani

On Monday I was rushing to catch my train from Mumbai to Rajkot. For 15 mins I could not find an auto from Goregoan to take me to Borivali. It was peak traffic time and I was afraid if I didn't find an auto/taxi soon I would miss my train. Finally, I spotted some taxiwalas chatting... I requested one of them to drop me to the station. He obliged but demanded double charge. I gave in... there was no option. While speeding through the traffic (if THAT is possible), I dialed the hotel's no to book a room for the next day. They didn't have any vacant rooms since it is wedding season (hate wedding seasons). I asked them to contact other hotels and get me a room. In the meantime, I dialed the no of the best hotel in Rajkot which is always booked and I had not managed to get a room ever. I was in luck... they had rooms vacant. I looked at the watch and prayed the train was late for once. The taxi dropped me at the station 10 mins late. I had given up all hope and didn't care where he dropped me... the train would have left. Balancing my luggage I reached the station... miracle!!!... the train was there. I jumped into the nearest compartment as the train pulled out.

It was a strange experience... I felt like 2 opposing forces were playing. One force tried to put obstacles in my way and another one was sorting out everything. It was a strange feeling.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

If God was a banker... we would all be broke

This is book is by some Ravi Subramanian who is a hot shot in the corporate world.
It is about 2 men- Sundeep and Swami who join a bank as MTs... they go through ups and downs in their career and lives... Sundeep is scheming, immoral guy who shoots to the top using wrong means while Swami is a sensible, conservative guy who reaches the top using the correct methods.
The book does give an insight into corporate life... the pressures, pretty women, sexual harrassment, promotions etc... it covers the dull and the scandalous.
But... it reads like a child has written it... I don't know how to describe it... it reads like a short story instead of a novel... there is too much happening too soon.
Totally avoid. Reading books by such authors I am so tempted to write one myself. Hmmm... I think I should.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shopping... with men or women???

Some differences between shopping with men and women:

  • Women treat shopping as a relaxation technique... men treat it as a chore.
  • A woman will be excited as soon as she enters a shop... a man will turn glumer and glumer as he nears the shops
  • Women will pick up every outfit that looks appealing, try them all on and then decide which one to buy. Sometimes the best looking outfit may not look as good... a lady may either heave a sigh of relief at the thought of money saved by not buying it... or feel disappointed and blame her body. A man picks up an outfit only if he really likes it and is sure about buying it... he will try it on and buy it. So simple and straight forward.
  • A woman will look at ten other things- shoes, bags, cosmetics etc even if she has no intention of buying it... a man will only visit that section which stock his preferences.
  • A woman needs to know the partner's opinion on her trials--- does it look ok? does her butt look too big? does she look fat? can she wear it on so-and-so occasion? All a man needs to know is should he buy it or not?
What do you prefer.. shopping with men or women???

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Data Overload

Yesterday I went to the gym a little late... women don't generally come at that hour. It was me, 2 other men and 1 instructor. I hate working out with only men around for below reasons:
  • They always put on the sports channel even if they are not watching it. What is it with men and sports? Anything in moderation is fine... but this is too much. It is as if some of them have to prove they are "men" and sports is the way to do it
  • They play bad music... the reason for this one I cannot fathom. It is ok to like soft, nice music... you don't have to listen to hard rock and weird stuff to prove you are macho
  • They stink... it is all the hair on their body. I don't get it... women go out of their way to look hairless but men like to flaunt their hair. Any suggestion of shaving it off is met with a blasphemous look. C'mon... even Bollywood men have started flaunting shaved chests.
I was reading a post here and started thinking...

You know it is time to dump the guy when:
  • He stops responding to you... phone calls go un-returned... dates are canceled... every effort to be with you seems like an effort on his part.... face it, he has lost interest... he is there for the sex only (maybe)
  • He spends more time grooming himself than you do... The guy should not be more good-looking than you.. never break this cardinal rule
  • He talks too much about work... finance guys tend to bore all the time with details about crap nobody cares about
  • He talks sports despite knowing your total indifference towards it.... shows he is self centered
  • He criticizes you all the time... run, if your relationship has reached this stage
  • He thinks you are damaged goods... kick him where it hurts before stalking off
  • He does not have any friends... something is terribly wrong with me
  • He is not talking/hinting commitment after a year of dating... he never will
  • He is too ambitious... you may get lost at the bottom of the list of things he wants to own
  • He is Mama's boy and has never moved his ass off the couch to do any housework... thats just not acceptable anymore
  • He still sleeps with his teddy bear... this is cute if you are a girl
  • He borrows money all the time... even to buy his cigarettes
Ciao... got to sleep.


I caught this flick on VCD last night. It is an adaptation of 'Macbeth'... a wonderful story... adapted wonderfully. The characters are well etched... and the actors- Tabu, Irrfan, Pankaj, Om Puri, Nassiruddin are all fabulous. Tabu as Lady Macbeth who eggs Irffan to kill Pankaj Kapur is class apart.
Shakespeare is a wonderful story teller and not all the movie adaptations of his books do him justice.
Worth a watch... not once... but many fold.