On the last day of our trip we decided to visit Cola Beach which is situated 8-10 kms north of the Agonda Beach. The beach is kind of secluded and you have to ride/ drive on dusty roads to reach there. The best part about the beach is that you have a fresh water lagoon on one side and a sea on the other side – both of them separated by the beach. I originally thought that the lagoon was sea water – however, on tasting the water realized that it is indeed fresh water. The entire scenery around the beach is absolutely stunning and reminded me of the back waters in Kerala.
Last Sunday, me and Geeta, were invited to the Asmita School at Jogeshwari by a friend who was the chief guest for the flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of the Republic Day. Apparently our common friend, along with his family and friends, has decided to help the school out in whatever possible manner. Asmita School supports education of kids who are from “not well to do” families. The parents of these children are normally daily wage earners and most of them are not educated at all. Asmita School provides education in Marathi and English medium to these children. We had an opportunity to meet some of the special educators who work with these children to enable them to realize their full and true potential. Most of them worked on a part-time basis and have been associated with various other schools. They have been bringing all their knowledge and experience to help the kids out at this school, which is great. We also got to visit the Balwadi, where kids from nursery to Sr. Kg, are being taught. To reach Balwadi, we walked through the slum which was behind the school. I was amazed to see the talent some of these children have. A couple of children recited shlokas in Sanskrit, while some others spoke in English, Hindi and Marathi about the Republican Day. The children also performed Koli Dance and another Goan dance while we were there. The teachers in this school teach in both Marathi and English so that the child can get admission into any other school if his/ her parents so desire.
I found the work done by the charity organization to be really good. Looking at schools, facilities etc. I felt they were doing a really good job in making these children ready for a good future. I shudder to think that if we didn’t have NGO’s such as these, so many children would have either been begging on the streets or would have taken a life of crime or would have probably become daily wage earners like their parents with no real scope of future. While the NGO is doing its bit to help, I must also appreciate the parents of these kids who are sending them to school to get educated and move ahead in life. Overall, it was a very unique and humbling experience.
The next day we decided to visit Sula Vineyards. However, as mentioned in my previous post we were staying in my friend’s empty apartment. Since we arrived late the previous evening, there was no one to clean up the place. So today morning, I called up my friend and asked him if he knew someone who would clean the place. The house cleaning person arrived after one hour and took almost an hour to clean the place up. In the mean time, I went to the local grocery store and got some Maggie for breakfast. We prepared breakfast, waited for the house cleaning person to finish his work, and then got ready to leave. By the time we left, it was almost 2 pm and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I tried searching the route on the Here Maps of my Nokia Lumia 620, but was not able to find one (There needs to be Google maps app for Windows). So we relied on the old Indian way – which is ask for guidance and route. After asking a couple of people and getting lost once, we finally found our way to the Sula Vineyards. Once we left the main road, the drive to the Vineyards is quite pleasant and you enjoy driving here through a couple of little villages which fall on the route. We reached our destination around 3:00pm and registered for wine tasting and facility tour for 3:30pm. We registered for 6 wine tasting which cost us Rs. 250 per person. The tour of the facility is short and brief. The best part is the wine tasting part. We tried 6 different wines – I don’t remember the names of all – but there was a sparkling wine, three white wines, couple of red ones – Dindori and Rasa. The tour guide taught us in brief as how to recognize an old wine from a younger wine based on its color (tilt the glass against light – lighter the shade younger the wine for white wines – opposite is true for Red wines), how to smell the aroma of the wine (swirl the wine in the glass for a few seconds and then smell) to even how to hold the wine glass (don’t hold the glass by the palm). The entire tour lasted for 45 mins and was quite educational and fun. However, we didn’t get to crush grapes as it isn’t grape season yet. Post our wine tour, we decided to buy wines for family and friends. We also ended up buying Grape seed oil. Apparently it is good for cooking and can be used in salads as well vegetable cooking. We spent around 2 hours at Sula Vineyards, before deciding to head out towards Nasik city. There is also a resort in case people wish to stay over for the night, however, being Friday it was going to cost us Rs. 6500 per couple and hence we decided to skip it.
The drive towards Nasik city in the evening was extremely chaotic. The problem which most car drivers in India would face in any tier 2 cities is the number of the bikes which are on the road. Nasik is no exception to the rule and there are plenty of two wheelers on the city roads and one has to be extremely careful while driving. We were extremely hungry when we reached the main highway and once again decided to halt at Kolhapur Express for an early dinner. After having a sumptuous dinner, we decided to explore the city via car. Big mistake!!! Since we didn’t know where we wanted to go, we just kept driving aimlessly and got stuck in multiple traffic junctions and at one time were thoroughly lost in the Panchvati area. We finally managed to find our way out (thanks to the GPS) and then decided to head back home with plans for next day ready. Next destination – Trimbakeshwar temple, Coin Museum, Panchvati and Deolali. (Pics to follow later)
Last Friday our team went to Score, a sports bar, to celebrate a team member’s birthday. This was my first time going this place. The place consisted of couple of pool tables, Wii games and table football. However, the best part about this place was the music. The DJ played some of the best rock songs right from Pink Floyd to Bon Jovi to Linkin Park. We had an awesome time drinking, playing Wii and singing along the songs that were played. One of our colleagues knew the owner of the place and he was generous enough to provide some free drinks on the house. The quality of food was alright. The same can definitely be improved upon.
Personally, I enjoyed listening to rock music. I think Pink Floyd sounds the best when you are a bit high. Heard some other awesome songs after a very long time and it just made my evening. One of the best evenings in a very long time.
This weekend was one of the bestest weekends I have had in a long time. I reached home Saturday morning at 1:30am, thanks to late arrival at the Mumbai airport. Sometimes I wonder why do I keep flying the 8:30PM flight every 2 weeks?
Saturday was awesome, spent time with my bro, played cricket, got my ass whoooped by him. Then a few friends stopped by in the afternoon and evening. I actually wanted to go out shopping with mom.. but I am broke and thus had to change plans.
Sunday, early morning me and bro, along with other friends, went for a day picnic/trip to Kelwa Beach Resort. We decided to take the bike since bro had to come home for a night cricket game. Along with us, a good friend of mine and his gf also came on the bike. The rest of the guys came by the train. The resort was abt 120-140kms away, so it was a long ride. We reached the resort at around 8:45am in the morning. The resort was very calm and serene. Once we got there, we changed, had breakfast etc and then decided to head to the beach. The beach was very clean. Nothing like Juhu beach or Chowpatty beach with litter thrown around. We entered the water right away, were playing games like water football and frisbee. Some people even started singing later on. After enjoying the salty water of the sea, we decided to the check out the swimming pool in the resort. It was occupied by a beer drinking yuppie group. At first, we decided to wait for them to check out, but then we decided that it isn’t their pool and we should also go in and enjoy. The yuppie group left soon after we entered.
After that we decided to go have lunch and we ran the same yuppie group once again. This time we overheard one female saying how she spend $500 on McLaren and Ferrari souveniers. I think she was kinda showing off that she was a F-1 fan etc.. who knows. But I kinda hate people like that, the ones who think having money makes them special. Anyways, after lunch, some of us dozed off, while some of us got to playing table tennis. It was fun to stay undefeated 7 games in a row. After that we just decided to relax for sometime and then ride home.
The ride back home was equally exhilarating. My bro does not like riding in the dark on the highways and decided he was going to cover as much distance as possible before it got dark. Right from the time we hit the roads, he was flying. I think the top speed he touched was 105-110Kmph/around 70 mph. It was truly an awesome experience, seeing my bro go zig-zag at such high speeds. By the time we got home, I was dead tired.. while bro was super excited to go for his game (which he lost). After having dinner, I packed my bag for the flight back to Kolkata next morning and then just crashed on the bed. All in all it was an awesome weekend.
So yes, the weekend was not so fun. I had a tough time handling the lizards but the good news is most of them are gone (I think so). I also sealed up most of the places from where they might be entering the room/house. Lets see how long the peace lasts. On the other hand, I did enjoy the rest of my day yesterday, watching movies. I watched Superman Returns and American Desi. I remember watching the latter when I was in my university. It is one of my favorite movies. It is about an Indian-American kid who hates everything Indian. He leaves his house hoping he wouldn’t be facing anymore Indian things in his life, but to his bad luck all his roommates are Indian and he falls in love with an Indian girl. The movie shows how the guy starts warming up to his roomies and how they help him get the girl. The movie is extremely funny.. I would recommend everyone to see it.
Oh well, the weekend is over and it is back to work week. I have too much pending to finish this week. Next week, we have a new guy starting and I will be caught up in training him. I am just hoping things go well and I am able to finish everything on time.