In which Trupz says Welcome to my world – Pune

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There was a time, when daily hustle bustle of the big city, engulfed life. There were timings to be kept for waking up and dozing off, alarm clocks were matched to train station timings, and 5 minutes here and there would mean losing out your favorite seat. These were small things that mattered so much; that simply being out in the morning to breathe some fresh air seemed like some sort of a luxury. All exercise and catching of breath happened either running for the bus or rushing to the train. Climbing up and down the foot over bridge and jostling the crowd was daily massage I did not sign up for. Thats life in the fast lane in Mumbai for you. Long train travel across suburban Mumbai to reach work and even longer queues for buses and auto rickshaws to get back home. At a mere 28 years i was already exhausted. Unable to give enough time to family, unable to maintain a social life and more importantly unable to give time to myself.

Then life took a turn for the better, the start-up AD was working for decided to move to Pune! Initially it spelt disaster for me, my company had no offices in Pune and how long AD decided to stay there was unclear, whether this was permanent move, would that mean changing jobs for me – all the balls were in the air and I could not afford to drop even one. I decided to stay back in Mumbai initially. The logistics had to be sorted out about this whole Pune move, career wise, finance wise and obviously family wise. Both our parents were extremely supportive, having been through such times themselves they understood my concerns and his desire to take some risks and backed us. The job hunt for me in Pune was not very promising, with the recession etc and most companies on backfoot for hiring. Moving from Mumbai was just not an option. A very informal discussion with my manager led to a solution I had not dreamed of. The company would allow me to work from home, as long as all working criteria were met and the work did not suffer. I would need to travel to Mumbai as when required. All in all it meant a green signal for me to move to Pune, and a very unpleasant 3 months of separation would come to an end.

Home Sweet Home

In all this time, I managed only 3 trips to Pune, and was impressed with what i saw. It was just like any other emerging metropolis. My image of a sleepy old town, with very typical Puneri folk was wiped out in an instant. My first travel to Pune landed me directly into Kalyani Nagar – skim past this area and you are reminded of South Mumbai in an instant. A very upcoming and developing suburb, it took to my liking instantly and we decided our next abode would definitely be in this area. Limited with our finances, we settled for a 1BHK flat in an old society – but it had a vantage point. The location was superb, literally stones throw away from the Mall and multiplexes, biggest restaurant in area was across the street, all consumables were at arms length and everything else only at walkable distance. My initial grimace for not finding a house with a view disappeared within days when I figured out what advantages the house had ;P.

Silhouette – kalyani nagar backdrop of a sunset

Life began slow here, we arrived with bare minimum furniture, just enough things to survive. Most of what were needed laptops, books, Television, mattress, cupboards and gas stove. Thats it I thought to myself, the first night i closed my eyes – this will be home. I had taken a couple of days off just to set up everything in the new house. Cleaning up, unpacking, cooking it all had to be fitted in while managing work. With travel out of picture I suddenly had more time on my hand, so I cooked regularly. Exploring the new living area was a lot of fun too – but auto rickshaw meters in Pune were running faster than my heartbeat, so i took to walking around, it is best way of exploring the place :). Acclimatizing to neighbourhoods like Koregaon park and its numerous lanes, the camp area and of course the  temptations of the malls, purchasing new tid bits for home, my time was consumed by these. My now broken camera along with me walked many a sultry evening absorbing Pune. The setting sun shedding light on new avenues in life.

AD took me to office one day, I took to liking his colleagues immediately, some I had met before in Cleartrip and some I met for first time. They have a very close bonding, dinners at our place and hanging out became part of many a evenings. His boss did not mind me working out of their office too, they had enough space to lend me a table which was a very friendly gesture. Someday’s working alone from home often made me quite lonely. I had begun to miss the whole work atmosphere, fun with colleagues and office outings etc. Chai and coffee breaks were too by myself and not very enjoyable. Soon working out of AD’s office became a regular thing, atleast once a week, as on Thursday there was a power outage for more than 6 – 7 hours. I did not miss my own office so much then, as we went out for lunch with his office folk and there was always some or the other happening there to keep me entertained. Watching them work from sidelines, often gave me a kick too. In  their initial days I did pull an all nighter with them a couple of times. Pizzas and Red Bulls were great companions then.

Fun times at IB

Soon after we moved here, a few other friends from Mumbai also did – they too decided to set shop here and I began to miss Mumbai a lot less. Pune is traveller’s paradise, except for a brief spell in Summer, you can travel around through out the year. There are forts, hill stations all which are within reach of Pune. City is decorated with historical monuments from Shivaji’s times. Our first travel was to temple at Parvati. Then venturing out to Sinhagad, Aga Khan Palace, Panshet, Kamshet lakes and Pavana Dam. I had always pestered AD for not being able to trek, but we got an opportunity after coming to Pune, Quasi planned out a 4 day trek to Harishchandragad and before that I managed a trek by myself with ShikharVedh gang to Tornagad. The travel to office was limited to 5 Km for AD, he took to cycling there, the spell lasted a good few months till monsoon set in. Rains in Pune are wonderful, the place completely transpires into a green blanket and weather is nothing short of European romance.

The Naka Boys re-unite

Many people had warned me of how I would not be able to fit in and be out of place, and how Pune does not offer a social life, but it all proved wrong. Pune has some of the best eating joints, from the very Puneri Shreyas on Apte Road to Bedekar misal. A wide variety of Parsi food from Dorabjees to Zamu’s. Koregain Park is filled with little gems of places with the most surprising cousine – Our favorite has been Arthurs theme and Tertulia’s. Not to mention the little micro brewery which makes a lot of noise on social circuit called Doolally’s. Never did i get a chance to enjoy such a variety in such a short span of time. FC road and JM roads are a foodies haven, with popular joints like Vaishali and Good Luck Cafe to gorge at.

Fields of Good

On of the best things to have happened is that I got back to my hobbies, writing and photography. The more we traveled the more stories there were to tell.  Desire and passion to write were back and i was slowly mastering the art of photography. I got active on twitter and made some very nice twitter pals- it was a totally new experience of socializing. Suddenly I did not feel so exhausted, there was always something that kept me busy. While all this was happening, work kept its pace up and did not hamper career front, I got my promotion and my raise and things were looking good. Friends kept visiting and so did family. The home began to take shape as more and more “things” came into the house. Walls got photo frames and shelves,mattress got a new bed, windows got new curtains, the cycle is now replaced by a motorbike and life as we knew it changed for the better.

We still visit Mumbai often, but we long to be back in Pune. The city has taken my heart and Home is where the Heart is ….. We both are still pursuing our dreams and desires, and working equally hard to fulfill them. But in the midst of all this, life in Pune has given us that little cocoon to take a breather once in a while and I still have some time left to LIVE a little bit more.

In which Trupz says THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC

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Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing

Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

– <i> ABBA</i>
 

Music is the best friend ONE has (yes in this case too ONE is ME), the songs and tunes to suit every mood, to heal every wound, to feel every emotion. It describes love as well as rage and often found as the best analogy to define sadness.

In my life I have been greatly influenced by music, all thanks to very important people in my life who have helped me explore the various facets and faces music has.

Early childhood was ruled by the radio these were the pre – FM days, i remember waking at 7.30 am to the sounds of “Finolex pipes ads” that ran on the Vividh Bharathi.  The “Cibaca Geetmala” presented by Ameen Sayani was where my early education of film music began. These were the days when Hindi songs were just Hindi songs and not Bollywood numbers. The title track of the movie used to be more popular than the ITEM numbers. So I caught on to the bug of Filmi Gaane and soon began following the likes of Rafi, Asha, Lata, Kishore, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar et all. In our house these names were taken as though all of them almost lived with us. Since downloading was not an option at that time and buying HMV LP records was still a rich mans muse, we had tons of cassettes on which songs were recorded from other cassettes often borrowed from friends and acquaintances. I owe a lot to my father for nurturing music in me. Although I have not become a singer or a musician myself, I have learnt to appreciate music. Slowly I graduated to the more serious phase of Ghazals, although the Urdu language was new and alien to me, the soft sounds and grandeur that I felt in pronunciation attracted me. Soon I was on a spree of Jagjit Singh, Chitra Singh, Pankaj Udhas,Ghulam Ali etc. I remember how startled my mother was when i asked her what was the meaning of “Paimana” !!! Music was the reason I was attracted to learning different languages and understanding their meanings.

Micheal Jackson was someone who my brother always listened to on the player. What this person looked like in real life and what the MOONWALK was, I saw only when satellite television was available in India. Just like MJ there were many other talented folk who made some awesome English music, so early school years were dominated by Micheal Jackson, George Michael, Madonna, Phil Collins, Billy Joel and the likes. Most of them were just names I didnt know much about them except for MJ he was a phenomena. Soon the Vividh Bharathi was replaced by sounds of rock, when my brother decided to literally bring the house down with Metallica, Nirvana, Pink Floyd and U2, Dire Straits. I was too young to understand that music then, most of it was pure noise (pardon me), just like morning prayers my brother had taken it quite seriously to educate all of us with Alternate Rock, Heavy Metal etc. My mother being the most defiant student amongst us all. No one could stop her when she decided to do some head banging, the head in this case my Brother :).  I thank my bro entirely for introducing me to this genre very early on, there have been some really fun times we had.Through the whole girlie phase of life, it was the boybands that rocked my life, so BOYZONE, BACKSTREET BOYS, N’SYNC, WESTLIFE and of course PETER ANDRE and Enrique. MTV and FM radio had made an entrance and now a 24 hour non stop dedicated channel to music available to watch not just listen. I got a chance to be introduced to many other forms of world music like RAP, JAZZ, COUNTRY but my first love still remains ROCK.

My mother has been largely responsible for installing the radio in me, She always had the radio on in her kitchen and she she gleefully shifted among the shortwave frequencies. Old hindi and marathi songs, including BhavGeet I absorbed were thanks to her. Many a afternoon were spent with me returning from school to play Antakshari with her, and this was our favorite pass time on nights when electricity went off. This habit rubbed off me well, those graduation years of late night studies were made more interesting with radio by my side, I almost looked forward to that solitude time of studying and music.

The musician and his muse – Adi with Emily – courtesy Quasi

The Exodus – Raju, Barve, Adityo, Rajesh (clockwise)

Music is and will remain an integral part of my life. Many a dates and dinner conversations have gone by with Adi trying to explain the fineries of Hindustani Classical music to me. I knew from early on that the person i share my life with has to be someone who shares an equal interest in music, little did i know then that this person would also be a talented musician himself. my first encounter with Adi was in our college when he was participating for a college competition, all geared up in traditional batik kurta, calm and composed, deep in thought with his muse, Emily (the Sitar). I knew it the first time I laid eyes on him that he was the ONE, we later found that the ONE he was in many other ways also. i always liked and listened to classical music, but was not so closely associated with it. Most of the years all festive mornings began with Shehnai from Bismillah Khan or to the sounds of bhajans and abhangs of Bhimsen Joshi, all that passive learning and liking, I had finally found someone who could share my interests.

Band of girls – Me, Pallavi, Ananya, Harshika, Pronoti and Ridhima

Strangely, my close friends too are like me, who listen to appreciate music in all its forms. Better part of college life was spent outside of college (nothing new about that), with these blokes, Rajesh, Barve, Raju and Adie dressing up for Exodus – their fusion band. And my friend Pallavi and myself almost did a Phd in Antakshari during our college fest – Utsav. Music was among the many other things we all got a bit high on. Walkman’s and discman’s in our college days were a rage, pretty much like the MP3 players and Ipods are  now. Countless amount of songs and CD’s had been exchanged amongst all of us, it was the advent of Internet and PCs in homes and we all made sure to make use of all our resources adequately well!! Thankfully I have also got married into a family which not only appreciates but lives and breathes music. It is defiant correct to say that music runs in the family, and I am now part of it.

My companion on many a long walks and journeys, my caffeine on tiresome work days, my energy to pump up for exercise and my recluse when I want to disappear into my inner world, my best friend at all times ……

I wish to thank everyone in my life, my family, friends, musicians and artists for creating this beautiful song of life for me… 🙂

Happy Diwali!!

In which There is magic in our hands

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So it was special occasion – no birthdays or anniversaries but something even better. Finally Adi crossed off the one thing he wanted most on his wishlist. A MacBookPro is not just any other thing – it is “D thing” to have in many perspectives.

For us Blawghhers – it is a momentous occasion, as one milestone was achieved. Just as one graduate from play school -> high school -> college and then University so has Adi, from tinkering with the Sinclair, to his desktop box P3, to the HP- P4. Compaq laptop and finally University level for all geeks, the MacBookPro!!

I have witnessed his progress from a grumpy Windows user to a Linux enthusiast going on to be an OpenSource guru and now the eventual Apple Fanboi :P.

So while I am getting used to the left close, multi -touch scroll, window expose and the genie effect on the MBP – I must confess I have fallen in love with FluidTunes. All this just at the tip of your fingers is just like magic, seriously minus getting into all the techie details; I am sure a lot has already been written about it, this baby is a piece of work.

Although I write this post on a decently configured laptop, the grey HP is paled by the white beauty of the Mac …..

Travel Blawghhing – Nainital,city of lakes

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The first trip of the Blawghhers together in India. And we chose the most secluded stretch of India to travel to – Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora, and Kausani in Uttaranchal. This one particularly not frequented by many tourists – at least that is what we were told but in India, it is hardly possible now to go anywhere and not find crowds.

But since the idea was to travel and explore on our own, the trip was charted as per the destinations we wished to visit and stay at as per our convenience. We refused to be lobbied around in buses / private vehicles as other “honey – mooners” with the days and nights planned much beforehand and strictly followed :).

In the adjoining picture what you see are the most pristine waters of Uttaranchal – the Saat Tal lake made up of literally 7 lakes intertwined.

The seven Lakes Of Sattal are
Panna Tal or Garud Tal
Nal-Damyanti Tal
Purna Tal
Sita Tal
Ram Tal
Laxman Tal
Sukha Tal or Khurdariya Tal

Breathtaking scenery and snake pass roads makes for a pleasant journey but not so delightful for those with a light stomach 🙂

The typical dhabas serving rajma, parathas and dal fry rice are some of the places which are a must visit for those who want to eat some local cuisine. Of course, the 3,4 and 5-star hotels have infiltrated the region and for ones particular about diet and food there are various multi-cuisine diners available.

With the well spent 14 days, we also managed to make it to the Jim Corbett National Park, only for a day though.

More travel stories coming soon…

Some more pics

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