Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Last Day of Goa Carnival

NOTE: Read this post only if you have loads of time in your hands. This is one of the longest posts you must have ever read and I am sure that if I try, I can come out with a book on our Goan Odyssey.

Our second day in
Goa was on 28th Feb and today is 29th March. It’s been exactly a month and yet it seems we had been to Goa long time back.

The plans were all chalked out. Being an experienced campaigner of Goa, I suggested that we visit first go to Dona Paula and then visit Aguada Fort later in the evening. 7 guys… 2 bathrooms… and Atul…the bombardier… Getting late was bound to happen. Once Atul - Mr. Bombastic visits the loo, he turns it into a horrible gas chamber with all the poisonous gases. From next time, Atul will be the last person to empty his bowels filled with vicious gases. I guess, if anyone is locked inside a loo after Atul performs his ritual, even a sadist murderer will commit to his crime. Hum toh fir bhi bachhe hain.

Let me get back some better topic. Well, add to this nuisance some lazy bumps like Ali, who wake up only they get a dose from Atul who just bombards some obnoxious gases from his swelling belly. Sometimes, Atul does use his Weapon of Mass Destruction quite effectively. But Atul, beware of Mr. George Bush. He can attack and invade you anytime.

Finally after an hour, everyone is ready and one of the rooms turns into a busy make up room with all the guys applying a generous amount of Sun Screen Lotion on their faces, hands, shoulders and feet. Here, Rehan won hands down by applying so much lotion that he resembled a cricketer who applies Titanium Oxide on his face.

The second day in Goa and it was already noon before we finally made out way out of the rooms. Total wastage of precious time. This is because we are used to staying up late in the night and then getting up late. The last time I had been here with Tarun and Naveen, we were used to sleeping only for a few hours. We came home early in the morning just to have a quick wash and change our clothes.

With the sun over our heads, we started thinking. I don’t know why… but our group always does this. We always stand in the sweltering sun and start thinking. I guess we all must have been Jadoo (Aliens) who drew their power from the sun in our earlier births.

There is a Punjabi Dhaba bang opposite to the Calangute beach. So, we thought of skipping our breakfast and having brunch instead. The food was good enough. As Chicken was a strict NO, we had the opportunity of trying out each and every other dish. But, still I, Kandu and Rehan could not resist the tasty omelet. So, we ordered omelets along with Keema, some Punjabi Veg. items and Jeera Rice with Dal Makhani.

Now, it was the time for some dessert. So, each one of us picked up Frootis (our fuel) and headed straight to the Calungute bus stand. After being sent from one bus to another, finally we found the bus that would take us to the Panjim city, the capital of Goa. Since the bus was scheduled in the next 10 minutes, we had a brief Photo Session with all of us posing and the bus conductor willingly acting as the world renowned photographer by giving us instructions.

Soon, we were in the bus, 7 guys occupying all the 7 window seats of the bus. A 40 mins journey brought us to the Panjim Bus Stand. Again armed with a Frooti to beat the heat and the thirst, we took another bus which took us to Dona Paula. Dona Paula is hardly a 15 mins bus ride from Panjim. This time we had a tourist Map of Goa in our hands. The scene at Dona Paula was simply exotic.

(from L-R: Kandu, ME, Rehan, Atul, Anna, Nirav, Ali)
History goes that the beach is named after Dona Paula de Menzes, daughter of a viceroy, who threw herself off the cliff, when refused permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar Dias. 2 small statues have been erected at the place in the memories of the lovers. But, now both the statues are in shambles failing the test of the sea weather.

This story attracts many tourists and they come here just to feel the sweet pain of love. This beach has also been the location for many Indian movies such as the Ek Duje Ke Liye. I must admit that we all were awed by this scenic beauty of the place. The rocky cliffs and the deep blue sea just add to the splendid view.

After a quick photo session and spending some more time, imbibing the serenity of the place, we left for Panjim from where we caught another bus to get to our next destination – The Fort Aguada. But this time it was not an easy ride. There was no direct bus from Panjim to Fort Aguada. So, we had to get down at a crossroad and wait for another bus or hire a cab or auto. But, thanks to a kind driver of a local sight seeing tour bus, we got to our destination comfortably. It was he who told us to visit a nearby Lighthouse to the west end of the Fort.

We all were exited as it was the first time in our lives that we were visiting a Lighthouse. It was always one of my dreams to see how did the Lighthouse function. My dream came true after paying a nominal entrance fee. Myself and Kandu were the first ones to rush to the top. After climbing 3 storeys and finally an almost 85 degree ladder we were on the top of the Lighthouse. Apart from the caretaker and a foreign couple there was no one.

Lighthouse View

There were huge circular discs inside the Lighthouse which were made of Prisms to reflect a powerful beam of light. The view here was amazing. It was like feeling “Top of the World with your Friends.” As it was getting late we decided to hurry up. We also had to visit the Aguada Fort.

The word Aguada comes from Aqua which in Portuguese means Water. The Fort Aguada also played the role of a water station where the ships refueled their water supply. One of the buildings in the Fort has also been converted into a jail which is the largest jail in Goa. But, this Fort is more famous as the place where one of the famous scenes of the Superhit Film Dil Chahta Hai has been shot. 7 creative minds, a camera and a superb location make a very good combination. After posing from all the angles possible, we thought of heading home.

Dil Chahta Hai Pose at Fort Aguada

But wait… We had to cross 3 beaches to get there. The Sinquerim, Candolim and finally our home beach – The Calangute where all the action was gonna take place. It was the last day of Goa Carnival and the special guests for the evening were the Colonial Cousins. But before getting there, we had to cross a small jungle. At last…We were in a place where we belong – Animal Kingdom in the Jungle.

After crossing the dense ghana jungle and having some Sugarcane juice, Pani Puri and yummy Bhel Puri on the way, we reached the Sinquerim Beach. Hotel Taj is situated across the Sinquerim beach and the Aguada Fort. The beach stretches uninterrupted all the way from Sinquerim, Candolim to Calangute. It is on this beach that you can witness the bulky carrier River Princess which was washed to the shores one stormy night in June 2000. It a treat to the eyes but an ecological threat to the marine life. And let me tell you your trip to Goa is incomplete without watching this beauty.

River Princess at the Sinquerim Beach

Finally, we started walking toward Calangute after admiring the beauty of the beach, the setting sun, the golden sands, the sea breeze, the blue waters, the lovely shacks. Kandu was the only one who wanted to get into water. So, he stripped down to his undies and started playing in water like a small kid plays in bath tub. Walking on this beach transported me back to last December when I had come to Goa with Tarun and Naveen. Naveen in his search for a rave party had made us walk the entire distance in less than an hour. But, this time I was strolling at a leisurely pace.

The sun was setting and it was getting dark. We had to increase our pace because once it gets dark you can’t see a thing beyond 5 meters away from you. And the matters are made worse by the howling sounds of the wind and the sea. So, its better to stick to your group or the chances of getting lost are pretty high and this is what happened. We were all walking in a group except for Kandu and Rehan who had a different discussion in hand. All of a sudden, they started running past us. We were confused. So, even we started chasing them. I did not imagine that Rehan would run so fast.

While chasing them, on the way we also saw a UFO in the sky. We called it an UFO coz it was not a plane nor was it a falling star. It was an astounding sight. When it disappeared from our view, it was run time again. Finally puffing and panting we reached the Calangute beach. It was crowded to the brim. Here, we caught up the 2 Bhagodas.

A huge stage was put up on the beach near the entrance and an excellent band was performing LIVE. One of the best LIVE performances I have ever seen. It’s a pity that we don’t know the name of the band. But they were playing par excellence. Their performance was so good that even we were left wondering whether it was LIVE or recorded. But, it was LIVE indeed.

The crowd was going crazy and the band was belting out some cool racy numbers. Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation was simply amazing and had the crowd go mad. But, we were too tired to move our legs. But nevertheless we were swaying to the music. There were many pretty girls around and were radars started working. After some time, a beautiful foreigner started dancing in front of us. When she was just about to approach us, her guide took her away dashing all our plans.

Kandu and Gala were the most disappointed. Soon, the performance came to an end and the fireworks covered the dark sky. The colorful fireworks bursting in the sky had everyone hypnotized. It was as if all the people were under its spell. The firework act went for non-stop 15 mins. After that it was the turn of the special guests of the evening – The Colonial Cousins. But, to be frank, I think that was a bad choice. The energetic Remo Fernandes, Euphoria or the Band of Boys would have been a much better choice to enliven the last day of the Carnival.

So, we came back to our rooms, had a wash, had our dinner at the same Punjabi Dhaba and then came to the beach again. On our way back to the beach, we bought 2 decks of playing cards. By the time we reached the beach, the atmosphere was all changed. Most of them seemed to be on a high after sipping some local Fenny or Vodka. There was some close body dancing going around. Most of the Indian Guys had pataoed Firang babes to be their close body dancing partners. We envied all those guys and cursed them to hell.

We all started searching around for Firang babes who could give us company. The trick what other guys followed was pretty simple. Just start dancing to a Firang babe and then she does the rest. So, everyone started looking around. But the bottom line was that no one had the guts to go and talk to a gal. Sab saale Fatoo Log and Bol Bachchan Amitabh Bachchan. So, there we were standing in the middle of the beach like LOSERS.

Hanging out there, we were ruing all our lost chances. Drained, exhausted and weary we were all planning to get to our rooms, but Kandu, Gala and Ali were adamant on staying back. And that night, Ali delivered the dialogue of the day – “Chal Yaar – Ek Last Try Maarte Hain. Nahi Hua Toh Gharpe.” But, his last chance never came and finally,we had to drag him home.

Discussing all the things we did today, the hot topic of the night was the Night at the Beach. Truly, we never got to do anything, but then we had a good time. We are used to being Losers. Ab toh Aadat Si Hai Humko Aise Jeene Ki… Kandu then brought out the cards and taught us to play Rummy. And let me add this for the record. I won the first game while Kandu Lost. Saala Loser.

Anyways guys… I doubt if anyone has read all the way down here without skipping 4-5 paragraphs. But then, I had to put this down here because maybe some years down the line, when we all read this, we would recollect all these special events of our life.

I am almost at the end of the 4th page in Microsoft Word. I guess, I have to stop now. If anyone finds a longer post than this one, please let me know. Else I am planning to apply to the Guinness World Records for my great achievement.

VIVA Goa Carnival and the Animal Kingdom. More parts to continue. Keep watching this space for more fun.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Johny Bravo from Dombivli

The much awaited Go Goa endeavour has been put on hold but the bashing continues for another of the specie of the Animal Kingdom on the auspicious occasion of his Belated Birthday. This time it is Pritam Shanbhag, the guy from Telecomm who celebrated his Birthday on 23rd March, the famous day when India lost the World Cup Final to Australia in 2003. Pritam has always been famous in our group for using some really innovative words, dialogues and nick names in his vocabulary. Likes to call himself Johnny Bravo, Playboy… has also been involved in one of the famous controversies in college by using the Yahoo messenger. Can’t give away more details.

There is so much to talk about this guy that I don’t have an idea as to where to start from. Okay… let me put down whatever comes to my mind.

There was a small restaurant near the Dombivli station named Jaishree. Party, treat, hunger, whatever the reason, this place was always infested by the Animal Kingdom to grab a quick bite of some mouth-watering Paneer Biryani or simple Vada Sambhar. It is here that Pritam had this unusual way of summoning the waiter. He just used to clap his hands a couple of times, the way the Nawabs or the Maharajas must have done in the olden times to summon their kaneez or slaves. It was a sight to watch. Two claps from Nawab Pritam and the waiter was at our table to take our order.

Pritam stays in Dombivli and has taken so much liking to this place that he has must have been out of this place hardly a couple of times with us. He never ventured out of his territory. For him, the world ceased to exist outside the boundaries of Dombivli. School, Junior College, Engineering College, Classes, Khana, Peena… everything in Dombivli. I think he should be made the brand ambassador of Dombivli. Always seen singing praises of his home city Dombivli, he even claims to have seen a shower of hailstones in Dombivli.

During our exams, when I, Tarun and Kamzhor Kali used to stay in a rented apartment in Dombivli, Pritam often came to our room for late night studies. He never ever stayed in the room alone. He accompanied us each time we went down to have our dinner even if that meant he had to carry his books along and study in the restaurant. He was scared of staying all alone in the room claiming that one of the flats in our building was haunted. Saala Fattoo Pritam.

Pritam was not used to a cold climate. It has also happened that one late winter night, Pritam came dressed in muffler, monkey cap and so much winter dressing that I asked him..."Is it snowing outside??” He looked like a perfect Cleaner who plays Chamcha to the Truck Driver.

He also hold the distinction of puking on an innocent dog after he was high one New Year Night with his friends. Eeks!!! I can’t just imagine the plight of the poor dog. He must have waited till the monsoon to get rid of the powerful stench and find a mate for himself. One more thing I can recollect about Pritam is that he used to study hard for the exams but then late in the night started making chits just because he wasn’t confident enough. And the best part was he never carried the chits in the examination hall… not because he did not want to cheat… but because he couldn'y muster enough courage. He has also appeared at many VIVAs (oral exams) with formulas and answers tattooed all over his palms and forearms…

Most of the times Pritam could be spotted wearing Tantra T-Shirts with Skeletons on the front.
(There is Pritam... with 2 muskeeters... spotted with a Skull T-shirt)
His witty one liners made such an impact on everyone that after a few days… that dialogue was on the lips of everyone. This post would be incomplete if I don’t put down his one-liners and nick names… So, I present to you some of the one-liners he used quite frequently.

Haan Kya???” – Said this when anyone made tall claims or said something which was hard to digest
Chitto Chat” – A term he used for the Chits he made
Padatsheel” – Neatly
Maandi” – Lap
Gachhi” – Terrace of a building
Tapri” – A Pan shop
Saala Ghulam Log” – a term dedicated to all the students from Computer and Production branch
Prod ET Bhai Bhai” – Used this line many times only one day when he was high. This line is yet to be repeated.

And how can one forget the nick name that Pritam conferred on Amit (Bawa) - Kamzhor Kali. This name is gonna haunt Bawa forever.

So Pritam... Here is Animal Kingdom wishing you a Belated Happy Birthday.

P.S. When and Where is the rocking Party??? Plz. Not Dombivli this time.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

VIVA Goa Carnival

I am back from where I left off… I am here to put down the feelings, the emotions, and the fun… the Animal Kingdom had in Goa on paper… It’s a bit difficult… but nevertheless I will try my best. If you want to check out the Goa Album click here.

10 tickets were booked by Atul. 3 Neech guys backed out viz. Navandee, Kamzor Kali and Cedric. The reason was common – leave not sanctioned. So 3 tickets had to be cancelled and 7 return tickets to be booked. Aur iss nek kaam ke liye… the chosen one was Atul. But even I accompanied him this time.

So, this time everything was in place. The night before the journey we stayed at the Hotel Kandu International. The chances of anyone sleeping with Anna, Rehan and me around were very dim. Also, we had to get ready at around 4:00 in the morning.

Early morning, empty roads and rickshaw drivers make a dangerous combination. Two auto rickshaws dropped us at the Thane Station in 15 minutes. Kanda Bhajiyas, Batata Chips and some hot tea consisted of our breakfast. Some Vada Pavs and Samosa Pavs were also packed for the train journey.

5:45 in our clocks and all started getting impatient. A wait of 5 mins and our official carrier to Goa stood on the platform. It was a beauty. The Blue and white coloured Jan Shatabdi – one of the fastest trains in India. It was gonna cover a distance of around 500 kms in just 8 hours. Breakfast in Mumbai and Lunch in Goa.

(L-R): Ali, Nirav, Atul, Kandu, Rehan and Anna. I am the photographer.

After settling into the comfortable cushion seats, everyone dozed off. It was the result of staying up the whole night. The train journey was fun all the way. We all stood at the door and Atul behaved like a school kid by howling into each and every tunnel that our train passed.

The railway canteen guys dished out yummy items and we tasted most of them. Apart from getting stuck into a tunnel for around half an hour, the journey was fun all the way. We had originally planned to get down at Margao but some last moment decisions made us get down at Thevim at around 2:30 p.m. Our original plan to stay at Margao was cancelled because we decided to try out some shacks near the Calangute beach. The Calangute beach is the "Queen of beaches" and all the action happens here.Calangute seems to be a distortion of the local word 'Koli Gutti', which means land of Fishermen.

As Calungute is nearer from Thevim, we alighted here. Thevim is close to Mapusa. Hey guys… now for those who have never been to Goa… I suggest that you have a look at this Map of Goa.

Finally, we were on the Goan soil. It felt so great. The air was so different. Away from all the noise and commotion we were in a place which has a charm of its own. Be here to believe it. After striking a deal with the local taxi driver for 350 bucks, we found ourselves at the Calangute beach. I and Kandu had been to Goa before but we had never seen this part of the Calangute beach.

Soon, with the help of this taxi driver, we tried out a few places for our stay but they all turned to be on the expensive side. All our search attempts turned out to be futile. Finally, my knowledge of local language Konkani managed to get us 2 good rooms for just Rs. 3000/- for 5 days. Spacious rooms with 5 beds. More than what we could ask for.

(L-R): Kandu, ME, Anna, Ali, Nirav, Atul and Rehan.

After having a quick wash, we left for the Calangute beach. It was just a stone’s throw distance from our Conria Guest House. We took a long walk in the evening, had a light snack of tongue tickling Prawn Xacuti (a local dish) and some Prawn Chilly. Hmm… The taste still lingers in my mouth.

It was 27th Feb, the second last day of the Goa Carnival. After watching the sunset, when we came to the street, the Carnival parade was over. But a live stage performance in the Calangute open ground was flocked by localites and foreigners alike. A lady on the stage sang non-stop for an hour and still managed to make people sway to her songs.

Our first day in Goa was almost over and all of us were feeling the pangs of hunger. I, Rehan and Kandu were interested in trying out the Goan fish curry. Our search for a cheap dinner brought us to Sarvesh Café, the name Anna and Ali won’t ever forget and won’t let us forget too. I, Rehan, Kandu and Atul settled for the Fish Thali while Anna, Gala and Ali tried to be adventurous by ordering the Veg. Chinese noodles. Chicken was out of question as the deadly Bird Flu Virus H5H1 was floating around.

The food arrived and started disappearing quickly from my plate. But, Anna’s eyes told us some different story. Later, we found out that the noodles served to them were bland and minus salt too. Here, Rehan was showing his kind heartedness by giving me slices of his fried fish. Soon, Kandu also followed suit. With the amount of food in my plate increasing, my voracity also increased. 5 mins later, I found everyone ready to go. But I had my hands and my plate full too. Halfheartedly, even I got up to leave but not before finishing off everything from my plate.

Anna was not charged for his noodles. And after tasting those horrible noodles, he vowed never to eat from that hotel ever again. Warning- So, guys if you ever visit Calangute market, stay away from the Sarvesh Café.

Once out of the Sarvesh Café, Anna headed straight to the Supermarket and bought a 1.5 litre bottle of Frooti. Yep, he did drink the whole bottle. Finally, after a discussion of the places to visit the next day, we dispersed to our rooms. I, Kandu and Gala in one room and the animals in the other. There was a cunning logic of Kandu behind this which I will reveal in my next post.

The day was over, the night had begun, and we had retired to beds with a beautiful dream to begin. The remaining part of the story will be unfolded soon. Keep watching this space for more action…

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Builder from Comps!

Look at the smile on his face... If you are a regular reader of this blog you would have guessed the name of this Animal by now.... If not, let me introduce to you Naveen D'souza... the guy thanks to whom we had so much fun during our college days. He is next only to Pritam and Ali for providing us with so much entertainment.

Well, you might be wondering why I am writing a post on this guy. Well... it is because it’s his Happywala Birthday today. And everyone knows that I never miss an opportunity to strip the guys on their birthdays. So, today is Navandee's turn and he will be more than happy to show off his body. Hmm.... Navandee is what we call Naveen. The name Navandee is derived from Suppandi... the famous character from Tinkle. Not only does Navandee act like him but he liked this name too. So, we continued with the same name.

Apart from Navandee, he is also known as Builder (his passion for body building ... he is currently working on his 6 pack abs), Connecting (because it takes him time to understand things... by the time he understands everyone else is on some different topic) and Mand Comps (do I need it describe more...). I only recollect these names at the moment.

Naveen, Tarun and I know each other since our school days. A decade year old friendship that still continues to grow. We three shared the same school, same engineering college and same workplace. Tarun and Naveen still share the same workplace. Being with him for so long... has given me the opportunity of witnessing some of his funny antics... I wish to share with you all... I am sure after reading all these incidents will bring a smile on your face. So without wasting any more time here I go...

The second semester exams were being conducted and Shirish was busy studying Chemistry which was scheduled for that day. Suddenly, he saw Naveen reeading from a Physics book. Seeing a Physics book in Naveen's hand on the day of Chemistry exam rang alarm bells in Shirish's body. He asked Naveen the reason for reading Physics. Naveen calmly said, "Today we have Physics exam. Chemistry is scheduled day after tomorrow." Confusion was sowed in Shirish's mind by the great Naveen. Without wasting any more time and praying to God.... Shirish opened the time table and heaved a sigh of relief. Now, it was Naveen's turn to panic. Poor guy did not even have a Chemistry book in his bag. Somehow he borrowed a book and started reading. But could read only one page in the entire half an hour journey.

As luck would have it, the seating arrangement for the Chemistry exam was such that Naveen would be sitting right in front of me on the second bench from the last (second-last)... This way I could dictate him half the answers and I did that. The exams went well and then Naveen said his famous dialogue, "For the Physics paper... I will try to score full marks... After all I got extra time to study." Soon, the exams were over and the results were out. When we saw the results we could not stop laughing. Naveen had cleared the Chemistry exam but his dreams of scoring higher marks in Physics were dampened. He had just managed to scrape through. The moral of the story is - Copy and Pass Comfortably than Slog Hard and Just Pass.

Tarun was the sole witness to the second incident. It was a hot summer day and he had to go to the Diploma College to collect some Journal papers. Now, our Engineering College was located behind the mountains amidst the desert and the Diploma college was miles away. The road to our college had no shade or shelter whatsoever. If you carried a chicken to our college, it was bound to get roasted on the way. As, it was urgent for Tarun to go and buy those Journal pages, he thought of borrowing a bike. Soon, he got the keys after telling a guy from his class that he is a good rider. After, the truth was something else. So, Tarun handed over the keys to Naveen and asked him to drop him.

Little did Tarun know that Naveen had just learnt to ride the bike. It did not take much time for him to realize this. On the way to the Diploma College, Naveen did a Wheelie (For those guys who are unaware of what a Wheelie is... have a look at the pic below).

This made Tarun lose his balance and he fell off the bike but balanced himself. He stood next to Naveen who asked him, "Arre.. Why did you get off the bike?" Naveen had no idea that he had performed a wheelie dropping Tarun. The moral of the story is - Never sit on the bike with a guy when he himself does not know that he is performing some stunts.

I have many more incidents to share.... but kya karen???? There is a lack of time and space. But, don't worry guys. There are many Birthdays in quick succession and yes... how can I forget the Goa Carnival and all the fun the Animal Kingdom had in Goa. Will keep you all updated about the blast we had in Goa. VIVA GOA CARNIVAL... Till then Keep Guessing...