December 28, 2012

The kKOnkan Holiday !

December 23, 2012 
08:42 pm

“Allahabad se hain kya?”, asked the auto-wala dropping me off to the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.
“nahin, nahin….Patna se hain”.
“achha…yahan job karte hain?”

I braced myself. This auto-wala was going to interview me. Maybe it would be a good distraction. I was getting nostalgic. The ‘fellowship’ had just ended.

“nahin, abhi college me hi hain”, I said.
“fir yahan kaise aana hua? ….ghoomne aaye the?”

“haan…nahin..ummm..yahan IIT me ek fest …programme tha naa ….usi me participate …ummmm …attend … dekhne aaye the...” 
(..par kisi din poore time wahan nhi rahe. After the stay in Goa, even Mood Indigo didn’t feel ‘happening’ enough. So we ventured out… everyday/night… after taking that customary breakfast/lunch at Gulmohar, IIT Powai, Mumbai.)
I had every intention of participating in (all) the quizzes… but,

Dekh nazare, sab plans hue minus,
Aur ho ham itne cool gye..
Ki quiz-quiz karte rahte the..
But quiz karna hi bhool gye.

N.P. Bey!

Auto-wala’s queries continued. I kept answering, my train of thoughts running parallel to it.
Ranchi – Mumbai – Goa – Mumbai - Home.
Kela – King – Kaka – Khan – Illad – Ghatal – Bongali – Shanky – Adi – Sangam - Kullu (guest appearance).
Bongo – Bansuri – Ukulele – Hat – Jhanda – Cards – Hajmola Ka shishi – Batsuit.
Avenger – Riio – Sonrise – Heikenberg – Tattoo – Mahto (John Karthik).     
Doomsday – Chowpati – Feluda – Last local – Indian Ocean – Water Kingdom.  
Thattasss! – Chill-out-dude! – Aye Bhaaii! – N.P.Bey! – Chatak!!. 

Some fries m*****f*****.


December 15, 2012

‘Delayed Beginnings’ 
09:23 am
Hatia Railway Station

“Aye Bhaaii!!”
“Hatia to source station hai.. yahan se train kaise late ho sakta hai?”

Our 9.40 am departure had been rescheduled to 1.40 pm. 4 hours late. Naturally, a wave of exasperation swept us. But you can’t bring down the Indian Railways, so the opportunity was used to get a hearty breakfast and the rest of the time was whiled away  loitering around the station..sitting on the foot-overbridge etc etc.
Quick calculations were made to ascertain if this delay would make us miss the train we were going to board from Mumbai. With a gap of around seven hours between the two trains, we just hoped that the train wouldn’t lose any more time on the way. The ‘what-ifs’ and ‘what-nots’ were discussed anyway.

“Chill out dude! We will take a bus.”, King had spoken.


11:16 am
Platform 1, Hatia 

We weren’t the only people out on an odyssey. Infact, as it appeared to me, half the final year was out for it. All familiar faces. All different groups.

“Shanky! Udhar dekh!”
Shanky turned. Whatever met his eyes, didn’t seem to please him much.

“Chatak!”, bellowed the others. I was still alien to whatever was going on.
Somewhat agitated Shanky answered back, “bhakk #**$%#@ , aaj subah se chaar baar chatak ho chuka hai.”

At first I didn’t get it. But it kept happening over the coming days. Most often, Shanky being at the receiving end. Then I think I deduced what it meant and began to silently enjoy as others got ‘chatak’ed. Was it cruel?…was it insensitive?....i didn’t think so. Hell…I thought it was hilarious! …and fun! …especially the look on Shanky’s face when he was ‘chatak’ed.

It was all rainbow colours for me. But then it hit me. A silent realization.
It was our second night in Goa. It was past midnight and we were all at the Calangute beach. Sitting, most of us a beer or two down. Shanky had just been ‘chatak’ed in a pretty severe manner. And I was sniggering mockingly while thanking my stars for not subjecting me to it. And then I thought about the nickname I had been given. That’s when it hit me. I had been living in the state on constant chatak.

Adi announced, “Budweiser laane jaa rha hun. Kis kis ko chahiye?” 


The Hatia-LTT Express rolled in at 12.40pm and rolled out at 1.40pm. Between this time, we reclaimed our seats from people who had occupied it. Illad, who had his berth in some other coach, managed to convince a guy near our berths to exchange berths with him. Two more of our berths were elsewhere. Negotiations to get them more closely located failed. Gradually, it was all settled.
All cooped in.
Kaka slept.


‘The Card Trickster’ 
04:17 pm
S9, Hatia-LTT Exp.

I didn’t know Khan sahab.
Had never met him before this trip commenced. Needless to say, he was clearly everyone’s favourite person… resourceful, entertaining, involving, upfront ‘pehle aap’ outlook and ready with the plan B whenever needed. Within an hour, he had everyone playing the card game ‘President’ and a few other games a while later. Ranchi to Goa was a long way. And these games certainly made the time move swiftly while leaving everyone well entertained.
And when people took a break from the games, out came Khan sahab with his bag of tricks. His clean acts leaving us all bewildered and astonished. Ask Illad and you will know better.

On reaching Goa, I came to know Khan sahab barely slept the last two nights that we had been journeying. His plans were  kind of last minute, hence he didn’t have confirmed tickets. We had promised to manage, but actually he managed it all. And if this was a trip to remember, I am glad that he decided to tag along, ‘cause as I see it.. he made things easy. Ghatal had been the mainstay of the ‘Tour Plan Execution Department’ …right from arranging lodging, conveyance, handling finances, deciding menus, drawing daily plans and all other minutest of the things. Supported well by Khan sahab and King while Shanky, Kaka and Bongali took care of ‘other important things’. Illad and Adi lending their hands in various activities all the time. Frankly, I think Kela and I were really the baggage on the trip. Kela still would have contributed in some way. Speaking for myself, I only remember saying ‘yes’ to go on the trip. For once I didn’t have an iota of responsibility. I was just bouncing along, having the most fun time  I have had in a long long time. Thank you my N.P.Bey Brothers. I owe you all one each. :P


‘Kaka Ka Chaddar’
11.45 pm

Major stations were a little scarce on the route this train was taking. Our dinner comprised of whatever edible things we could find. By midnight everyone had bellyful of stuff and retired one by one. Kaka was one of the first to put himself out. He took the upper birth.
Those of us who were awake went about talking and then onto another game of cards. Something was needed to be used as the table for laying out the cards. As we were looking, hung down from above kaka’s chaddar (sheet) like a curtain hanging from the heavens! And then the jokes started. Kaka, fast asleep, was oblivious of all the roaring laughter below. I have forgotten the jokes. Its been two weeks. But I remember the laughter. All the jokes somehow included an ingenious method to use kaka’s seemingly very long chaddar. When I retired onto the middle birth below kaka, I remember taking the hanging chaddar of kaka and draping it over myself saying its long enough for both of us. It indeed was.
By 2 everyone was asleep. Day one over.
All’s well that begins well.


December 16, 2012

Decembers are supposed to be cold. Very cold. But as the train moved from east to west, it also seemed as if it had been moving from December to June. Before midday, all had changed into tshirts and shorts.
Meanwhile, our train had done well so as to not lose any more time. We were positive that no plan B (taking a bus to Goa) would be needed. 

The highlight of the day was eating ‘vada-pow’ at every station and discussing which one was better so as to find the city with best vada-pow before the end of the journey. Rest of the time it was cards mostly. King and Kaka did invent a whole new game! I think it was given some weird name as well. I played it for over an hour. Never understood a thing. Just that it involved a lot of sledging and Kaka doing the thing he does with his tongue and the gap between his upper jaw incisors.
On some occasions kaka’s Bongo and my ukulele exchanged hands and music was made. Shanky demanded that he be handed the Baansuri (flute). Bongali was totally against it as he could forsee the havoc that would be unleashed if Shanky was to lay his hands (and lips) on it. Frustrated Shanky banged the bongo instead. All this while, the Tiranga jhanda we had been carrying fluttered proudly by the window where it had been securely placed.


06:45 pm
Waiting Hall
Kalyan Junction

“Aap log social worker hain kya?” asked a total stranger leaving me too baffled to answer straight away.
“Wo aap log Bharat ka jhanda le ke ghoom rhe hain naa, isliye poocha”, explained he, seeing my inability to grasp his motive of asking such a question.
Finally I replied, “nahi, hamlog aise hi bas ek competition me jaa rhe hain Goa. Usme iska kaam padega…” ..and before I went on to weave more of the story, he patted my back and left.

Our train from Ranchi had left us with over two hours to catch our train to Goa which came right on time.
Next morning at 7:30, we were all at Madgaon Railway Station.
(Thank you Lord Brahma!)


December 17, 2012

‘Jessica SaffrOn’ 
11:13 am

Jessica SaffrOn Beach Resort. (Don’t ask me why the O was capital in saffron.)
It was located near the Calangute Beach, another 35-40 kms from Madgaon. It took an Innova and 96 minutes to get us there. Well not quite there.
Ghatal called the hotel for directions. The person went on for 5 minutes giving out all the details. After hearing her out patiently, Ghatal said to her, “thank you, now please repeat the same once again to our driver”.
10 minutes later, we were finally there. Straight to our rooms we went. Two double bed-room suites. Comfort.

‘John Karthik (Mahto’s)’ 
12.33 pm

Before everyone could freshen up and be ready, Bongali, Shanky, Adi and King had already ventured out, found a place called ‘Bob’s Den’ and begun their beer count. Later I came to know that they had some 20 count beer target in mind. Ofcourse they needed to start right away. I and Kaka joined them and got treated to Beef Roast, first of the many weird things we were going to devour. For the record, Kaka had his first beer. I finished it for him.  Before leaving a suspicion was confirmed. This place could provide the platform for using up the two Hajmola ka shishis that had been brought along. Bob (Marley’s) Den. It was all in the name.

The whole group sat down for lunch at a restaurant nearby – The John Karthik’s. For some reason unknown to me, the others termed it as the Mahto’s. It became the regular spot for our everyday brunch. Well, anyway, the beer carnival and sea food fiesta had begun.
As I had heard, beer was cheap here. All names I had ever heard – available. Barely having to pay even one-fourth of what I paid back in Ranchi for a pint, my initial resistance was futile. So much so that when I got home my mother remarked, “beer pee pee ke motaa gya hai!” Now that I never expected to hear.

‘The Rides’ 
02:19 pm

If you are in Goa, you better know two things.
To Drive.
To Swim.
Well, swimming not so much as driving. Bikes and Scooties are available at rent everywhere on nominal rates and they make conveyance so much more easier.
Thankfully for us, out of ten people, exactly five had driving licences. Kaka, Shanky got themselves Avengers. Illad a FZ. King and Ghatal : Activas. Rest of us were to be the pillion riders. Ghatal paired up with Khan sahab. King took up his son Kela. Adi and Illad had already drawn up a rider-pillion agreement. Shanky and Bongali were made anatomically made for each other. So I had Kaka. I was apprehensive in the beginning. Hadnt he chosen a bike too heavy for him? As it turned out later, he handled it quite well. I, behind him, switching between the camera and nokia maps, had a good time navigating almost halfway across the state of Goa. It was fun.


‘Bat on the Beach’ 
02:51 pm

I was watching Kaka park his Avenger at the Calangute Beach Parking when I heard these three pieces of news :
Illad: “King ne apne activa ka key uske dickie me chhod diya.”
Kaka: “Shanky ne apne Avenger ka key mod diya.”
Shanky: “Bongali ne mudi hui key ko seedha karne ke chakkar me usko tod diya.”
I had to see it to believe it. A Solid iron key Snapped right in the middle. But then you look at Bongali. And then your mind rationalizes it and you agree that its possible.
Anyway to alleviate these key problems I summoned  my mystic powers and within 117 seconds it was all sorted. King got a spare key. Shanky found the guy who fixed him up with a new key.  Bongali smiled.
All this mystic energy had activated the batsuit in my backpack. I knew it had to be unleashed soon. I did.

Soon all of us had found ourselves a spot on the beach, tore down our clothes and ran in. Bongali made the ultimate sacrifice of staying out of the water so that memorable pictures of ours could be taken (and also our belongings could be guarded).
After a while in water, it was time for me to unleash the bat as prophesied before the beginning of the trip. On came the mask and for the moment the world around stopped looking at the plethora of things male eyes pry into.
The mighty cape fluttered. 
Kaka was proud.


Anjuna Beach
06:21 pm

“Sangam, I have failed you. If we get lost….if we run out of petrol before reaching the pumping station…blame it on me. You’re a gem of a friend. I will forget twilight or vampire diaries, but never shall I let fade the memory of you. This I promise as we delve deeper into this imminent oblivion.”

These were the words of Kaka as he and I tried to find our way which we had seeming lost while trying to get to a petrol pump. We had been riding out into the dusk for quite a while. The locals had spoken of a petrol pump and pointed us in this direction. Owing to the ‘lost neutral’, Kaka and I had gotten separated from the rest of the gang. Now we were riding into the dark, Kaka peering deep into the winding road ahead and me trying to find a way out via Nokia maps.

Five minutes later we found the petrol pump. Others were waiting.

Booze wasn’t the only thing cheap there. Petrol was too. Rs. 55 per litre.
Once the fuel tanks were fed, a nearby rocky beach ‘Anjuna’ was given a visit by us.
A rocky beach indeed. No sand. Large rocks jutting into the sea. And slippery. The only way I could think of for moving about those rocks was by squatting down and using the hands to move around – just like Gollum (LOTR).
We Gollum-ed around until it was too dark to see anything.


08.29 pm

Samundar me naha ke aap aur bhi namkeen ho jate hain. Aur aapki body ke pore pore me sand bhar jata hai, nomatter how much you wash yourself. Nevertheless, we all came back to the hotel to try.

‘futebol e religiĆ£o’
“This is what I am going to get tattooed on my arm. Why? Because I think it holds a meaning in my life and I want it inked to permanency on my skin. Because in future I won’t be bak***d enough to try this.”

Whatever the rest of the people thought, King had me and Bongali reeled. We too, were going to get tattooed.
Bongali called dibs on the Qbit logo. Not that I was thinking about it but it did seem meaningful.
“Tu kya banwayega?” I was asked.
“Bat-symbol..”even I could gauge the unsurity in my voice. What holds meaning in my life? While I was still mulling over this question, the needle talk began.
“G***** *** jayegi ….bahut dard hota hai ..infection ho sakta hai …ghar se pooch  le ..kahin mummy hi pakad ke na peet den…”
I dropped out. I thought I should wait until I truly find something meaningful enough to be inked to permanency on my skin. I just hope that when it happens I will be bak***d enough to go ahead with it.


09.57 pm
King and Bongali, with newly tattooed arms, joined us for dinner on the shore-side shacks and thelas. King fish, pomfret, sharks, crabs, prawns and the good old chicken – they were all given a bite. It was uneconomical to buy water or cold drinks. So beer it was for all except the tee-totalers like khan sahab.
Post dinner, as we headed back to sit on the shore, a random local stranger came up with an offer I instantly refused.
“Sir, Disco, body massage….sab milega. Chahiye sir?”

All of us had to keep such offers at bay throughout our stay there.

We all sat in a circle on the shore. Hajmola was out of the bottle.

‘Damsel in Distress’
11.13 pm

“Ma’am, I am with the government of India. Are you fine? Do you need help?” King, clad in a Chelsea jersey, shorts and slippers, with a Heikenen in one hand and a J in the other, said to the damsel in distress.
It so happened that a drunk and out foreigner was lying flat on the sand close to the water and people were creating a scene around it. Initially none of us were involved, but later when the crowd had gone off and the damsel was still in distress, the moral obligations sprang king and Bongali up to their feet. And they ensured that the lifeguards knew about it and that the damsel was brought out of the distress.

December 18, 2012

01.16 am

Well you just cant keep drinking up. More so if you are a newbie like me. Sooner or later you arrive at the point of immediate release.
“Sangam, give it back to the sea” , they said. I didn’t argue. I went down to the slopes and gave it back to the sea. Did people see me ? More importantly, did I care? It was too late in the night anyway. King followed suit. He gave it back to the sea as well.

The plan for the next day was made.
“Subah 6 baje uth ke yahin aayenge, aur sunrise dekhenge, fir old goa challenge”.

‘The Race’
01.49 am

I was going back to hotel riding behind Ghatal. Why had kaka ditched me? I cannot remember. Perhaps I was too drowsy by then. The pair of Illad and Adi was riding by our side. And then we stated racing each other. How did it start? I don’t remember that either. What I do remember is that within 19 seconds I was wide awake, holding tight to my seat, a FZ vrooming beside the active I was on. And it continued. Ghatal made it fly. And soon we all realized that we were about to reach Madgaon. We had missed the turn to our hotel long back.
Honestly, I had never been in one such reckless drive.
Even more honestly, I loved it.

06.00 am
Room 203, 204. 

Sun rose. Nobody woke up.
Surprise M*****f*****!!


‘The Riverside Roadride’
 By the time everyone was actually all ready and we were done with eating up at Mahto’s, it was already midday. We were going to ride for about 20 kms to south goa, panjim and other places.
The road taken was what made the day. Once we crossed the panjim bridge, there was a narrow road running alongside the Mandovi river. The 10-15 minutes that the five vehicles of ours zoomed past that stretch was utterly butterly deliciously blissful !

 ‘Abbey Road’

The first destination was the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Across the road from it was a museum belonging to the ASI. 

While walking across it on the zebra crossing, we tried to imitate the Beatles album cover Abbey Road. It didn’t quite turn out as easy a job as it looked to be.

‘Miramar – Dona-Paula – Miramar’

Kullu joined us here. Grandly dressed. Riding a red active. He looked cute actually. I took to walking across the entire length of the Miramar beach while Ghatal photographed, Khan sahab did some yoga asanas, Shanky-Bongali photobombed and Kaka buried himself in the sand.

We had missed the sunrise but thought of watching the sunset in its full prime at the Dona-Paula Beach. We drove there and found out Miramar would have given us a better viewing. So after deliberating around for a while we raced back to Miramar. This time I was pillion rider to  Shanky for a change and he took it upon himself to make me hold on for my dear life as his Avenger sped past at 87 kmph.
“Lamborghini dekha tha raaste me? wali”, he asked when I touched down upon the ground.
“Haan”, I said. What I didn’t say was, “10 microsecond ka time tha mere paas bas Lamborghini ko dekhne ke liye!”

Soon it was dark enough and late enough and we had a long ride back. So back we rode. Only his time Bongali expressed his desire to drive back on Kullu’s res active. And he did. Red Helmet, red Activa and his giant persona – he himself termed himself as a (cute) pizza boy speeding back over the 60 mark.

09.00 pm. We were back at our favourite spot at the calangute beach. A quick dinner and we were back sitting in a circle, bottles in hand and Hajmola out of the bottle.

‘Hukka Bar’
10.27 pm

I had tried that before but never quite got the point of it. But that night King made sure that I drove the point home. Ohh I did and it really left me wanting for more.
The setting demanded a pink Floyd sond to be played. King approached the Bar DJ with his request.
He came back and asked, “abbey , the end naam the koi gana hai kya Floyd ka.”
“nahi”. It was a very definite ‘nahi’ from Bongali and Shanky.
While the contemplation was still on, we all heard the song.
‘one thing, I don’t know why
It doesn’t even matter how hard we try…’
Kullu was up and he finished the rap.
So this was it. The DJ actually played ‘in the end’ by linkin’ park. For him it was a Floyd song.

“abe aise jagah yahi milega. Chalo sab asli night club me. Entry passes hotel me mil jayega discount pe.” : Ghatal
“haan be, ek baar to kisi ko bolna hi hai, ‘can I buy you a drink?’” : Kaka
By midnight, everyone was back at the hotel and all dressed up and ready for it. Khan sahab was the only reluctant person. But he was pulled out of his sleep and made to tag along with us.
“Chal be, regret karega bahut nhi gya to”, he was told.


01:03 am

What happens in Riio, stays in Riio.

u must know my friend when 
u shudnt push to get 'pushy'
if pushier yet u be then 
chali jayegi sali khushi

Sab man ki hai utha patak
Galat direction me mude nhi ki 
nazar padi - ho gya chatak

so what happened in riio
must stay in riio
naa ho uspe kabhi discussion
par naa ho paye control agar
yaad kar lena the dance Russian

so lets never push to get pushy
let the universe play it out
tushtushi tushtushi
tushtushi tushtushi

“Jaam chhalak gya re!” : Adi.


“Kal subah 5 baje uthenge, aur Agauda Fort jayenge. Wahan pe sunrise dekhenge. Wahan se wapas aakar lunch karke. Checkout karke Colva jayenge. Wahan dinbhar rahenge aur raat ko train pakad k eagle diin Mumbai.”


December 19, 2012

‘Son-rise M*****F*****!’

It was about 9 in the morning. Needless to say, we had missed the sunrise again. Instead we had to make do with the Son-rise. (if you know what we mean).
The plans were redrawn.


‘Dil Chahta hai’ 
01.15 pm

Nobody was interested in the history of the Aguada Fort. All we cared about was finding the spot where the Dil Chahta Hai sequence was filmed.


‘Water Games’
03.17 pm

Colva Beach. White sand. Crystal water. If I m coming to Goa again, this is where I will stay. I, Shanky and Kaka also bought ourselves Hawaiin Shirts here, just a trip souvenir.

We took to the sea water once more. Bongali stayed out once again, accompanied by King and Kela. They chose to opt for a bout of beach football.

Kaka and Shanky went para-sailing.
After they returned, I and Adi joined them for the banana ride.

“life jacket pehan ke Bane jaisa feel aata hai”, confessed Kaka.
I focused my attention on what the instructor was saying.
“ham log aap logon ko 2 dip karwayenge…e keep me aur ek shallow me.” I wasn’t exactly clear what he meant by the dip. I found out soon enough.
“aap sabko thoda bahut swimming aata hai naa?” he asked.
‘haan’, said everyone but me. I looked up to Shanky, Kaka and Adi and got got back the look ‘nahi dundne denge be tereko’ look.
Came in our inflated banana ride and we mounted it. It seriously felt like I was riding one of those giant birds from Avatar. Once we were far enough into the sea, we were asked to raise our hands. Then the banana took a sharp turn and splash-dip into the water went all of us. So this is what they meant by the ‘dip’. Being thrown in the open sea. Life jacketed I might have been but still I had my heart in my mouth. Floating in and out in harmonic motion llike a cork in the water. I grabbed the rope and demanded to be pulled up instantly and was obliged.
To my utter horror Kak**** had some daredevilry planned for himself. Out he came of his life jacket and swam across underneath the banana boat.
The other dip was a little less horrific. My feet hit the ground ater a few moments of frantic kicking about.
It was enough adventure sports for a while now.

The final dinner was done in a Shack on the beach in total style. So much so that at one point we risked missing our train.
That never happened. Nothing had gone wrong on this trip. Nothing could go wrong on this trip.


Madgaon Railway station
07:54 pm

This is all that Goa had in store for us. Didn’t really feel like leaving. But a train came few minutes later and took us away.
I had a feeling that I hadn’t had enough of Goa just yet.
“Bangalore se Goa kitna door hai be?”, I heard Kaka ask.
Seemed like Kaka hadn’t had enough of it either.
Or the others.


December 20-23, 2012

Initially I thought I just wouldn’t have enough to write about Mumbai. But now I find that it would need a whole post for itself.
The Local train journeys, Nariman point everynight, Kela’s rendezvous at chowpaty, Trident ke (saamne) ki chaai, Asking a BMW owner for lift, 01.40 ki last local, doomsday, Room 901, The Great Ghatal Guess and the aids ribbon, The Back alley beer buy brawl, McD Division Bill, and the way back from the water kingdom on the final day. And I didn’t even count Moodi.

To be written..
“Kaka, tu essel world mat jana.”
“Tu essel world gya, to tu wahin reh jayega. Fir ghar nahi nahi nahi nahi jayega tu.” 

Its not how it happened, its how you remember it that matters. 
Rights to exaggeration and bragging reserved.
 Data and Information used might have been skewed to suit the storyline. 
No characterisation intended. 
Everything is relative to your perspective.