Tag Archives: Chennai

Trip To Remember – The Valley Of Flowers Trek – Part 1

Been a while since I wrote a trek series, the last one was the Sar Pass way back in 2017. It’s not like I went on a trek and didn’t write a word about it. I skipped the trekking trip in 2018 due to my wedding and went on a short trip to Amritsar, Delhi & Agra and honeymoon trip to Meghalaya. So when my friends were planning for the Valley Of Flowers, I jumped on the wagon with no hesitation.

Before marriage, I would simply inform my parent a day prior then pack my bags and go on trips. But the post-marriage scenario is a bit different and it would be worst on my part if I don’t credit my lovely wife here. She really understands my love for traveling and super supportive of me going on this trip in spite of some resistance from my family. So, thanks a lot Banksy, it was one much-needed trip for me.

As they say, any trip is good just as much as your company. So I better introduce the people who made this trip most memorable. To start with, it’s Jayashree (a.k.a Buddy) and Nigilan, yes the same friends from all of my previous treks and many other trips before. Then we had Thiyagarajan (a.k.a Thiyaga), the Thagappa/Daddy of the gang who was part of my first Sandakphu Trek. What’s charm without new people, we had Govindarajan (a.k.a Govi) and Himakar (a.k.a Hima) who are the work buddies of Jayashree.

This time also our trek was with the Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI) and the main reason for this being their nominal price for the amenities they provide. Though the trek was scheduled for July the planning for the same has started well in advance by Jan. This helped us to register for the trek before the slots get filled, apply for leaves well in advance, and book flight tickets before the price goes sky high.

Day 0: 26th July 2019

In spite of all those advance planning, I was due shopping and packing with just less than a day left. Thanks to the gang for sharing one elaborate checklist which helped to a greater extent. I began my shopping only post afternoon and somehow completed the same by the eve. However, the mammoth task of packing was still pending. Finally, with some extra helping hands from my wife, I finished packing just before midnight. Seems I took the words packing at the 11th hour quite seriously 😀

Finally ....

Day 1: 27th July 2019

With our flight from Chennai to Dehradun via Hyderabad scheduled for departure at 11.15 AM, all of us reached the airport around 10 am and checked in on time. Nigilan was the only exception as he told he would be flying directly from Bengaluru via Mumbai. After roughly an hour in the sky, we reached Hyderabad airport. To our surprise, Nigilan was there at Hyderabad Airport awaiting us. In the meantime waiting to board the connecting flight, we munched on some overpriced airport restaurants. It was around 4.15 pm when we touched down at the Dehradun Jolly Grant airport. I was super excited to set foot on a state that I have never been to. Happy to cross one more from my list. From there, we hired a prepaid taxi and headed straight to our base camp at Rishikesh.

Upon arriving at the base camp, we completed our registration process and were allocated rooms. While repacking our stuff, we all realized that we missed packing a few small items. So, we decided to pay a visit to the nearby market for some quick shopping. After done with shopping amidst some surprise rains, we felt hungry and decided to have something light like a snack. Our search narrowed on a newly opened restaurant that served hot samosas, Kachoris, and fresh Ghewar. Back to the base camp, we separately packed the extra clothes and deposited the same before having our dinner. Before heading to the bed, we were all instructed by our camp leader to wake up and get ready by early morning 5 am. That’s how one awesome day came to an end.

 

 

To be continued …

The Stained and Strained Collars

The International Workers Day or Labour Day is just around the corner. As much as the significance of the day, this short, quick and dirty blog post also aims to celebrate the working class across the world.

“Uzhaippali Illatha” song from the movie “Uzhaiplai” is always the first thing that would strike my mind every time I think of the Labours Day, followed by the famous Triumph of Labour statue by Marina Beach. I am yet to hear another song that glorifies the significance of the workforce as much as this one.

Whenever we think of this day, we mostly relate it to the blue collar workers, the stained collars who do the manual labor. Undoubtedly, they are the most suppressed workforce throughout history. We tend to often sympathize them when we learn about their hardships. But, what we fail to do is to empathize and that includes me too.

A week back, I was a bit furious with a delivery person for canceling my order and with the other not delivering my lunch on time. Then a couple of days back, a few relatives dropped by home for lunch. So, my family tasked me to pick up food from the same restaurant where I ordered last week. I felt burned out just for one trip to the restaurant and back in the hot Chennai sun. It took doses of juice and a long afternoon sleep to completely recover from the fatigue. At that point in time, all I could think off was the delivery guys whom I was furious with. Probably, next time when someone comes to deliver in the hot sun, I would give them something cool to drink or give them some extra tips. Among all their struggles to make their ends meet, these little things might put a smile on their face and keep them going.

With enough being said on the suppressed sect, let me jump to the depressed sect. Yes, If you have guessed it right, I am talking about the white collar workers, the strained collars who are tied to their desk forever. Typically, we tend to oversee their strains. Maybe cos they don’t have to do any physical labor. Maybe, cos they dress neat and work comfortably in an AC office. But, on the flip side, they are the ones who suffer the maximum from the mental health problems as a result of workplace stress. Lack of work-life balance and physical activities put them under the high risk of inducing major lifestyle-related conditions such as depression, insomnia, hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases.

Self note: So, my dear desk clinging friend, it’s high time you keep a check on your mental as well as physical health.

Wish the stains wash away and the strains loosen up and relax. Happy International Workers Day.

Trip To Remember – Amritsar, Delhi & Agra – Part 4

A quick recap from the blog post in this series. Taking off from Chennai, we landed in Delhi. From there, we embarked upon a journey to one of my dream destination, Amristar via train. Visiting the golden temple was definitely one of the blissful experiences in my life. Then, a long day well spent roaming around Delhi visiting the Lotus Temple and the Akshardham Temple. The last thing I could remember was sleeping on the couch in the hostel’s common area exhausted.

Day 4 – 31st March 2018

We woke up around 3 am and departed to Agra by cab around 4 am. Both Alex & Ali got other plans, but Daniele & Justin paired with us for this trip. Sincere thanks to countless movies and songs references as the symbol of eternal love. Not to mention, the numerous portraits and souvenirs I see in the houses I visit. All these got me curious about this place and always wanted to visit there since my childhood. No introductions needed and yes, you guessed it right. It’s none other than one of the seven wonders of the world, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal, meaning “Crown of the Palaces” is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan, the builder. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall. – Wikipedia

We started quite early with an intention to catch the sheer beauty sun raise over the dome of Taj Mahal. But, unfortunately, we marginally missed it as we reached Agrad only by 7 am. The 230 km long drive along the Yamuna Highway was bit consoling as I got to catch up with some sleep.

Silhouette of the beauty as seen from the Yamuna Highway

No wonder it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. In spite of being there quite early in the morning, we had to wait in a long queue for tickets and security check before entering the premise. It felt overwhelming to see tourists around the globe traveling all the way to catch a glimpse of this beauty. In the meanwhile waiting in the queue something interesting happened. One of the CISF officers managing the security check casually enquired about our whereabouts. After a few mins of conversation, it turned out that his in-laws were the neighbors of Remya and they started discussing the common people they know. Such a small world, isn’t it?

Ticket to the paradise. With QR code.

A few steps ahead welcomed us the gigantic and tall Grand Gate, made of red stones with beautiful marble works. My excitement skyrocketed as we passed the main gateway.

In no time, I got lost in quite a familiar view composed of gardens, fountains and pathway leading to a giant white mausoleum. The same view that got featured in millions of photos, postcards and wallpapers. That’s the mighty Taj Mahal, I told myself for a reality check.

The most familiar view – The Poem Of Eternal Love On White Marble

Here comes the best part. When you go near and realize that it was nothing like what you have imagined all your life. Actually, it was much more huge and majestic than what I have imagined. OMG, the large main dome and the tall minarets, I stood there awestruck by its splendor. My thoughts weren’t around either Shahjahan, not Mumtaz or their eternal love. Rather on the hard work of those awesome artisans, craftsmen and builders who worked relentlessly to create this marvel.

Up close the beast with the beauty

White marbles and intricate inlay works made it look like a poem. As they say, the poem of eternal love on white marble. Our curiosity made us stand in the long queue that leads to the inner chambers of the mausoleum where Shahjahan and Mumtaz rest forever.

The Gang – Smiles on, in spite of a tiring day

By noon we were out of the super crowded Taj Mahal campus tired and hungry as always. After done with our lunch at a nearby restaurant, we headed straight back to Delhi. Wait, there is no way I am leaving Agra without getting some mouthwatering Agra ka Petha.

Back to Delhi, my self and Kavin took a short trip to Connaught Place (CP) to meet her friends in a resto-bar. Back at the hostel, we had a relaxing evening at the rooftop garden with fellow hostelers. Finally, a well-rested night in the last 5 days and that’s how an awesome day came to an end.

Fun time – Clicked using Danielle’s Polaroid

Day 5 – 1st March 2018

Woke up, packed our bags and checked out of the hostel. Then straightaway rushed to the airport to catch our morning flight en route to Chennai. It was one hell of a trip and was quite sad that it came to an end. Back at the Chennai airport, I decided to end my trip with a Biriyani as a tradition. While Remya, Shashi and Shalini decided to head back home, Kavin joined me for some yummy Biriyani. With multiple choices, we narrowed upon Sukkubhai Biryani that’s known for its Beef Biriyani and it’s proximity to the airport added to our advantage. On our way to the restaurant, Kavin surprised me with an awesome northern light painting and a hand-painted bookmark. Thanks a ton, Kavin, means a lot.

Oil painting and Bookmark

 

After munching on the succulent Beef Biriyani I headed back home and that’s how yet another awesome trip came to an end. Definitely, it’s a trip to remember.

The End.

Thank You 2018 Welcome 2019

I wished to continue the trip to remember series but in my case wishes seldom realize. Time constraint usually sounds like a good problem to have (KP hope you read this :D) and it’s easy to shift the blame on it. Behind the scenes stands new responsibilities and complete mismanagement of time.

It’s been a while since I wrote a year-end note, the last one was way back in Dec 2013. This 2018 being quite a pivotal year in my life, I indeed feel indebted to write about it.

My top 9 Instagram pics

 

Dear 2018,
I got to thank you for a lot of things. At the top of the list is my marriage with Banupriya. Our first meeting was in February, since then it was one hell of an exciting journey together. Eventually, we got engaged in March and got married in August.

Professionally, it has been one hell of a ride. My 8-year long stint at INXS/Market Simplified came to an end in November. Following the same, I joined a multinational bank. Moving from a fintech startup to a financial conglomerate, Isn’t it quite contrasting?. Currently, I feel like a pond fish that’s learning to swim in an ocean. Eventually, will learn to survive, sustain and hope to excel.

Though I missed my annual trek trip this year, I more or less compensated it with a dream trip to Amritsar, Agra, and Delhi. Visiting the Golden Tempe at Amritsar was one of the most memorable and blissful experiences of the trip. The list doesn’t end there, a few brief trips to Pondicherry, Banglore, and Hyderabad kept my traveler’s spirit moving. To conclude, the jewel in the crown was our trip to the most mesmerizing Meghalaya for our honeymoon. Undoubtedly the best trip of the year.

Once started as a hobby to fill the void and get connected to people, collecting and writing postcards have become almost an addiction. Later this year, my collection crossed 100 countries mark. With a long way to go, I thank everyone who helped me in this so far.

Last but not least. Thanks, for all the fun and great moments with my friends. I do cherish each one of them. I don’t mind getting greedy and wish for more.

On the downside, my fitness went into the drain. I didn’t run or cycle much in this whole year, almost negligible. But, I did learn a bit of swimming early in the year. Wish I continued the same.

Dear 2019,
I welcome you with open arms. As usual, I don’t want to tax you with resolutions and unrealistic expectations. All I can ask is, kindly be fair and square to me. Give me all motivation to restart my running and cycling. Give me all the strengths to face my challenges. Keep everyone happy and smiling. May the force be with you.

For The First Time – A Pantomime In Tamizh

Apart from R.S.Manohar’s drama at my school, Crazy Mohan and Kathadi Ramamoorthy drama at Raja Annamalai Mandram and Short & Sweet last year, I haven’t watched much of stage plays in my life. So, I was really excited when I was invited to watch “KoKo – A Pantomime in Tamil” a Tamizh play this weekend (12.03.2017). One of the perks of being a part of an awesome group like The Chennai Bloggers Club is that you get invited to such interesting events. Initially, I was quite confused about the term “Pantomime“. So, a little bit of Googling helped.

“Pantomime (informally panto), is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is still performed throughout the United Kingdom, generally during the Christmas and New Year season”

koko

The play opened with a spectacular shadow show aided with computer animation projected on the screen. The story starts with Chicki (Vikas), a Hen running for life from a Butcher (Hemanth) and struggling hard to save her egg in spite of multiple mishaps. Her struggle reminded me of the “Oodinal Oodinal, Vazhkaiyin Oorathirkey Oodinal” dialogue from the movie Parasakthi. Later she meets 3 circus artists Joe (Sidarth), Joko (Naresh) and Raga (Sujay) who gives her shelter and protects the egg at the time of a natural calamity.

As the time pass by, Chicki becomes an integral part of their lives while the embryo starts growing inside the shell. One thing that awestruck me was the projection of stages of embryo growth on the egg shell. Bravo, bravo guys. One fine day the egg hatches into a chick and they name her “KoKo”. She becomes the pivotal character of the story and rest revolves around her life, interests, friendship and her struggle to keep up with the expectations of her mom Chicki.

KoKo

Have never before reviewed a movie or a play and hope I will not in future. I am more of a common spectator than a critic, I neither know the standards of the art forms nor its nuances. In my view, it’s a mind-blowing play. I enjoyed every bit of it. Most of the time, I found myself laughing and clapping out of control. Kudos to Sravanth, the director for giving us an amazing play. Acting isn’t an easy job, that too acting in front of live audience. What can I say about these Incredible actors who acted this play? They could not only act, emote and bring the characters to life but also could dance, sing, juggle, do hula hoop, aerial silk and what not. It’s not just the acting, the dialogues and the music rocked too. The song “KoKo Kannama, Pogathey Chellamma” still resonates in my ears, wish I could listen to it again.

All these time I was ranting that we lost talent and creativity referring to the terribly boring TV soaps and movies. After watching the play, I realized that we aren’t deficient of creativity but the shortage of opportunity for the one who deserves. I really wish that the talented ones like MacTrics (the KoKo crew) gets more opportunity. I appreciate Shraddha Theatres and the producers who bought this play on the stage.

I highly recommend each and every parent to watch this play along with their kids. Though it’s highly entertaining, I assure you, there will be a lot to take back home and discuss. I wouldn’t mind watching this play again and give a standing applause at the end. All the very best team, Wish you more plays to come.

P.S: Joko, If you are reading this, You made me laugh the most. I became your fan.

P.P.S: Joe, you kinda look like Cricketer Ishant Sharma. 😀

P.P.P.S: Raga, Such a calm and wise appearance you have got.

P.P.P.P.S: Chicki, Next time when I see a Hen, I am gonna remember you only.

P.P.P.P.P.S: KoKo, You are adorable.

My Love Turns 50

When my beloved Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC) came up with this “love theme” contest for the Valentine’s Day, I was thinking of too many things to write. At a point even thought to drop out of it. But today, it hit my mind that there wouldn’t be a better moment than now to write about her. So, this contest is just a reason to write about her.

If someone asks me, what’s the best thing happened in my life so far, I would blindly point to her. I might be one of the worst things happened to her, I am such a disappointment as ever and she really deserves someone better. I have been troubling her for a few years now, 28 years and 6 months to be precise. I am 27 years and 8 months, have also added the 10 months that I troubled her in her womb. Yeah, this post is about my dear mom.

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#MomAndMe #Mom #Love #Smile #happyme

A post shared by Gokoulane Ravi (@gokoulane) on

Yaay, she is turning 50 today (20th Feb). It’s hard to believe she is 50, Afterall age is just a number. Haven’t planned any gift for her yet. Least I could do is write a blog post dedicated to her.

Probably she is the one with whom I had fought, argued, debated, disagreed and discussed the most. She had all the patience in the world to put up with a messy kind like me and yet be selfless and supportive. What really surprises me is her broadmindedness, which is a very rare trait from the people of a similar background of her generation. She would guess my mood even without me uttering a word and that’s a great instinct she’s got. She is very sweet. All my friends love her, not only for her yummy food but also her friendlier way of treating them. She has supported me in all my pursuits, she is the one who even insisted my dad to get me a computer. I can keep going on about her and exhaust the words. So, let me stop here.

If you are wondering what kinda guy write about his mother for Valentine’s day post, yes, you are right, the one who doesn’t have a girlfriend. Just wondering is Valentine’s Day is only meant for couples?. I think we should take a chance to celebrate numerous love and friendships in our life. For me, my mom’s love is the most selfless love that I have ever felt. She will be my valentine forever.

Wish her a great health and awesome years ahead. Love You Ma.

This post is written for the ‘love theme’ contest by The Chennai Bloggers Club in association with Woodooz and Indian Superheroes.

The Story Of The Random Postcards

The day was great with me messing up with the work and awarded with a sarcastic comment from my boss. I returned home drained and all I wished was the great day to end momentarily. But, back at home awaited a surprise. As I entered the home, my mom handed a square-shaped envelope over to me. The envelope was from the CzechRepublic and bore the name of someone I never heard of. The envelope contained an awesome Minion Christmas card and a tiny 2017 calendar. I stood bewitched wondering how the sender knows that Minions are my favorite and that card made my day. That’s not the only instance where a postcard from totally random people put a big smile on my face. Thanks to Postcrossing.

The following is what beloved Wikipedia got to tell about Postcrossing. To know more about Postcrossing, read their FAQ page.

“Postcrossing is an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards from all over the world. The project’s tagline is “send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!” Its members, also known as postcrossers, send postcards to other members and receive postcards back from other random postcrossers. Where the postcards come from is always a surprise.”

I randomly stumbled upon Postcrossing while I was searching for places to buy postcards in Chennai to send to a friend in Australia. I found the concept interesting and gave it a try.  My very first postcard was to Russia on 19th Sep 2016 and the first one I received was from CzechRepublic on 14th October 2016. Since then I have sent 25 cards in which 7 of them are still in transit. I have also received 18 cards from various countries across the world.

Postcrossing not only enables random people to exchange postcards, it also contribute to the conservation of fading art of snail mails in this world of e-mail and social media. The fact that some random unrelated person spending a few mins of his life in writing and posting a postcard is what that delight me when I receive one. Each and every card you receive is a surprise. It might come from a 17-year-old boy or 67-year-old granny, it might be from well know countries such as Germany or from countries that you have never heard of such as Latvia and Belarus. Apart from the cards, the stamps on them are also equally interesting. All you have to do is send one, keep calm and wait for another one to hit your postbox as it takes an average of 15 days for a postcard to get delivered.

 

postcrossigstats

My Postcrossing Stats

 

If you are someone who wish to connect to rest of the world and have all the patience to do it via one of the slowest modes of communication then Postcrossing is one of the best hobbies for you. My subsequent post might be on from where I source the postcards, Postcrossing community in India and postage details. Till then, Happy Postcrossing.