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Sunday, 15 March, 2009

Goa UnOfficial Trip - March09 : 3

Goa March 09
Post 1
Post 2

We had touched Mapusa and were readily bundled into a taxi - Maruti Omni converted into a Taxi and the cabbie readily agreed to smuggle in more than 4 of us for off course some extra incentive or I must say higher fare. Anyways, it was still cheaper for us as our per person contribution would drop while the cab driver would get higher than his normal fare. So a win-win situation if you consider economics! The taxis started moving when they felt their graph and ours met at optimum.

The ride from Mapusa to our Hotel was a new experience to me. Not only were the roads unknown but also the destination hotel. Luckily the driver nodded when we said the name of the resort. We were going through some nondescript tinsel town-villages with fields and intermittent houses showcasing the famous liquor bands. I dunno how Oka was sitting at the back of the Omni meant for baggage. I am sure my ponch would have disapproved of it! After passing fields and fields and fields and some houses and many winding roads, we finally reached our destination. I was praying this time at least the hotel is more nice and respectable unlike the one in previous trip. The present destination hotel boasted of swimming pool though it is not a factor for a non swimmer like me. I hoped for more clean rooms and having at least satisfactory basic amenities !
The Wild West Gang and Rakshas Gang( Nagu(c) ) had already reached a day earlier and were already acclimatized to holiday living. Some of them had just got up while many were still in their beds. We had to wait more than an hour to get rooms and settle. While others waited in the lobby for their rooms, Codec, Lebedev and myself decided to check out the beach nearby.
Finally we checked in, regenerated and did our brunch in Indian Spice hotel. We hired Honda Activa bikes and a maruti 800 for rent and bought some local petrol that looked wose than crude.

More to write but no time right now. Later on !
Meanwhile check the pics and the web album

Friday, 13 March, 2009

Goa UnOfficial Trip - March 09 : 2

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So while the movie went on painfully, I tried my best to look out and kill time gazing the sky for signs of any star. However the moon ensured that I could not! Finally the movie ended though it would be long time before many of us could catch a wink of sleep. The ghats and hair-pin curves (CCR enlightened me to this term) along with some rough driving ensured that we continuously slip from our seats. Even the seats in front lacked anything to hold onto in case of a jerk or a sudden turn. All that was present was a small mutilated lasso bottle holder that reminded me of rodeos and their wild horses. We talked over a multitude of issues and topics that included even Monica Bellucci! Finally tiredness overcome many of us and peace and tranquility prevailed in the bus. While many slept like Kings, some like Codec and myself were denied sleep. Codec was sitting in the middle seat of the last row with just the narrow bus walkway in front and more seats to the sides. Poor guy had nothing to hold onto and couldn't sleep even an iota. I was sitting next to him and found myself being dragged along with the forces of the bus. After a while the bus made a pit stop at a derelict canteen for early morning tea. The only nice thing about the place was the soothing music being played on the loudspeaker. It was like Kenny G special but some instrument that I don't recollect. The canteen owner surely has a nice taste!

The bus started moving again and like Jason Bourne I fail to recollect anything next. Next I remember waking up to daylight and the bus is about to make a brief pit stop for a morning tea. I remembered the place from my first Goa trip with my parents. The long stretch of highway dotted with conical trees on both sides, the same canteen and tables and the TV. Speaking of TV, India-New Zealand match was going on and we were hooked onto it. I don't remember whether I had tea or coffee but the match was nice!

We were closing on our destination, Mapusa and the change was visible. The laterite soil, flora-fauna was all different. Not that I have not been to Konkan regions or Kerala or even Goa but the change was quite visible and pleasant. Better than the smog, SPM filled Mumbai skylines and the chemical stink filled Navi Mumbai skies! Sawantwadi whizzed past us and finally we reached Mapusa. We were already sweating in Goan summer heat and we bundled ourselves into taxis. The Omni taxi meant for 4 was ready to carry more than that for higher rentals. Though it was a win win situation for both of us, I dunno whether we were testing the Taxi to its limits. I Dunno; but that's the way it works in India especially outside Mumbai.

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Thursday, 12 March, 2009

Goa UnOfficial Trip- March09 : 1

This weekend I made a brief trip to Goa (Saturday to Wednesday) along with many of my fellow Chemical BEs. The Official Goa trip during Third Year(TE) left much wanted. Also, much of Goa cannot be explored under the pretext of Industrial visit. So as many others we decided to revisit Goa!
Mumbai To Goa Journey - March 09    Next
  • Start      
    5:00 pm 7 March09, Saturday from Neeta Travels, Borivali(W), Mumbai.
  • End      
    Around 9:30 am 8 March09, Sunday at Mapusa Bus Stand, Bardez, Goa.
  • Mode     
    Non AC Bus.
  • Agents
    Taj Travels / Neeta Travels
  • Cost    
    Rs 400/- per head (includes body and the luggage)
  • Route
    Borivali to Goregaon via W.Expressway, then Powai and LBS Marg and finally on NH17
We had made reservations with Neeta Travels for Mapusa from Borivali for 13. The 13 includes SBF(myself), Labaad brothers (Labadoku n Lebedev), Red Indians (CCR, Spidy), Oka, Vivek, SriRam, Stegaya aka Bansi, Codec aka Ashish, Swati, Kiran and Siddika. Our seats were reserved on the last rows, much to the disappointment of many. However the cacophony and pandemonium that comes along while travelling with friends makes one forget of all such trivial matters. The bus was supposed to leave at 5 pm from Borivali. However, Stegaya and Swati ensured that the bus leaves only by 5:30 pm. This left Ashish, our spear header at the receiving end of fellow travellers' ire and of the driver's outbursts.

Finally Modek aka Swati and Stegaya arrived and the bus moved forward. We were then informed of last minute change in bus route. The bus was earlier supposed to go via Ghodbunder Road and into Thane. Due to feeble booking response on that route, the bus was now going to go through Western Expressway - Goregaon - IIT Powai - LBS Marg -Thane - Navi Mumbai. The bus crawled through the slow and sick traffic along the Powai and LBS Marg routes throwing us behind of schedule by hours. Bhandup, Mulund all seemed to stretch miles and miles along the LBS Marg. The bus started picking up pace and we were going through the industrial zones in Navi Mumbai and Stegaya quickly corrected us about the smell in the surrounding as that of fertilizer chemicals.

We constantly changed the seats as some seats were very bad (I will avoid Taj travels in near future). My seat had lost its reclining power while CCR's was stuck at complete recline position. The last row sitters were constantly tossed up, down, left, right, lurched forward and backward. I must say the Sigma mixer in our Nuke Bunker (SFMO lab) comes no way near to this mixer cum Bus! After Navi Mumbai, with fast approaching night; the temperature began plummeting. I was hoping the bus would make a pit stop at Hotel Visava, Mahad. However Mahad seemed too far and the Bus stopped in some Ghost Town cut directly from a Clint Eastwood Wild West Movie. The Dinner was better than my expectations. However the loo seemed like a NH4OH storage tank and repelled many. Only the brave survived! Dinner was followed by a movie session in the bus. The movie was Ghajni, a Hindi adaptation of Tamil version which in turn seems to be an adaptation of Hollywood movie, Memento. The movie began with a statuary warning like the FBI warning for Hollywood movies, warning against screening in Buses/coaches. Ah! Its India where IPR is still Intellectual Property Rips and where Copyright is understood as it is right to copy! The sub-quality speakers blared at max decibels driving me crazy many at times. The movie began and ended after a painful maybe 2 Hrs. It was painful not only because of the movie but the sound speakers, stiff chairs and the bus wish to turn into a sigma mixer of high efficiency made it a painful experience!

Much more to write but later. Meanwhile enjoy a batch of pics from the journey! Next
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Tuesday, 3 March, 2009

Today, Lahore and Tomorrow, ?

My IS tutorial had ended and I was on my way to the 1st floor of Old Building when news started pouring in that the Pakistan touring Sri Lankan Cricket team who were on their way to the Gadaffi Stadium have been ambushed by terrorists. Various disturbing reports were rising and it was hard to differentiate between truth and rumour. Many of us dashed into the CA Lab, our special anti-nuke bunker( well i do imagine it!) to log onto the Internet and verify the news.

The attack was a myth buster that cricketers would be the last people to be attacked in Pakistan. It is sheer luck and the Sri Lankan Team bus driver's presence of mind that averted a cataclysmic hostage drama and diplomatic humiliation for Pakistan. Evading bullets, rolling grenades and rockets is no simple matter! Recent reports speak of 11-12 terrorists well trained and equipped to create a hostage situation as the perpetrators. 

The dust has not even settled but mud slinging has already begun. The Pakistani Minister of Shipping and many others including many Pakistani media persons have started pointing fingers at India! Western Media compares the Pakistani finger pointing to India's 26/11 accusations in the same light. I fret and fume over this unjust hippocratic perception and cannot understand how people easily forget the past or take it for granted when they compare India and Pakistan. There has never been any shred of proof to substantiate Indian government or its people being involved in any conspiracy to attack or disturb the peace of our neighbour. In fact, India has always been complacent in its External and Foreign Affairs. Compare this to Pakistan, a country where an AK-47 is easily available than food or water or education. It has a history of state sponsored terrorism and has been a serious headache for the entire sub-continent and even the world when the A.Q.Khan nuclear proliferation nexus was uncovered. The fact is Pakistan has always escaped from international radars especially the so called bastion of peace - The West for a long period. Either they are a failure or have closed their eyes every time Pakistan has given signs of the intended turbulence in coming future. Pakistan has nursed and bottle-fed the demon Taliban and nurtured the ticking time-bomb thereby allowing diffusion or Talibanisation of its armed resources and its people. Pakistan has always has a skewed view of the world and always has a single critical objective of surpassing India and emerging from its shadows. This erroneous policy has resulted in the balknisation of Pakistan, constant and continuous turbulence in administration, and increasing influence of extremists over its people.

Pakistan has always lived in self-denial and never realised the enormity of the task it is facing and the limit up to which international government can help in cleaning domestic mess. It refuses to understand that India is on the right side, geographically and righteously! It fails to come out open on its commitment over War on Terror. It feels Indian RAW is behind the Baluchistan separatism movement (I earnestly hope so! Why ? simply because I feel unlike other western nations Indian IB and RAW have no feathers in their porous cap).

Numerous reports are emerging of Talibanisation reaching even the Pakistani waters near the volatile Karachi. Most of Pakistan is burning from administrative instability, terrorism, insurgency, and severe financial paralysis. It has lost SWAT and many other regions in FATA, NWFP, Waziristan and others along the Afghan border to Talibani elements. It was forced to accept sharia law and Taliban superiority in SWAT in the previous month. Pakistan is a sick nation and refuses to accept it has the sickness. The distance between India and the volatile regions to its west is less than the Mumbai-Goa distance. It won't be long before the contagious disease will be at India's doorstep. A time no far in future will come when India will have to decide whether it will opt for silence and face annihilation or take preventive steps to check the spread of the malady!

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