Mauritius!

First trip after marriage obviously has to be at one of the best locations. After a few discussions, we decided it should be a beach vacation. Hence Mauritius.
Indeed it was a good choice, a paradise island on mesmerizing blue shades of the Indian Ocean. A perfect place for the honeymooners to lay back and enjoy the enchanting landscapes; endless plantations of sugarcane swaying in the wind, rocky hills and mountains, patches of green farm land and glimpses of the deep blue sea teasing from beyond the mountains.
The Hotel-
We stayed for a week at the warm hospitality of Casuarina Beach resort, on Trou Aux Beaches. Private swimming pools, a spa and and amazing restaurant to name a few luxuries at the hotel.
The hotel has kilometer long private beach, complete with sparkling white sands, turquoise blue waters, canopies, lounging beach chairs, a swimming pool, and a pool side bar.
We'd booked a beach facing cozy cottage.
Activities-
Actually speaking, we ended up spending much more time at the resort itself 🙂
Having said that, we tried boating on the choppy waters, went snorkeling in the bay, took a glass bottom boat into the ocean, did an under-sea walk, tried paragliding, zip-lining, caught a Tuesday evening traditional dance performance..etc
We even visited a few cities including Port Louis and Grand Bay.
On our last day at Mauritius, we'd even been to Casela Park.
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in the meantime I get married

Phew, everything's happened so quick !!
This post's a quick re-cap on how things shaped up and how I've ended up from being 'Single' to 'Committed' and now to 'Married'.
Long long ago–
Deepthi's parents were the first to mail us seeking alliance. My mom had registered my bio data in a marriage bureau and that's how Deepthi's parents got to know about me.
Almost an year ago on May 27th 2012–
I'd completed my first marathon run 'TCS 10k' in the morning and in the evening my mom asked me to drive her to a couple of houses to "interview" girls (lolzz just kidding, apparently I've seen a few of my friends use this exact word, 'Interview'). This is when I met Deepthi for the first time.
We just had a quick chat that day, and I exchanged my mail id with Deepthi.
Few days later, we were friends on Facebook and we started talking to each other on Google chat.

I had to travel to Boston on June 30th, and I already kinda liked Deepthi. My mom called up Deepthi's parents just before I flew, but nothing got finalized yet. From Boston, we kept mailing each others building a good rapport. Eventually by the time I traveled back to Bangalore in November, we were almost like buddies.
When I came back; there were a few family get together s and that's it, everything just went clock work after that. A typical arranged marriage. After a few rounds of talks with our astrologer (Nagesh Shastry) our engagement was scheduled on January 18th 2013 and our marriage Muhurat was fixed to be on March 25th 2013.

What followed was the big fat marriage shopping; first things first – Gold purchase. Together we spent a whopping 4.5 to 5 lakhs on gold ornaments alone. And then the saree shopping- we'd been to Kancheepuram to buy silk sarees.. another couple of lakhs we spent there. :-O .
Marriage hall booking, engagement hall booking, florists, designers, photographers, caterers, bachelor's party, invitation cards, suit/shirts/dhoti's/traditional clothes …etc lots n lots n lots of preparations phew !!

As the big day neared, tensions peaked. !!
Our traditional south Indian wedding started off on 22nd March with Deekshey, Arishina function, Devara oota..etc.
On 24th morning, the baraat consisting a 45 seat bus followed by 5 cars including 20 of my 'wildride' friends started our journey towards Shimoga (starting from Bangalore). We reached Shimoga at around 3 pm. Marriage function continued with Vara pooje, reception, photo sessions n lots n lots of formalities. The surprise event was bursting the crackers in the middle of the reception.

25th: Traditional rituals started off early morning and continued till the Muhurat, finally it all boiled down to this moment –> mangalyam tantunanena….

Nope not over yet, more poojas and formalities followed even after the main Muhurat till late in the afternoon.
Omg with tired legs and super hungry, we had to wait real long for our lunch.

After lunch was the heart warming good bye moments between Deepthi and her relatives. ;-(

With all my friends, we drove back towards Bangalore together. We reached our home around 9 ish. Tadaaa!! a few more poojas and formalities back home.

A few days later was the Beegara oota and then off we go on Honeymoon to Mauritius. !! Finally,, peace !! Happies 🙂

PS- I haven't written much about the wildride gang, but their presence is what made the entire function happening. My marriage wouldn't have been as exciting if not for the Wildriders.. kudos to the WR gang..

Wildride in Singapore, My 2012 year end Log book -3 of 3

I've left a few of my travel blogs half way, bad bad bad.. such a bad habit I've cultivated.. and to continue from where I left of, specially after a brief break is a li'l tough actually .. anyway lemme complete my blog on Singapore from where I left off..
Dec 1st:
09:00 AM: The gang was at Changi Airport
09:30 AM: Shaz casually walks towards an ATM and comes back with whopping 45,000 INR (in SGD) in his hands.. his explanation was that we might need this money for our casual spending in Singapore #wtf ? we were all like lolzz
10:00 AM: Our first ride on the Singapore MRT towards Little India
10:30 AM: Boys belted South Indian pakka Tamil istyle breakfast at Selvi's restaurant in a Little Indian gully.
11:00 AM: Checked into 'Innhouse Backpackers', the only place in Little India which made us feel we were doing an international trip :P.
12:30 PM: After all of us freshened up, our Singapore tour guide Mr. Karthik aka "Tension" arrived to meet us at Innhouse Back pakers
02:30 PM: Karthik leads us on a Singapore walk through.
03:00: It starts raining cats n dogs as we step out of MRT at Raffles Place. But no worries theres always the underground malls literally everywhere in Singapore.
03:30 PM: We walked beside the tall Singapore Skyscrapers. Karthik kept explaining about each and every building we came across.
04:00 PM: At Marina Bay Sands Casino. Played slot machines and Roulette. Free Coffee, soft drinks and Milo at the casino, take that !! .. NC, the luckiest among us gained 60 SGDs while playing roulette.
04:30 PM: We walked around in the beautiful gardens, 'Gardens by the Bay'.
05:30 PM: On top of Singapore at Marina Bay Sands Skypark top floor, I guess we were on 57th floor.
07:30 PM: We walked till the famous Merlion.
08:30 PM: Walked along riverside (or backwaters I'm not sure) till Clark Quay, we walked across many sculptures, historical monuments, parliament building and many places of interest along the way.
09:30 PM: Dinner time at a budget food stop. This budget food place is located right amidst a bunch of skyscrapers.
10:30 PM: Karthik made us walk till 11:30 circling around the city.
11:30 PM: A few of us went to Mustafa Mall, others went straight to our hostel.
Ultra the mental day with lots n lots of walking. Super tired legs, all we needed was a big sound sleep.. zzz

Dec 2nd:
07:30 AM: Hot shower followed by continental breakfast at Innhouse Backpakers
10:30 AM: At Universal studios, we had an amazing fun filled time here, our moment of the day was the Transformers ride.
08:00 PM: At the Songs of the sea show.

Dec 3rd:
09:00 – 04:00 At Jurong bird park
05:30: Quick stop and heavy shopping at China town.
09:00: Pack up and back to Bengaluru.

Mangalore Marathon 10k

This was an awesome trip .. Felt really great .. Highlights of the trip : The awesome drive thru Hassan , shiraadi ghat .. The panambur beach sunset , cute mangalore girls , food at new taj cafe ,Driving around mangalore city , the breathtaking marathon finish , those usain bolt poses , pabbas icecream , awesome kodagu roads .. The refreshing coorg coffee break , basha s surprise entry towards the finish , joladh rotti oota , last but not the least .. The fun we three Sunil, Kumar and me had .. Laughing laughing and laughing !!
-Writeup by Kumar

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Wildride in Indonesia, My 2012 year end Log book -2 of 3

And HERE IT COMES.. Wildride in Indonesia !!
Would you believe it, its already 3rd straight International trip with Wild riders in 2012 alone. What an year for us !! Pheww.. too good

Nov 23rd: Worked from home today, (as if I worked :-P).. 9PM: Mom n dad dropped me at JP Nagar BIAL bus stop. Sunil, Charan, Karthik joined soon. We bid adeau to Raki, Basha nd Ramesh and off we go, we were all talking to each others like did you get that, this and all … Eventually Shreyas, Kumar and NC joind us in the same bus.
Wohooo.. in airport… wohoo our trip begins

Nov 24th:
8:00 AM: Reached Changi airport, Singapore. Wow what an airport!! We had a couple of hours in transit, during which we had our breakfast at Subway.
09:30 AM: Boarded Lion airways flight to Surabaya
11:00 PM: Landed in Surabaya. We got our Visa-on-arrival in Surabaya.
Our tour guide Mr. Dhoni was waiting for us at arrival terminal, holding a 'Welcome Karthik' signboard with a big smile :D. We exchanged a few US Dollars to Indonesian Rupaiah. !!!! 10000 USD = 100,000,000 Rupaiah!!!!
12:30 PM: Lunch in Surabaya, followed by a shopping stop over in IndoMart.
02:00 – 07:00: A long drive in Dhoni's 4 wheeler.
07:00 PM: Reached Hotel Bromo which was located at quite an altitude. Temperature was around 5-10 degrees maybe.
08:00 PM: For a while, boys kept themselves busy shopping woolen clothes to fight cold.
08:30 PM: Dinner was okay, fruit salad and omelet were awesome though
09:00 – 11:30 PM: UNO time. Had a blast.

Nov 25th:
04:30 AM: We woke up early, our 4×4 Jeep was waiting for us in front of our hotel. After a very small Jeep journey, we reached Bromo Surise point. An hour's walk and and an amazing sunrise.
07:30 AM: Reached Bromo foothills in Jeep.
08:00 AM: Trekked till Mt. Bromo top. We were actually walking on an active volcano now. Gushes of wind made it difficult for us, it would make volcano smokes would go into our eyes. !!
09:00 AM: Back in our hotel for breakfast.
11:00 AM: Check out from hotel Bromo.
05:00 PM: We were driving along Java coffee estates.
06:00 PM: Reached Ketapang Indah, Ijen. This beautiful hotel is located in a coffee plantation valley.
There are a fewof hot water springs around this hotel.
07:00 PM: We made friends with a few visitors and walked till Madakaripura waterfalls.
09:00 PM: Dinner followed by UNO, a chinese visitor taught us a few Chinese gestures and we had a nice time playing UNO together.

Nov 26th:
01:30 AM: Yup, we woke up at 01:30 AM, and Dhoni drove us near Ijen Crater.
02:30 AM: Started our tiring trek to Ijen.
03:30 AM: Trekking continued. We could see an active volcano far off, and it looked more like 'Eye of Sauron'. A fantastic view, it looked as if like there was a lightening coming off the mountain ever 2 minutes.
05:00 AM: Reached Ijen crater, we were all awestruck when we saw the burning Blue flames on Ijen crater. Our guide took us past visitor view point. We walked till we were just a few feet away from the blue volcano flames. Wow, what an experience.
08:00 AM: Back in our commute, Dhoni's car.
12:30 PM: Byebye Surabaya. Byebye to mountains n Volcanoes.. Ferry ride to Bali.
02:00 PM: As soon as we enter Bali, the change was evident, we entered into a Hindu region. We could see a lot of greenery, beautiful architectures, temples, well planned roads.
04:30 PM: Lunch near Bali and our first glimpse of Bali beaches
07:00 PM: Checked in our hotel Warung Coco, a nice budget hotel for the backpackers. NC met Mita Savirti for the first time here 😉
08:30 PM: We were all roaming on LEGION Street, the most happening street in Bali. So many Aussies, loud music, disco techs, bars on every corner. We walked from Legion till Kuta beach and back. We all boozed till midnight.

Nov 27th:
10:30 AM: Got up really late, in fact we all missed our free breakfast too. Dhoni was patiently waiting for us all the while.
12:00 Noon: By the time we got ready it was already noon. We decided to go to an Indian restaurant (Queen's Tandoor) on Legion Street. It turned out to be a costly affair.
02:00 PM: We reached 'Tanah Lot Hindu Temple' aka Sea temple, which  is a beautiful picturesque temple and located on a rock just offshore, and dates back to 15th century. We spent a lot of time taking a number of pictures around the temple.
02:30 PM: The snake fiasco. Karthik n me posed with a python. When Charan tried to hold on to the snake, snake chickened out !!
04:00 PM: Sanur beach. First time in beach in this trip.
07:30 PM: We drove till the 'Fire Dance', but missed it because we were too late for the show.
08:00 PM: Send off to Mr. Dhoni. Dhoni was not only our tour guide / driver, he had been a true gentleman who always smiled and helped us all along this trip so far.
08:30 PM: Everyone were raring to go for a body massage. After Ijen trek, and all the day's activities we all badly needed one.
11:30 PM: After a soothing and relaxing body massage, we all met up at the same restaurant where we had dinner the previous night. Spent remembering about our trip so far, boozed and partied till late night.

Nov 28th:
07:00 AM: Our taxi was already waiting for us, so was our breakfast at Warung Coco. We left all our excess luggage in the hotel.
08:30 AM: On speed boat heading towards Gili Trawangan.
11:30 AM: Reached Gili T, we were all like, Did we land in a Paradise or what?. <Pic>
12:00 Noon: I rented a bike as our cottage, 'Eden Cottage' was almost half way across the island, a couple of kilometers maybe.
01:00 PM: Played volleyball and dived around in Eden Cottage Pool.
02:30 PM: Lunch at 'Alam Gili' (close to Eden cottqage). The restaurant offered Free Wifi and food was great too. And the best part was the restaurant was right on the sea shore with a great scenic view of the beach. To add to that food wasn't so expensive either !!
04:00 PM: We hired snorkeling gear and went snorkeling. We all had an amazing time snorkeling in crystal clear waters of Gili-T.
Shaz, Sunil and me went a step ahead and swam across great depths to a long boat which was anchored at quite a distance from shore.
07:00 PM: Party time at Gili, we missed full moon party by a whisker, full moon party had happened the previous night :-(.
09:00 PM: Dinner and booze till late night.

Nov 29th:
We were supposed to return to Kuta today, but we got our stay in Gili extended by a day.
10:30 AM: After a nice breakfast in Eden Cottage, we started our snorkeling day-out on a glass bottom boat.
11:30 AM: Our first dive on shallow waters. I was hesitant a bit, but later decided not to use a life jacket while snorkeling.
01:30 PM: Our second dive, in deeper waters this time. We snorkeled over a sunk ship and later along the Turtule inhabited waters.
02:30 PM: Lunch and shopping at Gili Air.
03:30 PM: Our third dive, in shallow waters, with so many colourful fishes around. Thousands of colourful fishes in theses waters circled us as we fed these fishes with bread. Truly amazing experince.
06:30 PM: Back in our cottage, freshened up and played UNO for a while in Alam Gili.

Nov 30th:
Breakfast, check-out, returned my bike and byebye to paradise Gili-T.
Gili-T, you beauty, you have been the highlight of our trip so far. \m/
10:30 AM: Back in speed boat. We spotted a few dolphins while returning back to Kuta.
02:00 PM: Back in Warung Coco. Freshened up and hired scooters in Warung Coco.
03:30 PM: Speeding on our scooters in busy narrow Bali roads.
04:00 PM: Hired Surfing boards, and off we go on Surfing. I'd been dreaming this moment ever since I watched the trailers of "Chasing Mavericks'. Live like Jay, Jay you're one of my hero.
06:00 PM: Super tired after surfing. Gosh those heavy surfing boards and 5-10 foot waves made us go real tired real quick.
07:00 PM: Freshened up at hotel amd we were back zooming on our scooters.
08:00 PM: Sunil, Kumar and me went on out shopping on our scooters. Kumar and me were fortunate to find a fair/sale near Legion. We bought many souvenirs there.
Together we spent millions of Indonesian Rupaiahs shopping today 😛
11:30 PM: Dinner in an Indian restaurant. Last few minutes in Indonesia ;-(

Dec 1st: Early morning flight from Denpasar Airport to Changi Airport..
Singapore HERE WE COME.. To be continued in my next Post

My 2012 year end Log book -1 of 3

The month of November, 2012 has been a Deja-vu of January 2012 to me. In Jan, I flew from US and within a couple of weeks I was holidaying in Thailand. This time, again I flew back from USA in the 1st week of November and within 10 days I was holidaying in Indonesia.
The planning, excitement has all been the same, just like in January.
October 2012: Lots n lots of video calls on Skype n Google Hangout. We booked our Indonesia/Singapore flights first. And then came the brief planning part. Lots of plannings and schemes, gosh how we enjoy during these days:)).
I ended up doing a lot of online transactions for booking hotels in Singapore/Indonesia, paying advance to the Volcano trek tour guides, getting USDs for the offshore WR boys..etc

Nov 1st: I vacated my apartments. 312, Fountainhead Apts, Westborough, MA and moved to Extended Stay Delux, Westborough.
Nov 3rd: Knights limo dropped me off at the airport. I had to ship across a huge # of electronics articles (AV Reciever+ 5 Speakers + Laptop + iPhones + iPad).
Nov 5th: Cleared immigration without any fuss at BIAL. Sunil picked me up at 6 am, and we went straight to Vidyarthi Bhavan. Belted there. Evening was about catching up with all the WRs.
Nov 6th: Met Deepthi at CCD.

I really don’t know how things shaped up, but in the next couple of weeks it was all just clock work. Like in any other arranged marriage scenario, Deepthi’s parents and our parents chalked out plans for our marriage. Deepthi and me met a few of times, and days just flew..

first time romantic ..

my romantic quotient is definitely not so impressive. I’d probably rate myself to be somewhere around 2 on 10 on me being romantic 😛 but not anymore ;), maybe I’ve improved on that rating 🙂
I proposed Deepthi today 😀
We met at ‘Eden park, Jayanagar’ for a Candle light dinner today, and after dinner, all of a sudden I gave her a red rose and proposed her this way- ‘ Ever since I read about Mayan civilization prediction on 2012 dooms day, I’ve believed that world would end on 21-12-2012, today happens to be 21-12-2012. And I’m proposing you this day. And I love you. And I believe my love towards you is so powerful that it would even avert a doomsday. Deepthi, please accept my proposal. I believe our love is so true and powerful that we will together save the world from a catastrophe. We have a great responsibility on our hands.., and I looked at her and we both burst into laughter..
Deepthi blushed red 😉 and started smiling.. as there is a saying, ‘Hasee to phasee, you smiled which means a yes’. She did accept my rose and said a ‘YES’..
Yup, she smiled and said a ‘YES’, nothing else.. (I’m at least more romantic than Deepthi for sure, lolzz)

iPhone picture stream scare

so I’d been to Sunil’s place today to collect Indonesia/ Singapore trip pics, when I came back home I started browsing through all the trip pics in full josh.
After a while,, I was like wait a minute where are all the pics on my iPhone? [unfortunately my iPhone pics weren’t transferred/shared yet 😦 ] they were all gone, vanished into thin air.. but how? I never deleted them !
And then I called apple care and they said, photo streams get deleted from any ios device after 30 days.. and if they’re not backed up on iCloud, they’re all gone for good.. !!
okay,, wtf was that? how can anyone delete pics from MY phone without MY permission without even a warning.. now,, omg omg now they’re all gone 😦
All night I kept doing something or the other to un-delete pics from my iPhone. I found a tool (Wondershare Dr.Fone trail version), which detected my deleted pics, but it wouldn’t recover until I bought a full version, very funny!!
by now, I was sure pics were still there on my phone. After an hour of trial n error, somehow I was able to recover all the pics. Used a unix tool to un-delete pics from my iphone (mounted my phone in DFU mode on a unix machine).
Whatta relief..
Phew, some advantage of being a Software engineer 🙂 )

Linkin Park n Incubus Concert

Alarm on my iPhone's ringing loud.. I get up looking for my phone…. Aahh here it is, looks like alarms been ringing for a while…. O wait, today's not a weekend.. but my head's still banging….. I can hear people screaming when I close my eyes…. and hey whats on me, I've been sleeping with my jeans on,,, why?……. its raining outside and its cold inside..,  forgot to put AC off last night…. wait a minute I'm not in Bangalore….. Right #%^#…. but why're my legs hurting…… my Macbook's still on, so it's been not so long since I slept….. hmmm lemme check my mails….LinkinParkn I slowly walk towards my desk…. hey what are these…Linkin Park n Incubus concert tickets…. Silence for a while…… and then the smiles… Now I get it all.. MutemathBand, IncucbusBand, Chester, Mike, Rob, Hann, Brad nd Phoenix, you guys've  just Rocked my brains off last night