Sunday, June 26, 2005

Trip back home

I started my journey back to home on 25th June, Saturday. I reached the airport at approximately 2 pm and the Jet Airways flight I had to catch was from 3:45 pm. But reaching there I found that the flight has got even more delayed and will now be leaving at 4:45. I nad no choice but to wait for the flight. The flight eventually took off at 5 pm and I was apprehensive that I might miss the connecting flight from Mumbai. The whole journey was tensed and every minute that went past made me feel more uneasy. Only one thing was in favour of me that I had booked my tickets and luggage as connecting to the next flight and had even got my next flight's boarding pass. When the flight eventually arrived in Mumbai, it was already 5 minutes past the time of departure of the previous flight. My hart sank. But there was a surprise waiting. An on-flight announcement said that all the passengers who are on board and going to Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Indore should report to the ground staff on getting down.

YES! I knew I will be saved. On getting down, I found that a Jet official is anxiously looking for passengers asking "Ahmedabad? Bhopal?". I told him "Bhopal" and he made me stand aside while the others unboarded the flight. As soon as everyone was out, he started searching for a vehicle to get us on board. He got a bus emptied and the five of us were taken to the next flight. As I had not been security checked, my Boarding pass did not had a security stamp. An official just made a vague seal with pen that said "Security Check". I boarded the next flight after being just 5 minutes on ground.

The next journey went quite eventlessly except for the fact that the food was worse than I had ever eaten on Jet. It looked as though they have changed the caterer to Indian Airlines one. The gentleman sitting next to me had already got his son sitting in the window seat that acually belonged to me. I gladly accepted the aisle seat as I felt that the kid appreciated the window seat more than I would. I reached Bhopal at dot 8 pm, just 3 hours after taking off from Bangalore.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Photos In JFWTC

With buddy Puneet and Vivek
The Cafeteria
Again Myself

The Whole Group
With Vivek And Sauvik
A Beautiful Flower (courtesy Aditee)
The Garden Besides Phase III

Elfun Tour

On the 18th of June (Saturday), GE organized an Elfun Tour (Elfun: Electrical Funds; a voluntary organization of GE employees) for the summer interns. I went with Vivek and Sauvik. Vikas and Prashant didn't come, as they were busy with preparing slides for their presentations. Navjot, as usual, was missing in action.

I reached early and played pool till the journey commenced. One batch (ours) went to a primary school, while the other went to a blind home. We took a GE bus and reached the spot, which incidently was on the shortcut, we take while walking to GE by foot.

The school was a very small one with classes up to 7th standard. We split into groups and distributed sweets and bananas to the children. Then we visited a site where the Elfun volunteers had previously planted trees. Too bad the cows ate them all up as they were not protected with fences.

After this we returned to JFWTC to spend the rest of the day by our own wish.

Monday, June 13, 2005

All's Well That Ends Well

The weekend of 11th and 12th June was again very exciting. On 11th we planned to go to the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with Animesh, Dipayan and others. But from our group, we could only convince Sauvik and Navjot to come. The rest decided to go to GE. So we all decided that we would go and attend the 4pm show. As we still had lot of time before the show starts, we all went to GE. On our way, we met an IITD guy doing internship at GE itself. On asking why he was coming on Saturday, he told that he came to watch movies. On enquiring further, he told that he saw streaming videos form He also gave a proxy from which we could also check our GMail accounts. Before going to movie, I spent the time playing billiards.

We left at about 3 to Innovative Multiplex. Reaching there, we found that the rest of the people haven't arrived. On trying to contact Animesh, we found that he had switched off his mobile. There wasn't enough time to contact Dipayan. So we three decided to go in when just 5 minutes were remaining for the movie. The hall was overall good with 4 screens, but the screens were smaller than usual. The movie was a good action-comedy and was worth the Silver Class Ticket we bought for Rs. 100/-. Neither of the two other people turned up for the movie.

The movie got over at about 6pm, and then we decided to go back to GE. There we found that Vivek and Co. had already left. While Sauvik sweated out his Documentation Work, I took pains! to transfer all the good jokes from my GMail account to my Humour Blog. We started our journey back at around 9:30pm, but took a lot of time to get back as the buses were infrequent.

Reaching back home, we found none of the others in. Upon calling we came to know that they (Vivek and Vikas) went to Forum for window-shopping, while Thakur and Navjot went to meet their seniors at IIM and won't be back for the day.

The next day, myself, Vikas and Vivek decided to go to Bannerghatta National Park with Navjot and Prashant to join us on reaching there. Since it was a long journey and we had other plans after that, we decided to take Bus Passes. One such pass costs Rs.25/- and is valid throughout the day in all State Transport Buses. We decided to take a bus to Majestic and change for Bannerghatta. But on the Majestic Bus Stand we found that the bus is infrequent and none had come for the past one hour. Fortunately a bus came and people jumped in to fill it in seconds. Only I managed to get a seat while the Vikas and Vixy had to stand. They go a seat after approximately one hour. We reached Bannerghatta to find that it is a lot crowded place. We first decided to have lunch at a restaurant called "Mayuri Vanashree Restaurant". The service there was very poor and the order took a lot of time to be delivered. We also came to know that Navjot and Prashant would not be joining us as that place is very far away from where they were. We wasted 1 hour there and only after 3pm were we able to actually venture into the Park. There was a Lion and Tiger Safari for Rs. 80/- and one with Bear, Zoo and others inclusive for Rs. 110/-. We decided to go for the later, i.e. Grand Safari. But on reaching the ticket counter, we found that the ticket sale is already closed, as there is a lot of crowd there. Two people, who spoke only Kannada, approached us and apparently were trying to black market the tickets to the usual safari trip (the Rs. 80/- one). We thought that it is better to take the tickets if offered at some reasonable rates. We asked for the tickets, and they showed them. I saw that they had three tickets; each of them was for two people. I was caught in a dilemma whether it is justified to pay 100% more for the tickets. With a lot of apprehension, I asked them the price. They said: "300 total". I was ready to jump for the offer, when Vivek said, "But each ticket is Rs. 80/- one, so it should be Rs. 240/-". I said to myself, "Come on Vivek, they are blacking the tickets. What do you expect?” But to my surprise, they agreed. Now I was wondering whether they were Black Marketers at all!

We paid them the money and started to get in. But the security guard at the gate stopped us. He started arguing that these tickets are not valid, as the sale had already stopped. Now I knew what soup we are in and how we were duped. But again I was wrong. To my surprise, the people from whom we got the tickets came forward (instead of running away) and argued with the security guard, saying what looked like meant that they have exchanged (!) tickets. The security guard was not convinced and he fetched a lady officer. She was also not impressed by the tickets and I got ready to nab them if they try to flee. Eventually she turned us out and we got back our money from them. Not being able to go to Safari was a big setback for us after traveling 3 hours and a big let down. We got the usual Zoo tickets and got inside the zoo. We talked to the same lady officer and she told that the sale of tickets had been stopped, as there seems to be already enough people to last for the day. She convinced us that if we came back at around 4pm, she would herself search for the possibility of any more tickets being issued if the crowds subsided. We went about the zoo, though in a very bad mood, but still with a little hope. The zoo wasn't very well maintained and the animals seemed very distressed with their situation.

We reached the gates at around 4pm to look for her and found her standing outside the zoo. As the entry to the Safari was from inside the zoo, it looked a foolish idea to go out and talk to her. Soon she went out of sight in the crowd and we found her out standing at a lot more distance far from which it was not possible to call her. After spending 10 minutes thinking what to do, we decided to go out and meet her. She listened to us and again went to the last bus to enquire whether any seats are empty. Then she talked to many other people and finally got us three tickets for the Safari ride. We were delighted beyond our expression powers.

Inside the bus, we managed to find just three places and took our seats. The Safari went well with our viewing Deer, Bison, Bears, Lions, Tigers and White tigers, all roaming about our vehicle. In the apparently last stop, the White Tiger Safari, we stopped by a pond to see the tigers play in water, just near the bus. Then, as we decided to move out, we found that the bus won't start owing to problems in the Self. The guide informed us that it might take another one hour, as an empty bus has to be summoned to let us out. In the meanwhile, they tried many ways to start the bus. First they asked another bus to push it. But the Grills (meant for protection of the vehicle from attack of wild animals) were a deterrent. The grills collided first and it meant that they would yield first, followed by glasses before the bus actually gets going. Then a few people decided to get down and push the bus, but the risk involved was very much and this was also abandoned. After about half an hour after the beginning of the ordeal, an empty bus arrived on the spot. I knew it was safe to go out in the open (in full view of the wild beasts) as a few forest guards were coming to us, smiling and probably unarmed. We changed buses and left for the starting ground on full speed.

We got into a bus going to Kormangala. We changed over to another bus to Majestic in Adugodi and decided to go to Cubbon Park. On reaching there we found that the park is already closed for the day, as it was very late (nearly 7:30). We took a few photographs of the lightings in Vidhan Saudha. Then we proceeded towards the High Court opposite to it. In a nearby lane, we found that it was a small eat-out place. It was very quite and not very crowded making it ideal for enjoyment. We first took Sugarcane Juice and found it very good and took another serving. Then we had corncobs. We found a park nearby and walked in it blissfully for an hour.

Then we got in a bus to Shivaji Nagar. This bus stop was a lot better than Majestic as there was order and a lot of information displayed, in addition to an enquiry counter. We took a bus to Marathalli and there we changed another to Whitefield. We had our dinner at Bengali Mess (Mayuri was closed by then), and the food was very poor quality. Then we came back and slept, as we had to go to office the next day.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Weekend Worth Mentioning

The weekend of 4th and 5th of June was another one worth mentioning. We had a late start to the day with all of us waking at times that suited us best. Nobody was sure what to do that day, as there was a rift between whether we will stay in Bangalore and explore, or go out. Finally, I decided that I better go to meet Apoorva, whom I had promised to meet, but dared not call, as I couldn't find a way to meet her. So I called her and it was decided that we would meet in M.G. Road. The others decided to go to GE instead.

I left at around 4:30pm after considerable delay, as I waited at wrong place for the bus. I remember missing two buses due to this. After approximately half and hour, I realized my mistake and took the right bus (320F) to M.G. Road. It dropped me on the nearby road from where I crossed over to M.G. Road and waited for Apoorva. I had to wait for nearly 30 minutes before she came.

We first had coffee at Cafe Coffee Day and later pizza at Pizza Corner. Although the prices were insanely high at both places, the Coffees (at Rs. 30/-) were more value for money as they gave a very rich feeling. The pizza we had was a normal Non-vegetarian one but it cost us Rs.185/- for a regular sized one. The service was also very poor. We had to wait a lot for first giving the orders, then getting our order and later even to pay the bill. I began my return journey by 8:30pm.

On reaching back I found the rest of the guys have still not come. They came back very late by around 11 to 11:30pm. I found out that they dropped in the Mirchi Restaurant for their dinner and ate aplenty. Some of them also drank Vodka, as it was very cheap there.

The next day, Sauvik found that he has an upset stomach owing to his obscenely unhealthy diet. So he was grounded for the day. This crashed all the plans of visit to places like movie, Forum, etc. As Dipayan also had visitors, the trip to his place was also ruled out for this weekend. So at the end of lunch, everything was astray. I decided that today also I would have to manage by myself. I called Amogh and asked whether I can come to his place today. He was affirmative. So I quickly got dressed and left for Kormangala. I changed bus at Marathalli and reached Silk Board, which is near Kormangala. Amogh came on his two-wheeler and picked me up.

On reaching his home, I was greeted by his parents and his younger brother, Ashwin. They were very hospitable. Even though I said "No" for almost everything, the managed to feed me mangoes, salted nuts and Dosas before I went shopping with them across the city.

There also, they fed me ice creams, and after shopping for a while, we had our dinner at a place called "Halli Mane", which literally means "Village Restaurant". Although the place was full and packed to capacity, they decided to eat at that place only, and the reason was evident soon. The place had excellect food. For Rs. 25/-, we took a thali that had Cream of Tomato Soup, Chhole, Pulao, 2 Tandoori Rotis, Papad Chips, Salads, Curd Rice and a sweet. The quality was exceptionally good for such a mass scale production. After the food they dropped me at M.G. Road and I left it at the same time I did the day before. Reaching back, I found that they had no story to share as they all spent the time sleeping.