Off to Sakleshpur, again!


Its been over 2 years that I parted my ways with Software AG but remained friends with many of my colleagues (even till today). We had one group of ourselves consisting of 7-8 people who used to go together for breakfast, lunch, tea break. It was such a fun hanging out with them and we use to discuss many things: from office gossip to share market conditions especially at Tea break. We had been to a couple of trips when we were in the same office. Now, that I was the only one who separated from the group, we were planning for a trip since 6 months now but one or the other guy wasn’t able to turn up due to their family commitments.

A week back, Harsha had called to ask if I’m up for the trip to which I replied “Tentative” because I wasn’t in a mood to go. After discussing with other people, they picked SAKLESHPUR for the weekend trip. I had already been to that place a couple of time now which demoralized me more not to go but my wife persisted to go and have fun (as she knew them from a couple of years now). They booked a homestay called “Mystique Falls” which was outside the city and somewhere inside the jungle. Travel date was set to Saturday, 21st July and pickup time was 6 AM. Everyone had their pickup points planned accordingly the previous night and decided to meet at Nelmangala-Hassan flyover.

At Mayura Veg Hotel

As planned, everyone reached the first meeting point to have tea and snacks. From there on, we drove for an hour before stopping for breakfast at Hotel Mayura Veg (near Bellur cross). We quickly filled our stomach and were back on the road in order to reach the homestay on time for lunch. After stopping once or twice in the middle, we reached the designated place as informed by Homestay owner. We were informed to park our vehicles there (as the road is not suited) and from there a jeep picked us up and dropped near the homestay. In order to reach the homestay, one should cross the bridge.

My first impression of the homestay was negative and it wasn’t nowhere what I had expected (even others to some extent). We dropped our bags in the room provided and went for lunch. Lunch was OK with not many options for Veg or Non-veg. We had our lunch and were back to our room thinking what to do next as it was raining outside. Staff informed us that no water activities due to heavy rainfall and rise in water levels. Everyone was dejected and there was nothing else to do apart from relaxing in the room. After much deliberation, we went to play mud volleyball. It was a thrilling experience as guys were excited, fearful (due to leeches), feeling cold (due to continuous rain). Everyone had a great time for an hour before we decided to go back to the room and rest for a while.

It was just 5 PM in the evening when I, Prashanth and Harsha went to the common area asking staff to prepare for snacks, coffee & campfire. They were kind enough to prepare hot snacks (Mirchi bajji) with coffee and lightened the campfire for us. An hour passed when other friends arrived and sat around us. Everyone was making their body warm around the campfire, chatting and discussing various things. It was drinks/dinner time and we were still there chilling ourselves. We moved our ass only when the wood turned into ashes (time was around 11.30 PM) and retired to our room. The staff informed us that they would take us to the trek tomorrow morning around 6 AM, so be ready.

Next day morning, most of the guys weren’t ready for the trek but we pushed them to come. In order to not get drenched, the staff provided a plastic sheet to cover our body in case it rains. It was hardly 10mins of the trek, there were leeches on everyone’s feet. A couple of guys frightened and returned back whereas others continued. We tried to apply salt as and when leeches were on our body but later on, it didn’t matter as we ignored and kept trekking. The last part of the trek was difficult due to the steep and slippery nature caused by continuous rains.

After an hour, we reached the top and the view from it was just refreshing. The wind was breezy and the clouds were moving with such a rapid pace.  On reaching the top, everyone’s phone was buzzing as there was network reception. They called their respective families to inform about their whereabouts. After that, we sat there changing our positions every few minutes in all directions to catch the glimpse of the forest. The climate was changing drastically, that’s when the guide signaled us lets get back to the camp. The trek to down was even more dangerous as there was no support to lean/catch. At one point, one of my friends slid down taking another with him but luckily the guy in front balanced somehow and they stopped after a few meters. It was such a scary sight to watch and everyone’s heart was in their mouth. In an hour, we reached back safely.

Breakfast was ready and everyone was hungry. We had our stomach’s full and went for our room, got fresh in no time to travel back to Bengaluru. We had planned many activities but nature played its course and we ended doing nothing but eating & talking about love stories, linkups, family responsibilities, and many other idiotic topics. Even though it didn’t go as we planned yet it was fun and relaxing with such friends.


Getting There:

  • By Road (Preferable)– The road condition from Bangalore is excellent till Sakleshpur. It is at a distance of 230 KMs from Bangalore taking Bangalore-Nelmangala-Hassan-Sakleshpur NH.
  • By Train – One can get down at Sakleshpur when traveling from Bangalore. From there, one has to reach Hanbal in order to get picked up by Homestay staff.
  • By Bus – There are direct buses to Sakleshpura from Bangalore.

Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit – Monsoon (July – August).
  • Carry extra clothing, shoes, umbrella/raincoats etc.
  • Carry a medical kit in case of emergency as its remote place.
  • Download the maps offline which is very important as the network signals become weak.
  • Keep contacting the homestay staff in case of confusion/dilemma. [sometimes address in the google maps is wrong which is informed by the homestay staff prior]
  • If you have friends who booze, it is recommended to buy it en route or at Sakleshpura.
  • Pack food items of your interests as it will be needed due to various activities.

 

 

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Mooch Marod


PARATHA, it’s one dish which is irresistible. I always loved and enjoyed Parathas especially Aloo paratha. It’s just mouthwatering. And over the years, the fond for it increased multi-fold which led me to taste many varieties of paratha’s across many places but wasn’t getting the authentic taste of it. Adding to it, I used to see many posts on Instagram where people used to put this very big paratha and tagging their friends to enjoy the delicacy. To my dejection, I never found a place in Bengaluru where they served such a huge paratha.  But then, God heard my prayer :-P. I don’t remember the post (in Facebook) in which they mentioned about “Mooch Marod” serving authentic paratha’s and in very big sizes. Being a food lover, I was eagerly looking forward to visiting the place.

It was Sunday, 4th April afternoon and it is time off from the home kitchen. My wife suggested going to visit the place. It is located in Channasandra, Whitefield which is 30 minutes drive from my home. When we reached the place, it was pretty sunny and empty. One of the things which we intrigued us was that there were 2 shops opposite each other (of the same name). We were confused and asked the guy who was handling the finances, he then informed that one serves only veg parantha and other serves only non-veg. Both the shops are small but they have good space outside for people to sit on cots (Khatiya) which gives authentic desi feeling.

The menu is simple with the only couple of things (Paratha & Lassi) of which they are expert of. When enquired, the stuff required for parathas is complete and they require at least an hour to prepare the material and additional time for cooking. When we requested again, he asked us which paratha we need (we ordered queen Aloo Onion paratha which was of size 20-inch weighted around 2 kg) so that he will try to check and get it for us but it would take 20 mins minimum, to which we agreed. We were hungry like hell and couldn’t control more, which made us order a 2 lassi which came in a big steel glass (easily of 750ml).

When the paratha eventually came, we were flabbergasted its size and the amount of butter given with it along with raita. Butter chunk was given in another plate which was easily 250gms in weight. The taste was just pure homemade with the paratha cooked evenly and no sides of it were left raw. We tried our best to finish but could complete only 60% of it and they were courteous enough to pack the rest to home. When we paid the bill, we were satisfied with our core and loved the hospitality they have given. One other thing which I observed while paying the bill is the amount of respect they had for Military men. They had a special discount of 15% for them.

It’s a must try for anyone who wants to get the desi feel of authentic Punjab style parathas and lassi. With a group of 6-8 friends, you could have a enjoy deliciously emperor size paranthas (of size 24 inches) and a bucket full of lassi :-).

 

 

Happy Anniversary !!


It’s a year now that we’ve been married. We had our ups and downs on our way but time flies really fast. We didn’t plan anything as our parents wanted to be with us for our first marriage anniversary but then they had to drop out due to a family emergency. It was Monday, so we took off from our offices. We got fresh, wore new clothes and went straight to temple for the offering to god. We had our breakfast outside and went back home as there was no other plan for the day, at least that’s what she thought. Behind her back, I had planned a surprise for her in the later part of the day.

It was around 2.30 in the afternoon that I told her to get ready and we are going outside. She asked me about it but I kept giving some random answers making it more confusing. The place we were going was 50 km far and it would take easily more than an hour to reach there. I had already contacted the guy and informed we will be reaching there by 4 PM so that all the arrangements can be made without anything mess up. She was puzzled by what I was up to and she never got a hint about it. She wasn’t getting any idea as there weren’t any sign boards which would ease up her job of finding out what and where we were going. After driving around an hour and 15 minutes, we reached the place, ‘DIRT MANIA‘. And that’s when she understood what I was up to. We checked with the person who was in charge and he told us to wait for half an hour as the arrangements weren’t made completely. Meanwhile, he insisted us to have your lunch and come back around 4.30 PM. We went back to a nearby place to have some snacks, that’s when he called saying, arrangments were done.

When we reached, we drove a couple of quad bikes to check which one we were comfortable with. We picked our quad bike (The Gritty SportsMan) and started our ride. We picked ‘Nature Trail‘ which was 15 km from the place. The instructor drove another bike who was first, followed by my wife and then me. The ride was enthralling, to say the least, we crossed mud roads, into the small water channels, in the fields, up the hills etc. By the time, we reached hilltop she was ecstatic. We parked our bikes and then came the final surprise of the day. A table with two chairs on the hilltop with a sunset in the background. At first, she thought it was for someone else but then she realised it was a surprise for her. She looked baffled and had no words to say. For few minutes, she just stood there admiring and taking in the beauty of the place and the arrangements made. We sat down and she had so many questions to ask such as how did I pull it off? How didn’t she knew about it? etc. I gave the answers to those questions and we talked for a while before we cut the cake and celebrated. A camera person also accompanied us on the way up and he shot good pictures of us and the picture-perfect scenes. All in all, everything planned went without any hiccups. On the way back home, she thanked me many times for such a wonderful surprise.

I would like to thank the team of Dirt Mania in making my plans successful. They were friendly and had given us space when needed. We will definitely be coming back again for many more experiences and encourage others to go visit the place.

Bengaluru=Traffic


Most of the readers will find the blog title apt as if they are made for each other. It’s been more than 5 years now that I have been in Bengaluru and one thing which I have seen proliferate is TRAFFIC. It was not this way if rolled back 5-8 years. I’ve come to understand why traffic is such an abiding topic of conversation to the office-going Bengalurean’s.

 On a good day, my commute can take 45 minutes to an hour to my office at Prestige ShantiNiketan, Whitefield. On a bad day – anything up to 1-2 hours (time taken to reach my office gate itself is around 30 minutes, especially on Friday’s). And the thing with namma Bengaluru, as far as traffic is concerned, is: there are hardly any good days. I love the idea of travelling the road less taken, but as far as my morning commute goes – there aren’t any . And on the roads I take, my progress seems like morse code, with lots of dots and very few dashes. There was one instance where in I was stuck in a traffic jam and happened to check my car display options for the engine and to my surprise, my car mileage was shown as “3.1 Km/L”. That’s how the pace is so damn slow at times that Bengalurean’s have got accustomed to it. I’ve stopped so often and so long at some points on the ride that I might fairly be considered a local.

      Given that the average Bengalurean spends so much time stalled in traffic every day, you wonder how they keep themselves occupied during these long pauses in stoplight limbo. Fights, naturally, are common, as are the sudden turns into side lanes, or two wheeler riders mounting the footpaths for better progress. Usual scene at KR PuramThere’s the delicate balancing act of that a family of five, precariously perched on an antique scooter, performs when the scooter grinds to a halt – or moves in fits and starts. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder how centre of gravity work. There are, of course, the mobile obsessed, Facebooking and Instagramming, moaning about the pile up on Old Airport road, KR Puram or retweeting the latest from the Silk Board junction parody Twitter account. There are the bosses on the go, in their chauffeur-driven vehicles, who have converted the back into a mobile office, and conduct their business on their phones, unperturbed by the chaos outside. There are the long married couples, bickering about everything from relatives to the choice of time for the drive. There are the younger couples, using the time spent at the red light for a quick kiss, love showing…or, as it happened a couple of days ago, quite a bit more. Coming to me, I generally listen to FM by changing the channel thousand times before I reach office, hardly get to listen 3-4 songs in the time travelled.

Initially, I used to enjoy my drive. Well, at least for the first couple of days. Now, I wish that every road was Nice Road, and every day was Sunday morning. Because whatever energy you have, whatever ideas you have, whatever resolutions you have to make your day at work productive, all of it is lost by the time you slouch into the office, wondering how your coworkers manage to make it work on a daily basis. It has happened to me and most of my friends who are huge foodies but suppressing those sudden urges simply because the nearest outlet was too far away or reluctantly (or not) deciding to attend a family function simply because its taking place at the other end of town on a Saturday .

Photo Credits: Indian GAGS
Photo Credits: IndianGags

One of the meme which fits right into the situation. Sometimes I wish I had an e-wallet filled with funds, and an Uber or an Ola always just a couple of minutes away . I’d ride those cabs to work and back, and make the most of the journey watching movies, hollywood TV series or sleeping. That’s probably the only way I’d be able to come to work feeling fresh and enthusiastic. Until then, I’ll just have to complain about the traffic, like every true Bengalurean.

Parents visit to ‘Bengaluru’


           My parents called me one fine day and said, they are planning to visit bengaluru sometime this weekend. I was having my own plans for that weekend but cancelled it as for me, it was more important that anything else. As planned, they started from hyderabad on 22nd June 2012 around 5PM. Dad informed me that they will be coming around 6-6.30AM in the morning. I said, i will be coming in the morning to pay a visit to railway station as they were planning to stay at my cousin’s home near Electronic city. I went to railway station around 6.30AM and Jagadeesh (My cousin’s husband) was also waiting for my parents and his father-in-law and mother-in-law. After few minutes, they arrived at station and i wished them and had chat for few mins. they suggested me to come to electronic city and stay there. I refused and said will be coming in the afternoon. After going back to room, i had some office work which i finished it and left for electronic city.

        Around 12.30PM in the afternoon, i reached their home where everyone was chiling out. Dad, uncle, Jagadeesh, Deepak and Gowirsh were discussing about something which i tend to ignore. Womens n gals were in kitchen and talking their own stuff. Then we planned to have lunch at their home where i ordered Aarthi (my cousin) to prepare my favourite dish (Aloo and Tomato curry). Stomach was completely filled up after the lunch and i was kindoff sleeply around that time. After lunch, Mission Impossible 1 was being showed on the sony pix which we watched till the end. Then had a chat with jagadeesh on what places to visit and decided to visit ISKON in the evening. It was around 5PM when everyone got ready finally and got into Maruti 800 and Ford Ikon which jagadeesh had brought. I started early as i had some work to be finished. I informed them that i will be joining them directly at ISKON. It was around 8.20PM that we reached ISKON and by the time we entered the main hall,  Pooja was being carried out. All of them left lucky as they were on time for the puja. After puja and taking darshan of Lord Krishna, we decided to have diner somewhere around and part our ways (me to my room and all of them to my cousin’s home).  We finally went to BASAVA MANTAP @ Rajajinagar to take the blessing and pay a visit to Mata Mahadevi who is our guru. We had prayer there and met our guru. Our parents had chat on various issues and other official work as we were joking behind and playing with my camera. After few mins, the diner (or call it as prasad) was prepared for us. We had our diner which was very tasty and decided to take a leave. Before leaving, we had new snaps and call it a day.

Inside BASAVA MANTAP
@ Lalbagh

Next few days, they visited many places in bengaluru like Lalbagh, Banshankari Temple, Bull Temple, Orion Mall etc. They visited many places which i didn’t visit in my stay of  1year in bengaluru. Its always this way where, people who stay in the city doesn’t get time to visit the places whereas people who come from other places visit most of the places. My parents were so happily and were relived from all the tensions of daily life. Though, i hadn’t spent much time with them as it was weekdays and they insisted me not to take leave. I really felt very happy and satisfied by seeing the happiness and smile’s on my parents face, my cousin’s, uncle n aunty.

Hope to c you soon again in bengaluru 🙂