Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back to Square-One

This was something I was planning from a long time. It was from here that everything had started. And I had to go there.

I had planned this trip since a long time. And I had booked the tickets a month back. But knowing the state of other trips, I was still sceptical. Those days many things were happening in office and looking at the trend I had given up all hopes of landing in Chennai. But, as they say, "There is light at the end of every tunnel". Everything seemed to fall in place a few days before the trip. And by friday, I was free to start.

My train to Chennai was scheduled at 11:45 PM. I reached station at 10:30 PM and spent the next hour and a half listening to Radio City and taking a stroll down the entire stretch of the platform. The train started 15 minutes late and reached Chennai at 7:40 AM.

As I stepped down from the train, I remembered the day I had first landed in Chennai with my friends. It seemed just like yesterday that we had landed there and had so much fun. Anyway, let me not get into that. I took a bus to my friend's place and by the time I reached his place it was around 8:45 AM.

We did not have anything planned for the day. So after some discussion, we decided to catch up with some movie if tickets were available. And also decided that we would visit Spencers after that and catch up with some friends in the evening.

Lunch was at our usual hangout, Shakes and Creams. It felt great to be back to the place. I remembered the days when I used to come there atleast thrice a week. After having pizzas, we started for Satyam. Sadly, all the tickets were sold out at Satyam. So we decided to go to Spencers. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping at Spencers. In the evening, met some old buddies in Pizza Hut.

And there iss nothing like a night on the beach. And Besantnagar beach it was. Mahesh had got his guitar. 3 friends + a nearly empty beach + a guitar = Dil Maange More. So, Mahesh had to play some tunes on his "Dark Angel". It was midnight by the time we started back.

Sunday morning I got up late. I was told that I had to meet some TCSers for lunch. And nothing like Wangs for another reunion. After a great lunch, I met my old roomates and we decided to relive the old days. So, the destination was Game Drome.

We reached Game Drome with the intention of playing Diablo II. But because of some problems, we had to settle for A3 and Ragnarok. It was great to play RPGs after so many days. And before I realised, it was evening and time for me to start back.

But, I could not say farewell to Chennai without having a Mango juice at our usual juice parlour. After having a Mango Juice and also a chocolate ice-cream at Shakes and Creams, I started back with a heavy heart.

It was one of the weekends I will not forget for quite some time. And I must admit, I am feeling nostalgic.


Its been more than a couple of weeks since I last blogged. These two weeks have been quite eventful in many ways. I had a great weekend in Chennai and I hope to write a blog on this pretty soon. Also, things in office are happening pretty fast. So, blogging had to take a back seat. But "I'll be back" (Arnold style) is what I have to tell.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Nandi Hills 2

The trip to Nanhi Hills was decided out of nowhere. We had given it a thought on friday evening in office. But I had assumed that this would not materialise like other trips. But on saturday evening, after a series of phone calls, it was decided that we would be going to Nandi Hills on sunday.

On sunday morning, 5 of us started from Bangalore at 9 AM to Nandi Hills. We had the old crowd of Shivanasamudra trip and two new people. The meeting point was BEML gate. We met there at 9:20 AM. From there, we started towards Nandi Hills by taking the old madras road and outer ring road to reach Hebbal fly-over in about 45 minutes.

Just after the fly-over we gave our first stop. This time to buy fruits. But the fruits were out of reach because of the cost factor. Forgettting the fruits, we started again. The traffic was pretty thick till Yelahanka. After that, the traffic started thinning out. And the ride started getting comfortable.

The second stop was just after ITC and this time for breakfast. After suppressing the rumbles in the stomach, we started again. And this time, we decided not to stop until we reached the road to Nandi Hills.

Once we had reached the Nandi Hills road, we had our next stop. After a small photo session, we started towards Nandi Hills. We stopped at several places on the way to shoot snaps and videos.

By the time we reached Nandi Hills, it was lunch time and all of us were hungry. After a fine walk in the gardens, we reached the top and found a restaurant. The quality of food did not matter. We were all hungry and anything at that time would have been bliss. However, the restaurant turned out to be pretty ok.

After having our fill, we went to the Yoganandishwara temple atop. The temple is very old and constructed entirely with stones. I had not visited the temple the last time I had been to Nandi Hills. So this was a different experience.

After the visit to the temple, we went searching for famous "Tippu Drop". We did have to walk quite a distance to reach there. But the experience was great. A steep drop of about 2000ft. The prisoners sentenced to death by Tippu were thrown, or rather pushed, from this place.

By the time we were done with all this, it was 3 PM. We decided to start back in order to avoid the traffic in Bangalore. Also, we all wanted something to drink. So, we started back and stopped at the bottom of Nandi Hills. After some water and tea, we started back towards Bangalore. We stopped at the NH-7 junction and again rebuckled ourselves. And this time, it was non-stop drive till Hebbal fly-over. We reached Bangalore at around 5 PM. Tired, but happy.


This weekend was "Finally..." for many things.

I finally got the snaps of Mission Udaan. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed for the fact that the snap of Jaguar had not come. But the rest of the snaps had come real great.

Also, the long lost Nandi Hills trip finally materialised. So, I must say I had an eventful weekend.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mission Udaan

I am blogging again after a break of couple of weeks. After celebrating Diwali at home, and returning back early to wrap up some pending work in office, I am finally bit free now. So coming back to Mission Udaan.

Mission Udaan was an unexpected trip. After planning to visit Nandi Hills again with my collegues, I was all set to zoom on my bike on Sunday. But then, on saturday, a friend on mine called up and said that he had obtained passes for Mission Udaan.

So, what is Mission Udaan? Mission Udaan is an air show organised by Nat Geo in collaboration with Indian Air Force. You can watch the same on Nat Geo from November 20th, every sunday at 10 P.M. (Well, they were shouting this out atleast once every 5 minutes).

An air show? WOW !!! You dont get to watch air shows everyday. So, I called up my collegues to tell them the situation. And it was decided that Nandi Hills had to wait.

Sunday 8 A.M. Three bikes. Six people. Destination: Yelahanka Air Force Station. The road towards Yelahanka was good. And because it was sunday morning, the traffic was thin. So, all the three bikes were zooming at top speeds. We reached there at 9:20 A.M. And we had a situation at hand. We had only 5 passes and there were six people. Finally, after talking with one of the people from Nat Geo we managed to obtain the pass and we were in.

And it was a divine experience for aeronautical fanatics like me and my room-mate. There were quite a number of war-planes on display. Jaguar, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the MI-8 transport helicopter, DORNIER a light transport plane and another heavy transport plane were on the display.

At 10 A.M, our long wait finally came to an end. The air show began with a formation flight by the transport aircrafts. The formation called "Small-Boy" included two Dorniers and a heavy transport plane (I cant remember the name). It was a simple pass-by flight with no aerobatics. But you cant expect aerobatics from transport aircraft.

Next came the IJT or the Intermediate Jet Trainer. And this was mind-blowing. The IJT flew past us even before we realised. It was zooming at tremendous speeds. And the aerobatics it performed was also jaw-dropping. It finally landed and came to halt right in front of us. And it was a beauty.

And as if we had not had enough, next came the LCA a.ka. Tejas. And this time, it was... well, i dont have any words to describe it. If IJT was fast, LCA was super-fast. Zooming at great speeds and performing mind blowing aerobatic feats in the air, it left us wanting for more. Even this aircraft landed in front of us and came to halt next to the IJT.

This was not the end. Next came Sarang. The aerobatic team consisting of four ALHs. This team performed great fly-bys and showed awesome formations rivalling manouvers rivalling that of an aircraft. This team performed for a long time and I had to stop myself from finishing the film roll of my camera.

And then came the cherry of the ice-cream. The main attraction. The Surya-Kirans. Nine aircrafts flying like one entity. The aircrafts took off in a formation. Three aircrafts at a time. Each group representing one color of the Indian flag. The aircraft in each group fired gas resembling the Indian tri-color, Orange, White and Green. The Surya-Kirans displayed awesome manouverability. Various formations like Diamond, Tango, Sukhoi, etc were displayed. Aerobatics like peel-offs, fly-bys etc were also displayed. All the planes were flying as if they were one single entity. All of them flying in one spatial plane. AWESOME !!!! But, some things are too good to last long. The Surya-Kirans finally landed when we were hoping to see more action.

Then came the grand-finale. The paragliding team. The paratroupers jumped from MI-8 from the height of 7000 ft. After a free fall for 10 seconds, the parachutes finally opened. We could see small mushrooms flying in the air. Then, when they were closing on the ground, they started performing aerobatics. Some were circling horizontally in the air. They landed one by one, and the landing was like a piece of cake. Smooth and slick.

We managed to drag ourselves away from the display area and moved on to the display booths. Me and my friends bought a T-shirt and a couple of posters. By the time we started from there it was 12:15 P.M. We reached back at 1 P.M.

Now I am waiting for the snaps to get developed. I hope to post the snaps soon in my photo albums. So, keep an eye on my photo album too.