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Monday, January 29, 2018

Carnivale Goa 2018 - Day 1

Conceptualized more than a year ago during Golden Jubilee reunion in Delhi/Corbett in November 2016, then moulded & shaped by an enervated but electrified Shorty Mukherjee recuperating in bed after a massive heart attack in January 2017, further consolidated and formalized by him during the past 12 months (with complete and unequivocal motivation & support from Rajat) through a series of crisp concise precise informative and imaginative bulletins and ably supported, mentored & aided by an ever enthusiastic bunch of Mech'71ers (1971 Mechanical Engineering batch) based in India & abroad, this amazing event Carnivale Goa actually took place for a whole week in the Indian State of Goa - formerly a Portuguese Colony for over 500 years & annexed back by India in 1961. Goa is a land of sun,sand, sea & sea food, breeze,beaches,bikinis & bars.The Goanese love to eat exotic sea-food,to soak in the sun and swim in the ocean, and to enjoy drinking their favorite brew - they can choose from a wide range of astonishing drinks - from cashew or coconut Feni to Kings Beer, Urrak to Port wines, Tequila, Armada & a range of local red/white wine apart from an array of Indian/Scotch whisky, Vodka, Gin,Rum,Brandy,Cogniac, Bourbon,Vermouth et al . Goans live life to the hilt - they live they love, they sing & dance they sculpt & paint they are obsessed with football,work hard and love to party. They are among the most exuberant effervescent energetic and joyful people in this region.
It is to this land that an excited bunch of Mech'71ers descended on 20th January 2018 from Delhi-Chennai for a special reunion in Goa - a group comprising Twelve enterprising men, Ten of them accompanied by their lovely soul mates. Glaffy the perky young lady from Blue Ocean welcomed the Group of 22.and accompanied them in a luxury coach to the O Resorts & Spa in Candolim - an hours drive from Dabolim Airport. Address:Aguada- Siolim Road, Candolim, Dando, Near Kingfisher Villa, Bardez, Goa 403515. December/January are the best months to visit Goa with comfortable low temperatures and perpetual cool breeze. Glaffy disappeared thereafter.
The sparkling swimming pool at O Resorts
The pleasing interior architecture & styling at O Resorts Candolim


The resort offers luxurious rooms, suites and a grand presidential suite. Set amidst lush tropical gardens, the resort includes a rejuvenating spa, an infinity pool, special dining experiences which includes a raised wooden floored breakfast lobby, a similar lobby bar & beach decks with umbrellas. The resort has a unique interior architecture with a long indoor walking promenade with rooms located on either side, a fountain, small water pools & landscaped attractively and artistically with plants & shrubs. For those who want to congregate in the walkway and sit down for a relaxed chat under the open to sky,the resort has provided granite seats furnished with luxurious  cushions.
Exuberant Mech 71ers and their gorgeous wives arriving at Dabolim
Coach ride to Candolim - bonding,bonhomie & infectious smiles
Captivating smiles
The major activity for the evening was to check into rooms,wash,transform into casuals, make a beeline for the beach enjoy the ambiance & activity there,watch the sun bathers sauntering on the sands, view the sun setting gloriously into the serene turquoise Arabian sea and amidst all this guzzle cans of chilled beer until dusk in beach shack. All the while the camaraderie and bonhomie was building up and so was appetite. Once the beer stock was exhausted group then dispersed into smaller clusters. Some went in search of dining shacks in the near vicinity before languishing back to the respective rooms. Another group careened off to a popular flea market in Candolim downtown where they are are reported to have had a splendid time .
Gallivanting & frolicking at Candolim Beach
VKG & Vinay - A scintillating selfie
Beach Shacks & sunbathing decks at Candolim


Beach decks & umbrellas provide shade & solace

Gents cheerfully guzzling beer in a beach shack
Drinks and dinner at the "Flea Market" in downtown Candolim - all looking reasonably pleased


 Animated Pimp spinning one of his incredibly funny yarns has Guvrus in splits - whats with Shorty ?
Marwaha ( one of the several pioneers who painstakingly orchestrated the reunion efforts) & Madhu had to drop out at the last moment owing to indisposition.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thekkady - A unique wildlife sanctuary


3-1-2018: After we completed our boat trip we generally lazed around relishing the good food in the restaurant, strolling around the sanctuary, basking in the bright sunshine & enjoying the salubrious cool temperatures. We had carried books and we spent some time relaxing on the park benches & reading to our hearts content. During one of our walking tours we visited the Aranya Nivas another of KTDC's swanky properties inside the sanctuary. There is also a KTDC transit lounge near Aranya Nivas where visitors can stay briefly to refresh before they are transported by boat to KTDC Lake Palace Hotel which is situated on a hill top in the middle of Periyar Lake.

Here is a collage of miscellaneous pictures representing the good times we had ! It was with a heavy heart and with a twinge of regret we drove out of the sanctuary on the morning of 3rd Jan2018. In Kumily we saw bamboo forests and stopped over to click some rare pictures. Then we were off down the ghats to Cumbum & Kumily and then onwards to Theni-Oddanchatram - Palladam & Coimbatore. Good roads right throughout and a comfortable drive. A dream start for New Year 2018.
Transit Lounge - Lake Palace
Eco friendly pay and use toilet

Pictures clicked at Kumily - Bamboo Groves below

Boating at Thekkady

2-1-2018: As soon as we checked into the jungle lodge yesterday we booked our first boat ride for 2nd morning scheduled to start at 7.30 am. Accordingly we set our mobile phone alarms and were up at 5.00 am. We bathed & dressed up and were ready by 6.30 am. and meandered into the restaurant for steaming cups of delectable Bru instant coffee which warmed up our cockles on a cold morning. Then we took off on foot towards the boat jetty - a one km walk on a jungle road past Aranya Nivas ( another property belonging to KTDC) to the sounds of barbets & cuckoos and tweets of many innumerable but invisible birds, chattering of bonnet macaques &accompaniment of a phalanx of amazingly tall trees on either side as if they have been positioned there to provided us protection. We reached the jetty in about 12 minutes and saw some crowds already thronging the boat house reception office.We joined the queue & slowly sauntered towards our boat The Jala Tharanga. A mesmerizing sight beckoned us at the lake - cloudy morning shrouded in mist with the sun playing hide'n'seek occasionally peeping out. We clambered up the steps into the boat and found our to the top tier where our reserved seats on the front row awaited us.The boat accommodated around 50 people - some Indians & many foreigners - armed with cellphone cameras, exclusive cameras, professional cameras & a few with binoculars.Wearing life jackets was mandatory and the boats attendants explained how the jacket should be worn & tied. It was an exciting and exhilarating 90 minutes boat ride with great expectations of wild animal sightings. The ride was indeed spectacular with spell binding scenery, still languid waters with reflections & ripples & a chill breeze pinging your face. A great thrill arose when some elephants were sighted grazing in the valley but at a far distance.Then we spotted a herd of wild boar. There were more sightings - red mongoose, a Brahminy kite soaring in the sky, dozens of egrets, a kingfisher, snake birds nests with chicks being fed, cormorants & a few others. We were back to the boat house at 9.00 am. On our return walk back to our jungle lodge we spotted a black furred lion tailed macaque high up on a tree. We also astonishingly saw two medium size hornbills & a pair of jungle fowls crossing the road.