easter break!

before i start, kindly note that i am back to being four and a half hours behind IST, owing to the end of daylight saving time. crazy concept! saddest thing is you get to sleep one whole hour less 😦

okay! back to the topic. i am back from a great weekend in bournemouth, and am satisfied to have put the three week long easter break to proper use. left kingston on the 28th by the national express bus. there is nothing i detest more than traveling by bus. okay, there are a lot of other things that i detest, as in physically despise! bus journeys are among the top ten. so, it was a good three and a half hours. closeted in a metal box on wheels is not exactly my idea of starting a vacation. there is no ventilation, save for the measly vents above my head which give out enough air to blow the hat off an ant! don’t ask me where i saw an ant wearing a hat. damn those pixar guys! i tried to read (hemmingway, i must add), but was put off by the sudden starts and stops the bus made in the traffic. it’s exactly like a bombay-pune ride. you take almost two hours to get out of sion-chembur and reach the expressway.

the greatest comfort was the absence of squealing kids and passengers with a stomach upset.

reached bournemouth at around 12:50. chetan and ashish came to get me at the bus station, and were mighty pleased to see me find the correct way to their accommodation, given my lousy sense of direction! reached their rooms. i’d got a hat for ashish. the fun started right away!

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(ashish, priti, chetan, nanika)

we passed some time at home, listening to house, discussing the outcome of nanika’s dubai visit and planning for the days ahead. went out in a while for food at a nearby pub. i had ashish’s camera, and started aiming it around the pub to make settings for indoor shots. kept the camera in my hand and walked over with chetan to the bar to order food and beer, when this man came up to me. the following conversation ensued –

Man: Yorrite, mate?
Stupid Tourist With a Camera (me): Yes!
M: You taking pictures?
STWC: No. I was just looking around to make settings for my camera.
M: Listen to me, mate. You take my picture?
STWC: No. I was just looking around to make settings for my camera.
M: You know you have to ask my permission before taking my picture?
STWC: Yes. I know. But I was just looking around to make settings for my camera.
M: Whatever you are, tourists, students, you take permission. That was rude. You don’t point you fucking camera in my face again, okay?
STWC: I was just looking around to make settings for my camera. I did not take any pictures.
M: I want to see what pictures you have taken.
STWC (showing pictures in camera): See. There’s none of your or any pictures from here.
M: You don’t do that here, yea? (Extends hand.)
STWC: (shaking extended hand) Yes. I was just looking around to make settings for my camera. Thank you.

did I mention that M had seven piercings altogether on his face, looked like someone who would shove a camera in a stupid tourist’s mouth and take it out of god knows where, was wearing a leather sleeveless jacket, and was heavily tattooed? no wonder I kept repeating the ‘settings’ thing! Vacation, yea? Yorrite?

stepped out of the pub with my stomach full, and that’s when it started. the hiccups. one after the other. I had had a similar experience some years back when I was working. I prayed for it not to repeat. they say when you have a hiccup, someone somewhere is thinking of you. if that was the case, someone must’ve been missing me quite a lot. because the hiccups did not stop till the time I came back to kingston!! Three days of non-stop “ichik ichik uck hikkik.”

got back home and had a good night’s sleep.

the next day, we decided to go for some shopping as nanika was leaving for dubai, and I hadn’t seen the bournemouth high street on my last visit. it was worth the visit. the high street is located on a hill overlooking the beach. lots of shops and a big open square in the center.

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by the time we finished our tour of the high street, it had started raining. ashish suggested we watch a film. and on nanika’s constant persistence, we ended up watching ’27 dresses’. i do not wish to speak of that experience. please do not mention it in public. but the best part was the beach, where we went before we inflicted ourselves with the torture of wedding dresses. i think my hiccups increased in frequency and magnitude after the film.

the beach . . .

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i find that perspective fascinates me. though i think i am beginning to get a bit repetitive with the type of pictures i take, i like lines going out to the horizon or any vanishing point, the linearity, a sense of purpose…perspective means so much!

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we were almost soaking wet from the rain, but the sound of the waves, sand, and crazy surfers made us stay there a bit longer. i cannot understand how the surfers didn’t freeze in the water. they had their suits and stuff on, but their faces not covered. i’d have frozen to death had i even touched the water with my little toe!

we had booked a place in this italian place called mezza luna

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went there after the film. on the way to the restaurant, we had to walk for almost half an hour from the bus station. it was terribly windy and the rain was lashing at us from all possible directions. the wind was literally pushing us around and it was difficult to keep all our bags from flying away. as we reached the place, we could see that everyone inside was dressed to a T in black suits, evening dresses and dazzling jewelery. we walked through the doors to be greeted by a waiter. chetan told him that we had booked a table for four by the lakeside. the waiter looked us up and down. our jackets all wet, hair all over the place, plastic shopping bags in hand! he then looked through the booking list and acted as if he could not find us there! we looked around sheepishly, and then at each other and tried to control laughing. that’s when the owner arrived and saved us from the ridicule the crazy waited was subjecting us to. he directed us to our table and made us comfortable. a waiter arrived to take our jackets and left us in peace. ashish kept repeating his suggestion of having gone home, changed and coming here, which we were too tired to listen to. and now, we were being glanced at by the prim and proper diners all around us. to hell with it, we thought. two waiters arrived with the menus. we ordered the house wine and some starters. the waiter was amused when we told him the numbers of the dishes (the names were all in italian!).

ashish: we will have the number 9 and 8 in the starters.
waiter: 9? that’s my shoe size!

when the wine came, we were a bit happy. but that didn’t last too long as we saw the waiter almost throwing it in our glasses. he didn’t even bother to wipe the wine he spilled on the menu and the table. he just flicked it off with his hands! we were having a practical of experiencing what ‘out-of-place’ means. the waiter’s disgust seemed to wane off when he saw us eating in a very proper manner with our forks and spoons, starting from the outside.

the food was terrific. we managed to get out of the place without some unwelcome addition to the food or our jackets being slashed! outside, the wind and rain hadn’t abated. we soldiered on against it, came home and dropped off to sleep.

next day, ashish, chetan and i went to their university for a stroll. the campus is huge!

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took some pics of the refuse bin in the library.

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the hiccups hadn’t stopped at all, and by now, chetan was suspecting that i was doing this on purpose. i had consumed endless amounts of water, chewing gum and mints.

we then went for a walk around the quay through poole high street.

this one’s for shank. he likes street lamps.

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in the garden close to the quay side, there were some kids doing some para-skating. they had a harness around them which was attached to a parasol, and were skating at quite a good speed.

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talked a lot. was good to roam around like that in the nice sunny weather. the birds were funny (of the feathered kind!).

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left for kingston the next morning. that’s when i noticed the hiccups were gone! i told ashish that traveling from a proper city to a ‘village’ might have probably triggered the hiccups! i’m slightly doubtful whether i might be welcome the next time!

leena joined us at victoria, and the five of us came to kingston at around quarter to one. nanika had a nap while we joked around and listened to music. went for a walk to the riverside in the evening. longer days feel much better. the sun is out, its a bit warmer and you can stay out for more time 🙂

had dinner at Joy, the indian place in surbiton. ashish loved the chicken tandoori and the manglorean fish curry was good too. shank, are you listening? was good to catch up on the bmm times. decided to go to southall the next day. everyone had heard a lot about the gurudwaras and the langar. translate that as a new place to see, and free food!

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met ajay at southall. he stays at hounslow which is 20 minutes away. he took almost 40 minutes as there was a LOT of traffic. headed to the gurudwara. as i have said before, it is a highly commendable achievement to build something of those proportions here in the UK. you don’t feel you are in a different country at all!

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left from the gurudwara after a good meal. ajay had mentioned that there’s a very good place in southall to have pani puri and chaat, which left chetan salivating till the moment we reached there! this place is on the other side of the tracks from where the gurudwara is. was a long walk but was worth. i felt as if i were in katra or chandni chowk! rows of shops with plastic buckets and brooms outside, cheap mannequins dressed in ridiculously flashy punjabi suits selling for equally ridiculous prices, pan shops, signs in gujarati and hindi!! it could have been a scene right out of borivali or dadar!

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saw this funny looking sign on the way to the pani puri hotel.

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seems like jesus likes kellogs!

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chetan and leena had a plate of pani puri each, i had gulab jamun, ajay had lassi and ashish had aloo tikki and chana. the tikki dish was awesome; spicy, a little oily, just perfect!

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i bought a kilo of assorted sweets for home, which are well on their way to be finished! the kaju katli is for nine pounds a kilo!!

got back to the station. ajay left as his bus was on its way and if he didn’t get this one, he’d have to wait for another 30 minutes. we got back home and talked till late in the night. my feet were aching from all the walking around. it was good to just sit and talk. had a really great time! ashish and chetan left the next morning. leena stayed over for another day, and made excellent alu gobi in the afternoon. she left for home in the evening.

ashish will be coming here again on the seventh. he has some work in central. so it’s gonna be one more day of merriment! he has left of lot of his stuff here. will return that. might even go for a ride on the london eye. not sure yet. will decide when we meet.

this has to be my longest entry! 2075 words and counting! shank would be too happy as he has been pestering me for a blog entry since god knows when. have a roll to develop. will do that in the uni lab. classes start from monday. have a lot of work to do from next week.

cya soon 🙂 more pics next time hopefully!

yorrite, yea?

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