Posts filed under ‘Travelodge’

A Travelogue for Mandarmoni – Explore, Dream, Discover

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. When I got to know about our office trip, the traveler inside me inculcated the observer within me, and then came the writer. I observed few people, few incidents, and few contexts and then wrote this Travelogue.  I tried to cover almost everything interesting which this trip had to offer, though there are chances that I might have missed something. I hope those who were on trip will add missing parts in the comment section.

Let’s see the background first. The speculation about an official trip was in air from last couple of weeks. I could hear people whispering softly about where we may go and on which date. The anxiety  came to an end when we got a form to fill as who would be coming for this trip, got another form as who would be eating veg and who would be eating non-veg. Once the trip date, place, food got confirmed the next round of talks started about planning for trip. The trip was planned for a night stay at Mandarmoni, a virgin beach at Indian East Cost, a place adjacent to Bay of Bengal. It is said, when anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, you should go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses you with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in you that is bewildered and confused. Ok, so if we go by this saying the plan for a beach was great.  Next was the individual planning for the trip? It included, identifying likeminded groups, activities (for obvious reasons), shopping for fun @ beach (no need to mention what was there in the shopping cart), etc.

@ Office Reception  All set for the trip

Saturday 06th March 2009, we started our trip at 9.00 AM from Kolkata. The first humorous tiff occurred when few back benchers were allotted seats in front row. With some resistance and some humor, people grabbed their respective places. The food packets were also kept there at front and the journey started with distribution of Kolkata’s famous “Sondesh”. It’s a sweet, distinctively famous in Kolkata. The next item in food was “Samosha” (the national snacks) and then “Jilebi” (the national sweet). We also had “puri-sabji” packets for breakfast. The plan was to take it when the bus will stop at Kola Ghat though few people were in little hurry. They tried opening food packets while the bus was on run and the outcome was some yellow-blue colored jeanses of some front-sitters.  Little trouble mixed with some spontaneous chuckles created little noise in the bus. Next few minutes went peaceful and the bus stopped at Kola Ghat . There was a bridge which was under maintenance. Only one side of that bridge was open hence we had to wait for ½ hrs for our turn to come. We took our breakfast there and moved again. The atmosphere in bus was quite low so the enthusiastic lot sitting at front tried to play music. It was a lovely song though very few were able to understand it. People started whispering again. I was asked, “Which language is this”? Actually, the song was in “Bhojpuri,” and was not understood by majority sitting in the bus.  After playing 3 songs, which was like a torture for many, finally the music was stopped.
Next on plate was a joke session and most of the jokes were mainly from “purvanchal (Eastern UP and western Bihar) region”. I’m not sure whether everybody was able to listen them but people sitting in front rows were surely enjoying that. It was a great humorous session which lasted for around 30-45 minutes and then we got trapped in a Traffic Jam again. It was hot & humid inside bus so we went to take shelter in a nearby Dhaba. Well, it was not only a shelter but for few, it came as an opportunity to cool down a little bit. They got a beer from that Dhaba, and it was shared “ghoont-by-ghoont” if not drop-by-drop amongst all cool-seekers. Bus was on run again. This time a session on s/w processes, project management methodologies started and the discussion covered, PMI, CMM, CMMi, ISO, Kaizen, ITIL, Prince, Waterfall, Spiral.. Ok, it was basically everything from theoretical to practical and after this interesting knowledge-talk we reached Chaulkhola, a place where our bus was supposed to stop. We got down and cabs from our resort came to pick us from there. The resort was around 14 KM from that place. It was a narrow road passing through local villages, but this time we were fortunate enough that our cab had some good old Hindi songs. When I say GOOD, it was good at least for me. Some love songs of late 80s especially from Kumar Sanu were good enough to create a nice feel of the trip. Very soon our cabs were running on beach. Yes, the cabs had to run around 5-6 KM on that beach to reach the resort. It’s the longest beach of Asia, a fact which we didn’t know before reaching here.  

On the way to Mandarmoni  The Beach

We reached there at around 3.00 PM. Our booking was done in “The Sana Beach”. It was a beautiful beach resort. Rooms got allocated. We got fresh and then walked towards the cafeteria. Food was good and we had a good lunch. The next plan was to go on Beach and have some fun with waves. We changed the dresses and the beach dress got ON for most of us. At around 4.00 PM we reached there on the beach. Initially people were little reluctant to go inside but soon everybody was there inside sea, playing with small tides. There was no any safety guard so we were making sure not to cross the danger line.  We had a football with us though we were using that as a handball in the sea. It was great facing those waves, rising against them, floating with them. Amongst this entire fun one of our guys felt like some pinch at his elbow. He said, “I felt like some small creature coming towards me and biting me at my hand”. His pinch attracted many sea-experts and we heard several theories, like, “it might be a jelly fish”, “It might be a sea snake” and the most humorous was, “it might be a Shark”. I further added, “we never know, if might be a blue whale”. Ok, let me make it clear, I’m not a sea-expert (you might have guessed it by my above statement). I just wanted to take the theories to an extreme.

Inside Sea  The Game was ON

Sunset  Some Fun

After hours of fun with waves we were tired and we rushed towards our resort. After taking shower with normal water, we relaxed little bit. Till the time the night had already started. We went towards sea for an evening walk. The sea was looking awesome at that time. After few minutes of walk we sat in a nearby “tapri”.  We were facing the air blowing out from the sea and we ordered few chips, biscuits, and chai, spent around an hour there and then walked back to our resort.  The preparation for “bonfire” and drink party was ON and some people were busy with Badminton. I preferred to stay at badminton court. We started playing knock-out badminton matches. I was playing it after years and to my great surprise I had not forgotten the rhythm. Went for playing a double (in fact half mixed double) match and after trailing at 11-6 we won it by 15-12. Great, now it was the time to stop the play and move towards bonfire. The drink party was ON, I tried to get some snacks for me but I was failed to make a way for me there. Along with the drink, the “Sher-o-Shayaari” session also started. We heard some beautiful humorous “shayaaris” of Kumar Vishwas. The singing performances were next in the queue. We heard some nice Hindi-Bangla songs. In between “Sher-o-Shayaari” and “singing” the party mood was rising like anything. There came the music, loud music and the place near bonfire area became a mini-disc. Public started moving, rolling on the grass. We saw some very nice dance steps and I would like to talk about few of them. We had dance steps for each and every professional. Yes, the dance steps were based on what you do in your real life in the office. MBAs were asked to do “debit”, “credit”, “turn-overdance. Creative guys were asked to do “brush-up”, “erase” and “move-around” dance and some of the guys were asked to perform “snake-dance”, not sure what was the reason for that. We had limited number of dance songs and there was no DJ, so, I was playing a role of Part-Time DJ, faced some shouting on the song selection but I knew I have no option to play. I was just trying to continue the music so that people can get something to dance on. We also had some slow solo-dance performances, especially from some very conscious people. Lack of quality music was definitely a concern though some brilliant dance performances entertained people, and it was something to remember for years.

Strange face of Fire  Cat @ Bonfire

The evening had enough to make people tired; we had our dinner at around 12.30 AM. Some of us wanted to go for a walk again to sea-shore. I preferred to fall asleep. Missed the beauty of sea in the night and also missed the story to write.

Sun under Palm  Group Photo

Beautiful Sunrise  Red Crab

Before hitting the bed we planned to wake up early and capture the first glimpse of sun-rise in the morning. We knew that Indian East Cost offer an excellent sun rise scenery. I took the responsibility of waking up a group of guys in the morning, set the alarm for 5.00 AM and went in sleep. I hope you are not expecting a story from my dreams. Anyways, there wasn’t any dream to talk about. As planned I woke up at 5.00, disturbed few others and went for a morning walk on the beach. The sea shore was on its best in the morning. The shade of blue and green sea was looking beautiful. The fresh air was amazing. We were just enjoying that excellent atmosphere. We captured few snaps of that awesome sunrise. We also checked out some red crabs which were wandering in hundreds there.  Our morning walk was of around 6 KM and we reached till a river delta, though not sure which river was it. We walked back to our resort and there the live cricket match between India and NZ was on. Sachin and Yuvraj were hammering NZ bowlers. We forgot tiredness and stuck to the TV set.  Saw entire Indian inning and then went for the bath. Our trip was coming to an end. We took breakfast and started our journey back to Kolkata.

Everybody was tired, so, this time in bus, instead of any fun, people preferred just relaxing at their respective seats. Most of them were taking some naps. We stopped again at Kola Ghat, did lunch and boarded back in the bus to Kolkata. This time we had managed to get a music CD of old Hindi songs. The music was ON and people were taking naps in between. It was comparatively peaceful. We reached Kolkata at 5.00 PM and our official trip came to an END


March 9, 2009 at 11:51 am 5 comments

A Day visit to London !!!

London is a city where dream meets reality, traditional and cultural heritage meet the modern technical and fast moving society and of course you meet the entire world. This city can be called as the capital of world in true sense. It has people from almost every country of the world and most importantly they have their own identity. It’s the place where the historic past and the vibrant present come alive. A blend of history, ground-breaking architecture and culture has created an amazing and constantly evolving city.

Journey: I am staying in Guildford which is around 45 KM from London. Sunday, 26th Nov 2006; I was finished with my breakfast and was planning for the day as how to spend it. I was looking weather outside from the corridor of Travelodge (my hotel) and then suddenly one Indian person came and asked, “Indian”; I said yes; then came next question, “BOC”; my answer was again yes; and in this way I met one of my colleague who was also staying in Travelodge it self. He is a network security manager in BOC and was planning to go London as it was his last weekend in UK. He asked me to join him and I immediately said yes let’s go as I had no any other plan for that Sunday (although I was looking forward to complete remaining part of my book if there wasn’t any plan). We went to Guildford station, it’s around 15 minutes walk from Travelodge. We took one day rail pass of 13.5 pound (around 1200 Rs). It covers Guildford to London, entire London in metro and then return trip from London to Guildford. It took around 45 minutes to reach London Waterloo, one of the famous station of London and also a tourist spot.

London Darshan: We both were new to the city so we took one metro map from Waterloo station to have an idea of London metro. London has 13-14 metro lines and it covers each and every part of the city. The first thing we visited was Waterloo station then we came out and saw the world famous Imox Cinema. Imox is just outside the waterloo station. From here we wanted to go London eye so we asked the way from one gentleman. He directed us to London eye. London eye is a giant wheel and from this wheel you can see the entire London city. It is around 10 minutes walk from Waterloo station. It was raining heavily that time so we had take shelter under an over bridge for 10 minutes and then we moved again. Till the time rain had become very slow. We reached London eye but there was a huge crowd as it was Sunday and we observed that if we will wait here we will not be able to see other parts of London, so we moved from there to see Big Ben. We crossed Thames river through a bridge and here it’s Big Ben and House of Parliament. Big Ben is basically a clock tower residing with house of parliament. The Big Ben is famous all over the world for it’s hourly chimes. Our next target was to visit Buckingham Palace. It is around 15 minutes walk from Big Ben. Till this time rain had completely stopped and it was easy for us to walk. Buckingham Palace is the London residence of the sovereign since the reign of Queen Victoria. The colorful ceremony of changing the guard at 11.30 AM is very nice here. After visiting this place we decided to do some shopping and have some food. We also wanted to catch a metro for Piccadilly Circus. We enquired about the nearest metro from Buckingham Place and it was Victoria. On the way to Victoria we did little bit of shopping (buying some souvenir) and also had our lunch. Lunch was just a Turkish Burger. From Victoria Station we went to Piccadilly Circus by changing our metro (from Victoria to Piccadilly) at Green Park. Here we saw The Eros and did shopping in one of the largest shopping malls in the world. The Trafalgar Square is around 10 minutes walk from here. We went there and spent around 20 minutes. It’s again a great place to visit, a very fine piece of art. World’s greatest art gallery The National Gallery stands on the north side of Trafalgar Square. Now our next target was to see Tower Bridge, Monument and Tower of London. We took metro from Charing Cross metro (Bakerloo) which is just in front of Trafalgar Square. We changed our metro (from Bakerloo to Northern) at Elephant & Castle and then we reached London Bridge. From here we walked till Tower Bridge which is 10 minutes walk from station. Tower Bridge is London’s famous bridge. It was opened in 1894 and it is built in Gothic style to blend with the Tower of London next door. The bridge can be opened to allow ships to pass through. We also saw Tower of London and HMS Belfast here. HMS Belfast is a war ship. Our world famous Kohinoor is kept in the Tower of London itself. After reaching this place we were completely tired and we decided to move for Guildford as it was already 4.30 PM. We took little snacks and cold drink in KFC which is just in front of Tower of London. We also did little shopping there. The nearest metro is Tower Hill. We took a metro (District) for Embankment and from there we took another metro (Bakerloo) for Waterloo. From Waterloo we caught our train for


Places to visit in London: London Eye, The Eros, Westminster Abbey, The National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, The British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Tate Gallery, The Wallace Collection, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussaud’s Museum, Tower Bridge, Convent Garden, Shakespeare’s Globe and lots more..

Tourist Information Centers: The London Tourist Board runs a number of tourist information centers. Some of them are mentioned following:

a) Victoria Station Forecourt, SW I. Monday to Saturday: 0800 – 1900, Sunday: 0800 – 1800.

b) Liverpool Street Station, EC2. Monday to Saturday: 0800 – 1800, Sunday: 0845 – 1730.

c) Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 Underground Stations. Daily: 0800 – 1800.

Telephone Guide is also available for visitors. You can get up to date recorded information on range of subjects available 24 hours a day on 0839 123 546.

February 15, 2007 at 11:36 am 1 comment

Bike Trip – From Pune To Diwe Aagar

Saturday 11 March 2006 we started our journey from Pune. We started at 6.30 AM and wanted to reach Diwe Aagar by 11.30 AM. We planned to keep a visible distance amongst our bikes as we were new to those roads and mobiles were not working. We had 7 bikes and 14 people. We took the Mulsi-Tahmini-Mangaon route. The roads are full of curves and risky turns, which make biking an unforgettable thrill. We had taken ropes and first aid boxes with us for any emergency. One of my friends had suggested me to take our first break at Quick Point. It’s a pure vegetarian restaurant and serves a very nice tea. It is situated on the way from Mulsi to Tahmini. We reached there by 8 AM. We took tea and biscuit and then started our audacious biking. Most of us were first time biking on these kinds of roads. We were very careful and driving on 60-70 KM/Hour although roads were wide and nice. Around 20 KMs from Tahmini village I escaped a dangerous accident. I was about to go around 200 Meters below from a turn. But then I became more careful. After finishing the Tahmini Ghat, we stopped for a logical break. We were four bikers there but three bikes were missing. After 10-15 minutes those bikes came, when we were about to leave for searching them. When they came we got to know that one of them had met with an accident and was little injured. We all became more careful after that incident. At Mangao we stopped at Mumbai Goa highway. I bought a red ball to play in the sea. Letter “A” was printed on that ball. Goa route, “A” letter and my excitement was sufficient for my friends to start teasing me for the obvious reason. But again it was expected and common for me. The route from Mangao to Diwe Aagar is little dangerous with strip curves on the road. We were driving carefully. When we were about to reach, one of our bikes got some problem. The chain between both the wheels was misplaced. We had taken rope for any emergency but again if the chain is misplaced the bike can’t even move. It was a hilly place and a dangerous slope. None of us had any experience of bike maintenance but two of our friends tried their hands there. They opened the gearbox and the chain cover for both the wheels. Fortunately they were able to repair the problem after half an hour of struggle. Diwe Aagar was around 20 KMs from there. We took 20 minutes to reach there. We had already booked a guesthouse, so we directly went to that guesthouse. Food was ready. We had our lunch and then moved to beach.

Our guesthouse was located in a coconut garden. There were mango trees (having little mangoes on it) also in that garden. It was all greenery and was looking lovely. The beach was around 2 minute walking distance from our guesthouse. The owner’s family of that guesthouse was living at ground floor and they prepared food for us. The food was excellent. May be first time I was having seafood. Few of our friends took fish and they said it was excellent. We took traditional vegetarian food and it was equally awesome.

After our lunch we went to beach. The beach was clean and view was excellent. We spent around 2-3 hours there. We played football there. The only goal in that match was goaled by me and we won 1-0. After that enjoyment at beach, we all were tired. We came back to our guesthouse. Few of us tried taking bath at pump, which was used to irrigate the coconut plants. I was also one of them. The water coming from that pump was so chilled and we really enjoyed there. In the evening, nobody was able to move anywhere. They prefer to stay at guesthouse and have few drinks and snacks. I preferred to have a look of sunset at beach. I went at beach again. One more friend accompanied me. He was also not going to have drinks, so he also preferred to come with me. I didn’t know him much but still we went there together. At beach he was busy in collecting stones, I went till the last spot of the beach and sat on a big stone. The sunset view was excellent from that place. I spent around 1 hour alone there. I’m always afraid of loneliness but somehow I always encounter that. Anyways after spending one hour there, we came back to our guesthouse. Drink party was going on with some spicy college chats. Most of us were MBA batch mates, so it was a nice get together for us, and each one of us were unwrapping some hidden truths of our college days. Around 9 PM we thought to go to beach again and enjoy our party there. It was me who inspired everyone to have this party at beach. We all went there. A different party was already going there. A group of students from Bharti Vidyapeeth Hotel Management Institute had come there. They had arranged some lights and music and were enjoying dance party. We chose a location and sat for our party. We were also enjoying the loud music and dance of that group. Around 10 PM that group stopped the music and they went from there. Now it was all silence and just enriching music of sea waves were coming. It was lovely spending few hours there. We were talking on several things. Start from our college days and different love relationships to our two years industry experience. After few hours we came back and had our dinner. Till then everyone was completely tired we didn’t take minutes to go to our beds. In the morning as usual I woke up first. After getting fresh I again approached beach. This time I was accompanied by one of my best friends. He again started, “Hey it’s looking exactly like Goa, so when are you going Goa”. He knew I will have no answer to these kinds of questions and he was enjoying that. We walked few minutes at beach and came back to our guesthouse. I was thinking to drive my bike on beach. I inspired others also to join me. We all went to beach with our bikes. We went into sea while biking and it was awesome biking in the sea. Our speed was around 20 KM/Hour as it was skidding there. I really enjoyed biking at beach. It was something different. After 1 hour we came back, took bath and had our brunch. Now we were ready for our returning journey to Pune. Returning ride was also nice as we were driving at a speed of around 100. We all were aware of roads, so it was nice to drive this time. We stopped in Mangao took some water and then again rushed for our biking. After few hours of drive, we again stopped for our lunch. It was around 3 PM. We stopped 1.5 hours there and then again moved for Pune. This was Tahmini-Mulsi road and we were riding at 100-110 KM/Hour. It was my maximum speed of driving my bike and I was really enjoying that. Around 6.30 PM we were in Pune, completely tired but also satisfied for completing our journey successfully. Few people took little snacks and went for sleep. I just switched on the TV set and hey it was an excellent match going on. Australia vs South Africa. I couldn’t stop my self to watch this exciting match. As you know it was an historical match and I didn’t want to miss this one. In between I went to Mandir also as it was Sunday. After watching the entire match I went for sleep.

DiweAagar from my eyes:

Suvarna Ganesha: DiweAagar is famous for a temple having Ganesha Idol made of pure gold. This idol was found near to this place only. It’s a very simple temple and I had heard of this even before going to this place. I visited the temple on Saturday itself and did Puja.

A lovely village: In the morning when everybody in our groups was sleeping, I was wandering in this village. It’s so lovely and charming. Houses are built in coconut gardens. There are mangos, jackfruit trees all around that village. Thank God we had gone there by bike. I had enough time in the morning to explore things there. I talked with few villagers. They were fluent Hindi speakers, so it was easy for me to elicit more about their tradition and normal life style. I love to interact with people and to know more about their beliefs and traditions. It was nice to know that people are very friendly and accommodating there.

A lovely village: In the morning when everybody in our groups was sleeping, I was wandering in this village. It’s so lovely and charming. Houses are built in coconut gardens. There are mangos, jackfruit trees all around that village. Thank God we had gone there by bike. I had enough time in the morning to explore things there. I talked with few villagers. They were fluent Hindi speakers, so it was easy for me to elicit more about their tradition and normal life style. I love to interact with people and to know more about their beliefs and traditions. It was nice to know that people are very friendly and accommodating there.

Costal taste: Few things, which I tasted here, was first time experience for me. I tasted a different variety of mango called Raiwal and their special coccum. I also tried some of their special dishes.

January 3, 2007 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

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