Goa Trip – Beer, Beach and Dirty Dancing

4 years and finally I had a long and wonderful vacation. Our (me and Sowmya‘s) last vacation was way back in 2005 to shillong and since then I have always said a big NO to all her planning. At times due to my workaholic nature and most of the times due to my laziness. However this time around I was given a surprise one fine sunday, when she told me “We (me, Sowmya, Ashna and Sashi) are going to Goa next weekend”.

Day 0: Thursday, 30th April 09

Guitar breaks in the bus As it proved out, planning well in advance will save you a lot of money and energy. All thanks to Sowmya, Ashna and Sashi who planned out every thing well in advance. They booked a sleeper bus to Goa (there is no trains from bangalore to goa on thursday’s). It was our first experience in a sleeper bus which ultimately turned out into a nightmare. Initially we liked the cozy comfort of a double bed inside the bus, but thanks to numerous speed breakers which spoiled the journey to Goa.
Sleeper Bus: INR 900 per person

Day 1: Friday, 1st May 09

We finally landed in Panjim at 11:00 A.M. (5 hours late from scheduled 7.00 A.M. arrival). A big thank to Sowmya who already booked two A.C. Deluxe room in Dona Julia Resort. By noon we were in our resorts. A quick breakfast and a 1 hour nap and we were on our way to explore Goa.
Van From Panjim to Dona Julia: INR 250

Fort Agwada 1st day we decided to explore whole of north Goa. We booked a maruti van, and the guy (name Francis) promised us to show 2 forts and 4 beaches (all in north goa) by 8 o’ clock. We headed first to Fort Aguada. It was a typical Portuguese architecture surrounded by the indian ocean from 2 sides. Chilling heat and we were all dead within 15 minutes. We decided to leave that place and headed towards the beaches.

Beach Vagator was our destination next. An hour of craziness in water, some hundred shots and we were like done for the day. Francis showed us the famous Dil Chahta Hai place which was next to beach vagator, about 1 km uphill. I very much wanted to see the place, but two chicks with us were in no mood. A few glass of lime soda and we headed towards Beach Anjuna.

Romance at Beach Vagator ;)There wasn’t much of a difference between Beach Vagator and Beach Anjuna. There were very few people on both the beach, with hardly any foreigners. 🙁 We did a bit of beach shopping and a few shots (finally we were all wet).

Bagga beach brought in some energy into our body. Some (infact a lot) sexy chicks roaming around, loud music, water sports, beach side massage and everything you expect from a beach was there. We targeted water sports first and went for that scary and crazy scooter ride. That was the first time I tasted that salty sea water. (Wonder how those scooter guys operate the whole day in that water) We decided to return back next day and try out para sailing.

It was 6:30 and we had no energy to visit Beach Calingut. We all headed back into our resorts and decided to hit the swimming pool at the resort. However once we all lied on the bed, it hardly took us 10 min to fall asleep. Got up at 9 o clock. Plan was to visit one of the famous bars and disco thek.
Van Cost: INR 900 for North Goa

dsc00525Another sensible thing we did was we hired two honda activa. That really made the trip more enjoyable for next 2 days. We had two options to choose from Titto’s or Mambo’s. As per Francis both were excellent. However since there was a 500 per couple entry fees in Titto’s we decided to hit Mambo’s 😉 We were there by 9:45 with everyone watching the IPL match. After inquiry I found that the disco thek starts at 10:30 and the disc rolls till 4 o’clock in the morning. I was like “wow“, kuddos to Goa government and F#&% this Karnataka government. It was a DJ from London who was supposed to spin the wheel that night. Hip Hop and house (last in my list of preferred music genre’s) was the theme. We all were some 3 beer down and I was just about to experience the best night ever. This part of the trip is what made “Dirty Dancing” as the title of this blog post. 2 o’ clock and we just didn’t stopped. Pretty chicks, some cool DJing, Rope dancing, 4 more beers and what else can you ask for. First time on a disco thek with Sowmya and what a night it turned out to be. Finally we had some khaati rolls and off to our resort.

Day 2: Saturday, 2nd May 09

Romance at Beach Calingut ;)It’s never easy to wake me up early morning and that was what Sashi and Ashna realised the next day. We decided to leave early for Calingut Beach and till 10:30 I was like showing no signs of getting up. With a driving force to enjoy this trip to the fullest, I was finally up. Had a nice breakfast at Sagar Restaurant (200 mts from our resort) and we headed towards Beach Calingut. I was like “wow”. There was no difference between what we saw yesterday at Bagga Beach and today at Calingut Beach. After bitching for about 30 minutes in salty sea water we headed for the deadly para sailing. Unfortunately we missed to take snaps of this part of our adventurous trip. However it was an experience of a lifetime, with my body floating mid air. Ashna and Sashi went for another round of scooter trip, meanwhile me and Sowmya were doing a photo shoot 😀 We were back in our resort by 3 o’clock and with no delays we hit the swimming pool back there. Swimming pool, beer, shades, photo shoot and that all you can ask for. Had our lunch and then back for a 1 hour nap.

Headbanging at Titto'sIn the evening we had our dinner at Sher-e-Punjab, a so-so restaurant on Beach Calingut. We planned out to visit the famous saturday night market before hitting the disco thek again. However, unfortunately it has been shut down during the off season. Next we decided to hit the Mambo’s once again but since today it was a 500 buck per couple entry tonight, we decided to try out titto’s. “Mauja re Mauja” and you can imagine the atmosphere inside. It was some nice bollywood remix rolling on the disc. However in my opinion Mambo’s have an upper hand as compared to music and ambience at Titto’s. We were soon out of that place, roaming on the streets of Goa before we hit Beach Bagga at mid night.

Day 3: Sunday, 3rd May 09

Finally a dream run was coming to an end. We had train (gareeb rath) back to bangalore at 3 o’clock afternoon. Guitar and some cool doods around in the train made the journey back home even more memorable. (We sang some 30 songs that night in the train spanning from Maa – Dasvidaniya to Nagin the Lady Cobra)

For more pictures of this memorable trip:

Internship in Swiss : Part 1

One thing which every IITGian starts dreaming about after getting into IIT is a foreign trip in 3rd year. With a strong record being maintained by pass out seniors, every junior have this strong belief “I will get an intern in Europe”

However in past few years the scenario has changed. Students no longer limit their mail spams only to europe. Australia, Brazil, South Africa have emerged as new favorites outside europe. Like many others, I too had this belief and I was one of the luckiest to have got an intern at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Though the time when I got my intern at IIT wasn’t a sweet time for me. I was already having a lot of problems due to lack of attendence. However keeping in mind that my BTech project is on Music Information Retrieval and I have got an intern in one of the best universities throughout the world in field of Speech and Music Technology, I decided to move ahead with the Internship. However, this was not the only reason for me to fly all the way to swiss. After a lot of effort and spamming, Sowmya too got an intern at Zurich, Swiss. Now how could we miss that.

For my juniors who keep bombarding me with several question about internship at EPFL. 1500 Swiss Franc per month (+ 500 swiss franc for airfare) is the standard scholarship given by EPFL to students from all IIT’s. (I knew a few from IITB were even getting more). For apartments and living, the best thing is to contact secretary of your professor, which can assist you to getting a cheap apartment. (PS: Do not forget to ask her to contact you before fixing an apartment. In my case the secretary booked a 1500 Swiss Franc per month apartment to be shared with another guy from IIT Bombay. While I can easily remember Himanshu Nazkani getting an apartment for just 450 Swiss Francs per month)

I was quite excited as I was flying out of india for the first time and that too swiss. Had to apply for a tatkal passport which one can easily get in 7 days after showing the internship offer letter to the passport office. I took the Alitalia flight from New Delhi, which was supposed to make a stop in Italy before arriving at Geneva. I was like “wow” all the way. The scenic beauty and the professionalism in foreigners (on duty at airport) was amazing. At this point I could recall me eating beef accidentally while moving from Milan to Geneva.

I reached my apartment after some hustle. My airbag wheels were broken and I had to drag my airbag (Full of rice,sweets,namkeen and what not) for about an hour before I could find my apartment. The apartment was a full suit and was way above expectations. I and Nitin (my roommate from IITB) decided not to change the apartment and continue with it inspite of heavy rent. One thing I would like to suggest is do not carry rice, cereals and other food items with you. You get them easily all around switzerland and at a cheap price. However it is good to carry some utensils if you can. Me and Nitin already decided upon who is going to get what utensils and that really saved us from starving for 3 months. With a cooker and frying pan, I could see the cook in me trying to explore, and believe me I was able to serve my roomy with some classy food for 3 months.

Next day I went to EPFL and met my guide. I was amazed to see the professionalism with which they used to work in the laboratory. My mentor used to code at such a pace, that I can’t even chat at that pace. For use it was like Orkut (becoming popular then), Gtalk, Yahoo Messengers full day. Throughout the week we used to plan for a trip and on weekend enjoy the trip. Swiss means you can’t sit back coding in the laboratory. I saw some of the most beautiful places and girls for 3 months. Lausanne, Zurich, Burkliplatz, Fribourg, Mt. Titlis, Pilatus – Luzern, Geneva, Ouchy, Raperswill, Uetliberg, Felsenegg are a few place which we visited.

As I just recall a bit more on this memorable trip, I will leave you with more than 200 captivating images from our trip of Mt. Titlis (10,000 feets above sea level)

Keep glued and do not forget to leave a comment.

Life in Bangalore after IIT Guwahati

Bangalore, Bangalore, Bangalore !!!

This was what everyone wished for in their final year at IIT Guwahati. Everyone wanted to get a job in one of the multinational firms in Bangalore and like everyone else, this was what I longed for and got too! After a long wait for my joining letter,  I was finally asked to join my present employer on 21st June, 2007 and if I can recall correctly, it was on 19th June, 2007 that I landed in Bangalore.

First trip to Bangalore (2002):
It wasn’t for the first time, that I was visiting Bangalore. I came to Bangalore way back in 2002 for an NDA (National Defence Academy) SSB Interview. That trip was my first trip outside Lucknow (my hometown) and it proved to be a disaster for many reasons:

  • I wasn’t selected in the Indian army.
  • I watched 4 movies in a span of 7 days here in Bangalore. ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Gadar’ were watched back to back on the very first day in Bangalore followed by another one starring Amitabh Bachaan, Manoj Bajpai and Raveena Tandon (I can’t recall its name). Must be wondering how watching movies could have made this trip a disaster. Wait, read on to know about my last movie on that trip.
  •  On the last day, I was already out of the NDA campus roaming on the streets at around 04:00 PM, when I cared to take a look at my train ticket back to Lucknow. The train was scheduled for 08:00 PM . So at 05:00 PM, since I had a lot of time at hand,  I wondered why not watch another movie, probably an english one, at one of the theaters near the railway station. It was ‘The tailor of panama ‘ that I chose to watch. The movie, starring Pierce Brosnan,  was as good as expected. It was about 07:00 PM when I came out of the movie hall. I rushed to the station and sat there awaiting the train’s arrival.  I continued to wait for the train, but till 08:00 PM, neither could I see any rush on the platform nor were there any announcements for that train. I called back home to my father to check if there were some changes in the train schedule. He asked me “Why are you out of the train ? You must be at Hyderabad station right now, isn’t it ?” Foxed on hearing what he was saying, I told him “I am still in Bangalore waiting for the train, but there is no announcements or anything what so ever.”  I had begun to sense that I’d committed some blunder. After the conversation with my father, I realized that the train was at 05:00 PM (the time i decided to watch a movie) and not 08:00 PM. I just put down the receiver and started looking at the ticket for that magical 08:00 PM, how could I mis-read such a thing, and I realized that the train ticket was booked at 08:00 PM in Lucknow, and that was what I interpreted as the train departure timing. Hell of a mistake!
  • But that disaster trip was not going to end here. The ticket stubs of the movies I watched during my stay at Bangalore  were all there in my back pocket. I reached home and my father got hold of those movie tickets. Thats when the real drama started, I was beaten to pieces.

First few days on my second trip:
Anyways, I expected a lot better experience in Bangalore this time. Hotel Orchid Harsha, was where we were supposed to stay for the initial 15 days. All the expenses were managed by the company so we all spent like a millionaire at Harsha. There were atleast 8-10 friends and colleagues present for dinner at the hotel room. 😉 I will say that those 15 days were one of the best here at Bangalore till date, when we lived life King size.

Dull, boring and Monotonous life:
However, once we were all engaged into our professional lifes, we could hardly find time for regular bakarchodi sessions we used to have back in college. It was more of a dull, boring and monotonous life for us all here. Also few of our friends found girl friends for themselves which didn’t help any further (less people = less bakarchodi). 😛 At times, a long drive on bikes with friend (Tau, a huge enthusiast for such long drives, owns a Karizma and 2 accidents till date did not lessen his spirits. Infact he’s looking forward to Hayabussa!) was another thing we tried, but our laziness and eagerness to sit in one position 😛 killed the interest in those long drive trips. Every friday, rock music and drinks at Purple Haze was the only joy we used to have then. Back in college, I used to think that we were not addicted to alcohol and that we used to drink for fun. But after coming to Bangalore I realized that we all had become addicted to beer and hard drinks at some level or the other.

No Rock band for me:
I came to Bangalore with high expectations of forming a new rock band. However it is really disappointing that I couldn’t find a band till now. All the bands from where I got invitation to play were either 20-25 Km from my house or they were not according to my taste or they were just on the starting to play rock music. Involvement with my website ‘Altertunes.com’ also didn’t leave me enough time to play my guitar at home.

Work @ Office:
I was probably looking for a different domain in my first job. Business intelligence was probably not the thing for me. (Though the field is great with some great scope ahead in the market) .Knowledge gained while developing my website eventually helped me in cracking Yahoo! . I just hope it will be great fun at Yahoo. Looking forward to working there !

Colleagues @ Office:
One of the things to cheer about is the team and colleague I got to work with at Oracle. Mahesh, Eshwar, Prashanth, Karthik, Vinnet Jain (mantri), Yasser, Vineet Alagh, Ankur and Avisek (Dada), everyone just made sure that I had a rocking and comfortable time at Oracle. Be it the moon walks in the lift by Ankur Jain, Finance funde by Dada or mimicry by mantri, it was fun all the way. The managers had an inspirational presence in the office, seeing them handle and managing thing was a great learning experience in itself. Kumar, Bala, Vishy and Michelle all were inspirational and joy to work with. Overall, I must say that I couldn’t have asked for a better work culture in my first job.

To be continued ….

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