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Thank You, 2015


When I wrote the blog post summing up 2014, there was this feeling of dissatisfaction about how, I ended up literally doing nothing in that year. It was getting way too monotonous for my liking and the regular confusions of ‘what to do and achieve in life’ prevailed. I kept asking myself,”when would the finances settle down, when would I reach a point of satisfaction in life and when would I start doing things that I like”. So, I hoped the New Year 2015 would answer those questions and I looked forward to it with a lot of hope and excitement.

First things first, did 2015 answer my three questions? “Yes, it did”. Am I satisfied with the answers? “Hmmmm probably. May be. I don’t know”. Were there life lessons? “Yes, definitely”.

2015 taught me a thing or two about finances. We will never feel settled with the finances. There are always insecurities. Even Sundar Pichai would feel it. The human tendency is to be greedy. Yes, even a handful of people do philanthropy work for tax exemptions. There are people in this world, who earn a tenth of what I earn in a month and have no complaints. I look up to these people. Rather than this Manager in the corporate company, who lives a glitzy life in Mumbai or Bangalore and who has nothing to think than procuring a H1B visa and settling down in US of America. At least, the recent floods in Chennai taught us how little the cash, fancy 3BHK apartments and luxury cars mean in life.

Now coming to the next question about feeling satisfied in life, I learned that satisfaction is how you see it. If it’s relative, that is, when you are comparing with your colleague or friend or cousin or Pakistani or anyone, you are forcing yourself inside a pressure cooker. Satisfaction is in, what you do and achieve, and is never worth equating it with what others do. I am very much satisfied with my life. I married the love of my life this year, a girl whom I met, talked, proposed, dated, loved and discussed about being life partners. Of course, having really supportive families, helped both of us in realizing our dreams. We believe in this simple philosophy of cherishing little joys of life.

2015 helped a huge deal in letting me know what I really wanted in life and what I had to achieve. It has given a much needed inspiration that would hopefully drive me towards it. I feel I have a clear vision on what to do now, than say, a year back. Professionally, I am yet to completely switch over to what I like doing, though I am on the way of accomplishing that. Writing and travel, quality time with the family and hang outs with friends were all that I wanted in 2015 and God has been kind enough to grant those.

2015 has been an action packed year. It introduced me to the exciting married life. And it also showed me what wedding preparations were like and how much of an effort goes in to it. From booking venues, inviting dearest and nearest, to shopping to bankruptcy, everything has been worth cherishing. Hopefully, a book on the Iyer wedding someday.

Google happened. Hyderabad and Jaipur were seen. Stayed at a luxury resort. Watched Premam. Fell in love with Malare. Also with Ok Kanmani. And also, with the feel and visuals in ‘Unakenna Venam Sollu’ from Thala Ajith’s ‘Yennai Arindhaal’. Read books. Hiked and said Hi to Ayyappa Swami at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam. Gatecrashed Chinnaswamy and said Hi to Swami AB De Villiers. Also met the West Indies dude Darren S(w)aami, serving drinks as a 12th man.

Positives apart, there were a few despairing events too. APJ Abdul Kalam’s demise, Sehwag’s retirement, South Africa’s loss at the Semi finals against New Zealand, Chennai floods, the image of a drowned Syrian boy in the shores of Turkey, unrest in West Asia and the sky-rocketing rent amount that the greedy and filthy rich, house owner in Bangalore charges me.

As 2015 closes in, it is time to remember all the good souls that made me smile and made my days special. And God Bless you, dear haters. May the force be upon you. You keep me going. Thanks for all the beautiful memories, 2015. You were kind. And to 2016, a big Hello. I am not preparing bucket lists. I am not into any high level planning that businessmen do. I’d just want to live in the moment. Shower me with a handful of travel opportunities, so that I see new lands, do new check-ins, click new snaps, make new friends and write about interesting stuffs. Some of my favorite people are tying the knots this year. May God bless them. Cheers!

P.S. ”I’ and Me’ refer to ”We’ and Us’, Bhaskar and Priyanka! Cheers again.

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The land of Rajput dudes, Jaipur


As the Jaipur bound Air Costa from Bengaluru was about to touch down at the Sanganer International Airport, the first sights from the naked eye were exactly what we’ve read about the state of Rajasthan. Patches of dusty yellow dotted the entire place. The towering forts and its walls, that guarded the city reflected it. Desert sand dust gave them a translucent appearance. And there was a complete absence of green cover. 

Reflecting dusty yellow, Amer fort stands tall, guarding the Pink City

          Reflecting dusty yellow, Amer fort stands tall, guarding the Pink City

The Airport looked small, doing sheer injustice to the ‘International Airport’ tag. The dome is even smaller than that of the MG Road Metro Station. It looked scarily empty, with very little shops open and owing to Diwali, there were very less number of taxis outside to take you to your destination. And the moment you stepped outside in the afternoon, the heat takes a toll on you, the aroma of ‘paan’ and mustard oil take center stage. The rickety buses dominate the pathways. Billboards and nameplates in Hindi take over.

Welcome to Jaipur.

Welcome to Jaipur

                                                 Welcome to Jaipur

According to the Rajasthani tradition, elephants symbolize Royalty

         According to the Rajasthani tradition, elephants symbolize Royalty

The Pink city of Jaipur is full of colours. History has it that the King had specifically ordered the city be painted in pink to welcome Queen Victoria. And it is incredible to see it, the entire city sporting pinkish orange. The walls of the palace and the buildings along the road leading to Hawa Mahal have been brushed in faded pink. Pink ribbons hang over the roads. Roadside shops are full of lip-smacking sweets and hot crunchy samosas, adding to the colour. And so are the bazaars with a beautiful collection of colourful bangles, art works, paintings, sarees and lehengas. 

Its Incredible to see the entire city in pink

Its Incredible to see the entire city in pink

Pinkish orange coloured buildings and interestingly designed share-autos

Pinkish orange coloured buildings and interestingly designed share-autos

The view from the top of Hawa Mahal

The view from the top of Hawa Mahal

Jaipur’s specialty is its rich history and its success in retaining it. The city palace showcases the grandeur of Rajput dudes. The paintings and designs have been worked out with forensic precision. The silver artifacts (‘Gangajali’) have its place in the Guiness Book of World Records. The Mahals are a triumph of impeccable architectural skills and are a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput and Islamic Mughal architecture. 

The Impressive courtyard of the City Palace

                                The Impressive courtyard of the City Palace

Hawa Mahal

             Hawa Mahal: The fusion of Rajput and Mughal style architecture

 

 

Hawa Mahal is a triumph of architectural genius

                           Hawa Mahal: A triumph of architectural genius

Jaipur is easily one of India’s most popular cities from a tourist’s point of view and its proximity to the National Capital helps it hugely. There is every reason to love the Rajputs. For, it takes a huge effort to make a place surrounded by rocks and desert sands, a royal city. Their architectural style is so unique, every stone and marble work at the Mahals symbolize beauty and royalty. The blistering heat outside is unbearable but the rooms of the Palace and the Mahals will tell you a different story.

The city loves its colours and it is promoted in a big way by the Resurgent Rajasthan tourism initiative by the Rajasthan Government. Even the share- Autos are brushed in fancy colours. The Jaipur Metro has started its service and the Metro work near the ‘Jhora Rastha’ results in traffic jams. The other side of Jaipur houses the Legislative Assembly, an International cricket stadium, a World Trade center, towering apartments and some glitzy malls. But I’d still say, Jaipur is all about the Rajput dudes, their planning and execution. And wait, Jaipur doesn’t have a desert!!!!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel- The green and serene Wayanad


Just when I thought that 2014 was ending on a boring note (like the year itself), I headed to Wayanad on the 26th for the annual festival in our family temple. Wayanad has always been a fascination right from the childhood- for the lush green coffee estates, for the wisps of smoke from the mouth in the nights and for its absolutely nature-friendly setting. I’ve always cherished my visits and every visit made me feel envious of my Dad, who grew up here. Can you imagine a world where people do not have time for smart phones, social media and digital life? Those people exist in Wayanad. And that’s why I love to come over here again and again. We, in the city life, are struck between complexities and often end up complicating stuff, instead of keeping it simple. I think that has been one of my interesting learning whenever I’ve traveled to these mountains far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Soak in the serenity of coffee estates

Soak in the serenity of coffee estates

Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Costa.. it all starts from here :-)

Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Costa.. it all starts from here 🙂

Our family temple in the middle of a bog

Our family temple in the middle of a bog

Talk about Symmetry!!

Talk about Symmetry!!

When I am on road, the possibility of bumping into offbeat locations are always a thrill. There are travelers everywhere, so the only way you can carve a niche for yourself as a traveler, is by taking the road less traveled. So we drove our way to the scenic Krishnagiri International Cricket stadium. This one would mislead anyone into thinking as if he were in a country side in England and New Zealand. With so much greeneries all around, the stadium is so picturesque.

Panoramic View of the Krishnagiri International Cricket Stadium, Wayanad

Panoramic View of the Krishnagiri International Cricket Stadium, Wayanad

View from the Media Centre in the stadium

View from the Media Centre in the stadium 

Other pit stops in the trip were the Phantom Rock and Regional Agricultural Research Institute, Ambalavayal. Not many would have Phantom Rock in their itinerary. It doesn’t give you the impression of a potential tourist spot, for reasons better known to the Tourism board. But it presents a beautiful view from the top, of the other rock structures and of the vast greeneries around. The climb to the top is as thrilling as the rock itself.

Phantom Rock, Wayanad

Phantom Rock, Wayanad

Gatecrashing the Regional Agricultural Research Institute was another understanding that this hilly town is so much in love with its flora and farming. Its an eye opener for the rest of the lot to preserve and respect nature. It was worth spending the last few days of 2014 in Wayanad. Needless to say, I feel a sense of freshness as we head to 2015.

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Looking back at 2014


The Sun is about to set on 2014. It is time to look back at the year which promised a lot and which began with a bachelor’s party in Bangalore. As 2013 had presented me with more happening 365 days than any of the years before, I was really looking forward to 2014, but it just fizzled out like Rohit Sharma. Not that the year was bad but 2014 was less interesting.

There were good times. In fact, plenty of them. With friends around, I did have one heck of a year. Be it, the night at Kingfisher Dude Vijay Mallya’s palace UB City or be it dragging Ashwin, Murali and Vysakh for a French breakfast on an early Sunday morning. Be it cheering for Yuvraj Singh during an IPL match at the Chinnaswamy stadium or be it showing the iconic spots in Bangalore to Vishal. Or even the bowling session at Amoeba with Priyanka, Aradh and Chinchu. Even the California Dude George who had busted his ankle was here to meet us all.

What is life without friends!!

What is life without friends!!

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Appa Amma's 25th wedding anniversary!! Shiva Temple, Murudeshwar

Just like in 2013, Internet and Social Media dominated my life in 2014 too. Though I had contemplated deactivation of my Facebook account, I wasn’t just courageous enough to do it. Twitter, on the other hand, continued to be my most preferred Social Network. The findings of one of the apps in Google Play, left me startled. It showed that I access Twitter about 75-85 times a day. What the fuck was I doing with my life? Am I not having a life or what? 75-85 times a day meant that I was hardly missing any of the tweets of 400 people I follow. Seriously, refreshing Twitter button is not going to lead me anywhere, unless of course I am a Ramesh Srivats or a Sidin Vadukut.

I got myself a Moto-G which was my first real Android experience. I started using Instagram, Zomato and Foursquare voraciously. Instagram turns almost everyone into a professional photographer or at least makes us feel like one. And despite lashing out at Zomato for their ‘Delhi better than Bangalore’ blog last year, I found their mobile app to be an interesting concept. Foursquare reaffirmed that I was now a 24*7 smartphone chap.

One of the sensible decisions of 2014 was buying a bicycle. I started cycling the streets of Bangalore which gave me a lot of joy. Getting to see a lot of characters in the chill mornings lifted my spirits and there was no stopping since then.

All we see are the sights of the beautiful sea around

Traveling to the Ghost town of Dhanushkodi was one of my most memorable 2014 event

My biggest regret of 2014 is my failure to travel more. I did manage to squeeze in a few trips to Chennai, Dhanushkodi and religious towns of Karnataka. Apart from that, it was basically getting tied up at my cubicle in Bangalore or at the comfort of working from home. I missed out on a dream trip to Goa with my friends despite Air Asia offering me tickets as cheap as 999 bucks from Bangalore to Goa. None of the foreign trips too kicked off. It was a pain in the ass to see all these buggers in facebook either snorkeling in the waters of Maldives or setting off to Malaysia and Thailand for a holiday.

Even my blogging took a hit. Blog Archives indicate that I had not even penned 20 blog posts. Partly it is attributed to the knowledge reception mode that I turned on. I had read more books in 2014 than ever. I’ll blame the Flipkart folks for spamming me with book recommendations.

But on the whole, I would give around 5.5/10 for 2014. Taking the unconventional route has always thrilled me and also inspired me. May be in 2014, I had wanted to be a good boy and fell prey doing conventional things. I must confess that in my professional work, I played the waiting game and didn’t do much to make things happen. Hopefully 2015 will have interesting answers professionally. And I wish my personal life continues to thrill in the coming year as well.

Dear 2015. Be kind on me. Be adventurous. Be thrilling. I’m stuck. Help me out in completing my book. Aid me in expanding my horizons. Give me a kick on my bum if I stay conventional. And importantly, let India win the World Cup in Australia.