Monday, June 30, 2008

Nostalgia 2008 -- A Rendezvous with Nature at Bandipur

I think I am in love with the Jungle. Just last week I was at Mudumalai and now Bandipur. And you wont believe the nature always gives you surprises.

The credit for the trip to become a reality completely goes to Bhavya, the advisor in the team. She was planning for a get together last Sunday but few of us couldn't join and she proposed this week. It was really difficult for us to get a booking as most of the resorts were already full. Then as an angel came Shine Chechi, my friend Shiju's sis in law, who helped us to get a stay at the Safari Lodge, Bandipur and that also with a discount of 20%. I on behalf of our team thank her for the support she has extended and we will avail the same again next time :D

Nithin had come to blore on 6/27 one day prior to the trip. He was staying at my place. Suhas and Rekha were reaching blore on 6/28 early morning 0430hrs. The plan was like the vehicle would pick Srijit and Sachin first and then Bhavya/Meera and last 4 of us ( me , Nithin, Suhas and Rekha ) from my place.

6/28 morning 0500hrs myself and Nithin picked up Suhas and Rekha. They got refreshed at my place and by the time we were ready the vehicle was already at my place after picking the other 4 . As planned we started at 0800 Hrs from my home.

All the time during the travel the music was on ( Nithin's collection ) and our DJ was Sachin. He was really playing with our mood. He would play soft no, then suddenly a fast no... but it was fun. We stopped at Kamat on mysore road for breakfast by 0900hrs. Finished our Bf and moved on from there by 1015hrs. On the way we took some cans of beer. We reached the resort by 1330 hrs. In b/w we stopped for pee breaks. We had our lunch at the resort. It was really good. We had a safari to Bandipur forest at 1600Hrs. We boarded the Jeep and geared with our cams started for Bandipur.

I had been to the same forest last week. You will not believe, the jungle was fully different. This time I could spot more of wild elephants, bison's and sambar deer. We even spotted a fresh kill done by the wild dogs. The guide took us to a hill top and it wa awsome. Every one loved it. We were on our extremes !! We stayed there for nearly 20 min. It was real fun. Returned back to our resort after that. There was a wild life film screening at 1930Hrs. I checked it out and dint find it interesting and hence decided to stay at the room and get warmed with my drinks. Others went for a stroll and after that we sat for a long chat. In b/w went for a dinner. The chat continued till late night. It was really a good feeling to be with your school friends after years.... too good and cant be expressed in any words the dictionary supports. Here I thank again -- Bhavya Chechi. She is a bit upset with my drinking habit and I have decided to reduce on it ;)

6/29 - Again I was the last one to get up as usual. Got ready fast for the trek. We trekked for 8km and believe me it was fun, the meter to check our fitness. Myself and Rekha were partners leading the team. We got back to our resort for break fast.

Did some shooting at the resort. Packed our backpacks and started our journey back to blore. The music was still on. Same DJ, same cd. Got our stocks of beer refilled. I was literaly drunk by the time I reached blore. We dropped Suhas and Rekha at the Yeshwanthpur railway station as they had their train at 1600Hrs. Then we cam back to my place, had our lunch.

It was time to part. The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken. This trip brought me closer to my old friends - Bhavya, Sachin, Srijith and Suhas. I got two new friends too -- Meera and Rekha.

As Aristotle said "A friend is another I." I was missing myself when we were parting. Meeting is a pleasure... parting - sorrow still -- expecting a reunion again soon !!!

Sharing some moments ... please Click here

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jungle Retreat Mudumalai, The Nilgiris.

Finally after lots of discussions the place and participants were confirmed on June 5, 2008. The team - Maja, Zoe, Sathish and myself. On 6/6 we got our rooms booked at Jungle Retreat through the phone and we were helped by Nandini, the resort Manager.

We had scheduled to leave Bangalore by 1400hrs on 6/20 but got stuck up while procuring the beverages. At last we started at 1600hrs in an Innova, with Malikarjun as our pilot. We planned to take the route Bangalore - Mysore- Gundulpet --Teppakadu - Masinagudi - Jungle Retreat. We stopped first at CCD for a tank clearing break at 1645hrs. Did some small shopping there. Moved on. The roads till Gundulpet were very good. After that , they were in a wrong shape. this reduced our pace. In b/w we had stopped at Lalit Mahal. Took some snaps, cleared our tanks and again continued our journey. We managed to reach the resort by 2200hrs. Had our dinner . The food was Delicious. The music was simply good. Good No's were been played. We got to see a live band there and the singer was none else, Nandini. Cool ! The booze and the drive had made me really lost. We retired soon to our beds. I slept like a baby that night :)

6/21-- 1000Hrs we reached the living area for the BF. We had missed the early morning safari/trek. Got our trek planned for 1100hrs. Zoe and Danny ( the trip coordinator ) planned all the activities for the day and next. After our BF we went to the pool side and spent some time there. Maja was determined to make her new cam handy before the trip ends. She was reading the camera manual sitting by the pool side. Jungle retreat has a very good pool. We dint have much of a time to use it though. Sidda was the guide allocated for us. He was also a bird photographer and had done more than 20 nestings. We all geared up with our cams and started to trek at 1100hrs. The sun was high and all the animals had gone to shelters and hence had very less chances of seeing the animals in the wild. We trekked for nearly for 180 mins. The trek was really good. Spotted the rare Malabar squirrel. After reaching the hill top, it was such a good feeling -- fresh air , greenery all around. No one to disturb us. No mobile calls. There is no other network than BSNL available in the jungle. We reached back to the resort by 1400Hrs for lunch. Before the lunch Zoe and Sathish tried some Mojito. I had my minted lemon juice. The lunch was really good. It had both veg and non veg dishes.

We went back to our barracks after lunch for resting. By the way we were booked into standard rooms. The rooms are spacious and has all the luxury what we can expect in the midst of a forest. Morning we can find herds of deer near to our cottages. If i remember correctly ours was cottage no 6 and no 7. I would suggest these two if anyone is planning to visit the place. Maja retired to bed for a small nap. Zoe was into the process of making Sangria ( Red wine + Jinn + Fresh juices) . Sathish and myself were the wine tasters there. The drink was good. While making the drink Zoe revealed her plans of opening a wine bar. She promised us that we would be in the guest list for sure at the inauguration. I went around the resort in the mean time and did some clicking. We got geared up for our safari in Mudumalai forest. We reported at 1600 Hrs for the safari. Basi and Ravi were our guide and driver respectively. The drive in the jeep was really thrilling. We spotted some deer, peacocks, Gaurs, Mongoose during the safari. We went to a near by river to watch the elephants taking bath. Later visited the elephant feeding center. Here we could take lot of good pics with elephants. We reached back to the resort by 2030hrs. After couple of drinks we had our dinner and retired to bed by 2330hrs as we had to wake up at 0500 for the safari at bandipur. A wake up call was arranged. Viewed the pics taken through out the day and said good night to a good memorable day !

6/22 -- 0500 Hrs we woke up. Got geared up. Had to manage with a bucket of water as there was no water coming in the taps. Drove till bandipur in our car. From there we were taken in the forest dept gypsy. Sunil was our guide cum driver. Here we were really in to the forest. We spotted the Deer, Eagle , Peacocks,etc. This safari was really thrilling than the last evening one at Mudumalai. On the way back to resort we had the luck to see a gigantic wild elephant. He inspires us to be in the wild and get wild ! Reached back resort by 0900hrs and had our breakfast. Got back to our barracks, got freshened up. Packed our backpacks and started our journey back to Blore at 1200hrs. We stopped at CCD, Gundulpet for packing our lunch. We reached blore by 1750 hrs. We had plan's to party at night but cancelled the same as all were tired and Maja and Zoe had their early morning flights back to US.

The trip was really memorable. We dedicate this to Maja and Zoe . We thank Rogan, Nandini, Siddha, Danny, Pradeep, Karupan at the jungle
retreat for making our stay a memorable one. The experience we all had was so good that 'n' no of words or no picture can express !!! Sharing some moments ... please Click here

Even though the team parts now, we will meet again for another blast but with a difference -- Maja, Zoe and myself reducing min 10lbs and Sathish reducing on his cigis. Before keeping my pen down, allow me to quote Robert Frost --- "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep".

Monday, June 9, 2008

Karnataka Road Transport Corporation.

It has been a long time I blogged. The normal excuses -- work pressure, over time , blah blah ....

I had planed to go to Chennai last Fri and tried booking the tickets through the Internet for KSRTC. The page opened up, everything went fine. I selected the seat in the middle. Was very happy with the proceedings. But as if god dint like it , after i did the payment, the message came that the seat I opted had been already allotted to somebody else. My money was out of my account. I was helpless. But it seems that this is a normal practice happening with the site.The authorities have given an email id to correspond on refunds. Till now, after 3 days , I have not received any feedback on my complaint to KSRTC. Don't know when I will be lucky to get my money back.

I had a similar problem with India Railway. But appreciate the system where in my money got refunded in 24 hrs.

Can we say here that still central is much more capable than state !!

Hey friends ... I got my money back ...nearly after a month...