Category Archives: Adventure

Crazy Sofa at Bang Saen

During my last trip to Bangkok, I had a yearning to go visit a beach. Me and my Indian friend decided to head to Bang Saen, which is a beach in Chonburi province, a little more than an hour’s drive from Bangkok. He also brought along his Indian roommate. His name, translated to English literally means Snake 🐍, so that’s how we’ll refer to him for the rest of the story. 

Bang Saen Beach

The Snake is your typical Indian tourist who doesn’t want to part with any of his money & is always on his guard thinking that everyone is out to cheat him. He cribbed about paying 10 Baht to use the changing rooms (why can’t we just change behind that tree?), paying 50 Baht to use the beach chairs (we should have brought our own chairs). He cribbed about paying for food (so overpriced). When we decided to ride the crazy sofa, he immediately began to haggle with the operator. Note that, he paid for none of the above things; he is just a habitual haggler.

Unlike a Banana boat, which is streamlined and cuts through the water gracefully, a crazy sofa is inherently unstable and would bounce and flop around even in the most stable waters. So when the snake haggled with the operator and the operator agreed to reduce his rate, but with a nefarious smile slowly spreading across his face, I knew something was wrong.

So started our crazy sofa ride, with me and my friend on each edge and the snake in the middle. It soon became clear that the operator’s main agenda was to punish us for haggling like every other Indian that had crossed his path in the past. The ride was simultaneously the most thrilling and the scariest experience of my life. The operator was going much faster than usual, the sofa was bouncing like crazy and we were holding on to the plastic handles for dear life and screaming for the guy to stop (he conveniently forgot how to understand even the most basic English words).

A Crazy Sofa ride, not our Crazy Sofa Ride

Now would be a good time to mention that the snake easily weighed >100kg and was bobbing around both sides and hitting me and my friend (who were already bouncing hard) and only sheer terror made us hold on and prevented us from being thrown off the sofa. Multiple times, the sofa was airborne for more than 5 seconds at a time and more than a couple times, it almost overturned.

When the operator finally stopped the Jet ski and let us off, we literally toppled into the water from sheer exhaustion and took a long time to wade back to the beach.

Next day, woke up with soreness in unusual parts of the body, like the joints of fingers etc. This was one adventure, though, that I am unlikely to forget soon.

My Nostalgic trip to nagpur

Last weekend, I had a chance to travel to Nagpur. This time, it was not for some work I had pending, but just to visit the place where I did my engineering from and relive those good days.

I will not go on about each and every thing about the trip, instead I will just list the places I visited and say what has changed about them

Priyadarshini College of Engineering

  1. There are now many different colleges in the same campus, mainly an MBA college, a polytechnic college, among others
  2. Some teachers have left, though I saw most of them on Saturday morning. They seem to have prospered and most come on cars instead of lunas/Puchs.
  3. Students are now from a slightly better class of society, some of them own cars.
  4. The number of buildings has gone up, though it doesn’t feel that cramped
  5. The row of tin-shedded buildings housing the small auditorium opposite the Administrative block has been demolished
  6. The nescafe shop next to the library has been demolished
  7. The row of road-side tea-stalls opposite the college gate has been replaced by a Cafe Coffee Day
  8. The IT block has lost its new feeling (when it was constructed) and looks shabbier now

Dharampeth

  1. Most of the shops are same, no major changes. Bula’s still stands
  2. There’s a new Haldiram building coming up
  3. Pyramid has been replaced by Brand Factory, though the inside of the store looks the same as before
  4. The custard/shake stall at the first left turn was not there both the days I went there
  5. Raskun(j) has closed down
  6. Yummy yum has been closed down/replaced by a newer restaurant
  7. Some good brands have opened up shop
  8. Corn Hub now has 2 outlets (In DP)
  9. The In & Out shop at Shanky PP now sells branded apparel.
Sadar/VCA/Poonam Chambers
  1. The VCA stadium now has a Subway outlet
  2. The CCD is mostly the same
  3. Both Liberty/Smruti theaters are the same (at least from outside)
  4. Tauby’s is still doing good business
  5. Restaurant Nanking is still there
  6. Poonam Chambers was mostly deserted, even on Saturday evening
  7. The video game parlour in the basement of Poonam chambers is much smaller and completely deserted; the games suck and have no place in 2012
  8. The PC cafe coffee day is still there, though there’re much less people

Sitaburdi

  1. Burdi is as (if not more) crowded than before
  2. There’s a new mall in Burdi, but does not compare to metropolitan city malls; mostly consists of Big Bazaar and the crowd is terrible
  3. Landmark (with Westside and Big bazaar) still exists.
  4. The jewellery store which opened up in place of Barista was closed
  5. Pape Juice corner was closed both the days I went there.
  6. There was a new Haldiram joint opening up
  7. Paragon Traders still exists
  8. 10 Downing street still exists; though the Pasta I ordered was very-very spicy; leading me to suspect that it was Saoji pasta.

Overall/Misc

  1. Telangkhedi lake seems deserted
  2. The row of chinese/street food stalls opposite the lake have been replaced by swanky (by Nagpur standards) cafes
  3. The lake is definitely dirtier, with filth floating around
  4. The house where I used to stay has gone from a single floor shabby structure to a 3 floor swanky (again, by Nagpur standards) house
  5. The Hot chips next to PP’s garage pub has been closed
  6. PP’s garage pub still exists
  7. Maitrayi CCD still exists, is doing good business
  8. There are a lot more Hot Chips counters around the city
  9. The city is still more 2-wheeler friendly than 4-wheelers
  10. Fuel rates have gone up significantly, auto-wallahs charge too much
  11. The Airport, which underwent a spurt of development/expansion after I left is now stagnant, not much more has been done. There were birds flying around inside the airport
  12. The restaurants/pubs are still much cheaper than the ones in metropolitan cities
  13. Some women still wear a weird robe over their clothes to protect themselves from the Sun.
  14. The Sardarji opposite T-Point hostel is still serving meals to students. Gary (his son) seems to have grown a regular beard and wears a turban now.
  15. The movie theaters still show English movies dubbed into Hindi. The wrath of the titans was Mahayudhh – 2

Finally, the heat was unbearable, even in March. The temperature crosses 40 degrees by noon and stays that way till 6PM. The sun is very very hot and I got blisters on my hand riding a bike around in the heat; as well as a headache which lasted till the next day.
While leaving, I asked myself this question “Would I be able to live in Nagpur if I got a job offer here?”; after all, I would be able to afford a much higher standard of living even with the same Salary.
Well the answer is “NO”. Nagpur as a city is nothing spectacular. What made it worth living was the presence of wonderful friends an the student lifestyle we used to lead.
Without them, it is not as much fun.
Full photo set:

Holi log

Thursday, 08 March
14:30: Buy copious amounts of Bhang
14:45: Consume copious amounts of Bhang
15:30: Start feeling sleepy
15:30 – 19:30): Resist sleep
19:31: Consume copious amounts of KFC and a virgin Mojito
20:00: Start losing short term memory. Everything is in episodes
20:15 onwards:
Start feeling giddy and start losing sense of Balance. House feels dark and depressing, even though there are many lights on. Unable to control my smile. Feel hungry again. It feels like there are ice cubes in my stomach. I must have something to eat and then go to sleep. I just had a phone conversation but cannot remember with whom. The computer monitor seems a long way away from me; a few hundred metres at least. But how am I then typing on it?
20:21: Filled my bag of Sun-dried tomatoes with Olive Oil
20:40: Am having sad thoughts. Maybe some ancient bad dreams. Of a place that is remote, full of water. Maybe rain water and a sharp metallic smell. Start listening to “Shine on you crazy diamond” to lighten the mood. The opening notes seem to be going on for quite some time. A long time. Stuck maybe?
20:45: Sudden craving to watch Michael Palin’s New Europe; although I cannot find the DVD.
20:47: Have that school-time Sunday evening depression; even though I am not in school and its not SUnday evening
21:31: Had a lot of dinner. Maybe worth 2 people. Kept having sad thoughts. Wondering of some time when I sat in front of TV all night long till it was morning.
21:34 Some hallucinations
21:40: Started watching Michael Palin’s new Europe. Stopped watching in 10 minutes and deleted
21:52: Started listening to Shine on you Crazy Diamond again. Music seems oddly low on Tempo.
22:01: Go to sleep
Friday, 09 March
12:00 Noon: Woke up after being asleep for 14 hours
Overall, this was nothing compared to this

Out of town..

Today, we had an out of town trip after a long long time. It was a refreshing experience after the monotony of Malls and 8 lane expressways. I have to admit though that the trip would have been better on bikes.

The place is called Damdama lake, near Sohna, Haryana. It’s around 40km from Gurgaon and the road is a 2 lane normal Indian road. The last mile is a single lane and mostly mud.

Road Trip

This weekend, I did what I wanted to do since many years. I wen to Chandigarh by bike, alone. Had slept very late friday night (in fact Saturday morning), still woke up at 8 to beat the early morning traffic. Wasn’t feeling very well(was suffering from cold and allergy) so went to the neighbourhood doctor who jabbed a syringe full of some medicine in me and I was up and running in half an hour. Left at around 9 in the morning and was out of Delhi in under an hour. Let the throttle open and did a constant 80-90 kmph till Karnal for 2 hours where I stopped for some coffee and Kathi Roll and to stretch my legs and wash my face. Reached Chandigarh around 2 in the afternoon and hung out with friends and boozed after many years. Slept like a log till next morning and after roaming around a bit more, left around 4 in the afternoon and once again, stopping only once at karnal for 15 minutes. The bike performed admirably even when I didn’t rest it for hours and didn’t drop my speed below 80. Reached gurgaon at around 9 at night. Waking up in the morning today, it all seems a dream but my aching back and neck are proof all that happened.

Saturday..

Had a very eventful Saturday. Woke up late as usual around 2 PM. Picked up goru and went to meet ARC to CP in the evening. Went to a pub called blues in the outer circle. A guy was singing love duets with some girl strumming a guitar and playing the rest of the instruments through fruity loops or saw on his laptop. No one was least interested in him until he played some GnR song and Goru sang with him in his usual Axel Rose-ish way. The crowd started cheering and girls whistling. After 3 beers each, when people started calling Goru a rock-star, we felt the insult and left, delhi being a place where people also call himesh a rock star..

We tried buying tickets for Quantum of Solace, but couldn’t find any tickets and drunk as we were, we decided to watch Deshdrohi. After grabbing a bite at Mac Donalds, we went into the hall. There was a psycho foreign woman there who was pushing us for no reason at all, away from her seat. Goru called her a racist and offered her coke on which she gave a shocked expression and went away.

The movie started with a scene of KRK getting beaten up by goons and Gracy Singh coming to his rescue. Scene after scene, we get to see the 5 feet tall KRK (wearing high heels of 6 inches and still looking shorter than Gracy) getting discriminated against and getting beaten up by various marathi manoos. All the dialogues, he delivers with passion and tears brimming in his eyes. When he can take it no more, he transforms into a balls squashing screaming superhero and starts killing people. We couldn’t take it any more after the interval and left. After wandering around for sometime, we decided to go inside again and watch the rest of the movie. The usher said that’s not possible and drove us out of the theater. That was the limit of insult.. Us not being allowed to watch Deshdrohi.. How desperate can one be? We burst out laughing at this and left.

On our way to a Cafe Coffee Day outlet, we saw a Sports Bar with a sign outside it announcing that Bobby Cash was playing there. We went inside and ordered more beer and felt pity at watching the guy who was once in Australian Top 10 charts playing at a Connaught Place bar. The guy played amazing. He was playing the 6th string as a bass roll with his thumb, playing lead with his little finger and strumming chords with the rest all at once. It was amazing!! It was like 3 people playing three different guitars. After sometime when we ran out of cash for more beer, we left and sat at ccd where we devoured chocolate fantasy and cafe mocha.

On the way back, with my knuckles and fingers freezing with cold, as I was about to overtake a parked car from the left, he suddenly started moving left without any indicator and I slammed into him at a speed of 80kmph. Thankfully we weren’t thrown off and we didnt fall down. But somehow my leg touched the engine/silencer and got burnt at some places. Inspecting the damage revealed a bent leg-guard and brake pedal which got straightened with some persuasion. Went home, listened to some good music and will sleep in sometime.

I have realized something that whatever pub, bar I go to, nothing can match Wednesday and Friday nights at someplace else.. The feeling is incomparable.

Thrill!

Yesterday I discovered a new kind of thrill. I had just left office and was on my way home when it started raining. Not just a drizzle but a heavy downpour. Too lazy to go back or take shelter somewhere, I decided to go on. Upon reaching the long flyover on my way home, I decided to go really fast. So I twisted the throttle of my bike open and raced ahead. The thrill and excitement I experienced was beyond comparison. As the bike gained speed, the wet clothes suddenly stuck to my skin and it was a feeling as if someone had just sunk me in freezing water. Heartbeat increased fast as I went faster still. One reason I had never experienced this before was that I never used to wear a helmet before and it’s impossible to go at even moderate speeds in the rain as the rain drops try to kill my eyes. It was almost invisible up ahead as the helmet visor was completely wet. Add to that the headlights on high beams from oncoming vehicles. Above a speed of 100 kmph, the rain drops started to sting any exposed bit of skin(the throat and chest) like needles. Anyways, after driving like mad and thanking my stars that the cops did not see me, I stopped at the traffic signal ahead of me. There I noticed that everyone was staring at me. The reason being that the raindrops falling on the hot engine had made a cloud of vapor which had surrounded my bike. It was a sight worth seeing and a feeling worth experiencing.

Exams Over..

Well, exams are finally over. So here we are, lazing around in the evening with nothing in mind. So what do we do? We head out for a long drive of course. There’s nothing like a long drive to refresh your mind and uplift your spirits.
So, off we went to Wardha Road at a steady speed of 50 kmph. I have to say that driving at a speed of 50-60 is much more enjoyable than going crazy and twisting the throttle off. We drove for about 60 kilometres, stopped at a dhaba and ate like pigs. We had paneer parathas, curd and lots of butter. After we were almost bursting at our seams, we started our journey back. At this point, the cold almost killed me as I was without a jacket wearing just a measly sweater.Got back to Nagpur in an hour to have hot coffee at shanky. Also clocked 30,000 kms on my bike on the way back.


Was dead tired when some friend called us to his place for bakar(useless conversation). Did bakar till 2:30, came back and fell asleep.

Woke up at 6 in the morning dying of hunger. Had an accident a few days ago, hurt my shoulder then. Didn’t think about it much but it was hurting bad now. Went in the freezing cold to shanky to finish off 3 plates of poha. Came back just in time to watch the sun rise, had a painkiller and writing this blog waiting for the pain to subside.
Well, I’m off to sleep now. God knows when I’ll wake up. Good Morning!