Monday, January 29, 2007

Tring tring..."Hello...Who's there??.."


Hello ma’am.. this is Bharath Vilas calling from $$$$$$ airlines…Am I talking to Ms “She”??


Yes…that’s me…what is it?


Oh… good evening ma’am. I just called to let you know that your tickets are booked and your payment is due…


(???) Tickets?? What tickets??


Ma’am… the two return tickets you had booked from Bangalore to Mumbai on 1st Nov and return on 4th Nov…


(???) I never booked any such tickets…


But ma’am we have a booking in your name. You are… Ms “She” rite??


(intrigued) yes… that’s me


And your permanent address is &&&&& and your DOB DD-MM ??


(OMG!!!) Yes it is… (Sounding desperate) … but I did not book any of those tickets… When were this booked?


On 21st October ma’am


(Sounding at sea) … but… I didn’t… (silence)… how were the tickets booked?


They were booked against your Credit Card ma’am


Which credit card?

X (???)

ICICI (??)


But… that card is no more valid… I had cancelled it long back


(wow! That worked!! Wasn't prepared for that...lucky fluke!! :-))But ma’am… our details show that the card is still up and running. I have just confirmed the other details to you, regarding the card.


(Now sounding frightened) Please let me call my bank, and clarify. I’ll call you after that


Sure ma’am. But please do it at the earliest. If you don’t make a payment by tomorrow, we’d be forced to charge it on your card. And if you plan to cancel it at this point of time, you would still be forfeiting 80% of the ticket expenses ma’am.


(Terrified!!) No… let me call my bank first…




( Don’t know what that reaction was… sounded like a mix of anger, relief, confusion and irritation all at once) … Who’s this?? (Now… positively irked)




(Probably, fists clenched, teeth ground… and fiery eyes) Who’s this… I had a feeling it might be a prank… WHO IS THIS??


Ha Ha Ha… You know me very well… I’m your neighbour at your native place… sure you don’t have many of them, who talk as much?? (LOL)


Oh… its you “X”… (Huge sigh of relief)… Oh my God!! I was so scared.. how…?


He he he… so… you fell for it?? (She’d fallen hook, line and sinker… but still not in no mood to let her off the hook!!!)


OMG!! You really scared me… and you were so smooth and that tone of yours… OMG!! You can become a professional conman!! (Still breathing deeply, to regain composure!!)


He he… well… I don’t know if your are giving me a compliment or cursing me… but still… thanks for that!!


OMG!! Seriously… I knew my card was cancelled, and even then, I was forced to think that it had been misused, when you said this…


He he… Now… I’m sorry for scaring you… Just wanted to play this prank on you… By the way… you are victim number 11 for me. 8 out of the previous 10 people were challenged by me, that I’d call them, in some way like that, and fool them… And yet… they fell for it… You still were a person who wasn’t (fore)warned…


But even then… you were too good…

The conversation continued after that… like any other chat between friends, talking to each other after a blue moon…

X – Devil de dasi :-)

She – A hapless friend of mine… (Name withheld on request!! :-))

All of you… BEWARE!!... You… could be the next in the firing line!! :-)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I say...

"Whatever happens, does not necessarily happen for the good, on its own...
Its upto you, as to how much good you can make out of what happens to you..."

"Behind the confidence, flawlessness and success stories of every perfectionist,
Are countless instances of grit, perseverance, introspection, and an unshakeable belief in oneself"

Friday, January 19, 2007

I say...

"The difference between the could-have-done's and the have-done's
Is the difference between the wishful thinkers, and the go-getters!"
- Subhash

Quotes, by some of the who's who have always inspired me - simply because of their ability to impart profound insight, in just a few words...

This one, i have come up with, from my own experience... Some day, when I become one of the "who's who"... some one will quote me, in his blog, speech or write-up!!


Monday, January 15, 2007

My Kemmannugundi Bike Trip

(Photos of the trip are here)

Ever since, Dimmy has come into my life, I had been planning to go out with her, on a long trip. And this dream of mine finally materialized on the last weekend – 13 and 14 Jan 2007.

Oh!! Sorry… haven’t introduced you to Dimmy… Dimmy is my sweetheart, my aide, my companion, almost everywhere I go outside… My Bajaj Discover 125 cc :-) And although Bajaj advertises its latest bikes – Pulsar and Discover – as ‘Definitely Male’, I prefer referring my bike ‘her’, coz I feel this compounds the feeling of intimacy I share with her!! :-)

So then… back to my trip! Winter-spring is the best time, be it for a trek, a normal trip, or a bike trip for that matter. And I was just waiting for the New Year, coz I was pretty busy during the entire early winter. I had to miss out on the bike trip to Wayanad, done by my gang of best friends at office, coz I was going back to my native, during the Christmas weekend, when they had gone. And their snaps from that trip helped me strengthen my resolve that I would be going on a bike trip on the 13th, 14th and 15th of Jan – the next three day weekend ahead of me.

Now, it was only the question of who would join me… I started by suggesting it to the same gang of friends who’d been to Wayanad. They threw up their hands saying they were far too tired to do another bike trip in the next half a dozen months. I then asked Shalu di. She was very excited about the idea, and tried asking if any of her friends would join her. But not finding much support, and not very sure about being able to tolerate the stress of a two-day bike trip, she eventually dropped out, for a one-day cave exploration plan to Antaragange on 13th Jan.

I then fell back on my old gang of friends, who, incidentally, had been with me on my last bike trip to Mysore, that too on Sankranti (jan 14th) exactly a year back – Nammi, Maani and Shetty (aka Namit, Nithin and Adesh) Mails started floating around, with a couple of other friends of Nammi also in loop. Until the night of 12th, it looked to me that it would be just the three of us – me, Nammi and Maani (Shetty dropped out coz of a release next week)

Although Nammi is a staunch believer of not planning any such trip in advance, and rather deciding the previous evening and starting out the next day, I did my ground work, and searched for info on the net about Kemmannugundi. And luckily for me, I hit upon Uday Negimaki’s blog. He and his friends had been to a bike trip to Kemmannugundi themselves, and the amount of detail I got from that detailed account, convinced me that Murphy’s laws would have a minute chance in our trip.

12th Jan 07

Nammi called at 10 pm. I was beginning to wonder why he hadn’t called until then…

I : Hi buddy… so.. Your bags packed?? Me almost done. Will be at your place in another hour and we can leave early tomorrow morning

He: ???? Going where?? Don’t tell me… you serious??? Are we really going tomorrow?? Who else??

I: (clenching my fists) Dumbo!! You think I have no better work to do, than to call you at 10 pm today and joke about leaving tomorrow morning?? I’m coming there soon… pack your bags…

He: ???? (Sounded like he was struck by a bolt) Okie… you come here… we’ll talk about it!

I: Done. One hour!

An hour later, I knocked on Nammi’s door. Lights switched on, he got up from his peaceful sleep to let me in. I’m damn sure, it was only then he was fully convinced that I was not joking… It took quite some cajoling to get him and Maani to make up their minds to come, but they bought it. Nammi tried roping in more people. Shetty said no again. Bala was watching ‘Guru’ in the theater and promised to call later. His call came with a green signal, both for him and another friend Gyan. Nammi and Maani packed up their clothes.

And once again, like in many crunch situations, AXE deo showed why it is so popular, when it converted grossly-overdue-for-wash clothes of both these guys, to something, which they and us, could bear for another couple of days of the trip! My salutes to the axe effect!! We went to bed at 1 am, with Nammi swearing by his principle of ‘last-minute-pack-n-leave’ and smug about the fact that it was proven yet again!!

13th Jan 07

5:30 am. We wake up and get ready to leave. Nammi insisted on having a bath. I really dint know what difference it made, when he was anyways going to wear those clothes of his, after that, but let him go ahead. And in another hour, we started on our trip, agreeing to meet Bala and Gyan at the Yeshwanthpur new signal. But either due to high excitement or not having had good sleep the previous night, I took a wrong turn on the way, and also ended up paying the last forty bucks I had in my wallet to a traffic maamu. Eventually reached the point where we decide to start off from, and met Bala and Gyan for the first time. And then, the five of us, with Dimmy, Nammi’s Discover and Bala’s Pulsar were cruising on NH4.

Our plan was: Nelamangala -> KuNigal -> ChennarayapaTTaNa -> Hassan -> HaLebiDu -> Belur -> Chikmagalur -> Kemmannugundi, as I had ready in the blog. We stopped at Nelamangala (where NH4 branches to NH48) for breakfast. That was when, the veins on my limbs felt the ecstasy of having hot tea on its inner walls, when its outer walls were shivering at around 180C :-)

From then on, we continued until ChennarayapaTTaNa which was at about 130 km from Nelamanagala, with a few short breaks at intervals of roughly 40 km. At ChennarayapaTTaNa, I added some fuel to Dimmy and some cash to my pockets. For the only time during the trip, I became the pillion, with Nammi. Maani rode with Dimmy. Being the pillion, also was a very enjoyable experience, albeit, a different one… Having a Sony W50 digicam in my hand, and getting a good chance to satisfy the shutterbug in me, on the fly, was definitely not a bad bargain.

Atleast for 40 km :-) … Infact, it was this stretch, that produced the following photos…

From ChennarayapaTTaNa, we headed to HaLebiDu, about 40 km from there. Somewhere on the way, about 10 km before HaLebiDu, we decided to have a big break and a few snaps. From there, Maani, took my bike and sped off, leaving the rest of us behind. The other four of us, took another couple of breaks, one in a sunflower field and the other, in a field of bright red flowers, for more snaps – Nammi and Bala got solos clicked to update on their Orkut profile. After all this, we reached HaLebiDu, where Maani had been waiting for us, for the past 20 minutes.

We spent about an hour at the HaLebiDu temple site. The sculptures at the temple were simply breathtaking, save for the fact, that most of them were in ruins, having succumbed to the long war with time and Malik Kafur’s armies. Had time permitted, we would have loved to hire a guide and explain to us, the history of the temples, but sadly, could not do it.

2 pm, and my tummy was growling loud enough for a person standing next to me to hear it. But since we didn’t find good hotels in HaLebiDu, we decided to go till Belur, 17 km from there. At Belur we had a good meal – a filling thali, dosa and ice –creams – all for just 180 bucks for the five of us. I don’t remember when was last time was, when I had eaten such good for such cheap in a hotel.

Post lunch session, we went to the Belur temple. The temple here is in a better condition than the one at HaLebiDu. We went around the temple, and were able to catch a few pieces of information from a guide showing a big group around. I couldn’t marvel enough at the beautiful and artistic pillars, which were perfect till the last millimeter. Wonder how they could have done it those times, without the lathe. I’m damn sure, those spectacles can never be repeated even it today’s technology age…

Dead tired that we were, we took a nap on the verandah of one of the smaller shrines itself for about half an hour and then started out to Chikmagalur. Also saw an irrigation dam on the river YagAchi, a few km on the outskirts of Belur. It was just the five of us at the site, at that time, and the view of water, as far as the eye could see, lined by peaks at the horizon was simply blissful, and we inadvertently sat there for another quarter an hour, soaking it all in.

Realizing that if we wouldn’t hurry after that, we would miss the sunset on the peaks in Chikmagalur, we hurried, and reached Chikmagalur, at one shot in another hour. After some tea and snacks, we enquired the route to Baba BuDangiri, the seat of the controversial Datta PeeTha. We had to take a diversion about 5 km on the road to Tarikere, and then climb the road on the hill to the summit of Baba Budangiri. But the journey was taking us more time than we expected, on the bad and winding hill roads. And in a desperate attempt to watch the sunset, we stopped at 6 pm, and climbed the peak nearest to us. But we were in for huge disappointment, when we found that another peak was blocking our view. I did not want to give up, and tried to go a little bit further up, to see if there was some hope. Nil. I returned, seeing the orange of the sunset diffuse into the sky all around.

It was beginning to get cold very fast, considering we were around 4000 feet above sea level, and the light, fading quickly too. Kemmannugundi was around 30 km from there, and we hoped to make it there by an hour and half, based on the 20 km, uphill, it had taken us till then. But the nightmare had just begun… Trust me… from what I have heard, I feel, the road to hell would also be better than what we rode on from there. And Kemmannugundi was still considered to be something like a paradise… The roads were incorrigibly botched, and those 25 km took us an unacceptable two-and-a-half hours… we would just keep going, and it seemed liked ages since we saw the next milestone, which would tell us we were getting somewhere closer. I’m damn sure, that not a single soul other than us, was out there on that road, in this season, in this weather, at that time of the day. Not even ghouls for that matter.

When it was just 3 km to our destination, we came up to a fork in the road. After some speculation, we took the road to the left, but after three kilometers, with no end in sight and no light anywhere around us, I was sure we had missed the way, and turned back. Bala was so frustrated, that he suggested we turn and go back, and that we would reach Chikmagalur atleast by 12 (It was 9 pm at that time) I could not believe I heard it right, and was too baffled even to open my mouth. All I could think was, the bad roads and the long journey had had its toll on Bala, and he had lost a few screws and nuts on the way. We decided to go back to the fork, and try 3 km from there once, and then decide our next course of action. Luckily for us, we did reach our destination – the Horticulture department Travelers’ bungalow and guest houses.

We were lucky to find some leftover food at a hotel there – (plain rice never tasted that good!!) and negotiated with the manager at the Travelers’ bungalow, to give us a suite, where a party hadn’t turned up. We definitely couldn’t ask for more. I, Nammi and Maani got fresh, changed and crashed on the three beds. Bala and Gyan went for another walk in the dark… the last thought I had, as I switched off, was that Bala had really lost it, to think about going out, with the temperature being under 100C, especially after being so tired…

14th Jan 07

We woke up at 5 am, to go and watch the sunset on Z point… It was still dark, and very cold. To be frank, we actually started getting up at 5 am, and finally succeeded to get out of bed by 5 30. The power in the room was out. Good, I thought. Saved of the formality of taking a bath!! I wasn’t particularly keen on taking a bath at such unearthly hours, and that too in that cold.

Bala and Gyan had probably come back very late the previous night, and refused to budge. So I, Maani and Nammi went ahead. I took Dimmy with me, planning to take her as far as she could, and trek from there to reach the peak. On our way, we passed by the guest houses. There wasn’t a soul outside – people who, I thought would be giving us company to view the sunrise… Lonely again, like last night, I thought.

We took our bikes to a point, from where it was far too scary to take them forward, with the path being just a couple of feet wide, and the precipice beyond it was frightening, even in the dim light. From there we trekked up to the peak of the Z – point. We passed by the strange W shaped tree, which I recognized from having seen in Uday’s blog. Hmmm.. atleast we were on track!

Although, it was just about half an hour’s trek to the peak, it was quite tiring, even to an experienced trekker like me which I guessed was probably due to the lack of oxygen, and the biting cold.

We were up there by 6 20 and then waited for then sun to show up. It wasn’t as foggy, as I had expected it to be… Infact it was so clear, that we could actually see the sun breaking out of the clouds at the horizon. And when He really did emerge, we were simply spellbound by the beauty… He kept emerging out of the horizon, bathing the entire valleys and peaks in a light yellow-orange… I remembered the old times, when I had seen the sunrise from atop Kumara Parvata, and in Kodachadri… Yet again, I was plunged into the same feeling – the veneration to the brilliant artistry of nature and the puniness of man in front of The Creator.

We didn’t budge from there, for another hour, till it began getting hot, and then hurried down. On the way back, we saw in full light, the path we had climbed a couple of hours back. It was very dusty. Maani’s jeans were all red with it… Hmmm… they’ve named the place Kemmannugundi (pit of red mud) for a good reason! We washed ourselves at the tiny Shanti falls, did a quick in-and-out at the rock garden and reached our suite at the bungalow at 8 am.

Bala and Gyan were still fast asleep. It took us quite some effort to get them to start out. The power was back, and I was glad to take a bath in hot water, after having got dirty during the Z point visit. It was then, that the manager Srinivas came and told us a “secret” – that the place there was a part of the Bhadra Reserve forest, and cheetahs lurked around, especially in early mornings, and that he had forgotten to tell us this, the previous night. I did not know how I had to react to him. I even got paranoid to a point that a thought crossed my mind that he had a cheetah for a pet, and was planning to give it a treat that morning… Ufff!! What was I thinking?? Just thanked God that we did not meet the wild visitor earlier. That explained probably why we were the only three people on the peak to watch the sunrise.

We packed up, paid the manager, thanked him for all(!!) his help, and set out. He also described the route to Hebbe falls, and suggested we take a jeep there, which would cost us about 600 bucks, and extra waiting charges. Considering that it was just about a 20 km round trip, we decided that it was too costly, and would rather go on our bikes itself.

After a quick breakfast we went for a stroll in the Horticulture department garden. The view from the garden was magnificent, and the flowers there too… I caught a bee in a red flower and some pretty violets, roses and some yellow flowers on my Sony.

From there, we started to Hebbe falls at 10 am. The road quickly made us realize why jeep was the better – in fact, the only good choice. Till then, I had known only three categories of roads – The Good, The bad, and The ugly (mud roads). The “path” to Hebbe falls added one more to that category – ROCKS! No jokes at all!! The path was replete with football size (and larger) rocks and abundant loose gravel. We kept going ahead, hoping the road would improve, but it just got worse. Several times, we decided to stop, park the bikes, and take a jeep from mid way atleast… but slowly found courage to see how far this would continue.

I’d thought that the roads I saw the previous night were the worst I would ever ride on, and more importantly take Dimmy on, for a lifetime. After going on the road to Hebbe, I stopped expecting and promising Dimmy anything!! It was like mountain biking I had watched on TV. The only difference – I had no sponsor who would pay for my repairs once I got back! If any of you ever go a bike trip, and go to Hebbe, AND you love your bike a lot, take my word – TAKE A JEEP. A hundred times better!

Dimmy was very nervous on her way down. She kept slipping every now and then on the gravel, threatening to take me down too. But luckily, she slowly found her grip, and I, my confidence, and we finally reached the last point in an hour. From there we had to walk for another kilometer to reach Hebbe falls, which we covered, swearing at the bad road, we had rode on...

But when we finally came up to the Hebbe falls, our mouths were left hanging. Words failed us. The majesty and sheer beauty of the falls was so inexplicable that, at once, we felt that the entire effort of coming there was worth every cent. Even if it meant going back and paying 500 bucks on getting Dimmy serviced again. Lord!! Is there ANY limit at all to Your mastery in creation???

Had we not had to hurry, so that we could reach Bangalore by night, I’d have loved to stay there, simply gazing at the waterfall for God-knows-how-much time… Took control of my senses, and started back, now, beginning to wonder, how or rather, IF, Dimmy would be able to some Mountain biking, uphill for another ten km.

But Dimmy showed enormous resilience, control and courage – far more than I had expected – and took me to the top within 20 minutes. And Dimmy still had only me with her. Even Nammi’s Discover made its way to the top successfully, after he exchanged Gyan for his pillion, instead of Maani. Bala and Maani, powered by the 150cc engine of the Pulsar also cruised up, with Maani having to get down and walk only for a very short distance :-)

We got back on the main road, and headed to Kallathgiri falls from there. The falls were around 15 km from Hebbe, and somewhere on the way, the condition of the roads started improving – saying good bye to 80 km of bad roads we had been riding since last evening.

Dimmy was on reserve since Chikmagalur, and I was scared that her throat would be parched dry of gasoline at any time. Infact I hadn’t even expected her to get till there on what she had. She broke down, on the by-road to Kallathgiri falls and I and Maani pushed her till the last stop, while Nammi and Gyan went to get some petrol for her, to last till the next bunk on the way.

Kallathgiri falls was very ordinary, compared to the splendor of Hebbe. It only served as a bathing point for us. Expectedly, the water was shivering cold, even at 3 pm, with the sun right above our heads… I quickly rinsed myself and got out, and the rest got out after some more time.

It was 3 30, and we hadn’t had lunch. Tummy rumbling again. But we were determined to have good food – chicken inclusive – atleast one time during the trip. We hadn’t been successful till then, having survived only on ghaas-phoos. (Maani, by choice… the others, because of no other choice!!) So we decided to hold ourselves for another hour, get to a decent town, and find a good hotel.

We reached Tarikere, 40 km from there at 4:30 and hit NH 206, which would take us to Tumkur. Quenched Dimmy’s thirst with 300 bucks of gasoline and then hit the roads again. There wasn’t any good hotel, and we didn’t want to settle for anything less than a good one.

We reached Birur at 5 pm, and I stopped seeing a non vegetarian hotel (finally!!). But as luck had it, the place was not open till dinner. Since we had anyways stopped, I suggested we eat something light, and have a sumptuous dinner some time later. And it was a good idea – considering that the hotel we got into, served awesome Dosas – the best Onion dosa I have eaten in my life to date. The light snack break, saw us gorging, till we were burping, and then hit the road again.

Tumkur – 130 km from Birur was our first destination. The roads were good, and to make sure, we would cover as much ground as possible, with daylight still around, we ripped at 80-90 kmph, perfectly safely, without needing to do any stunts.

Reached Arsikere at sun down. Took a break to catch the sunset at the horizon, splashing reddish orange into a small lake. From then on, we decided to take it easy. Any ways, we would be reaching Bangalore only by midnight, we decided, we might as well ride safely, and take our own time.

I had been leading all the time, with Nammi and Bala taking second and tail positions between them. We framed a code, according to which whenever I found a good and safe stretch of road, I would alternately flash the left and right indicator, and then, we would rip at 80. Else, it was a safe ride at around 45-60 kmph.

Reached Tumkur at 9 pm. Till then, we had been taking breaks for every 30 km. I was sure, we wouldn’t need to do that henceforth, since riding would not be as demanding, as we would be taking the four-lane NH4 from there to Bangalore.

We finally found a place which served us non-veg and sunk our teeth into some good kabab, and omelets. Maani found some ghass-phoos for himself. Bala called up home, and told that he was in Peenya, getting Nammi’s punctured bike mended, and that he would be home by 11 30 (he he!!). I did something similar, but did not need to create a punctured story, coz I had told my folks, that I was going on a Quails!! (Mean, eh??? Try explaining to Mom and Dad, that you want to bike 700km. They'll sell your bike off, the very next day, that too to a kabaaDiwaala, for 4 rupees a kilo, like Bala says!!)

The last stretch, back to Bangalore was 70 km of heaven. Not having to worry about hitting an on coming truck, we had more chances to rip, that too very safely, for most part of the last leg. We covered it in an hour, with one break in between, when I called up sis and told we’d be home soon (had told her about going on the bike, coz she’d anyways find it from my blog later!! :-) )

11:30 pm. We reached the Yeshwanthpur signal, from where we had started the previous morning. After cheers, and hi fives, and promises to have many more such trips together, Bala and Gyan, parted ways to go towards MG Road, while we came back through Malleshwaram, to Jayanagar. And once again, courtesy me, we ended our trip, just the way we had started it – by taking a wrong road, and having to ride an extra 4 km.

11:50 pm. 655.6 km. A long awaited dream, finally fulfilled. And I couldn’t believe, how fast it had all passed! I kissed Dimmy for having been such a wonderful companion and not letting me down anywhere. I mentally made a promise to give her a good servicing at the earliest.

Ever since I have seriously taken to trekking and biking (from the final year of my BE), every trip has been memorable for its own reasons. There was never, or very little of déjà vu… So will this trip be – memorable for its own reasons.

But more than that, it will have a special place in my memory, coz, by my experience, it was the most complete trip I have been to, till date. On this trip, I had done it all – biked, trekked and swum. Seen all kinds of roads - ranging from those akin to airport runways, to treacherous mountain paths… But above all, it will be memorable, coz of the team of sensible biker friends, without whom, the trip would never have been such great fun, while being safe all the time. Been there, and done it all… :-)

The memories will linger… forever…

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A Wonderful Day at WonderLA

06 January 2007
Team Orange - Back again... the way they are best - in a team!!

But this time, not to prepare for an office extra curricular event, but to let our hair down and celebrate the third place we secured in Utsav, our annual cultural fest at office

It wasn't the entire team - (by that, i mean, the active particpants!!) - that went..Just a fraction of it... pity the people who missed out!!The place we went, was WonderLa, the amusement park on the outskirts of Banglaore. We were 11 of us - 9 'Orange's and two friends from outside -
  • Arif bhai and Niharika - on a Hero Honda Passion
  • Amit and Rashi - on a Bajaj Pulsar
  • Khusroo and Abhi - on a Hero Honda Splendor
  • Bhavin and Rachana - on a Suzuki Max 100
  • Surag - on his Yamaha Libero
  • Me and my sweetheart - My Bajaj Discover
Arif bhai said 9 am. I know him very well - and yet i made the mistake of getting ready to meet up at that time. Ri was lucky, abhi was lazy - both of them overslept, and slowly joined at 9 30 am. But the unluckiest were Bhavin and Rachana, who (i guess, not knowing, or ignoring the fact about what is bhai is like... :-)) were left waiting for an hour for us on the dusty highway, a few km down the road. As expected bhai entered the scene at 10 am, with his (and now, the entire team's) two new friends - Pinki (ufff.. i mean Niharika) and Rashi.

Pleasantries exchanged, bikes revved up, and a couple of snaps later, we hit the road to the amusement park. Caught up with Bhavin and Rachana on the way. From the look of their face, i felt they had half a mind to beat us all - the latecomers!! :-)

1145 hours - We reach WonderLa. I was the only (??) person in the team, who'd been there once before, and became the self-appointed guide! Pinki and Rashi got the first proper glimpse of "what" i am!!. Abhi became the "lucky" guy to swipe his credit card for all the tickets - 540 per head...

(Mmmmm... now... Abhi who??? he he!!)

Once inside, we parked our bags in lockers in a jiffy and ran to the rides... It started with the Techno jump (my favorite ride at the park) and the adrenaline started gushing... Half of us went first and the rest half - including Rachana - went next. This was whe
n Rachana opened her mouth (to scream)... only to close it by late afternoon, when we were done with all the rides!! :-D went the cameras... Once everyone got the taste of how the next few hours would go by, we went on with the rest of the rides with a tad bit more confidence.. The "Drop zone" (free fall) was followed by the Mixer ride ...One look at that, and 3/4 girls wanted to give up. This was when the team noticed the spunk of Rashi - trust me, i've seen few girls with kind of guts that she has - atleast when it comes to such risky things...

Maverick - the next ride - has been named so, for a very good reason. All the guys, excluding Arif bhai, and the girls - Ri, Pinki and Rachana opted out. The rest of us decided to give it a shot. Arif was content licking his chocobar, after having confessed "spins waale ride mein, meri toh bohoth buri tarah ph****i hai yaar" (ha ha ha!!). This was the first ride (and luckily the last one too), when the fluids in my brain threatened to come out of my mouth in another form!! Luckily, nothing like that happened... About this ride?? - The 4.5 spins in mid air, and the 5 second upside down hang at the topmost point were the most mmmm.. shall i say... "testing" moments, for me, during the entire day!!

Y Scream, and Insanity no longer seemed as intimidating, after the Maverick experience. Hurricane was down for maintenence, after it got stuck mid way, holding around 30 hapless people at a crooked angle, in mid air for 10 minutes.

...Phew... lucky it was not us!! :-)

That was the end of the land rides. We took a break to grab a bite and to regain our composure. I felt as if i had travelled for 100 miles...Fried rice and noodles later, we ran to the "dashing cars" section. Luckily for us, we were the only people there and got a chance to go for it several times.
I kept wondering why the operator had to stop it every 2 mins and make us go through the queue section once and come back, despite the fact that we were (almost) the only people there!! Grrr... some day, i will have the controls in my hand, and you will be in this car, then i will have my revenge, i told myself, staring at the operator...

Done. Next? Water rides.... yippeee!! Changed to other costumes soon, and started off with the "Wonder splash" - the signature ride of the park (that's the one in the photo)... We enjoyed it so much, that we went on it twice - and both times, in the photo that's been taken, you won't know, if Rachana (i'm sure u won't have any trouble spotting her!!) is crying or laughing!!

The ones after that were also awesome fun - the various slides - through tunnels, on floats, and mats etc. But the one worthy mention was the slide with a 70 deg slope - the only ride in the entire park on which Amit commented - WOW!! (for the rest, he just kept saying "...kya hai isme? kuch bhi to nahi... pata nahi kyon chillate hain!!" - tell you what - for a moment, i felt he was brain dead during the Maverick ride to comment like that!!)

The Ocean wave pool gave a virtual experience of surfing. Pinki made several jumps in the water, assisted by me and Arif bhai.. Bhavin and Abhi loved it so much, that they came back for the next time, an hour later... Rashi seemed to have lost most of her mana in the morning rides and appeared exhausted. Rachana as usual was with her mouth open!!

The icing on the cake was the Rain Disco (this wasn't there when i went there the last time) - 20 mins on the dance floor in the 'rain water' gave an ex
perience like the one i had only watched on the idiot box, in the bollywood movies until then!

Thoroughly tired, but having enjoyed it to the core, we changed into dry clothes, munched on some snacks went to the Sky wheel - the 30 m diameter wheel on a 50 m, 15 storey building.

This wheel actually gives a bird's eye view of the surroundings - But sin
ce it was already dark by then, we could just see lights below. But for a person like me, who loves heights, even this was a thrill i cherished - but i did miss watching the sunset from up there, like i had done the previous time.

Rachana kept her mouth busy, to avoid looking around and finding herself 250 feet above ground level! She was infinitely relieved when the wheel stopped after just two rotations.

We came down, had a few last group snaps, and then left from there saying goodbye to an AWESOME 9 hours we spent there!

Reached Banglaore at 9 30, found an empty restaurant, after the first two we planned to go were already overflowing with the weekend Bangalore eat-out crowd. Wangs - in Jayanagar 5th block was the place. Bhai seemded to know the people there. He had been there with his friends many times... And backed by this "expereience", he ordered for us all - half of which got left out at the end - which bhai - quite rightfully - packed up as a parcel and took home.

We bid adios to each other at 11 pm and dispersed. I home and crashed at 12 30 am, with the memories of the wonderful day i had floating in front of my eyes, as slumber taxied me into my world of dreams

My special memories from the trip:

  • Being Christened "Dracula" by two pretty damsels!! (refer photo above!!)
  • The 2000 km milestone achieved by my Discover
  • Meeting the girl with the iron guts
  • Getting two "Wonder Splash" photos for a deal of 130 bucks, rather than 200
  • Flying on Mysore Road with my sweetheart after the span of an year
  • The complimentary calendar given at the park, which i will customize with Ri's help
The ticket - Rs 540
The snacks - Rs 100
The gasoline - Rs 100
The red letter day - Priceless!!

There are several things that money can buy... For the rest, there are friends like mine, who turn a normal day, into a memory to be cherished forever!!