The Phuket Diary

There’s an adage in Telugu that says ‘dongalu padina aaru nelalaki kukkalu morigayi anta’, meaning, ‘the dogs barked six months after the burglars broke in ’. Likewise, I took out sometime, after six months, to write this post about my first videsi trip.

Soon after I tied those three knots, the countdown started. Planning sucks more than travelling and there’s an extra amount of burden after marriage because you want everything to go as per the book. Considering the bank balance and leave balance, my wife and I decided to spend our most interesting days of marriage in Phuket. I was anxious, excited and partially naive, but that didn’t stop me from going with the flow. We took the Thai airways flight which had nothing great to offer and they bored us to death with a continuous loop of ‘Just for laughs gags’ episodes. It seemed more or less like any domestic flight with bland food.

I caught an initial glimpse of Phuket from the flight window, and it looked exquisite. Small islands spread across the huge ocean and sunlight streaming through the gaps in clouds. Phuket gave a good first impression. Clean roads, moderate traffic and greenery all around. Our accommodation was five star so no complaints there. The drive from airport to our hotel was long which gave us a decent chance to scan through most parts of the town. Nothing appeared extraordinary or amusing within the city except the famous Thai massage shops, which were almost on every corner of the street.  We didn’t have much to do on the first day as we checked-in late and the only event that we were able to catch was the ‘Phuket Fantasea Show’, a cultural theme park showcasing the heritage and culture of Thailand. The show happened in an auditorium named ‘Palace of Elephants’, and if you ever go to Phuket, don’t ever return without watching this show. I’ve never seen elephants, goats and even chickens perform so well in harmony.

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I still remember the name of our guide, King Kong, who took us through Phi Phi and Krabi islands the following day. I was lucky enough to sit on the front deck of the boat which offered a great view of the huge rock islands spread across the ocean. We had a brief snorkelling session in the afternoon which wasn’t as great as expected but still gave us a good chance to swim with the fish, which are tourist friendly. The best part was the time I spent travelling on the sea, with the ocean breeze hitting hard on the face while the sun took care of the rest. Almost gave a ‘Life of Pi’ feel. It was also the worst part because I had first-hand experience of sun burns. Never underestimate the power of a common sun. 😛

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ImageThe third day we covered the Phang Nga bay, where we saw islands, islands and more islands including the legendary James bond Island which was too crowded in my opinion, and a typical place for a patel shot.  Every island is unique with its own freakish shape and size. Later that day, we passed through few magnificent sea caves, on a kayak, that lead into the center of its many karsts. These lagoons can get quite interesting depending upon the size of the tides. A low tide can almost reduce the lagoon to mud. I came to know later that kayaking happens only during mid-tide when the water level is low and steady, else it’s not possible to enter those caves during high tides.

ImageImageImageImageA great experience overall. Little bits of skin on my face and hands started to peel off by the time we returned to Delhi airport. It was there, the aerial view of Phuket, right on my face. Thanks to the sunburns, I got a complete facial peel for next to nothing.

The first day

Are we good now? It’s 2014.

It’s the first page of a fresh book. We start off tidily and by the year end it’s all shabby. That is precisely why I stopped writing in a notebook. Instead, I’m using a word document to make sure all pages look good. Now all I have to do is to just wait and see how good this year is going to be. Don’t you think it’s high time we should start following a new calendar? Or at least, let December be the first month of 2014 and January the last. Hell yeah, if the whole world can agree to this, it’d be amazing. If we can’t change anything, then what’s all the excitement about?

Not sure how many of you seriously took the advice I gave in my previous post but I certainly didn’t. Even though I made no plans to ‘do something different’ and ‘go somewhere’, it all happened by itself. When you are not understanding anything, you stay calm and eat. I, along with a few of my cousins, found a good restaurant in town to party. It’s a different story that we spent more time there taking pictures than eating food, nevertheless, the ‘go somewhere’ part was taken care dutifully.

Year after year we aimlessly celebrate the arrival of a new beginning, and we all know it’s boring to stick to a routine. Just because we danced all night long on 31st December 2012, doesn’t mean we will have to do the same for the rest of our lives, every year. We are humans and humans hate routine, which is the reason why we can go to any extent to ‘do something different’.

By the time we finished dinner and came out of the restaurant it was past midnight. The traffic looked heavy, and few passionate souls on motorbikes were racing and shouting on the streets. They all looked so happy and united. You can find such performances on the road only when 1. It’s a new year 2. India wins a world cup. While I drove back, random dudes on the streets waved hands while wishing my wife, ‘Happy New Year’ and they didn’t even care to look at me. It looked as if their aim was to grab the attention of every girl on the street. Even the security guard at the restaurant, while we were getting into the car, shouted ‘Happy New Year Madam’, overlooking me blatantly. Then I realized that all these are in fact brave, forever alone, souls who made plans to ‘do something different’. That’s when I decided, to do something different, you have to wish other people’s wives. Next year, maybe, I too shall give it a try.

New Year’s Eve

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To deal with expectations is one of the most daunting things in life. From India winning an overseas series to passing that effing exam, we tend to expect. Expectations go high during festive days, holidays and weekends. Why do we get so high on friday? Because we expect to ‘freak out’ during the weekend even if that means sitting home all day and watching tv. That’s the problem.

New Year’s eve is one of those problems. No one is sure what to do and yet we try to do ‘something’ because it’s a new year. Sulk the whole rest of the year, it doesn’t matter, but we need to start the new year with a bang is the premise. I’m stuck in the same situation not knowing what to do. I’ve asked few friends for advice and the responses were like, ‘Go somewhere’ or ‘Do something different’. One girl even suggested me to watch ‘Dhoom 3’. That’s when I stopped seeking for more advice. My initial plan was to go to an exotic place nearby, and I’m tired of looking for such exotic destinations around Hyderabad. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t eat non-vegetarian food, which filters out most of the regular options and raises the most obvious question, how do I enjoy if I don’t drink, smoke or eat non-veg? Going to a movie or restaurant is a usually weekend thing which doesn’t qualify to the ‘Must do things on new year’s eve’. Wow, I got a reason for everything.

I can still convince myself and do nothing but I have a partner under the same roof who wants to ‘go somewhere, do something different and freak out’. Handling these expectations can be daunting.
In any case, one advice to fellow victims, Keep calm and sleep.

Knot Knot!

I promised my wife long back that I would write a post on her. How foolish can I be? How did I say that I’d write a post on her when we all know that it’s not possible to confine the characteristics of a woman to a single blog post? (Oh! such a male chauvinist I’m) Anyhow, since I’ve already made a commitment, I’d try to describe my journey so far post marriage.

Some old guy, even before I was born, said that marriages are made in heaven and people kept believing ever since. I guess that is the reason why people wish to enter heaven after death, so they can dress up prettily and eat free food. Who wouldn’t be happy then?

I rarely attend weddings, not because I don’t like people getting married but I lack patience to sit through the entire ceremony. I don’t know what time zone this heaven follows, but when my time came God tested our patience by fixing the “muhurat” (the auspicious time) at an ungodly hour. Half of my cousins were happily dozing while I was getting married. Now that I recollect these moments, I can relate a bit of India’s history to my wedding.

At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world (my cousins) sleeps, India (I, me, myself) will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

Totally apt, isn’t it? Marriage did give me a new life and lot of freedom and I did step out from the old to the new. Oh! And of course, the desire of a man, long suppressed, did find utterance 😛 So, it’s all good, however, it also depends on the way we see it. My wife is surprised at her own commitment levels and I still turn my head whenever I come across a pretty lass. 126 days since I started this journey, and in spite of the fact that we have a long way to go, one thing is for sure…end of the day, if my partner’s head is resting on my shoulder, even for a few silent minutes, I know all is well.

 

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Neither a winner nor a loser

So this announcement of a separate statehood has made me come back to the blog. Of all the things happening around, the news of a new state has changed the state of my mind. So 29th state it is. Now what?

People of telangana have won. I’m a telanganite, but I don’t feel like a winner and I don’t feel like I lost something valuable either. I still have to fill those 9 hours at work and I still have to work my ass off for a better living. In fact, we all have to.

I didn’t like one thing though. The new proposed map of andhra. If your kid brings weird diagrams to home, don’t panic, it might just be this. The map of telangana looks better though, like a crooked tortilla chip.

Is this a good news or a bad decision? That is something I won’t break my head on. If we do our part, we don’t have to worry about different parts of the world. 😜 Until then, peace!

అచ్చ తెలుగు లేఖ

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ఒక మంచి తెలుగు సినిమా కి తెలుగు లో రివ్యూ (రివ్యూ ని తెలుగు లో ఏమి అంటారో నాకు తెలీదు, అందుకు క్షమించండి) రాయకపోతే , అది మహా పాపం.

ఈ మధ్య కాలము లో మా నాన్నగారు ఇంటికి వచ్చిన ప్రతి బంధు మిత్రువుకి చూడమని చెప్పిన చిత్రము మిథునం. మొదటి సారి చెప్పినప్పుడు, సరేలే పెద్ద వాళ్ళు చూసే సినిమా ఏమో అనుకున్నాను. రెండో సారి మళ్ళి ఎవరికో చెప్తుంటే, తనికెళ్ళ భరణి బాగా తెలుసేమో అనుకున్నాను…మరి మూడో సారి చెప్తుంటే ఈయనకి చాదస్తం బాగా పెరిగిపోయింది అనుకున్నాను. ఇంతగా చెప్తున్నారు కాబట్టి అసలు సినిమా దేని గురించో చూడాలి అనుకుని, ఇంటర్నెట్ లో ట్రైలర్ (ట్రైలర్ ని కూడా తెలుగు లో ఎం అంటారో నాకు తెలీదు) చూసాను.

“మరి ఇద్దరేనా సినిమా లో” అనుకున్నాను. కాని ట్రైలర్ కొత్తగా అనిపించింది. చూస్తేనే అచ్చ తెలుగు సినిమా అని అర్ధం ఐపోయింది. అయిన ఇది ఏమైనా పవన్ కళ్యాణ్ సినిమా నా మొదటి రోజే చూడడానికి ఆనుకుని ఇంక దాని మీద ఆలోచన మానేస. కొన్ని రోజులు అలా గడిచాక, మా ఇంట్లో పెద్దవాళ్ళు అందరు సినిమా చూసి బాగుంది అన్నారు. నా తమ్ముడు, నా లాంటి వాడికి అయితే ఇంకా నచ్చుతుంది అన్నాడు. ” ఏంటి అప్పుడే నేను వాడి కంటి కి ముసలి వాడిలా కనిపిస్తున్నాన?” ఆనుకుని ఖంగారు పడ్డా. సరేలే ఈ గోల అంతా ఎందుకు సినిమా చూస్తే తెలిసిపోతుంది కదా ఆనుకుని ప్రసాద్స్ సినిమా హాల్ కి వెళ్ళాను.

సినిమా లోకి వెళ్తూనే ఉచితంగా మంచినీళ్ళు ఇంకా పాప్ కార్న్ ఇచ్చాడు. ఆహా! సినిమా గురించి దేవుడు యెరుగు, ఈ ఆఫర్ మాత్రం బాగుంది అనుకున్నాను. ఒక సారి హాల్ మొత్తం చూసా ఎవరైనా నా వయసు కుర్రాళ్ళు కనిపిస్తారు ఏమో అని. అక్కడక్కడ బియ్యం లో రాళ్ళు లాగ ఉన్నారు తప్పితే, మిగితా జనాభా అంత 40+. నిజం చెప్పాలి అంటే కొంచం ముచ్చట వేసింది.

ఇంక అసలు సినిమా విషయానికి కి వస్తే…చాలా రోజుల తరవాత కడుపు నిండా భోజనం చేస్తే ఎలా ఉంటుందో, అలా అనిపించింది. చాలా మామూలుగా, చాలా అందంగా ఉంది సినిమా. చిన్న కథ, కథ లో చిన్న ఇల్లు, ఇంటి చుట్టూ మొక్కలు, ఒక ఆవు దూడ, ఒక బావి, ఇలా చిన్న చిన్న విషయాలలో ఎంత అందం ఉంటుందో ఈ సినిమా లో చూడచ్చు. మన పని మన చేతులతో చేసుకుంటూ, చేసిన పనిని ఆనందిస్తూ, సుబ్బరంగా భోజనం చేస్తూ, కొట్టుకున్నా తిట్టుకున్నా కలిసి మెలిసి ఎలా ఉండచ్చో ..ఇవన్ని చూసాను. అసలు ఇలాంటి materialistic (ఈ ముక్కని ఎలా రాయాలో కూడా తెలీదు తెలుగు లో) రోజుల్లో ఇలాంటి సినిమా రావడమే గొప్ప.

నేను బాగా భోజనం చేశాను..మీకు బాగా ఆకలి వేస్తే ప్రసాద్స్ వెళ్లి భోజనం చేయండి, అంతే కాని పక్క వాడి అప్పడం లాకునట్టు, ఇంటర్నెట్ లో చూడకండి. సెలవు.

అర్ధం కాకపోతే మన్నించండి, తప్పులు ఉంటే క్షమించండి!

An offer you can’t refuse.

Yes. If there is life on Mars, please transport me straightaway. I can no longer breathe on this planet. I will be the caretaker of Mars and decide who should move in and who should stay back on earth. I wish we had more planets on which life exists. Imagine having a planet for each family. Wow, the thought itself is so amusing. One can imagine how our facebook/twitter posts would be like. I don’t mind starting my life from scratch at the age of 27, on a different planet. After I’m done with the initial setup on the planet, like arranging basic needs, I will keep transporting all the newborns over to Mars. Gradually, I will form my own empire. I will copy the tunes of AR Rahman and compose music over there. The newborns or the next gen kids will grow up listening to my music and they, too, will feel that I’m god of music. Yes, I will copy lyrics too. I will be the Christopher Nolan of movies. I will steal Monalisa and add my signature to the painting. I will make sure the Martian kids read about me in school. In short, I will acquire all that is famous on this planet and show off as my creation on that planet.

If I transport you fools, there will be no difference between Earth and Mars, and the story is back to square one again. But then, you know I can’t do this all alone and so I’m planning to take few grown ups along with me and start what is called as collective exploitation. If you want to travel with me, you better start pleasing me now. My birthday is coming up in six days and the individual who pleases me the most will be made the Steve Jobs of Mars. I will claim all iProducts as your invention.  Hurry up! Offer valid till my good mood lasts.

Oh, lord! I just can’t wait to start my new life.