Trip To Remember – Hyderabad – Sindhu’s Wedding

Celebrity blogger, One of our Chennai Bloggers Club’s (CBC) admin and my good friend TD A.K.A Sindhu was so kind to invite me to her wedding. What made me more excited than the wedding itself is the fact that it’s gonna be in Hyderabad. For most of the world, Hyderabad is IT Hub, Land of Nizams, The Pearl City and so on. But, for the rest of the divine souls like me, it’s the Biryani Paradise, Haleem Heaven and a living Monument of Mogul Food. Now you might have got the sole reason why I was super excited.

Before going deep into the whereabouts of the trip, it’s time for some history lesson on how the city got its name, courtesy Google, Wikipedia and all of the web.

Hyderabad means “Haydar’s city” or “lion city”, from haydar (lion) and ābād (city). It was named to honour the Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who was also known as Haydar because of his lion-like valour in battles. The city was originally called Baghnagar (city of gardens). One popular theory suggests that Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of the city, named it “Bhagyanagar” or “Bhāgnagar” after Bhagmati, a local nautch (dancing) girl with whom he had fallen in love. She converted to Islam and adopted the title Hyder Mahal. The city was renamed Hyderabad in her honour.

Initially, we 6 of us planned to go together for the trip. But, just like any other trip two dropped out due to unforeseen circumstances. So, finally, its 4 of us who made it to the trip, it’s me, DeepaNarayanan a.k.a Deepu, Bragadeesh Prasanna a.k.a Brags Anna and Jothi Vel Moorthi a.k.a Jo Anna.

The Timely Benefit

Our train from Chennai Central to Hyderabad Charminar Express was scheduled to depart at 6.10 pm on 2nd Dec. Unfortunately, it’s 4.15 and was still struck at my home as it was pouring heavily. I started in spite of the heavy rains as it was a now or never moment. With clocks ticking, my wait for the bus to Tambaram station went in vain. Luckily after a few minutes came a share auto all empty. The driver noticed the clear anxiety on my face and asked me what’s wrong. I told him that I am running late to catch the train. After hearing this, he didn’t stop the auto at any subsequent stops though there were a few passengers waiting. “Bro, now you will catch the train on time”, he said while dropping me at the station earlier that expected. To my surprise, he didn’t demand any extra money. It’s not the first time someone had helped me to reach on time. From Tambaram Station  I took a local to Park Station and from there I joined the rest to board the train at the Chennai Central on time. Many thanks to the share auto driver.

காலத்தி னாற்செய்த நன்றி சிறிதெனினும்
ஞாலத்தின் மாணப் பெரிது.

A timely benefit, -though thing of little worth,
The gift itself, -in excellence transcends the earth.

The Alpha Hotel

We boarded our train, had our dinner and dozed off. The next day (3rd Dec) morning by 7.30 we reached the Secunderabad Junction. Thanks to my friend at work Sashidhar who recommended the Alpha Hotel and we found it right opposite to the railway station. As Sashi suggested we ordered the specialty of the place “Keema Roti” and Omelet. As Deepu is a vegetarian, he ordered Lukmi and Sabzi. To my surprise, the Roti was so big that I wasn’t able to have more than one and the Keema (minced meat curry) was spicy, rusting and utterly delicious. The food was not only divine and soul filling but was also very much affordable. It cost only 360 for the 4 of us. Isn’t it a sin to complete the breakfast without an Irani Chai while you are in Hyderabad. As we didn’t intend to commit one, we had our cup of joy there itself. The Alpha Hotel has been around for more than 50 years and serves good food at an affordable price. So, sincere thanks to The Alpha Hotel for brightening up our morning. From there we took a cab to the hotel where our rooms were booked.

The Salar Jung Museum

After resting a bit and freshening up, we decided to roam out. We took a cab by 11 am and reached our 1st stop “The Salar Jung Museum” by 12.15 pm. This massive museum is one of the three national museums of India. After collecting out tickets, we had to deposit our bags as no bags are allowed inside the museum. You need all day to patiently look around all the galleries here, but unfortunately, we didn’t have that luxury of time. So, all we could do was skim through the galleries. One of the famous attractions here is a marble statue named “The Veiled Rebekah”, as they say, it’s definitely a melody in marble. Yet another famous attraction here is “The English Bracket Musical Clock”. It’s manufactured in England and got assembled in Kolkata in the late 19th century. A lot of visitors, including me, patiently waited for the striking of the gong. There are 2 toys in this clock. One is a blacksmith which keeps on beating the hammer for every second. Second is what every one of us is waiting for, a bearded man who comes out 3 minutes before every hour and strikes the gong no of times the hour (12 times for 12’O clock) exactly when the hour strikes and goes back in. Out of everything I saw there, one thing really caught my eyes. It’s a small ivory statue of a beautiful woman in their ivory gallery. I named her Ivory Nandhini after one of the famous charters in Kalki’s book Ponniyin Selvan.

The Bawarchi Biriyani

It’s already 2 pm and Going around the museum made us really hungry. Though the next stop we planned to visit for was just 2 km away, neither our mind, nor our stomach paved way to go for it. We had few eateries nearby, but I was very firm in having authentic Hyderabadi Biriyani for lunch. So, after a couple of calls with Sashi (Yeah the same friend who recommended us Alpha Hotel), we decided upon one of the most famous Biriyani places in Hyderabad. After traveling another 18 km by cab we reached the “Bawarchi Biriyani”. Even by 3 pm, the place was well crowded. As the AC restaurant was fully occupied, we were redirected to the rooftop one. Once we went up and got our seats, the divine smell of the Biryani served around took over me and made me impatient. This is one place where demonetization has hit us very badly. They don’t accept cards and demanded cash upfront on the order, just like a takeaway. With the limited cash we had, all we could order was Chicken Biryani for Me, Brags Na and Jo Na, and the veg one for Deepu. The moment of truth, Finally, the waiter brought big portions of Biryani to our table. The Briyani was yummy, spicy and rustic. The chicken piece was juicy and well marinated too. The portion was sumptuous that it was hard, even for a biryani boy like me to complete one. With a content soul and stomach

The Charminar

As we approach our destination, I could see Telugu being replaced by Urdu in the sign boards and the environment turn old and rustic. Finally, we were there, in front of the most iconic landmark of the city, “The Charminar”. One of my early memories is my paternal grandfather smoking a cigarette brand named Charminar. So, was familiar with the word “Charminar”, even before I know that a place named Hyderabad exists. Brags Na volunteered to take care of our bags as they didn’t allow us to take our backpacks inside and as he has been here umpteen no of times and. We collected our tickets from the counter and “QR Code” on the ticket was scanned using a smartphone just before letting us in. Surrounded by crowded market streets and a big mosque, the view from the top was worth climbing the spiral, narrow and high staircase. What could be a better souvenir than Pearls from the “City Of Pearls”? so after Charminar, we stopped by the nearby pearl market to get some. From there, Brags Na and Jo Na decided to go back to the room and rest. Deepu and I had separate plans to meet up with our friends, so we merged both the plans and decided on a common place on the other side of the city as it would be easy for us to commute together. We had a tough time explaining the pickup location to the cab driver and Mr. Venkateshvaralu a traffic cop helped us with the same. That’s yet another timely help.

The Meetup

It was around 7 pm when we reached Shilparamam night bazaar, an arts and crafts place. Later we were joined by my Jagriti Yatra (JY) friend Kishori, her friend Tushar, Deepu’s friends Harika and Vinay. We roamed around the bazaar talking and doing window shopping. It was great catching up with Kishori after a couple of years after JY. Herself and Tushar got me handmade and hand painted wooden RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) Elephants, that’s so lovely of them. In the meanwhile, Deepu managed to find an awesome gift for the couple getting married the next day. As usual roaming and talking made us hungry and there were a few restaurants just across the road for the rescue. The dinner was at Chutneys, to justify the name they served like 6 varieties of Chutneys. That awesome eventful day came to an end when the cab dropped us back at our hotel and I dozed of exhausted.

The Marriage

It’s yet another Sunday for us, but for our friend Sindhu, it’s her D-day (4th Dec). Surprisingly both Raji and her brother Ram came to the marriage hall quite early in the morning. So, I spent a while chatting with them and the rest of the morning was wisely spent on gift wrapping. I am not even exaggerating, It was a fun activity considering the size of the gift :D. It was a typical Telugu style wedding and totally enjoyed witnessing the proceedings. Once the knot is tied we are supposed to go and wish the couple rather we headed straight to the dining hall. We relaxingly had the awesome wedding lunch, man their yummy desserts. Then we came back, wished the lovely couples and took pictures with them. Even though she is the bride, Sindhu will always be our selfie stick. I am so happy for you both Sindhu and Kiran. Wish you both an awesome life ahead.

The Karachi Biscuits

Unfortunately, all the must visit places were quite far away from our hotel. So, we decided to lay back and rest for a while to avoid the risk of missing the train. The only thing that was bothering me was that I wasn’t able to get some Karachi biscuits. There is a famous quote from the book The Alchemist,  “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream”. Seems I was lucky that day and the universe decided to conspire in my favor.  Mr. Ramesh, Jo Na’s friend who came to meet him there lent his helping hand. He drove me and Jo Na to the Karachi Bakery. Again demonetization hit us very badly. We almost ran out of cash and the bakery wasn’t accepting cards. With the limited cash we got, all we could get was one or two small boxes of fruit and cashew biscuits each. Mr. Ramesh was also kind to drop us at Hyderabad Deccan Nampally station.

The Journey Back Home

From Nampally station Me and Jo Na boarded the Charminar Express by 6.30 pm and the other two boarded the same train from the Secunderabad station. After munching some buns I dozed off. When I woke up in the morning, I had a few messages from my dad to stay safe as the CM was critically ill and there might be law and order problem in the city. Later, even a few co-passengers also enquired about me the same. Though I was bit concerned, things looked pretty normal when we reached Chennai Central around 8.00 am. Again, I took a local train back home.

Bye Bye Hyderabad

Bye Bye Hyderabad

It might have been a short trip, but an awesome one indeed. Definitely, it’s a trip to remember.

Since I Pinned Down Myself To Pen Down My Thoughts

I have been good at writing since my childhood. Before someone quickly disagrees with it, it’s not poems, essays, and articles, I was good at writing programs. My interest in WRITING code, not just changed my life, it made the most of what I am today. It made me that popular geeky guy in school and college who fixes computers. It helped me to land a good job, so far lucky not going through the pain of being jobless. Oh, wait, shouldn’t this be about the ACTUAL writing?. Just want to establish my geeky background, as they say, logic contradicts creativity. I am here contradicting the both.

“Beauty without expression tires”

If you are wondering why this coding guy started blogging and all, I might call it self-realization. Did I realize that I have an incredible writing talent? No, I realized social network is not a right place for me to put in my thoughts. I realized that sharing to me is spamming for others. I realized many are interested in trolling than giving constructive feedback. That’s why I began to pen down my thoughts in a blog. Now if you think I am a thoughtful person or an expert trying to voice out my opinion, no you are wrong. I was that guy who was trying to vent out his feelings post-breakup and trying to do something that occupies his mind. Just like running, writing which started as an escape route turned out to be a favorite route now. I wouldn’t say it became my passion and all, but it gives me an inexpressible sense of satisfaction. I am such a selfish cos I mostly write for myself than others, and that’s why each and every comment or feedback excites me as I seldom expect them.

I know that’s a bit of a boring prelude, Let me try answering this question “How my life changed since I started writing/blogging?” straight.

“Writing might not have changed my life much, but it certainly helped me to express myself better.”

I made a million dollar out of writing, and millions of fans follow me around the world, just kidding. We both know that isn’t the way how writing has impacted my life. How about I start with the unquantifiable things. First of all, I got some awesome friends via this platform. Especially, The Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC) friends. Super talented people from diverse backgrounds who keep on motivating me to write more and better. Their support for my writing is beyond measure, Thanks a lot, guys. Then, my language and style have evolved since I started blogging. Though I have played my part, I should also thank these context based grammar checkers. Just a few encouraging words like “your post made me laugh” or “It motivated me” or “I could relate to myself” or “you write rubbish” would surely put me in the seventh heaven. Believe me; it takes quite a time to land back on the ground. As I mentioned earlier, the sense of satisfaction that blogging gives me is immense.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

Now to something that quantifies. Blogging helped me to make a huge leap forward in my career. From being a Software Developer, I moved departments to become a Digital Marketer. All credits to my blog, it helped me more than my MBA degree to secure that place. Now, blogging is an essential part of my job and writing for my company’s blog is one thing I enjoy the most at my work.

Writing might not have changed my life much, but it certainly helped me to express myself better.

This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club contest in association with Sweek.

The Demise Of An Idol

It was supposed to be a good evening, me playing with my newborn niece. But, it didn’t. We were all terribly shocked when the news of her death reached us. All we could do now is to bid her farewell in her funeral.

For all that I know and heard about her, she is one awesome strong woman. She is my Idol, I admire her a lot but never told this straight to her and now it’s too late for it. She was very sincere and proud of what she did. She was a person of professional integrity. Every day she would start from home at 6 am in a crisp cotton Saree with a big wire bag in her hand, just like an office goer. Then, goes to the nearby temple to offer her prayers before starting to the market to sell fishes. She sold fish for more than 55 years in the biggest fish market in the town and was unanimously elected as the head of the same market for more than 27 years until she got retired due to bad health. People there say she a is kind woman and took decisions considering the situation of others. She didn’t go to school but learned a bit of English and French to communicate with her customers. I still remember, she used to occupy the first stall, nearby the entrance and whenever I visited her there, she never leaves me to return empty-handed. Either it’s some fish or some snacks or some little money to spend on the way. She was also a well-disciplined woman who wants things clean and to be in place. I have never seen her using foul language, which is said to be one of the traits of fisherman here. Even Once I heard her advising her daughter to address the children with respect so that they reciprocate the same respect. Though like every other common woman of those days, she also feared the society and the norms around it. But, she very much insisted on educating the girl children. In fact, her youngest daughter is the first girl from the fishing village to go and study in a college. Isn’t she awesome?

Though she was an awesome woman, unfortunately, her personal life wasn’t great. She got married early, gave birth to 7 kids, 4 females, and 3 males. Her husband married two other women and stopped supporting the family. Singlehandedly worked hard to raise her kids, educated them and got all of them married. After their marriage, her sons started fighting for the properties which she brought out of her hard earned money. All she wanted was peace in the family, so she signed off the properties over to them with no clauses attached. But, when she started getting old, her unfaithful sons threw her out of their home and stopped supporting her. Her helper at the market who cuts and clean fishes along with her for many years took her into her family and took care of her with lots of gratitude. Then, her sons took her back to the family just for the sake of societal pressure and failed to take good care of her. Now she is no more, free from her tough life and sufferings.

If you are wondering about the relation between myself and the deceased. She is my maternal grandmother Mrs. Vanasegari and my mom is her youngest daughter. She is the one who seeded the bit of broad-mindedness into the family and I could see a lot of her traits being reflected in my mom. I pray for her beautiful soul to Rest In Peace. Will miss you, Grandma.

Where To Look Out For Best Things In Life

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” once said, Shakespeare and I agree with him. I would also like to add my own words to his, “All the world’s a school, And all the men and women merely students”. Because in life, it’s not just school or colleges where one learns his lessons. Lessons are out there everywhere, all one has to do is to keep their mind broad and open, to learn out of it. They say Buddha got enlightenment under a Banyan tree, just like him, we too get enlightened at unlikely places by unlikely people. Below is one such incident.

“All the world’s a school, And all the men and women merely students”

One thing my mom appreciates is my expertise in buying vegetables and that’s the only shopping I enjoy. I always believe that good and fresh ingredients are the basis of yummy food, that’s why I take my own time to pick them from the local market. We usually stock the vegetables for the week on the weekends. Likewise, last Sunday my mom gave me a list and asked me to get them from the market. In the market, when I tried to pick some tomatoes, I found most of them overripe and rotten. Then, I complained about the same to the shopkeeper and asked him to add some fresh stock. Next to me was an old grandma and she said: “If you don’t know to choose properly, why complain the shopkeeper” in a sarcastic tone. Those words not only touched my ego but also put a sword straight into it. Cos, All my life, that’s one of my skills I am very proud of. For a minute I let my ego settle and politely asked her to look at those tomatoes herself. Within a few minutes, she picked more than a kg of good firm tomatoes from the same pile which I complained about. I kind of feel embarrassed as the shopkeeper kinda laughed at me looking at my skills put to shame by her. But, what actually hit me like a hammer is what she said next.

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“Your generation wants everything at arm’s length and too lazy to reach for anything beyond that. You must have the patience and put some effort to search beyond other’s arm’s reach and that’s where you find good things. You people have no patience at all and easily judge on what’s outside.” She complained as she walked away. Initially, it felt like usual grumbling by elders on the current generation, but later every word made sense.

“Your generation wants everything at arm’s length and too lazy to reach for anything beyond that. You must have the patience and put some effort to search beyond other’s arm’s reach and that’s where you find good things. You people have no patience at all and easily judge on what’s outside.”

That’s my enlightenment point, at an unlikely local market by from an unlikely old grandma whom I have never met before. If I have to look back, all the great things in my life have happened beyond my comfort zone. Maybe, I should stop being impulsive and hold a bit of patience and think through while making decisions.

Keep your mind broad and open, you will have no idea when and where you will stumble upon your source of enlightenment.

Claps To UrbanClap

Unfortunately, not all of us are super skilled like my dad. He is someone who can fix electrical, plumbing and carpentry issues to an extent all by himself. At times he even mocks me by saying “You are an engineer just for namesake, you don’t know how to fix this simple thing”. All they thought me in the engineering was how to fix a bug in the code and arrest memory leak but not how to fix a fused bulb and stop the water leak. Fixing these small household issues becomes a big headache for the current generation who doesn’t want to move their a** to get things done and somehow never gets time for anything in life. The problem lies in finding skillful workers to do the job, even if we find one, they are never ready to do petty jobs.

Nowadays we got apps for almost anything and everything from booking movie tickets to ordering food home. Luckily there are a few service aggregators who can help with the above problems, but unfortunately, all of them are not trustworthy. Then there is UrbanClap (UC) which is successfully providing services since 2014. It’s been one of the trusted marketplaces to hire 80,000+ professionals for 80+ home services such as Beauty, Photography, Electricians, Plumbers and Fitness . Though I have a Rs. 200 credit to try their service, I didn’t have any requirement for the same. So, as far now, I decided to review their app.

Before jumping to their app, I played around their website for a while. The website is simple, modern and straightforward with a big services search right in the middle of their home page. The site also lists the most trending services and service listed category wise.

Home Page

Home Page

Trending Services

Trending Services

Now coming to the mobile app, the app is available for both iPhone and Android platforms. I tried the app on my android phone and it worked without any issues. The signup process was fairly simple, the users can also signup with their Google+ or Facebook too. The services can be searched directly or browsed based on the categories. The best thing is it suggests the services and professionals based on the proximity and the ratings. The app also allows the user to chat directly with the professionals for clarification and request a quote from them. The app is simple, user-friendly and provides a better experience.

I would definitely try using this app when the need arises.

This blog post is a part of the Chennai Bloggers Club campaign in association with UrbanClap.

Embarrassed – Braced – Embraced

Embarrassed

“Hey, can you help scrap some coconut for me, that’s the best way you can put your teeth to use”. I have heard many say this to me cos of my protruding teeth, some even had a nickname for me as Thenga Turuvi (Coconut Scraper). If you ask me if I am embarrassed about it, actually a big no. Scraping coconut is one of the few things I am really good at and even my mom would agree to the same. Some even ask me if I chew tobacco or do smoke cos of the hard stains on the tooth in my lower jaw. I did brush properly, but they being misaligned and crooked made it much more difficult. Again, I am not embarrassed about this either and I don’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s not an outcome of my conscience decision.  If you are wondering why the hell it’s in the title, it’s for no other reason than it rhymes with the next two words 😀 .

“I don’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s not an outcome of my conscience decision.”


Braced

I never intended to wear braces to correct my looks. One of my friends who’s a doctor saw me sleep with my mouth wide open and strongly advised me to have a check on it, as it might cause respiratory problems in the future. Then I consulted another doctor who advised me to see a dentist, as my teeth were obstructing my mouth from closing properly. I did consult a couple of dentists, they all recommended dental braces and it also required 4 of my teeth to be extracted. For a while, I was very skeptical about the teeth extraction and had a huge dilemma in proceeding further.  At the same time, my ex-colleague Mr. Balaji Rajashekar also encouraged me to wear dental braces, he even went ahead and recommended his dentist. I am mentioning his name cos his encouraging words played a major role in breaking the dilemma. But, somewhere I missed the confidence in going ahead. One big problem was most of these nearby dental clinic had a general dentist and not an Orthodontist, the one who specialized in the correction of malpositioned teeth and the jaws. After a bit of searching, I found Dr. Sanjay Jacob an Orthodontist who runs Dr. Jacobs Dentacare which is quite near to my home. When I consulted him, he said the same that the other doctors did. But he somehow gave me the confidence to get started.

It all started with tooth extraction and it was really a painful process. You don’t feel a thing when the teeth are extracted. But it slightly pains for the next couple of days and you can’t even eat the spicy food you like. The only comfort was the ice cream, which I must have after every extraction. I bet the clinic wouldn’t have seen such a notorious patient like me. When Dr. extracted my tooth, Instead of acting like being in extreme pain, I was busy clicking the extracted tooth. I even went to the extent of keeping one of my extracted teeth as a souvenir. I know that sounds really strange.

A tweet from the past 😀

Then begin the other orthodontic procedures like bonding the dental brackets and connecting them with archwire and all. I must be the most talkative and curious patient too. Whenever the Dr. begin to do something with my teeth, I never failed to ask him questions about it and he never failed to answer me patiently. There’s one thing I really hated about going to the clinic, it’s the oral lamp above the dentist chair. Most of my appointments are in the evening after my work hours and by then, my eyes are dead tired staring at the screen since morning. Now imagine a bright light above my head and what could be more irritating than staring at it for another half an hour or more with my mouth open. Yeah, I can close my eyes, but as I said I was always curious to see what he does.

I even came up with a few dentist jokes

My dentis is the only person who is capable of keeping my mouth open with out uttering a single word.

Dentist : Bi(y)te Please
Me: Bit my teeth 8 times

https://twitter.com/gokoulane/status/441760027938799616?lang=en


 Embraced

Once the braces were put on my tooth, I started embracing 2 things.

First one is my SMILE, yeah, my iconic smile. To be honest, in the beginning, I was a bit hesitant to smile with my braces. But the thing is, even I didn’t like my face without a smile on it, it even felt like not being myself. So, I threw out those fit for nothing hesitation and started to smile just like myself. As I always say, Smile is all that I have got and the following pics would tell how much I embrace my lovely smile (It’s ok if you’re not ok with the “lovely” part).

The second one is PAIN. It reminds me of one of my fav quotes, “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”. Being a foodie, It pains when you can’t eat your favorite food. It pains for 2-3 days when the braces are adjusted every 3 weeks for around 2 years. It pains when kids get scared of seeing those. It pains when people make fun of it. They say “Pain is temporary, Glory is forever”. So, I smiled and embraced it for my own glory to come.

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”

“Pain is temporary, Glory is forever”


My teeth move slowly said my dentist, probably deep down they are also as stubborn as me. It took almost 2 years to finally take them off. I still remember the day when the braces were put on my teeth, it was painful and felt too weird. That day Dr.Rachel Cherian (dentist & wife of my  dentist) comforted me that it’s gonna feel so good when they are removed. I realized her words on 7th July 2016, the day when the braces are finally removed. As she said, It felt so good and worth all the pain.


The following are some of the weight reduction style, before and after pics clicked by my dentist.

 

 

 

If “What a change over mama” is what you feel, you got a company, I too feel the same 😀 .

I dedicate this post to the man behind the smile, my awesome dentist Dr.Sanjay Jacob and my sincere thanks to him.

The story ends here, not my smiles. Be Happy, Keep Smiling.

Yet Another Souvenir : Prayer Flag

Trek to Sandakphu – Part 6 – Refreshing Rimbik And The Rest

Recap from the last post: We were at Gurdum celebrating Giri’s Bday at midnight.

30-04-2016 (Day 6) Started as usual with tea, breakfast, and our customary group pic. Just before we start to our next destination, Sowmya thought us all a lovely good night song as tonight will be the last one we all will be spending together. So, we all learned to sing the same tonight.

“The time has come to say good night, to say sleep tight till the morning light.
We’ve had so much fun today, tomorrow is just a dream away.
The time has come to say good night, it’s the end of the lovely light.”

To Be Memorized. Ordered by Sowmya Teacher

To Be Memorized. Ordered by Sowmya Teacher

Customary Group Pic. PC: Sowmya

Customary Group Pic. PC: Sowmya

I thought the last leg of the trek gonna feel tiring rather to the contrary, it felt energetic. The route was down the valley, almost flat, narrow and exciting. Since the start, we heard the flow of the water and that sound was very refreshing. Later, on our way, we saw water flow through. As it’s an unmotorable road, we saw a worker carrying a huge tank over his head. Life is not easy here and these kinda scenes make me realize that life is not easy here. After 6 km of trekking, we stopped by SriKhola (1938 m) for lunch. After our lunch, we spent some time playing with water in the nearby stream. We also did play UNO for a while before resuming our trek. It was fun crossing the iconic SriKhola Bridge. As it’s an old wooden bridge in not so good condition,only one or two persons were allowed to cross it simultaneously. After yet another 7km trek, by late noon we reached Rimbick (1917 m), our last camp. Finally, we got mobile network after 6 long days and the calls and emails began to flow. Believe me, days were much better without the network. As we saw a few MOMO shops on the way, myself and Upma planned to have some. But, all our glorious plan went in vain as the shops shut down as early ar 5 pm here. At the end, we had to console ourselves with some chocolates. To celebrate our MC Giri’s birthday, Manali & Co. surprisingly baked a yummy pressure cooker cake topped with melted Dairy Milk chocolate and Gems. The best part is that they pulled it off with limited ingredients available there. Lavanya and Lakshmi also made a yummy Paal Payasam (Kheer) to top up the celebration. After Giri’s cake cutting followed the grand dinner which officially marked the end of this awesome trek. As planned, the day got ended with Sowmya’s good night song. While my sleepy head went to bed early and dozed off, the other guys DJed and danced along with cool and awesome landlord aunt. Seems I missed so much fun.

Unusually on 1-05-2016 (Day 7) everyone woke up early and got done with our tea and toast as we had to leave early to avoid traffic on our way back to Darjeeling. It was a tiring 60 km Van ride from Rimbik to Darjeeling. Luckily we had a pitstop at Dhotrey, yeah exactly the same place where the trek started. I had one of the best chicken MOMOs of my life in a small shop there just for Rs. 30 for a plate of 8. I had 3 plates plus an Omelet, that yummy it was. The rest of the ride was spent discussing Sambar and Chennai with Sachin who hails from Mumbai. Finally, by afternoon, we reached our base camp at Darjeeling. After refreshing and collecting our certificates, we decided to spare the little time we got on shopping. All I could get was a small prayer flag and some good black tea leaves in the limited time we got.  Then, we packed our bags, bid goodbye to the beautiful Darjeeling and took a Van back to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). It is like Win Rar on vans with high compression rate, 11 of us went in the same van which usually carry 7-8 people max. All I witnessed during this ride was my favorite Thirukkural, “Anbirkum Undo Adaikkuntaal Arrvalar Punkaneer Pusal Tharum”. Which means, Is there any fastening that can shut in love? Tears of the affectionate will publish the love that is within.  We reached NJP well in advance, so we relaxingly had our dinner and boarded the Padatik Express back to Kolkatta. As they say, history repeats itself, this time also a family requested me and nigilan to take the upper berth as they got women and children, and as usual, we happily agreed.

I woke up on Day 8 (2-05-2016) and not so soon I realized that we are running late. As out train was delayed for more than an hour, we had to skip our breakfast and rush to the airport to catch our flight back to Chennai. The sad part is that we didn’t even have time to buy Rasagulla which I promised to many. After munching some MOMOs at the airport, we boarded our flight by 11ish and landed back in Chennai by the afternoon. Once I was out of the airport I could feel the harsh Sun rays on my skin and could hear it whisper “Welcome home my boy”. This is what I have been missing for the past 10 days and nothing feels like home. As I was too hungry then and as Sudhakaran a.k.a puppy decided to give me some company, we hit our favorite Biryani place before returning back home.

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To be preserved. ID sealed and signed by all camp in charge. PC: Jai

 

Epilogue

Now don’t ask me where is the Prologue or search for it, it’s not there.
This trip was a super awesome one. It still feels like a dream, cos it’s something I did much out of my comfort zone. The high altitudes, the harsh cold temperature, the language and the food, all those are really out of my league, but somehow I managed. What makes travel more interesting than the places are the people. The whole group along with our guides made this trek a memorable one. I should really thank Buddy Jai, Nigilan, and Puppy who urged me to join this trek in the first place.

I recommend each one of you to travel. For me, traveling is not going on a tour with everything planned. It’s an adventure where you aren’t planned for everything. Traveling gives you lots of exciting experiences, open your taste buds to awesome food, befriend strangers and at the end, you will have quite a lot of interesting stories to narrate, just like this. All you must do is shed your comfort a little bit and there’s a lot of adventure out there to last you a lifetime.

The End.