Thursday, December 31, 2015

Adieu.


There are lights everywhere, colorful, bright, soulful; there is a cheer in the people, a little bounce in their walk, a little joy in their eyes. The excited eyes beamed in the wait for the end of another glorious year and the approaching new year full of hope. I have read quite a few blogs where people have poured out their feelings for the amazing year that is just biding us farewell, while at the same time being hopeful with new aspirations in the new year and new beginnings of happiness and joy. *Touches wood* #FingersCrossed. I am with you on this and come on, who doesn't like happiness and joy. A lot has happened in the year and I am awestruck that I don't remember any of it. I always thought I had a good memory at least when it came to remembering the things other than studies. But looks like I am losing my touch. Well anyway, let me just bore you with my drama for the year. And mind you, I am not a good actor nor a good writer(*gets smacked in the head*). Here's to 2015 for becoming a memory and the moments that left a lasting impression for never to fade.

No Tricks Allowed
I had a very different sort of experience last year on my birthday. It was on Sunday the previous year and I was hoping that none of my friends make a big deal of things. I was wrong. They did. I got kicked and whatnot. Keeping that in mind, I removed my birthday everywhere. But some smart ass people still remembered the date. I have no idea how! Eventually, I ended up with a nice 'ol trashing and a cake face pack. I have to be really really careful this year. The thing would be to skip going to office. 

Tamasha in the Sky and Avatars on the land.
My credit card application was rejected not once, not twice but four times. I know right how can credit cards be rejected when they are almost giving it for free at the bank counters. I have no idea why. They weren't too specific and I was also kind of not too serious about getting one because I knew if I get one, I will be piled up in huge debt. But after a lot of rejections, I finally managed to get one. After a long struggle and crying over the old camera, I finally managed to get a camera. I was hoping for a high end, but then I figured that I need to learn a lot before jumping into being a professional. Not that I am no professional. I have 900 likes on my Facebook page, so I am pretty awesome. Not. Anyhow, there was this Aero Show event at Bangalore and I got a chance to use my photography skills with the new lens and all. I managed to get some decent snaps, but they could be better. Another event that happened a couple weeks later was ComicCon. Being a comic enthusiast, I was too excited to go. I tagged along with an old friend, who apparently had no much knowledge in the franchise. I think he knows about Chota Bheem.

Inconclusive Experiments
I had hit that crucial "Writer's Block" syndrome. They say that no such thing exists. Maybe, may be not. Or perhaps, they are too busy and always writing to neve have felt that gray lapse in writing. I have a lot of those. Eventually, I reached a stage where I wanted to start a blog afresh, like from the scratch. One of the many reason besides the writer's block is the feeling of not being read. No one was reading apparently. But whenever I posted about this that no one was reading, people would read that. I know the irony isn't lost on me. But I think I had a little reader base and that I was assured that I wasn't writing for others rather than I was writing for myself. Well, yeah I completely agree. But one can't move forward being all alone right? Anyhow, I just revamped the whole blog appearance. No, it didn't bring more followers. And I also started an anonymous blog, because apparently everyone had an opinion. So, to avoid the bloodshed, I decided to create another blog where I was supposed to be the bad guy, or the real me. Apparently, that didn't work out as well as I thought it to be. Two strikes.

City of Joy
The Art of saying NO has always been a foreign concept for me. And it is a pain in the ass. To cut long story short, I was traveling to Kolkata to help out a project in a bit of crisis. The problem was they needed a doctor and they got a mechanic. And they made do with the mechanic. The stay has been kind of unpleasant, thanks to the rain and the hot weather. And not to mention the expenses. Despite the public transportation being cheaper, I spent more on commuting. The reason might have been that the public buses were written in Bengali and I was Bengali-illiterate. While I was giving away, erm spending money like I was a freakin' billionaire, the credit card statement due had a different story to tell. Not to mention the work culture at the place I was working is like they would practically stay at office if someone tells them to. "No more", I said and hopped on the flight back to Bangalore.

Ah-mazing
Blogger meets are always awesome. I had the opportunity to meet some of the amazing writers and bloggers. I attended four meets this year. The biggest one of which was BNLF, with the most crowd. The best one was the last one, a small group of people yet the most memorable of them all- GOA. I think it is more about what happened after the trip than what happened in the trip. I am usually a shadow in the meets, almost invisible. And I wouldn't blame anyone who might not have recognized me, then or now. But something amazing happened over the trip. I have met these amazing bunch of people, who just made the year all the most memorable. We have become a sort of Family- Blogger's Family.

Secret Santa
The joy of sharing is boundless. When you see that smile, not on the curved lips but in the eyes, that smile, that joy, that happiness is contagious. So this year, Richa and Co. decided to make it a little interesting by not only sharing gifts but also by spreading the word of joy. The idea was to create a flash blogging on the eve of Christmas. So a group of awesome bloggers decided to binge blog and flood the social media with the message of joy and what Christmas is all about. It was a small group, but it was fun to do nonetheless. And I was part of it, which is more than I could ask for. 

_______________

Have I done anything that would stand out in this year ? 
No.

Any milestones? Achievements? 
Lol, No. None.

Anything to strike off from the To-Do / Wish list / 25 things before 25 (wait I am going to be freaking 25 in a month!) ?
Umm, No ! 

Is there any chance in the next year?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Optimism is all I have, even though I might not feel it.

Anyway, since I am here blabbering about almost significant (or not) that happened this year let me extend by just a little bit - Friends and Blogging. I haven't been the best of the writers but there have been people who were there to help me through all this ordeal.

The People around me...

It was a year of marriages and farewells. Some of the once good friends got married and a few moved to better opportunities. I was just trying to figure out who else has left behind.

Aditya : This guy never ceases to amaze me. I have no idea what he sees in me, but he calls me talented and all that. He is an amazing singer, joyous and an  enthusiastic guy and always in high spirits. I wish you all the happiness and joy in the world, bro!

Rani : The ever so bubbly girl got tied down, finally. I mean so sad. I mean so happy for her. The thing about marriages is that people have a better excuse of not about to hang out. Nonetheless, I made her totally addicted to TV series. Yes, that's my accomplishment. Don't blame me for making her a fan of TV Series. :P

Manjunatha K : A creative, cool and sportive guy you could ever meet.

Let me take cue and say something about the fellow incredible bloggers : 

Richa : Where do I start? The last few months I have seen her multi tasking - between work and Blogchatter and promoting BlogBuddy program, dividing people, inspiring people, putting up weekly prompts and then the Secret Santa challenge. And does she stop there? No. She sends a beautiful New Year Card with an inspiring note. Thank you Richa.

IQ : She is an amazing writer and a great friend, she always has been. Though the intensity of her writing have decreased, but her thoughts always inspire me. 

Wanderer : I think she might be a little busy with the academics and all, she is rarely seen in the blogosphere, I mean No comments on my blog(!?). And not to mention, she has a creative mind despite her telling otherwise. Though she is experimenting with blogging and voice-logging, or whatever it is called ( will come up with a better name. Yes, its' like podcast but whatever)!

Red Handed : She has been AWOL for the major portion of the year. Her last post was ages ago. I think she might have been busy with the new work and all or may be she got married and not getting enough time. I think she will kill me if the latter isn't true, but nonetheless, an amazing and humorous blogger and Tweeter ( been AWOL from Twitter also, and visiting once in a blue moon).

Vishal Kataria : One of the person behind the curtains of BlogChatter. I have interacted with him on Twitter and finally got a chance to meet him on one of the Bloggers meet. He is incredibly talented and creative thinker, and an equally great writer.

Suman Kher : Furstrated Fellow Aritel Customer. I think she might have switched to some other Network Provider. She is among the one who would literally fly down to my place and kick me if I ever mention the words 'Writers Block' / I am not about to write anything. 

Ankita Bhatia Dhawan : If I did the amount of work she does, I would have been long dead. She takes care of her daughter. She meets her deadlines at office pushing the boundaries. She blogs, almost daily. She is creative, smart and extremely talented, not that I have to mention it.

Sreesha : Twitter Rival. I mean always pouncing at a chance to pull my leg and I kind of offer it, no not my choice. And she writes nice poems.

Sid Balchandran : #SuperDad. I think that explains it all. Oh, one more thing he makes people jealous is he works by Staying at Home. I completely envy him for this. And not to mention an incredible blogger, writer and story teller and has a great sense of humor.

Purba Ray : I have only been on social media trying to pull each and everyone's legs. And I was incredibly surprised when the most noted blogger had asked for me. For a second, minute, hour, 2 days still don't believe ever having that moment. It was a dream! Anyhow, she needs no introduction. She is notably the best humorous blogger and a funny tooth tweeter. 

Vinita Bahl : She is incredibly funny and a people's person, humble and recently found out that she raps too. I mean come on, I can't even speak properly. She is rocking all trades from writing to singing. 

Dr. Roshan : Another famous doctor who blogs. Having topped the charts of great bloggers and being a doctor, he is humble and an incredible humorous person. 

Aseem Rastogi : He binge read my blog. I am surprised he survived. Though he is in the Hospital undergoing critical brain surgery, he still survived. 20 odd posts he read in a span of two days. I mean I myself wouldn't do that. #JustSaying Thank you Sir.

BlogChatter BlogBuddies :

Kala Ravi : Ever since she across my blog, she has been a regular visitor and always leaves a comment. I think that's the first job of a BlogBuddy. And not to mention, she wakes us all up and pushes in doing the tasks. The right term for her is proactive blogger.

Sherna : The bubbly girl I met at the Bloggers Meet is a great writer and and equally funny girl. 

Reema : *In her dream also she is writing a new post*. These last couple of months, she has written what I have written in the entire year. A creative writer and an equally talented poet.

Divyakshi : She goes by the blog url 'Quirkywanderer', perfectly justifying the name. She not only explores the places she visits, she weaves a story through words and pictures.

Anindya : Knitting is always a difficult job. But he knits the words with pictures and always makes people jealous of the the food photos. I completely envy him because he has all the great food and all we get a candid photos of the delicacies lying on the plate to be devoured. Only that we can't. 

Aditi : I have read her book which I got on Amazon 26 Stories which was amazing collection of short stories. And on top that she is a regular blogger promoting prompts and sharing ideas for bloggers.

Prateek Pradeep Mathur : A creative and wishful writer creating stories through words. Though he stays on the other part of the world, he is always connected with the blog buddies and sometimes reads my blog too. 


Now, I would go on about each and every blogger I came across and that would take days to complete. So, let me just add the names here. SoumyaAathiraAkshitha, Anita, Vaishaki, and everyone whom I forgot to mention ( my apologies) are a few amazing bloggers in their own unique way. Thank you. 

Photo Courtesy
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To summarize, I have outlived which I had never expected. Yeah, of course each year has its ups and downs, but at the end of the year I can just hope for better days to come with lessons learnt from the past. Anyway, my year end song or poem or rambling or whatever you may call it. It is kind of a ritual that I post the same thing every year, just like I use the same resolutions every year.

"
Past has taught Lessons.
Memories have brought Happiness.
  Time has taught Living.
Mistakes have brought Wisdom. 

Now, New is the Year.
New are the Aspirations and Dreams. 
Behold the Newness.
Step forward, Step Ahead.
Here it comes, yet another Glorious Year. 

Welcome it. 
With a Smile on your Face.
And Hope in the Heart. 

Cherish the Past.  
Carve a better Future. 
And Never Forget,
Live each day
One moment at a time
"
____________

Anyway, Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New year. May this year bring you many good surprises, joy and happiness. 
Take Care and Have Fun.
____________

Singing off 2015

Gratitude.



The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
-Dalai Lama

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” 
― Steve Maraboli


What would you do when the most unexpected things happen? How would you react? Normally, that doesn't happen to me, like never ever. So when faced with one such reality, I had to pinch myself a couple many times, until it gradually sank in. 

It was early December and I was lazing in my room, when I get an unexpected call . The call brought me to my senses. I was 80% asleep. I washed my face, just to make sure that i wasn't actually dreaming. Turns out, I wasn't. Boy, was I glad! It was a trip to Goa and 60 people were selected, of all who had applied. The trip however was short, was a great one though. Being the classic introvert, I resorted to being myself. And that was I, being the less talker, or none at all. There were couple lot of times when people out the same at the end of the trip. Well, all great things come to an end and the trip ended on a happy note and people on the trip were extremely  grateful and happy.

As understandable, there was a WhatsApp group but it had just the half of the whole crew while a part of this group had decided to make a separate group for people who had interacted with each other and have bonded over quite well. I thought of asking them to add me, but come on who was I kidding  , my interaction with anyone consisted not more than two sentences or none at all. So, I couldn't possibly ask to be a part of it. 

A day later, I woke up to find 400 odd messages of WhatsApp in my notification tab. It was insane. I remember muting all the groups and was confused as how I was getting the updates. It was the group that I thought I could never be a part of. I had met only a few of them and the rest just knew my name and nothing more. So, excuse my excitement when I was part of this group and well, confusion filled dilemma as I realised I would have a hard time coping with the crowd. 

Well, I have cumulated the first convos I ever had with some of the people of the group. And I really wish to meet the other people whom I didn't get a chance to meet, even though I got a chance to meet. Enough of confusion, here it goes :  

BlogwatiG :
The person because of whom I was part of the group. Literally, if it were any other person well except Anks who would have created the group, believe me, I would have been duly excluded.

Me : *After finally settling with the leftover lunch since I reached late*
BG : "You can't sit here."
Me : *Assuming someone is already sitting there, I pick up my plate to move to another place*
BG : "Am just kidding!"
Me : *A little flustered* Oh Ok.
BG : "Why did you come so late?"
Me : "The flight got delayed"
BG : "Why did it get delayed?"
Me : "Some issues, I guess!"


Not to mention but along with the flare of writing and reading, she is a singer who can sing and rap, cool friend, Mom, all-in-one-package well, the list will go on and on. 

Sid B : 
The #SuperDad, who can not only cook great food, but stories as well. Fiction, humor, reviews, you name it, he has it under his cap. 

Me : "Hey, Ajay here."
Sid : "Hey. Did you just arrive? Go and see what is left in the lunch. It's almost empty. And no, I didn't finish it off!"

Roshan : 
The viral doctor, in short term. Having worked and written about his experiences as a doctor, he is a walking celebrity. A famous blogger, not to mention and being great with words, humor and food, he is the complete package. 
www.godyears. com

Ankita Bhatia Dhawan :
#SuperMom, having denied the title a couple many times, she truly deserves it. Juggling between family, work, blogging and kid, she is a lot many things than what catches the eye.

Anks : "Hi, Ajay Kontham?" *Someone asked staring at my hand written name tag*

Me : *With a completely perplexed face and trying to figure out who knew my name in the city where no one has ever met me and contemplating who this gorgeous lady was* Yes. *Finally realizing who she was.* [Clearly the dp's don't do justice, at all.]

Anks : "Did you recognize me?"
Me : *Having finally figured out a second ago* Of course, Ankita.

Anindya Basu :
A blogger with a flare for photography and making everyone drool over their screen with the Food photos. Let me tell you, he makes everyone jealous with the candid photos of food. *Did I say food? Food!!! Umm, wait I will catch you guys after an hour!*

Anin : "Hi Ajay"
Me : "Hey Anin, what's up?"
Anin : "Not drinking?" *pointing to some alcoholic beverage in his hand*
Me : "Ah no. I don't drink."

Anita : 
The talented and utterly sweet blogger who is currently pursuing PhD and is already an entrepreneur. I mean come on, what else isn't she capable of? I really want to see her to-do list, which probably might have all the list items scratched off. 

Ankit Chugh : 
Apparently, the love guru, self proclaimed ofcourse. All these married guys have this knack of giving ex...expurrrr...expert advice on love and relationship.

Pink : 
Flair for poetry, creativity and everything pink, and oh yes unicorn, I think its' called a stuffed animal. To top it all, she is one awesome cook making delicious food ( well it looks delicious in the photos, and I am sure it will taste equally great but still have to test the waters...erm food). Besides being a cook and a creative writer, she is funny and really cool person.

Me : "Hey" *Making a spock hand*
Pink : "Hi *High Fiving* .... finally met you at the Airport"
Me : *Already confused about the high five* "Umm..wha... Yes, finally, right."

UK : 
He goes by the name Fashionable foods, which should mean he is into food. Well, he is. And besides that despite knowing that we are a bunch of crazy people, he leaves no opportunity to prove the point. Well, he did say he is into pulling everyone's legs but apparently its just mine. Yes, I too don't know why given the fact that he hasn't even met me or seen me either. May be because all others are girls whom he adore, guys whom he respect which leaves me. Talk about partiality, right? And not to mention his super power, seriously kuch bhi bolte hai. No it doesn't make sense. But he calls it being crazy mad. Dude, I get it. Why so adamant on proving it?

Zee : 
One utterly talented and hard working person, following her true passion by working tirelessly and sleeplessly. And also teaching her passion to the like minded folks. As if that wasn't enough, she is funny and cute and smart. 


Pooja Mahimkar :  
I don't know more than half of the people. But I can still speak about them because in the course of time, I have interacted with them in a way or two. Poo and Vee, I haven't interacted much. Though I have hopped on their blog, but frankly speaking, I can't talk unless I know them even in a minute way. But with the conversation she has with others, I can say that she is cool person, sweet and well, needless to mention a great blogger and also she is a video blogger, if I am not wrong.

Vaishaki Mishra :  
Same is with Vaishaki. I wish I had met them, but well, let's not dwell in the past. Well, I wish I had interacted with them in the past month or so. But frankly, it's not easy for them to talk to a stranger and be completely snug about it. Well, I can't blame them when I am the silent guy. Nevertheless, what I have observed is she has a knack for photography, a backpacker or lets' just say traveler, an athlete ;

Ragini Puri : 
She is utterly sweet and equally funny. And again needless to mention, a great blogger, traveler and a great writer. Though I have met her, but I haven't met her, as in saw her as she spoke to all of us guys who were heading back to Bangalore. I am invisible remember? No, but yes, figuratively, I am. Well, I do wish to meed in person, someday again.

So, when you have an award winning blogger, a viral machine doctor, a godmother, as awesome lifestyle blogger, a food blogger, a photographer, an entrepreneur, a full time blogger, well bonded people and the powerpuff girls, I am an odd piece. So, excuse my delay in adjusting to the uber awesome group and thanks to my introvert nature, it is not my cup of tea. Being said that, I have been invited with open arms yet, I am the only one picked on, even though the context goes over my and everybody's head, I have a target spot on my back. Sometimes, it's just easy to not be a part and give an opportunity.

Well, #WeAreFamily, sort of. So, I guess, I am part of the madness or awesomeness *ahem* umm no? Ok. Madness it is.





_____________________

Monday, December 28, 2015

Far Away.


As I picked up my bag after wrapping up the work for the week, excited for the holidays as I may, I stood up humming some song that was stuck in my mind, I saw a face under the bright florescent light. A face drowned in thought, lost in his own world, the familiar yet distant eyes which had a story to tell. He was in deep, completely unaware of the present, staring at the locked screen on the computer and tapping the mouse.

I noticed that he was thinking about something too deeply, that tint of sadness was too clear to go unnoticed. I pretended to not notice anything and woke him from his trance.

"Hi, still in the office?"
There was this sudden transformation in the eyes, like a newly lit candle. It was surreal for me to notice that.
"Hey hi. I was just leaving!"
"Well, I have a flight to catch. Going home for holidays. When are you going home?"
He tried his best to keep that spark alive but something gave away. May be it was the mention of home. 
"Nah man! I couldn't this time."
Despite the fact that these were the longest stretch of holidays, I couldn't put a finger on why he couldn't! I wanted to inquire. He looked troubled and I wanted to help him out in anyway possible. But before I could, he started packing up his things to leave and I realized that I had a flight to catch and so I wished him the festive greeting and told him to take care. 
_____________

It was the beginning of the last month of the year. The work at office was kind of packed since everyone were planning for the holidays and thanks to the client overseas who took the whole month off, we had a lot on out plate before we headed different ways. Everyone seemed to be planning a great vacation with their family, some going overseas while some home. He looked at the calendar and checked the flights to home. As days gradually drew closer, the office slowly thinned and the chaos of the tapping keyboards, ringing phones and office chatter dimmed in the holiday cheer. There was excitement everywhere, there was a cloud of happiness over everyone's head. 

Everything seemed to be in order and he was all set for the holidays. Except he didn't book the ticket that day. And unlike others, he had something else in plan, or was it nothing. There was no more work left at office, but everyone hasn't yet checked out on the vacation plan were just in office as a routine, but eventually they all left. Assuming he was alone on the last working day of the year, he contemplated over the notion of holidays. He loved holidays, and like everyone else he also craved for them. He loved the idea of being home, spending time with the family, going to the relatives home, making fun and all the jazz. He was staring at the screen while lost in thought about why he wasn't so keen on going home.  He still loved holidays, but home seemed to be getting distant for reasons he could not explain. He wished for things to be different with him, had he taken that chance a few years ago, had he taken that risk a month ago. It is not too late even now, yet the fear of not going to make it haunts him nonetheless. He just wanted to be away, far far away. He questioned how did he get so broken? How did he become so vulnerable? Why did he want to escape, escape this journey of life? Why did he want to go so far away? Being woken up by a familiar voice, he looked at the eyes searching for an answer. He donned the intrigued look he had so mastered over the years, the eyes that sprouted enthusiasm, the craft which he had perfected. With farewell and best wishes after the little long conversation, he sunk back in his chair, under the glowing light, lost yet again. 


_____________

This post was written for #BlogChatter prompt of the week #AwayFromHome.

#WeAllHaveAStoryWeDontWantToTell

Thursday, December 24, 2015

#UnwrapChristmas by spreading Happiness and Love.


It only takes a spark to get the fire going.
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you have experienced it
You want to sing
You feel like spring
You want to pass it on…

A few of us gathered together for Secret Santa tidings, divided by names and united through a common Christmas spirit of sharing. And it is in this spirit that we bring this blog chain to you.


I am thankful to Kala for passing on the baton of spreading Christmas joy and spirit. 

As the stars twinkled in the sky,
The carols lighted the night
With merry and melody.
For the festive thrives in joy, and
All we hear are the jingles all the way.

What does Christmas mean to you? I tried answering this, but there is no perfect answer. We may try to define it, put it in words and all, but then we will realize that it is so much deeper. It is the feeling which we could not define but only show. But then again, what does Christmas mean to you? What does Christmas mean to me? Let me put it one word : Joy. Togetherness. Love. Food. Happiness. Gifts. Santa. And so much more. And yes, I tried the one word but, like I mentioned its' an feeling we could never measure or quantify.

Every year we used to put up the decorations at school and then at home. Yes, two places, since decorating the Christmas tree has always been fun and the spirit of togetherness that it brings upon is something to remember for a lifetime (each year). And not to mention the food and the delicacies that were prepared during this time is an added bonus. As we grew up, people drifted, be it studies or work or any other reason, this one season brought everyone close, together.

Talking about gifts, we have this debate on whether there is Santa or not. Let me just ease your mind by telling the truth. Santa is real. No, he may not come on reindeer carriage bearing gifts, but he does exist. The thing is we consider Santa to be a person, but we should rather see it as a feeling, a way to share joy and happiness. But we want gifts and we will be surprised to see the gifts near the Christmas tree that you might not have told anyone. Because there are people who know you and what you want. And it is not about getting a gift, though I agree on the joy of getting a gift is unexplainable and equally the person who put the gift is equally happy. 

So, this brings me to the most popular game Secret Santa. I was actually surprised that I hadn't known about this during my college or school. The idea of the game is sharing, duh. For the past two years, we had been playing the game at office and believe me no one goes home disappointed. Well, it's the season of joy and sharing. And most importantly its the season that symbolizes togetherness. So, embrace the people around you, give them a hug, they might not need it, but they will feel much better nevertheless. And if you are stuck in an office working, or cribbing over the pages of your book for the exams, or may be just alone, remember that the warmth of the season and the close people will reach you and embrace you, Happy Christmas.

A Merry Christmas to each and every one. Let's spread Love and Happiness.


I now invite Jaibala Rao to spread the message of Christmas and new years on their blog.


Monday, December 21, 2015

We all have a story


We all have a story we don't want to tell.




There is pain in the eyes, but you see me smiling. It might have been the joke you said or it might have been a happy moment for you. You are happy and so was I. I smiled curving my lips, assuring that I am happy. Of course I am happy. Why wouldn't I be happy? You give another hard look into my eyes, trying to leap inside the broken fragments of the soul, but you strike the doubt off the table with convincing smile I give you. I was happy or perhaps I have mastered the craft. 

"What makes one happy?", I sat down contemplating while I turned the pages of the novel that I was reading. I had covered a good fifty pages, only to realize that I was reading but my mind wasn't here. It had been somewhere else, lost. The story on the book continued, the life around continued, but I was still stuck in the limbo, the limbo of the past. And when I look at the page under the bright fluorescent light , I still remember the last scene which happened fifty pages back or was it the memory that never fades. 


I revisit the question when I saw the kid drowned in his game suddenly looks up and starts talking to me with a glow in his eyes. When he said he was a Tiger and I responded back that he wasn't. His response was rebellious yet I saw the carefreeness, a sort of freedom and happiness. After all he was a kid and he put me in a trance of thought, while I was still figuring out the answer to the question "What makes one happy?" Perhaps, I was asking the wrong question. I know what makes one happy. I have been there. May be, the question should have been "Why am I not happy?". I could give you a million reasons or one, and I still wouldn't let you in. Because some pages are better left unturned, some stories are better left untold. Perhaps, happiness is keeping the demons inside and never letting them out.

_____________

ak

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Goa Experience.



November 20
The evening was settling in the aftermath of the rain, it was the cyclone that was impacting the weather cycle of the city. I was blog hopping as usual when I come across the IndiBlogger page with a banner which read as "60 IndiBloggers get a chance to travel to Goa". Being a travel enthusiast and also a loyal follower of the IndiBlogger events, this wasn't something I was going to miss. Though the selection part was secondary, but I had to apply, after all it was GOA we are talking about!

November 25.
It was a lazy afternoon, by lazy I mean I was lazying around without doing any actual work. While #TheFlash was testing his speed, the phone buzzed. It was an unfamiliar number. And I don't make them wait, hoping that it would be girl. Yes, too high hopes, but can you blame me? When I heard the word IndiBlogger, I started smiling. I knew what it was about before the caller had even mentioned about it. But, I assured myself not to get too excited since I have a knack of running into bad timings and unforeseen circumstances forcing me to cancel the plans I had so wished not to miss. I kept myself from even thinking about it. But the Twitter and Whatsapp was abuzz with the news and people started pouring in their excitement. I was excited beyond reproach, yet I maintained my calm. No, it is not because I am always silent.


Fast forward one week, people's concern for the tickets and the incessant rains in Chennai disrupted the plan for a few, including me. But nevertheless, the tough times didn't stop the crew behind the scenes from getting the things sorted out. A few minor setbacks were expected while managing a huge group, but nothing that couldn't be solved. 

Dec 4
I realized my name was misprinted. Oh, snap! I know right? After a few exchange of emails and the airlines were informed and a plan was set. Like I said, nothing that couldn't be solved. Though I had a feeling that I just might have to head back home.

Dec 5
It was a cold morning and thankfully it didn't rain. Because then I would have had to worry about my shoes as well. I reached the airport just in time. By in time, I mean an hour early. By an hour early, I mean an hour early than the time it is necessary. I don't like missing the flight and most importantly I don't like being late . So, better careful and go early than sorry, keeping in mind the morning traffic at Bangalore. I was set to Goa. There was a genuine sigh of relief when I got through that. As I was following the updates of the fellow bloggers, I just hope to not get late. Guess what, the flight didn't take off at the scheduled time. I was still waiting while hey announced that due to certain legality issues, the flight take off was delayed. A couple of minutes later, it was announced that the flight crew was changing. After waiting for over half an hour, the flight finally started moving. Finally, GOA.

Dec 5, 2 : 20 PM
Touchdown. I was supposed to reach at 1:30 PM. And by this time more than half of the people have already reached and even had their lunch. I so wished that I was on the same flight as others were. May be that could have given more chance to interact (am I exaggerating too much?) with and get to know before we even landed in Goa. I was greeted by the Tata Zica team and was escorted to the Alila Diwa Hotel, alone. It felt like I was getting the VIP treatment. It took me close to thirty minutes to reach the hotel. And the first look at the resort did not disappoint me at all. 


Alila Diwa Resort

...


Dec 5, 2:55 PM
I finally reached the resort and met the Indiblogger team, well Anoop to be exact. After the details and the luggage taken care of, I went to have lunch. I met Sid for the first time who had just finished his lunch and has warned that the food was in less quantity since it was already so late assuring that he wasn't the reason for that. And he wasn't kidding either, I grab whatever I can and head to sit down when I was given a warm welcome by BlogwatiG. It was warm, alright but wasn't expecting anyone to recognize me. So, was taken aback a bit trying to sink in the feeling that someone knows me. Though she did ask whether she scared me, I assured her that I was a rather strong guy despite the looks. After lunch, I was on my way to the room where I heard my name. That shocked me yet again. Who knows my name? And it was a girls' voice. I was already day dreaming. I had been having these deja vu's a lot lately. I look around. No one. Then, I see Ankita (Anks), the curator of the WhatsApp group who brought the people (ahem Bloggers) closer to avoid the first time meeting (I-don't-know-you) barrier (Ok, I just made that up).


The Room at Alila Diwa
...
A humongous room with a huge bed, an open veranda accommodating sofas and a tea table, bath tub, glass shower. It was a comfort in disguise. I didn't have much time in my hand as we were supposed to report to commence the first plan of the day - Hit the Beach, yes like Kick it.

Anoop had quite a shock before the event even began. While we were being whisked away in a Car, Anoop was sitting along with us (three guys) in the back.

Guy 1 : So, you are with the Zica team ? 
Anoop : Totally taken by surprise thinks what to answer.
Me : *trying to help* He is Anoop from IndiBlogger.
Guy 2 : Anoop, how did you come up with the idea of IndiBlogger?
Guy 1 to Me : *wishpering* He is the founder of IndiBlogger? 
Me : Yup. 
Guy 1 was so embarrassed, he apologized all the way to the beach.

The sun kissed sea in its splendid attire, the blue sky overhead, the cool breeze of the ocean was just the thing we all needed. And who doesn't love beaches, when they are super clean. I had been in Visakhapatnam for four years. My college was just beside the beach, yes, you read it right, the beach was just across the road. But only that it wasn't as clean as we wanted it to be. [Back to reality from flashback] The wind was blowing through the hair, spoiling it. Argh, I hate it when I spend half an hour on hair and it just takes one second for the wind to disrupt, destroy and make mess of it. After sinking the feet into the ocean waves, I mean chilling the best we could, we had a soccer match. After all, Lionel Messi is the Brand Ambassador and a football match is a must. It was a pretty intense game and thanks to the sand, running was one hell of a task. A couple of matches and after winding up with everything, we headed back to the hotel for the next item in the Day's agenda.

The story frozen in moments : 


The #fantastico Movie shoot still #314


Roshan with two senoritas.
Take Number 30, Anoop getting frustrated
How many times do I have to tell these guys ?


The Dilwale story continues ...


Ankita's Reaction to the shot. 
Oh no no, I can' see this ! - Sammya
Need to add car flipping scene here. Anoop to Vineet
The Perfect Shot 

Someone's in trouble - Anoop

My Nikon Battery. - Ankita.

Dec 5, 6 : 00 PM
The bloggers after relishing their time at the beach were all set for the high tea where the central idea was to meet and interact with everyone. Anoop from the IndiBlogger team headed the interactive session about all the blogging stories. The evening was beautiful with the people laughing and talking while the host of the day took the mike and made a quick round of blogger introductions and discussed about the plan for the next day. We were split into 20 teams with three members in each team and we were supposed to choose a variant to be driven. Ekta, out captain, erm driver, chose a Petrol variant of Tata Zica. I was along with Sid and Ekta, two of the great bloggers were Team P3.

Dec 5, 7 : 00 PM : Lockers Room
The locker room is a typical replica of the Locker room we usually find in the Soccer stadiums, only that the lockers had awesome goodies - A Tata Motors - Messi Jersey, a Sip up bottle, Messi's jersey replica Pendrive-Keychain combo, a notepad, a carryon bag and a file with the Product details. After admiring the goodies we had a surprise in store. Our coach for the had arrived and it was none other than Cyrus. Cyrus had a one on one with Delna Avari, who met Messi and got him to be the Brand Ambassador for Tata Motors. She explained how humble Lionel Messi was and how he was truly #madeOfGreat as a person in spite of his career achievements in Football.
...


Cyrus then introduced Pratap Bose who gave a walkthrough on  the design aspects of Tata Zica. He explained the journey from the inception of the idea through the clay replica to the actual manufacturing of the car. It was then time for the technical aspects of the car. The backbone of any car lies on how efficiently can the car deliver and meet the user's expectation. The more economical, the more a person would prefer a car. Anand Kulkarni gave us the indepth walkthrough on the design features and the technology that has been used in the car, about how it is next generation.

Vaishaki, Zainab, Abhi and me.
Wait, Why the hell did my Hair go Clark Kent on me ?
PS : I am SuperMan. Shhh!
Finally the curtains were raised and the much awaited car was finally revealed - Tata Zica. It takes the name after the advent feature of the car that it being Zippy - Zippy Car. There were counter set up describing each feature of the car. There will be six variants of the car in the following months. One of the best feature is the customizable air vents, the color of which can be user defined.  After learning about the different aspects of the car, its features and breaking it down part by part though photos, it was time for dinner, as we  call it socializing. 

The evening settled in the slow music while the calm atmosphere gradually witnessed the clinking glasses and laughter of the people. The delicacies were set and the people mingled with each other over words, jokes and rap battles. We had some great karoake songs with Maitreni, Vishaki, Anita, Cyrus, Pratap and our own Yo Yo Honey Queen BlogwatiG (Vinita). The karaoke ended with a Hindi number while everyone joined the dance floor to shake a leg while the champagne followed the rhythm of the steps and beats.

The agenda of the day was over and as you might have guessed, everyone was already tired. But no one was willing to hit the bed, just yet. There was so much to talk, so much to learn, so much to do, yet the time was against us. Yet, most of us made the best of what was available. After clicking a few pictures, I settled into my bed, the comfiest it could ever be. I usually sleep at 4AM, and given the things that I did, I should have slept by 2AM, the concession for the tiredness, but the bed had a different way of relaxing the lazy bones. I did sleep at 2 AM, though I had no plan of shutting the eye that night, but it was too relaxing and I gave in.

Dec 6
The morning started as usual, by me hitting the Snooze Button for 2 hours straight. Eventually I got up and put on the oversized Jersey. The breakfast section was swamped with a variety. I had a hard time deciding what to eat and ended up picking up everything one by one. I finally ate a month's' lunch. My mom would have been very happy to know that. Just as then, Sid caught up with me along with Ekta and the Team P3 was ready to roll, I mean drive. It was time to head out and experience the Zica drive. After the rules had been set and the instructions handed out, 20 Zica cars with 3 bloggers each headed on a 20km drive. The drive included challenges, of course and the winners would win vouchers. This was a pretty decent deal to win vouchers.

The cars were lined up and waited with their engines roaring. The flag was waved off and the race began. The GPS navigation lady was doing pretty good for a few minutes when suddenly we realized that we took a wrong turn at the previous intersection. It was the start of the "Take a U turn when possible" repeated over the surround sound system. But we were pretty swift with following the map, despite the technical difficulties put forth by the voice navigation. We along another team were perfectly following the directions without getting lost. It was a pretty smooth ride, with the surround sound rocking the car. The car was pretty swift at taking sharp turns and the U turn with no hassle.
...

Tata Zica Review , for a car enthusiast.
We headed back slowly troubling strangers while completing challenges one by one. We had already checked out of our rooms in the morning and we were provided two rooms to get refreshed. Now I had my lunch early before the stock got over. And before we knew, it was time to head back to the Airport. After the hassle of Airport was done, I met Ragini Puri, and I am pretty sure she didn't even recognize me. I also met Ankita Singhal for the first time at the airport. I attempted the Spock Hand which is her go-to emoticon, but she high-fived me. Umm, okay that works too. After waiting for another hour or so, we finally boarded the flight and landed back in Bangalore.

The trip was over but the memories will stay on and will be cherished forever.

_______________

#MadeOfGreat

Now, I have to say this : All the bloggers, I repeat every blogger I had met / not met out there are truly #madeOfGreat ; handsDown, Mic Drop, Period.

The #Fantastico Squad

Ankita Bhatia Dhawan 
(The Admin of the WhatsApp group, without whom half of us would have been lost)

Ankita Singhal 
( The Selfie Queen ruling with a Spock Hand Emblem)

Abhishek Joshi 
( My Roommate )

Vinita Bahl aka BlogwatiG 
(The Rapper in disguise, the center of attraction, the Everything-in-One package)

Alexander Grounder 
( The Funny tooth )

Anand Bhate
( Who is Anoop ? Wait, is he the founder of IndiBlogger ? )

Anindya Basu 
( BlogBuddy @ BlogChatter, Photographer )

Anita 
( The bahu everyone is looking for)

Arun Raj 
( Photographer in competition. Dude, get off my turf okay? )

Ekta
( Team mate, Former F1 driver and a combination of fun and team spirit bundled in one )

Sid Balchandran 
( The Foddie, foodie, foodie [damn my keyboard got stuck and it's repeating the words] , a photographer and an equally talented writer and COOK [emphasis on this word] )

Roshan - PythoRoshan 
( The Doc with a knack of operating words with humor and well, looking after patients in his part time )

Uttpal (UK) 
( The fun is in the house, wait did you say Food? )

Vaishaki Mishra
( The combination of fun and funny)

Zainab Attari
( Where there is no limit to talent , creativity and fun)

Ananya Mukherjee
Anamika Mishra
Ankit Chugh 
Avantika
Khusboo
Maitreni Mishra
Pooja Maimkar
Rahul Prabhakar
Rajini Puri
Raza Rahil
Richa Sonpatki
Rohit
Shayoni
Shilpa Garg
Shivani Garg
Yogitha
Rajiv Verma

Now, the IndiBlogger Team is equally #madeOfGreat too.

Anoop 
Vineet Rajan
( Always the one to introduce me to fellow bloggers. Always the on to remember me, even if no one does )

Naveen
( The support during the logistics and a great photographer )
Give it up for the smile.
Swati Maheshwari
( The logistics expert )

And last but not the least Lionel Messi ( My dear Friend ) ahem ahem, I mean The Tata Motors Team for inviting and giving us the first preview of the Zippy Car.

Before I wrap it up, I must apologize for all the people whom I haven't met. Really sorry about that. I hope to meet and interact with you all next time. 

_______________________

This post is written for IndiBlogger in association with Tata Motors #madeOfGreat by Me since I have so much time in my hand. 

About Me

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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
| Writer | Photographer | Split Personality Disorder | Foodie | Music | Art | God-Fearing Atheist | Movies | Golf | Soccer | Dance | Mentally Stable Psychopath |