Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 - Top 10

10. X’mas in Goa :
I had been there, done that only three months ago! But exploring Goa in the midst of Christmas on your rented Activa is a different experience altogether with the small state decked up and colorfully lit up for Christmas. We also happened to witness a carnival/festival as the people of the place celebrated their 50th Liberation Day.

9. Massacre in Manchester:
Sir Alex Ferguson summed up this game beautifully – “When we hit form like that, someone suffers. Unfortunately Arsenal were at the receiving end today.”
Manchester City had just gone on top of the league with a 5-1 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion and United had a tough job when they hosted the Gunners at the Theatre of Dreams. The next 90 minutes though was a massacre of sorts with Rooney pulling in 3 goals while Young scoring 2. The scoreboard read an astonishing 8-2, the first time Arsenal conceded eight since 1896.

8. Rafting in the Beas:
Ice-cool water, a raging river and a hydrophobic. Three words that never make a good combo. Fortunately they did come together in the chilly summer up in Kullu as the ten of us decided to raft in the raging and swirling Beas. 15 minutes and 9 kilometers of screaming and howling later, rafting was one thing I checked off my to-do adventure list.

7. Turning 21:
Birthdays, for me, was just another day. Or rather another day to hog. This time, the day happened to fall when we were on our return trip from the Himalayas. After a gigantic lunch in Delhi, my oh-so-awesome friends decided to surprise me with a cake (By the way surprise cakes are no surprises). A sinfully delightful chocolate cake from Delhi with cherries from Himachal Pradesh cut on the Andhra Pradesh express. I’m a true Indian afterall.

6. Piece of paper:
We had walked for 60 kilometers over the past four days. On the fifth day, we were told that it would be a much more relaxed day with only 8-10 kms to cover. After walking and trodding and laughing, we reached a point where it showed that we had to walk 7 more kilometers to reach our camp. We walked and walked and walked a bit more on the never-ending stretch of the forest path with no clue of the destination. Just as we had given up hope (for the umpteenth time) that we were about to reach, there was a piece of paper stuck on a tree which said Nandran YHAI Base Camp, the best piece of paper I had seen all life. I was told that we walked 21 kilometers that day.

5. The No.10 Jersey
There was only one day left for the World Cup to begin and there was excitement all around. I was only getting ready to leave for office when the courier guy showed up at my door, “Courier for Monish Menon.” I wondered what could have come from Myntra Stores as I didn’t recollect ordering anything recently. I was getting late to catch my shuttle but curiosity took over as I ripped apart the package only to find the brand new India jersey with ‘MENON’ etched on its back.
There was no way India was going to lose the World Cup now with its new No.10 jersey supporter.

4. Hail Ho - That is Snow!!

The Himalayan expedition began with an adventure of sorts! After an eventful journey upto Delhi, the bus dropped us at our base camp in Kullu – until we realized a bag had been left back in the bus. A call to the driver later, all of us set off for Manali in a local bus. As the vehicle climbed and gained altitude in the warm sun, it gave us a first view of the big snowy mountains we were going to cover in the next fortnight. It was the first time all of us were seeing snow and it definitely was a memorable moment.
The luggage was found but our adventure continued as I lost my jacket containing my wallet on the return to Kullu.

3. We are the Champions:
India had beat Pakistan in the semifinals and I thought nothing could beat the experience of watching that match in an overcrowded cafeteria at office. I was wrong, it would get better. 13 of us gathered at my place to witness history. With tri-colored faces, Indian jerseys, whistles, flags, a yummy cake and 13 of the noisiest supporters, one could be pardoned if he thought my house was the venue for the final.
And when Dhoni hit that six, they could also be forgiven if they thought that a volcano had erupted!

2. OK this was a surprise!!

The clock had turned 12 – and I had turned 21 while we were on the bus returning to Delhi after the great Himalayan sojourn. But it was only in the morning that I had got my gift – a big book which had a collage of me crawling, on a bicycle and on a bike on the cover page. I opened the pages only to see various friends, cousins, colleagues wish me, write (nice things) about me, stories (weird ones) and lots of pictures.
There are gifts – and then there are gifts like these!!

1. The slide:

Six days had passed by. Nearly 14000 feet gained. Snow and Hail seen. Now was the time for the descent. We knew that we would be down in only two days. But a snow slide?
With a rucksack on the back, plastic sheets beneath the butt and at a terrifying speed, we slid down the Saurkundi Pass for over a kilometer and a half - half hoping it would finish ASAP, half hoping it would go on and on. One minute of adrenaline and a few burnt hands (yes, burnt in snow) later, it was over! Definitely one of the best things ever done!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 - The year that was!!

2010 saw me graduate, get a job, start writing and buy a bike for myself. So if 2010 was the breakthrough year, 2011 was the year I needed to build upon it. And as 2011 comes to an end, I can say it has been an eventful year – growth on the work front, writer to sub-editor, a gazillion movies watched, a bike that still dazzles and a whole lot of new friends :D.
2011, for me, was the year of travel, and I went on no less than five different trips apart from two road trips outside the city. Starting off with a trip to Vizag in January with my office-mates, I went to Mumbai in April before setting off for the once-in- a-lifetime trek up the Himalayas. And by the end of the year, I had completed exploring Goa with two different trips, one of which was a National trek.
2011 also was the year of the World Cup where I was lucky to see India become the Champions of the World. It was also the first time I wasn’t in town for my birthday but it was more than made up for with the best gift ever and a sinfully delicious cake on the train.
All in all, I would rate 2011 amongst my best years and would happily rate it 8.5 on a scale of 10.