Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My darling buddy's engagement!!!

I was eagerly looking up to this event and eventual trip to Jalgaon not only because it was one of my best buddy's engagement, but also because a couple of my old hostel buddies would be there!

Trip didn't start well, planning went a little wrong. Confused, I didn't buy tickets for my bro. Later we managed to give a call and book an extra ticket though. But the tirade we had was really bad! Then, one of our buddies had to cut the plans for some urgent crisis needed his attention. Then, my friend, Sandwich (aka. Nautical, High Volume Low Density, Romi, or even Romesh occasionally) got off from rickshaw at wrong place. None tooooo serious, but all these looked as a premonition to spoiling the whole of trip. Thank GOD, I was wrong!

Journey in semi-sleeper was good, though the window did open every 15 minutes to let a strong jet of freezing cold air onto me. I had to get up and close it every so often. But nothing spoiled the talk that I had with Sandwich. He's in India Navy and I wanted to know everything he did and does almost instantly! The bus did breakdown 2-3 times and caused a delay of 2 hrs. But as we reached Jalgaon there was someone ready to pick us up. Once at hotel, we had a bath, shaved, brushed our teeth, and had good amount of tea. At least trip was getting exciting now.

(L-R: Sandwich and Vabs in hotel lobby)

(L-R: Sandwich and myself. That's Sandwich's much revered Indian Navy ID card I'm holding!)

We then reached Bansi's place. (Bansi is also known as Vinay Bansal, Paneer, or Punjabi du..., well last name's censored for general public!) Nothing could beat the fun of getting with old timers and talk about lovely days spent at hostel: those lovely moments spent together, studying in PL, cursing mess food, cursing the college, playing pranks on each other, going out for dinner, mess duties, volleyball tournaments, getting fired by rector, sneaking out for a movie, reading magazines (you know which ones ;-) ) taking care of each other when we were sick, and above all, pulling each other legs on stupid mistakes!!! The list can just go on.

After really heavy breakfast, we drove to Shirpur, 101 kms from Jalgaon, to Payal Bhabhi's hometown where engagement was scheduled to take place. That journey was memorable too. The whole day we kept on eating like bottomless pits, and blabbering on and on and on as if there's no tomorrow!

(L-R: Sandwich and Bansi, Dhulae Raja-to-be!)

Being Bansi's closest buddies we enjoyed good deal of attention! It was fun harassing Bansi in front of bhabhi, who sweetly took everything in the right spirit, though internally she must have felt like killing us ;-) Myself, Vabs & Sandwich had to make a premature departure since we had a bus booked back to Pune the same day. So, with his Mom-Dad's permission, we moved out. None of us felt like coming back. And that desire only grew stronger as we waited for 2 good hours for the bus to take off! Felt like running back and giving all a pleasant surprise. But we all had commitments of next day to honour and had to be back on time, while the rest of gang drove off to a resort and had MORE fun there! Journey back was also marked by constant exchange of happenings in each other's life. Man, I can't wait to be at his wedding now! Wish it will be MORE fun than this!

Charming Bansi and Sweet Bhabhi:

Bansi has now entered a stage, envied by all married & revered by bachelors to be the most exciting phase of marriage: post engagement and pre-marriage! All the best Bansi & Bhabhi, from all of us! Yes, after all it's first of my close buddies' engagement, I have all right to be as excited!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Coma already liking it!

Coma, by Robin Cook, is regarded, by many, as pinnacle of medical thriller! Now I now know why! After a really long hiatus, with effort, I have re-started reading. Piles of unread books in the library really hurts, you know!Just 21-31 pages into it, and I'm already liking it! WOW! Scene in the first few pages sent chills down my spine. Since last 2 days I've been reading it till I drop asleep in my bed and my mom then has to come over and switch off the lights. Wish I could read it faster. What are you waiting for???? Just grab a copy and devour it right away!!!

Take my word for it, it's an amazing non-put-downable page turner.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Upcoming Movies: A quick preview

It is after a LONG LONG time I managed to get a quick preview of some of the trailers. So...
Here you go buddies, list of hand-picked movies to expect, which would be worth watching in 2007, at least the trailers makes me think so. Though, it would be anywhere between half a year to a year that these movies will be released here in India. Genres vary from thriller, drama, horror to action.
Note: You better have high speed net connection to watch them!

1. 300 (Warner Bros.)
Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite.

2. Deja Vu (Touchstone)
(Watch out for Denzel Washington!)
It is deja vu that unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin through an investigation into a shattering crime. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover that what most people believe is only in their heads is actually something far more powerful.
Adding a new level to the investigation is a top-secret FBI invention, which allows a select group to view the past on screen as if it had been videotaped days earlier.

3. Blood Diamond (Warner Bros.)
It Will Cost You Everything!
A farmer, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

4. Breach (Universal)
Inspired by the true story of the greatest security breach in U.S. history!!!
FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was ultimately convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

5. Perfume (Dream Works SKG)
He lived to find beauty. He killed to possess it!
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with no sense of odor, develops a superior olfactory sense, which he uses to create the world's finest perfumes. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.

6. Premonition (Sony Pictures)
Reality is only a nightmare away!
A housewife is shocked when her husband dies in a car crash and reappears the next day. She realizes it was a premonition and tries to avoid the tragedy.

7. Primeval (Touchstone)
A news team is sent to South Africa to capture and bring home a legendary 25-foot crocodile. Their difficult task turns potentially deadly when a warlord targets them for death.

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Warner Bros.)
Strange events are occurring in New York City, and the Turtles are needed more than ever, but Raphael... hey, watch the trailer and you tell me the rest!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Don't watch DOA

Take a piece of my advise and don't watch this movie: Dead or Alive, DOA. I know that looking at the movie posters you might very much be tempted to do exactly the opposite, just like me ;-) ! Of course if you are a teenager, you might end being a die hard fan of this movie. Or if you have nothing else to do and just want to kill time watching the bikini-clad babes on action spree, GO FOR IT! For at least one thing, it's worth watching Holly Valance, she's just GOD damned soooo se... err... beautiful!

BTW, if you get hold of the DVD, without spending too much money (not more than 30/-) watch it, you won't regret, at least for Holly!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Vacation to Far East: Itinerary

In continuation to my earlier post: Vacation to Far East: Avoid Travel Agencies! which grew too long to include detailed intnerary...

Here's my detailed itinerary. I've included hotel names, you can use them for reference when you plan your own trip. Most of the hotels were good, except where noted.

Day 0 27-Oct-06
  • Assemble at Sahar International Airport

Day 1 28-Oct-06
  • Arrive at Kuala Lumpur Air port
  • Crash into hotel "First World" at Genting High Land
  • Outdoor Theme Park at Genting

Day 2 29-Oct-06
  • Arrive in Kuala Lumpur
  • Hotel Grand Continental

Day 3 30-Oct-06 (still in Kuala Lumpur)
  • Half Day City Tour (Man, we missed going on top of Petronas Tower, it's closed for visitors on Mondays)
  • Train to Singapore, at night

Day 4 31-Oct-06
  • Arrive in Singapore in early morning at Hotel "Windsor"
  • Shopping the whole day!

Day 5 01-Nov-06
  • Half Day City Tour
  • Sunset Sentosa: Sentosa Island (one of the sexiest place out there!)

Day 6 02-Nov-06
  • Board the flight to Bangkok
  • Drive to Pattaya, hotel Beverly Plaza (this wasn't a great hotel)
  • Alkazar Show

Day 7 03-Nov-06
  • Coral Island Tour: Another SEXY place!

Day 8 04-Nov-06
  • Drive to Bangkok hotel "Bangkok Palace" (Baiyoke Sky Hotel is much better, but we didn't get a room there)

Day 9 05-Nov-06

Day 10 06-Nov-06
  • Half Day City Tour

Day 11 07-Nov-06
  • Shopping
  • Alas!!!! Flight back to Mumbai

Vacation to Far East: Avoid Travel Agencies!

I know buddies that it has beeen really long that you guys are eagerly waiting for the next post... but as you might have guessed, things are not cool here :-( with 3-4 releases AT A TIME on my head, it is not easy to handle :-( I have an angry boss after me, too much work to complete, loads of personal work to do at home, angry friends, angry family, etc.......zzzzzz hey you there, please don't sleep!!! I'm coming to the point...

Before I post Day-01, I would like to talk about the travel plans aka itinerary. Would have made more sense had it been before Day 00 post.

Everything was planned by my Godfather, since he has been there 'n' times. He knew all the streets byheart, which Indian restaurant to have food at, what places to visit, what places NOT to visit, etc. Bookings for hotels, flights, private mini-van, etc. were done via an agent in Mumbai. Since it was a private tour, we had the luxury to cut the crap and only visit the places that are worth our time.

Here's one lesson I've learnt: Never, never, never, never, ever, go through any damn tours and travels agency!!! (For records, we had booked with a travel agency, but thank God, we cancelled it over some issue with the their attitude!) You have hundreds of advantages when you don't go in with tours, will try to list a few, to keep this post short(???):

1. You are 'free'!!! And that matters! (Ever heard of FSF?)
You are tired today, and want to just go somewhere closeby you can do that. You are not interested in historical monuments, you can cut it off!!! You want to visit a nearby park, you can visit it. You can do anything you want to!!! You can alter your plans on the fly! We saw the plight of a group who HAD to get their a$es up at 6 in the morning and join the parade to board the bus, roam around aimlessly around the city and crash in the bed at the end of the day. Too mechanical. You guessed it right, they were with some travel agency. If we felt toooooo tired, we could just spend an hour extra in the bed and then make up for it by hurrying on breakfast, or shopping, or skipping places or two.

2. Privacy: Matters a LOT when you are your own group of 10-20 people.
You can be just yourself! If, like me, you don't like tooooooo much crowd, avoiding with tours agency would be disappointing. You will have a bus full of people with everywhere you go. Most of whom you don't know, lest, you might not even be interested in knowing them. Of course unless there are beautifu......

3. Save on time: You don't necessarily have to visit every God damned historical monument only because it's free of cost! The Tours' people will insist on it just to say that he showed you so many places. With them, you can't just walk out of the group.

4. Save on money: I don't have the exact metrics, but you do save a lot, because you are cutting down 1 level of indirection. Besides whatever you save is worth it, even after taking into account the effort you have to put in planning it. You can actually save more if you eliminate the agent by booking things online.

Well, there's one disadvantage, if you are pure vegetarian like my gang. Difficult to get good vegetarian food out in Far East. This is the only point where travel angecies have advantage: they usually take their own cooks & so is easier to cook to travellers' taste and needs.

But that said and noted, nothing just falls into your lap. You should have GOOD prior study of places of interest, how to reach there, time it takes to commute, means of commuting, entry fee if any (after all the trouble it should be afforable!), etc. Most often, you will find all the relevant info on net. There are some books like Lonely Planet which are talked about by travel enthusiasts. Don't have personal opnion on that book, though. And other very reliable way is to talk to people who have already been there.

(Note: detailed itinerary in next post, this got tooooooo big: Vacation to Far East: Itinerary!)