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Amazon, Meta, Twitter, Byjus, and so on, everyone is on a layoff rides. But why? To understand that, we have to go to the pandemic days. When the COVID hit the world, suddenly the whole economy halted. There wasn’t cash flow anywhere. And to tackle this, US Fed, which is like the bank of banks, just printed more and more money to hand out to the people in the name of stimulus. Which is may calm just the short term situation, as it is simply a greedy approach ;) So there was so much of excess money in the economy suddenly. And that printer didn’t run out of ink for a while as the stimulus packages simply was rolling out so frequently. All these surplus money found it ways to the financial markets (stock, crypto, NFT and what not). People started to spend them in all crazy ways. And when everyone has enough money to spend, there starts the real problem……INFLATION And the only way to suppress this inflation is to drain that hot and new printed money in the economy is to increase the interest rate. By increasing the interest rates, now everyone has to pay more money for all their loans, credit bills and all sort of debts to the bank. And these banks also have to pay similar kind of interest to the feds. So this is the deal. So how this is affecting lot of tech employees is, almost all the big tech companies are funded by the big banking houses, Venture capitalist. When the interest rates are low all these funding firms would get cheap loans and would be having so much cash to burn. So they’d be investing in so many companies. And these companies in the name of expansion they will increase their workforce, more than they need and also acquire their small competitors for a hefty evaluation. And these companies have their own pride in paying their employees to keep up with their peers. And when these funding firm, runs out of cash, they force their invested companies to make some. The easiest way to protect capital is by not spending them. So they would consider their employee wages, and the lifestyle they provide in their work campus as their biggest wallet hole and start firing them. And hence the massive layoffs. Actually it was never a question of why, but just when this is gonna happen. Despite that, there is also demand and supply for the employee skills in the job market. Right now it is so clear that everyone wants to get the MAANG salary, so everyone want IT jobs, thereby flooding the space with huge supply of this skill. And when there is enough supply, we could find cheap labour. So during the time of cash crunch, if companies could hire 2 or 3 people in the same salary that they were giving to a single employee, it is kind of an obvious call for them. So I guess the only way to survive this is to keep on adapting to the current trend. There is no such thing as job security. We should always keep ourselves relevant to the company and to the whole industry. I will end this with a popular saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.
We all know walls. A big shield, to protect things from the surroundings. Or maybe to hide things inside to the surroundings. Many paint them so good, some even don’t mind what is inside and just focus on the walls, maybe those are the ones who use them to hide kinds of stuff. Thinking that people will only see that piece and will just fix that picture in their mind. And in most cases, it is true indeed. In many instances, people won't even consider looking inside the walls, if they are uglier. And also, many people are eagerly waiting to peek into others walls before realizing what is going on inside theirs. And people kept on building those walls, which separated people, which protected some nation, which split some nation and so on. And I am not here talking about the continuous vertical brick or stone structure that encloses or divides an area of land, but about the ones that we all construct with the materials which are harder than any concrete around us, ‘Psychological Wall’. We all would have encountered situations, where we wanted to share, even pour our feelings into someone or anyone that we have in our head. But most of the time we find it so hard to throw these untainted emotions out of those walls, they are either too tall to be jumped out or too thicker to be penetrated. We all might initially strive so hard to get it out of us. But we all at a point in time get so exhausted, to even try. And finally, we simply give up and start to live with them. We all think we could do it. Just keep on pouring these emotions into ourselves, but none understands that it is not any feel-good emotions that could nourish our mind, but the perishable one, the toxics. As we keep dumping, eventually we will run out of headspace. Keep on pressuring stuff simply takes out the liveliness, as a result in inside, they just become so hard. Maybe that’s what happens when all the wetness drains from their heart. It is easy to spot such people. They become senseless to any feeling, nothing doesn’t matter much to them anymore. This stage would have been prevented if they got a chance to burst out to anyone. But many have their dignity. The person who is stuck in this situation doesn’t want to let their guards down for either of the reasons: for not letting others know the junk that they got in, or not want others to think that they are vulnerable just because they let it go. The first kind, are the ones who find it so difficult to even accept themselves which is a really big problem, while the latter kind is the ones, who built those walls out of the ruins of pleasant castles, the victim of being kind and expressive. So we can’t simply blame those personals for being in such places, because the dirt is not only on them but also on everyone surrounding them. As an individual, in most of the cases, we simply need some listening ears rather than the junk of advice. And some are scared about the judgemental looks afterwards from the person they shared. We simply want someone to hear us out, when all those mind blocking hurdles are thrown away, we could figure out the solution on our own. But our society absurdly doesn’t have that kindness, they simply want us to deviate our problem with some other more hard problems. And the one seeking that kindness puzzles miserably and runs out of diversions. Recently with COVID taking down the whole world, most of the people would have gone through this phase. All should realize that it was a bad phase for one, and not a bad person or life so. In our life, we all could be so endeavours of being independent, and we might also achieve it financially, but not completely emotionally. As we all are just emotional beings, we all need some moral support, shoulder to lean and hugs to heal. So even though if we couldn't completely break down those walls, we could at least have a door to pass through it, when we need to.
Off the grid for a time being Unplug It's been a year since we all met our friends since we had all the loose talks, chit chats, quick lunches, short sprint to reach the class, group studies and so on due to the pandemic. So and in the case of hostellers, we would have missed even a lot more. And that too after missing out on our internship in cities and attending the frustrating online class all day, we all felt that void. A need to be surrounded by friends, talking about anything that we want, going out anyplace anytime (before 9 pm - hostel curfew). When we were filled with all these feelings, we received a call from our hostel supervisor to come and move our things out of our room and put them in a room which was just on another floor. So with that invite, the discussion started with our friends and came out with an extended weekend trip plan, in a single discord call discussion. CBE, you know me So we boys all come from a different place and the plan was to unite at the hostel and do the necessary things over there. Just the day before the trip, I went to play badminton and in an attempt to take a drop, I twisted my ankle. I felt nothing so painful until I slept. I managed with Oxalgin and Volini. But the pain started to kick in while the sleep, and when I woke up, my ankle has swelled up a lot. I was hardly able to walk. I didn’t tell about the injury to my folks, as they wouldn’t surely allow me to drive for the whole trip with that elephant leg. Luckily one of my school friends had a birthday party to be attended in Coimbatore. So I somehow managed to with the help of Volini, to drive to his place and from over there he took the wheels. I had to also pick up another friend on the way to Coimbatore, and in one pitstop we exchanged the driver seats again. We straight away went to the hostel by 12 pm, but the supervisor over there told us to come after 2 pm. So in the meantime, we thought of visiting our faculties, but none were there as that day PM was visiting for propaganda. We simply had a college campus tour for my school friend. From there another friend joined us and we decided to have lunch at the pride of Coimbatore ‘Annapoorna’. Being in Coimbatore after almost a year, I got completely unfamiliar with the roads which resulted in roaming the city for a while, and when finally when we found it after navigating using maps, we couldn’t find any parking over there. And the other two friends who were coming from Kerala arrived at the railway station. After picking them, we stopped our search of Annapoorna and had our lunch in SMS. From there my school friend departed and joined his college friends. We went to the hostel to vacate our rooms. It was really a hot day, even my hometown Sivakasi felt better than that. With a thirsty throat, we all went up to our penthouse room. It might be so dusty, but our room had a cosy feel well with it. After packing all the important things and dumping the wastes, we moved all our things to the cloakroom. As it was still a question that whether that might be our last hostel stay, genuinely I felt sad while vacating. Despite the cramped rooms, always occupied bathrooms, unflushed toilets, not so great food at the mess and strict supervisors we really had great memories over there and I really missed that once staying at home during the lockdown for a very long time. After all the heavy liftings at the hostel, we reached the Hotel Orbis with a tired face through a road maze as the main roads were blocked due to PM’s visit. Then we all refreshed in our interconnected room and watching the IND vs ENG test match. From there we planned to go to Brookefields mall, go bowling, then to Sherlock Pub just for the vibe. While we were just wandering over the mall, two other girls from our class joined us in the evening. The bowling plan was dumped and all wanted to go to Sherlock straight away. So we were 6 men and 2 women, in that one, didn’t have shoes, and three of us weren’t 21 yet (That’s including me, millennial, hey!!!). One of our friends who already went there said there will be no entry fee. But they had, and as any pub, it was free for couples and women, and 1000 rs for stags. But they offered the voucher for the same amount which could be used inside for the food and the drink. The ambience was really good. I felt it spacious than 10 Downing Street. I really love DJ and dance floors. Even with the injured ankle, I started to dance and all others were so hesitant to join in the dance floor. A 100 Rs bet, made between the guys made one ask a girl who was sitting alone to come dance with him. The result was a sweet rejection though. After using all the optimization techniques that we studied in the gone with corona semester, we ordered the food within the voucher’s budget, and all of them were so good with a pretty decent quantity too. The worst memory in that whole night was when the bouncer put a rope separating the stags and other women on the dance floor. Later all of us were dancing with all the stags who were vibing in their alcoholic state. One could get high just by their presence. After a long frustrating DJ party with so many Hindi, Punjabi, English songs we left the place by 11 pm. I, personally expected ‘Vaathi Coming’ and do the shoulder drop, but had to put the step for Chaiya Chaiya at last. Zostel, the Hostel We had to stick hard to the timing as there was a Lab test that afternoon. So we should reach the Zostel before it. As I have been to other Zostels earlier, I knew that they would have a good internet connection, but my friends didn’t believe it and they were too anxious about the test. Many people come there and work, make use of the perk of work from home. And the Zostel even have some offers for the people who stay over a week to promote such people’s visit. We checked out of the Orbis Hotel, and we stopped at Metupallayam, Saravana Bhavan for breakfast. My friend who doesn’t have a very great history with going up the hills by road had a minimal meal. The plastic covers were in the reachable distance for him in my car. Actually, we did reach our destination way earlier than we/google maps predicted. While checking in the manager asked for Covid negative certificate, but we managed it by showing the E-pass to them. Then he showed us our dorm. All six of us in the same room, according to Zostel rules, when there is a group of 4 or more, they’ll purposefully separate them in different dorm rooms. When I said this to my friends before, while booking for the trip, my friends didn’t get the concept at all. They were like, then why should we even stay over there, what’s the fun in that. And that time I promised them that, if they didn’t have a nice memory over Zostel, I would sponsor the stay over there. I hope they were all satisfied, as they didn’t ask for any money later. As we got in earlier we were walking around the place, and then got to know that the wifi had some issue. But fortunately, the mobile data was sufficient enough to attend the lab test. We all attended the lab test in our dorm, sitting next to each other. At one point our faculty asked us to switch on the camera, initially, none did, but later everyone did so after a threat over 10 marks. All of us had the same background in our video. After finishing the adventurous test, we had our lunch, ordered in the Zostel itself. It was a limited menu, but it was good enough for our empty stomach. There was a huge dog, disturbing us while having our food. Finishing our plates, we were walking around the place and there my friend had sight of some ‘STUFFS’ being rolled there. And he even had the guts to ask them to share with him. But again it was a sweet denial, as they said they just got very few of them and wished him luck to get it over the town. Later all six of us packed in my swift, headed to Lovedale. We definitely went in the off-season, it was sunny and clear, no mist or anything. Lovedale is a railway station, and we were taking pictures over the track. I tried my usual dab pose, then my hurt ankle hurt me even more. Then on the way back to Zostel, we stopped at a fuel station and while filling the guy working over there had a little talk to us. Suddenly he offered his phone number and asked us to ring him if we want any help to get some hemp, leaving a bright smile on my friend’s face. From the eve, the magic of Zostel started to happen. The mingling with strangers is the best part of it. We had great funny chats with many people over there. And the manager arranged a campfire and barbecue that night. We played carrom and UNO, while they were setting up the barbecue. The chillness came with the wind and darkness, and to heat ourself we sat near the barbecue, and they started the campfire too. With some tasty paneer and chicken, sitting around the fire, we had a great time. After the starter bites of BBQ, we had our dinner again at Zostel, but my dish was so spicy. My friends with so much pride said that he got a guy’s number who could get them, what they were looking for so desperately to all our fellow Zostel mates. But while calling that number it was kept on forwarding to another number and left unanswered, leading to a severe disappointment. We thought of overcoming that by having ice-cream so again we all went into town in my car in search of ice-cream now, but all the shops were closed already. So now, with double disappointment, we were heading back to Zostel, and following google maps lead us to a very narrow, steep road and eventually to a dead end. I had to reverse my car in a very tight space, as there were cars parked on either of the sides. That really tested my driving skills. While we reached there, there was no fire in the campfire, but some heat and people were sitting around it. And I joined them, while two went to sleep and others went for a drink. And they were talking about life, travelling and a lot more philosophies. It really felt so good to see people with a similar mindset. There was a travel vlogger who was sharing his experience. And in some time many others joined the circle and we were playing some party games. With lots of new perspectives of life, we went to sleep that night in our cosy dorm. Doddabetta The next morning 2 friends, who helped us in reducing the entry fee over the Sherlock was coming. We ordered the food again in the Zostel kitchen and went to pick them up from the Bus Stand. Again the google map wasn’t so kind to us. After orbiting the bus stand for a while we reached Zostel and had our breakfast. After settling the food bills, we packed all the luggage in the trunk and we headed to the highest peak in the Nilgiris, Doddabetta. A few years earlier, when I went to Doddabetta with my school friends on the bike, it felt so hard to climb those steep hills, and many parked their vehicles down, and they were walking up. But I was surprised to see well-laid roads, which weren’t that steep, so all the cars went up to the peak, which results in finding a place to park hard (Driving Skills ++). Then we all just went up to the observatory room but didn’t go inside and look through the telescope they had over there. taking some photos and then walking through the pathways. I also noticed that, when I went there last time, there were many monkeys, trying to snatch the food that we have in our hand, but this time there were no monkeys at all. We actually spent very little time over there. It wasn’t hot, but it was so sunny. Being at a higher altitude, and with no clouds to shade us, the sun felt easier to hit us harder. So before us getting dehydrated we left the place. Eagle Dare Adventures Getting the car out of the parking lot (Driving Skills ++), my friend’s driver, who actually didn’t feel like a chauffeur but a one among them, as he had better fashion sense than us (He was in Beach costume, for the hills station), suggested a place nearby where there would be many adventure sports like, Zipline, Skybridge walking and so on. I too have heard about that place from one of my cousin. Hearing zipline suddenly my mind thought of a zipline tour over a big hill, or pine forest or over a lake, but after reaching the place it just seems to be 300-400 meter (could be even less, damn I expect so much). There were many such activities like zip cycling, rock climbing, and so on. We all were so excited to experience it. But later only I noticed in the entrance there is a weight limit and unfortunately, I was heavier for any of the activity. Suddenly all the other friends felt so down as I couldn’t join them until they got their tickets. Also, I became the bearer of all the wallets, glasses and mobile phones. I wasn’t disappointed at all (actually slightly, which made me make my fitness plan), it was also fun watching them screaming at each activity. They take pictures when you are coming in the zipline or while you are walking in the sky bridge, you could get the hardcopy from the place for an extra price. I was also having a nice talk with our friendly chauffeur. He said when he came to the same place last time it was so misty. He also shared an incident that when he came there was a girl who went for the zipline with so much fear. The moment they went on the zip due to peak fear, the girl just fainted out in the start itself, and it was also captured in the photograph. When my friends were returning from that area, they said it was fun but still they felt it was overpriced. Pine Forest Our next destination was Pine forest, and the way to reach over there was so good. We all were listening and singing to music on those curvy roads. We actually even extended our ride far beyond our destination, so that we could listen to some more music, and also there was no parking nearby. After getting the entrance ticket, we all went in, actually down. It was a steep down walk, and while walking down to the lake in the middle, we saw a monkey, trying to open some person’s bag, and it started to tear when it failed to open it with the zip. People were throwing stones at it, when people near the monkey, it even tried to attack them. It was picking some ID card and throwing them away. We walked down to the lake. The water in the outer ring seems so different, so we all stayed out of the water. There was horse riding over there. We were collecting pines taking pictures and taking videos of us doing some Fortnite emotes. It was getting late for the two girls who joined us in the morning, so we left the place and went for lunch. We went to Shinkows, the Chinese restaurant after parking the car far away. We all were starving as we had a very light breakfast over the Zostel and the hiking in the Pine forest. They gave the menu after a long time, and over that place, there will be a serial number for each dish on the menu, they will give us a slip, we have to write them. After having a good meal. I and another guy dropped the girls over the Conoor Bus stand and were singing over the course. While the others went to our next stay site. After dropping them, while returning we were discussing music and were listening to some classic masterpiece, most of those tracks were Ed Sheeran’s. The group who went to the campsite shared the location, and again the roads were becoming steeper and narrower, by nearing the location (Driving Skills ++). Aventura Camp This was my second camp stay, my first experience was recently over Vagamon, and it was so new and adventurous. Hence I also wanted my friends to experience it and booked over there. Again my friends didn’t believe me, they were like we should stay in a camp when we could find a good hotel at that same price. “It’s not about comfort boys. It’s about the experience”, I managed to convince them. And when we were arriving at the location, they were already playing cricket with the other people over there. There were three young auditors, working in TVS, who all came for a colleague’s wedding at Pollachi. Two of my friends had an interview with a company, so all others went to help them. While I sat alone in the steep fields over there to enjoy the beautiful sunset. The only good thing about having a clear sky over there is to witness that magical sunset. At the time of dusk, over the fields, many insects kept jumping from the ground, and there were also more than a dozen birds hopping around to get those insects. I was listening to some peaceful music then, and after the last light, I walked to the site. There my two friends were sitting outside in the cold breeze and attending their coding round. While the other two were playing table tennis with those friendly auditors. It got so cold. After booking, in the itinerary that they sent to us, it mentioned that the lowest temperature could go down to 5℃. And that was the first time I went to my car and used the car’s heater. Finally, that feature founds its purpose. For some time we were watching the latest episode of WandaVision inside the car. We ordered our dinner at the campsite itself. And the quantity was enough to fill any big stomach and delicious too. The campfire came as the saviour in that freezing cold. We were sharing ours then to date trip experience with the auditors. We were discussing many things and they really did share some valuable advice about our career and future. Even in that cold, we had Arun Icecream Casatta to fulfil our yesterday’s desire. And we were dancing stupidly to the songs exploding out of the speakers. By 11 PM they put of the campfire and we all went into our tent, where we started to play UNO in a phone flashlight. For 6 of us, 2 tents were assigned. One with 4 occupancies and the other one with 2. The flooring of the tent was a mat, over there they laid a yoga mat, on which we are supposed to sleep inside a sleeping bag. I felt so hard to fit in that sleeping bag, felt so mummified in that. During the night somehow the mat beneath me slipped somewhere, and the floor was so chill that, suddenly my back started to freeze in the midnight. We woke up early in the morning, and I rushed to have my bowel movements, which should be the Shinkow’s. Again used the car’s heater for some time. We all had teas and coffee, then we left soon. Farewell We had to leave early as the two Kerala guys have to catch their train in the afternoon. For some moment, even with the heaters on, only cold air was flushing out the vent. And my motion sickness friend didn’t find the downhill ride so smooth, we had to stop twice to get his head’s fluid stable. We had our breakfast in Adayar Ananda Bhavan in Mettupalayam. From there the two cars had to split up, one to Pondicherry, another one to Coimbatore. After converting all the luggage from the cars. We had our goodbyes and goodbye selfies. I started to feel so sad, in the first hairpin bend itself. And that feeling got stronger at each hairpin bend. On the way to Coimbatore Railway Station, we were talking about some hard philosophies and the chaos in the current world. After dropping the one with the earlier train, we went to pick our just arrived from US friend to lunch at our favourite butter barbecue chicken place, Arunachala, though I was vegetarian that time. The best thing about visiting a just arrived friend from abroad is getting many chocolates. And finally, I started my drive back to Sivakasi, via Palani to drop one friend. It was a very long drive for me that day, from Ooty to Coimbatore, and wandering inside Coimbatore for some time, then to Palani and Sivakasi. And while going to bed that night thinking of again attending the online classes, I said to myself “Oh shit! Here we go again.”
- The Melbourninan Saga-A hut for half a million dollars?-Mornington Peninsula-Brighton Bathing boxes
I was still not over the mesmerising Great Ocean Road tour and here I was the next day, standing at Fed Square waiting for my tour bus yet again. Yesterday I had taken a tour to the Great Ocean Road, if you missed the post, read it here. And here I was today, on another day tour from Melbourne. I felt extremely comfortable today as I no longer felt like a newbie but little did I know that I’d enjoy this trip as much I had. The bus on this tour was pretty small (much like a van) and accommodated only a few people. The tour guide (Shaun) was an awesome person and greeted us with such enthusiasm and friendliness. The journey started and we got to know our fellow travellers during the course. In other tours, people become family only at the end of the day but here we were already bonding in the first 10 minutes of the drive. There were people from all over the world from all walks of life, there were Chinese, a girl from the U.S taking a break from her studies, a Russian girl (who pretty much looked like a doll ) accompanying her mother and a few others. We stopped at the Brighton Beaches which is just half an hour from Melbourne. Apparently, the beach itself is not the greatest attraction here :p. Although I loved the clear sparkly water at the beach, the beach is very pebbly with white sand. If you have seen numerous beaches in your lifetime, then this might not be the most spectacular beach, but if you are somebody like me with just nothing but love for beaches, then you wouldn’t mind spending some time here. But I cannot deny how sparkly the water at this beach is and the sand kinda has a unique texture to it (almost white). But then, you are probably wondering what my topic has to do with a not-so-great beach. Why are we here then? That’s when Shaun told us to turn around. Turning away from the beach we saw these colourful beach houses which I had noticed when we got out of the bus, this is something that is hard to miss. How much do you think these few square feet of boxes cost? Any guesses here? Well, I was pretty dumbfounded when I heard the price from Shaun!!! The last record price at the time of writing this post is a whopping $337,000 for a few square metres of land. One of the most expensive to buy real-estates in Aussie and an expensive one to maintain as well. The beach houses built in the 1800's are the remnants of a bygone era where they were originally built to serve as changing sheds for females. However, now they only serve as a symbol of wealth. Shaun told me that these boxes did not have running water nor power nor is it allowed to be rented out for a night nor can the owners stay in the box. Everything that made these beach huts useful wasn’t allowed. This box was pretty much useless :p. This box is only used as storage by the owners. These boxes are also painted every now and then to keep it looking nice and attractive. But I should say that these boxes are pretty intriguing in every sense. These boxes are brightly coloured and eye-catching and make for a wonderful photo opportunity. There are about 80 boxes, but I did not have the energy to walk along the shoreline to have a look at all the boxes, the sun at this particular place is quite harsh most of the time. Would you buy this hut for half a million dollars? Probably just a hypothetical question because these boxes are just sold to locals!!! So no pressure here :p. We spent some time here clicking photographs in front of these boxes. Every box has a unique eye-catching design to it. They make wonderful backgrounds for photographs and you need to wait for your opportunity to click photographs as these boxes are quite famous and always crowded. After this, we left the Brighton Beach houses and headed out towards the Mornington Peninsula’s beautiful hinterland to do some strawberry picking. This region is famously known for its wineries and vineyards, you will be probably be spoilt for choice with more than 50 cellar doors to choose from. Nestled amidst the various vineyards are the Sunny Ridge strawberry farms which is the largest producer of strawberries in Australia. This farm offers a variety of experiences, families and groups can pick fresh strawberries for themselves from their farm and have great fun. Later, we spent some time relaxing at their cafe treating ourselves with their indulgent desserts and berrylicious ice-creams. Just next door to Sunny ridge farms are the T’gallant Wines which are famous for the Australian wine varieties Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio (white wine varieties). This was when Shaun asked all of us if we were above 18. I pretended to not have heard the question because as an enthusiastic curious teenager, I wanted to taste wine and I didn’t want to be left out when everybody around me was tasting it. Unfortunately, Shaun knew my age and did not allow me to have wine as it is not legal to have alcohol in Aussie before 18. To top it all, while getting down from the van, I slipped on the stair and almost fell, Shaun had to catch me to stop me from falling down. Shaun had something to say immediately :), he told me that I was this steady without even drinking and that he couldn’t imagine what would happen if I drank. I had no choice but to sit and look at people drinking, while I had a slice of pizza. Although everybody was sweet enough to offer me the drink, I politely refused it so as to not disappoint the ever so sweet Shaun :p. The many ways of getting to the Brighton Bathing Boxes: The first time I was in Melbourne, I took a tour to the Bathing boxes as I did not know that there were other means to get to the Bathing boxes. After multiple visits to Melbourne, I figured that there were multiple means of getting to the Brighton Bathing Boxes. If you are going by car or by train, the google map is an absolute saviour. I took the train to Middle Brighton, on the Sandringham Line, I walked past houses and reached the beach, which was merely a 15 min walk from the train station. With this, we come to the end of our post on the Bathing Boxes and the wineries along the Mornington Peninsula but out tour was not yet over. Join me as we continue on our tour in the next post.
- The Melbournian Saga - Great Ocean Road - A day on the storm carved coastline !
Ever heard about taking the scenic route? Ever wanted to go on a road trip along the coast? Hurray! You've landed at the right post. I was at Fed Square waiting for my tour bus to arrive, looking at the to-ing and fro-ing of many other tour buses and intently watching out for mine. This being my first international day tour without my parents and me being a newbie in the city of Melbourne, I was sceptical about missing the bus. To top it all, I had no idea what I was going to experience on the tour (because I was only 17 at that time and had done no research whatsoever. I am grateful to my wonderful mother for booking me on the tour :p ). Finally, the bus arrived and I got in and found myself a seat (like kids get into the school bus on the first day of school). The bus zoomed off away from the city towards the "GREAT OCEAN ROAD" commencing the journey of one of the most scenic drives in Australia and one of the TOP 10 scenic drives in the world. “THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD” is a 243 kilometre stretch of road hugging the South-eastern coast of Australia lying between two peaceful and laid-back cities of Torquay and Allansford. This road winds up along the coast passing through peaceful cities, beautiful beaches, rainforests and finally taking us to some amazing limestone formations known as the Twelve Apostles. After starting from Melbourne, our first stop was at Torquay (100 km from Melbourne) where the Great Ocean Road starts. For a bit of history on the Great Ocean Road, This road was built by soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, making it the World’s largest War Memorial. We got to click some pictures here and got to know the fellow tourmates. One great thing about group tours is that complete strangers become family at the end of the day. The tour guide was also very friendly, I got to know that she was the ex-girlfriend of a famous Australian Cricketer. I was amazed at how humble and normal her life was ( I couldn't imagine how it would have been in India, I don't even know if such famous people date normal people). We then drove alongside some spectacular beaches, one worth mentioning is the Bell’s Beach. The Bell’s beach is the home of the world’s longest continuously running pro surfing competition known as the RIP Curl Pro which happens during easter every year. The city of Torquay is also the headquarters of the famous surfing brand - Rip Curl , which sponsors the RIP Curl Pro event. The waves at these beaches are uproarious and vicious, and the breeze here is quite too strong. It's definitely a sight to look at the pro surfers tackling the waves and rising above them at these beaches.. Next up , we stopped at Kennet River which is a small town known as one of the best places for spotting wild koalas in Australia. The Koalas can be spotted right from the parking lot, camouflaged on top of the trees, lazily sleeping almost all the time. This place also has many parrots and cockatoos around, which I presume are very well fed by the tourists and the locals, because I've never ever seen such big parrots in my life!!!. Next up, we stopped at the Great Otway National Park. The guide took us all through a 30 minute loop walk through the rainforest known as Mait’s rest. Being a rainforest, it was a stunning green of ferns and some very old trees. The rainforest was totally wet with drops of water on the leaves and the trees seemed to form a canopy overhead. The walk had a wooden broad walkthrough which we walked, talked and photographed to reach an ancient hollow Myrtle Beech Tree. Legend has it that walking through the tree from one side to other results in a good chance for pregnancy (Maybe spend a good night in the forest if you are looking at getting pregnant :p) Leaving the forest, we continued on our journey to the most attractive and stunningly beautiful natural formations on the Great Ocean Road. Next up, we stopped at the Twelve Apostles. Twelve Apostles, the name sounds familiar somehow? Twelve Apostles are limestone formations said to be formed 20 million years ago, which was earlier a part of the mainland. The ferocious waves then eroded parts of the mainland to form separate standing formations. It was named the TWELVE APOSTLES (after the twelve disciples of Jesus) purely for marketing purposes and because they were 12 in number (If you know Aussie's, you will know that they are great at marketing ;) ). As of today, only 8 apostles stand while the others got eroded and fell into the ocean as rubbles. If I had known that I was going on a tour to look at some rocks, I would've been like "Duh! whatever". But I went in without any expectations and I must say that I was amazed at the beauty and handiwork of nature with its natural formations and arches formed in them due to the waves eroding the bottom of the rocks. If you have seen the song "Enna Vizhai Azhage" from Kadhalar Dhinam, then you might have noticed the twelve apostles forming the backdrop of the song or if you have a Windows laptop, you probably have this picture of the Apostles on the lock screen :p. We then walked to the Loch Ard Gorge just three minutes away from the Twelve Apostles. The Loch Ard Gorge is home to a pearlescent bay which is an inlet of water between two cliffs. The bay has calm water compared to the rest of the coast and is perfect for a swim as the two cliffs on each side serve to tranquillise the waves resulting in an amazing scene just out a movie. The name is no coincidence, Loch Ard Gorge is named after the ship (Loch Ard) that sailed from Europe and was wrecked at this place, killing everybody except two youngsters who managed to survive. One being Tom and the other being Eva (an Irish girl). The Loch Ard Gorge was a single strip of the cliff during the time of the shipwreck, it then split up into two cliffs (thanks to Australia's insane weather conditions) and one cliff was named Tom and the other named Eva in memory of the survivors. Sadly the tour had come to an end after the Loch Ard Gorge, we then returned back to Melbourne, travelling back along the same coastline enjoying the serene beauty of the coast in silence. Before we knew it, we were back in Melbourne and dropped off at Fed Square from where I returned home to fill in my mom on the day’s happenings. I fell asleep that night thinking about the drive along the coast, the people I had met and the spectacular places I had visited. Now that I think of it, I feel like Alice in Wonderland, following a rabbit (Melbourne) and falling through the rabbit hole (Great Ocean Road) and discovering Wonderland (Loch Ard Gorge and Twelve Apostles). Thus we come to the end of my one day tour of the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles. I hope you liked this post, see you all in my next post talking about another great attraction in Melbourne.
- The Melbournian Saga - Must see places in Melbourne CBD
Travel options from airport and around CBD Skybus, Taxi, Uber If you are at the airport and looking to get to the city, you have two options : One is the ever so convenient Uber and taxis which drop you off at the doorstep of your hotel and the other is the ever so cheap Skybus facility which will drop you off at the Southern Cross station (one of the main train stations in Melbourne) after which you can take a tram to the desired destination, but if you are a first-timer with a lot of luggage, you might find it difficult and confusing to use the Skybus option. Trams and Trains Melbourne is well connected by trams and train networks. The trams are a really convenient mode of travel. The trams require a myki card(which has sufficient money) to be swiped in if you are travelling outside the free tram zone. Yes, you heard it right! ,Melbourne has a free tram zone(routes where the trams are free of cost) covering the important tourist attractions around the CBD. It also has a vintage brown city circle tram which travels along the free tram zone and is completely free of cost. The two main train stations in Melbourne are the Flinders Street Station and the Southern Cross station which connects Melbourne and the suburbs in Victoria. Bikes Melbourne has cycle tracks all through the city. It has bikes that can be rented at one place and dropped off at another place and is charged based on the distance and time travelled. But biking through Melbourne is not for the faint-hearted :p. Beware of the tram tracks running in the middle of the road, which many a time has made bikers fall off in the middle of the road and break their bones (Well, I am one of them). A small tip from an old friend, always drive diagonally or cross on the tram tracks, because if you drive into the tram tracks, the tyre gets stuck and Humpty Dumpty is assured to have a great fall. Places to Visit Melbourne Central / Coop's Shot Tower Melbourne Central is a shopping complex with a multitude of stores and restaurants with offices on the top floors. You might be wondering why I would refer to a shopping complex as a place of interest. Believe me or not, Melbourne has art anywhere and everywhere. This complex has a tower-like structure known as the Coop's Shot tower which was saved from demolition and integrated with the complex. This complex also has an underground train station connecting to Flinders and Southern Cross Station. I accidentally hit on this place while I was roaming through the city on my first visit. From then on, I never miss visiting this place on my every visit. For me, it is a perfect mix of old and new with its historic architecture one side and it's modern life on the other side. To know the history of the shot tower see here. Melbourne Botanical Garden The Royal Botanical Gardens is a place that cannot be missed if you have some leisure time in Melbourne. This place is located very near the city, spread out over 34 hectares of land and is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna. Albeit present near the city, due to its vast area and it's lush and plush landscape, the garden instantly makes us forget about everything else going in life and immerses us in an experience that makes us feel like we are in the midst of a rain forest. This is a perfect place to unwind and soak into the beauty of nature. Also perfect for picnicking and long strolls, this place is one that cannot be missed. The Walk Arcade The Walk Arcade is a walkway that passes through multiple arcades and shopping complexes. It is located in the heart of the city and has an entrance from Bourke Street. You can go window shopping to check out the variety of stores, some of them to be only exclusively found in the arcades. Starting from Bourke Street, it then passes through the Royal Arcade and then the Block Arcade with restaurants offering delicious meals and then leading to the Emporium, a mall with luxury stores and finally leading to Melbourne Central. Mom and I discovered the walk arcade by chance when we were walking through the CBD and it suddenly started raining(Melbourne weather :p), we wanted shelter and noticed the sign saying Walk the Arcade, we went in and walked and walked through to the various shopping complexes, playing hide and seek with the rain The Royal Arcade is a historic Arcade which is the oldest surviving arcade in Australia. The Arcade's most famous features are GOG and MAGOG which triggers the clock(Gaunt's clock) to hit the bell each hour. The arcade also has various other vintage structures like the ones above, all historic. The arcade also has a chocolate store called Koko Black, which is Australian-made with gourmet pralines and truffles. The chilli hot chocolate that you get here is to die for!. The Block Arcade, adjacent to the Royal Arcade is known for its richly decorated interiors. The Hopetoun tea rooms which have been operating in the block arcade for 128 years now has been attracting people with its extravagant cakes, aromatic herbal tea's and everyday chef's special desserts. Unfortunately, this place closed down due to business collapse. Docklands Docklands is a waterfront suburb in Melbourne. No matter what the weather in the other parts of Melbourne maybe, docklands will always greet you with breezy cold air, cold enough to make you shiver on a hot sunny day. The shopping complex here has a Melbourne observation wheel, from where we can see the Melbourne in its entirety coupled with an audio tour. Yarra Trail If you are fond of biking and have some time on your hands, the best thing to do is biking along the Yarra trail. The Yarra trail runs along the Yarra River and is a scenic route to cycle along. The grass on the side of the road near the river, the bridges along the river, all make it a thrilling experience like going on a roller coaster. Just bear in mind that wearing helmets are necessary while cycling in Melbourne. My mind still reminisces this place as one of the best experiences of my life. Queen Victoria Market Queen Victoria Market located in the centre of the city has been the heart and soul of the city for ages now. You can find shops with fresh and exotic local produce. This market is always bustling with shoppers and shopkeepers. The boreks in Victoria Market is something that should not be missed and the bread and spice shops are ones to crave for. If you are staying in a hotel, you can stack up on some of these breads to keep you going while you are in town. In this market, you will also find a woman who carves soaps as fast as lightning, the variation she does is amazing to look at and carved soaps make as great gift options. The Victoria Night markets have shops completely diversified compared to the morning ones, the night market is my personal favourite. The music, the crowd and the varieties of food stalls that are available is a great pastime and a wonderful experience of the local culture. Fed Square, NGV, ACMI Federation square opposite to Flinders station is the main centre of the city. The federation square has various events taking place at various times of the day. If you are planning of taking any tours near Melbourne, you will always be asked to assemble at Fed Square. I have found myself catch most of my tours starting from Melbourne, from Fed Square. Australian Centre for Moving Image(ACMI), a building present in Fed Square is Aussie's national museum for film and digital art. It has guided tours taking place throughout the day. The National Gallery of Victoria(NGV) is an art gallery showcasing a whole range of European, Asian, Oceanic and American Art. This gallery is huge and the art showcased here is full of variety and skill. NGV provides free tours explaining the various art forms present in the gallery. State Library of Victoria The state library of Victoria which is the oldest public library in Australia has a collection of over 2 million books. The library has a lawn in front of the building which is a famous lunch spot. The domed reading room for which the library is famous for can accommodate up to 600 readers. This library literally had me in awe the first time I entered it. The library's dome is the largest in the world and provides a great environment for all those book lovers out there. Eureka Skydeck This one that I am talking about is just a building, a skyscraper building! So what's so special about this skyscraper building? This skyscraper is 285 metres above the ground and has the fastest elevator trip in the Southern Hemisphere, taking just 38 seconds to get to the top of the building. The Skydeck provides with a world-first experience called "EDGE" on the 88th floor. We were asked to step into a room, we were then projected out of the building from the 88th floor with just a 4cm glass beneath our feet and surrounded by glass on all sides. It was pretty scary to be looking directly into the ground from the 88th floor standing on a 4cm thick glass. I was pretty scared that the glass would break and we would all fall down :p MCG The Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG), is the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest in the World by capacity. If you are a cricket enthusiast and it excites you to want to see the MCG, then you can take the guided tour of the Stadium. But, I personally think that the tours are expensive and not worth the money, to just to go have a look at some empty seats, the trimmed and maintained empty grass ground :p A city you do not want to leave With this, we come to the end of the first post about the various attractions in the CBD on the Melbourninan saga series. Melbourne is a well-organised city and home to some breathtaking art and graffiti-filled lanes. I always love long strolls at night, along the Yarra River near the casino observing the Yarra cruises and people dining on the Yarra River, with fire blowing out on both sides of the river. I hope you liked the post. Let me meet you all in the next post in the series on where I talk about my day tour from Melbourne along the storm carved coastline.
- The Melbournian Saga - Melbourne in a Nutshell.
Hey folks! You are probably wondering who this new girl writing this blog post is! Or maybe not :p. I was previously editing a few of these blogs and I suddenly realised that I had a lot of time on my hands. Since everybody is mostly at home and devoid of travelling, I just thought I could virtually take you around to the places I have been to and absolutely loved so far. To kickstart my maiden post, I wanted to start with a place that was and is very close to my heart. Of all the places, I’ve been to so far (not too many :p), the place that absolutely captured my heart and soul is the magnificent city on the Yarra River, the capital of the garden state of Victoria, known for its many cultures and the ever-changing weather. It is none other than the second most liveable city “MELBOURNE”. If you ever know Melbourne, you will know that the weather there is worse than a woman’s mood. As they always say in Melbourne, you can experience “FOUR SEASONS IN A DAY”. One moment you might be enjoying some pleasant sunshine, the next moment you might be running to shelter from the rain and the next moment you might be covered in jackets and beanies from head to toe and still shivering. But I’ve realised that I enjoy that kind of weather. Because to expect the unexpected is my kinda fun. If you are looking to go around Melbourne, what better way than to use the trams. The trams are an absolute godsend. The Melbourne tramway is so well connected, that neither do you have to rely on your driving skills to get you places nor do you need to wait for an uber. But yeah, sometimes uber’s are better. The City Circle trams which are brown in colour and look vintage are free of cost and stop at most of the important places in the Melbourne CBD. Melbourne as a city might look overwhelmingly big at the beginning, but as you go about roaming the laneways, you will realise that walking through Melbourne CBD is the best thing you can do to get through the city. There are times when I’ve taken trams to places and realised that if I walked, I would’ve reached the place in 5 mins because it was just the next street. The culture of Melbourne is just so welcoming and so diverse, despite the cold weather you will feel love and warmth throughout the city. Melbourne is a colourful city covered with art of all forms. The many laneways covered with graffiti, bridges covered with locks and the winter nights on the Yarra with lights all over making it a magical scene just out of a fairytale. It makes it very difficult to take your eyes off of the beauty and makes it even more difficult to return home. Melbourne is like a cup that is always full. You ask for something and it is there, a beautiful large botanical garden near the city with its vast flora and fauna, the art galleries and museums with their free tours, the markets with various local produce and its hustle and bustle, the Melbourne cricket ground, the walks on the Yarra, the fashion laneways, the Chinatown(which makes you feel like you are really in China), the graffiti-filled lanes, the Melbourne star(giant wheel) from where we can see Melbourne in its entirety, the beautiful beaches, the small penguins, the large kangaroos and the ever so lazy koalas. Melbourne has so many things to talk about which I reckon can’t be covered in a single post and hence I’ve decided to compose a series of posts to talk about Melbourne in and out and about its various attractions which can not be missed. So take some time off to travel with me as I take you through the city of art that captured my soul, as I unravel my saga in the Victorian city of beauty.
- Society, Civilization
Welcome to episode 3 of the series 'Life'. If you haven't read the previous article, do check it out "Homo Sapiens" So, with cultivation, a network of people, houses and a leader, there came into existence the society, civilization. In the beginning, for farming, oneself ought to get the woods, and build the tools to plough and harvest and find methods to stock them, so that they were independent. But it was more arduous to do all these things on their own as they have to keep up with the time. Hence they divided the work amongst them, but they never knew it would lead to one of the biggest discrimination in the society later. So with all these divisions, people needed to communicate, coordinate with others which forced them to became more dependant. And there required high planning to administrate all these works to happen synchronously. Thus the leader should have a wise mind, as mere strength could not drive the people anymore. The chief of the tribe was elected by various rituals, sometimes with a group of elder and wise people as a council. So this became the system, known as the government. Originally, the primary aim of the government was to improve the agricultural methods so that there was sufficient food for everyone. And the very next aim was to protect their people. It was similar to any other living thing, with the ultimate aim as survival and if survival wasn't a problem then protecting its kind. The system was simple when there was no gap between the civilian and their leader, as the leader was one among them. Later there came to the concept called monarchy and suddenly the leader now became the king. People not only respected but started to worship their rulers, which made the rulers to be overwhelmed with power. That was the hindrance of that system. It did not spread the power equally but had its own hierarchy. There is just a thin string which contrasts patriotism from nationalism. Power, the rulers couldn't get enough of it. They scaled power with wealth, people and land under their charge. And this scale reflected in their civilians too, they respected the ones who had them more and started to humiliate the ones who did not have them. So the kings to mark their region of control, they made their own boundaries and always been so keen on extending them. And that process wasn't peaceful always, sometimes they have to make a new one but most of the time they destroyed the other ones. As there wasn't only one wall, one language, one nation or one King, there were many. And they were enough to separate us already, but still, they came up with another one which was the Race. Thanks for reading. Like and share your thoughts and views in the comments. And follow up the next article "The Race", which is the hot moment at the US currently.
- Homo Sapiens
Welcome to episode 2. If you missed the Pilot post "Dawn of the Orb" of this series 'Life' check it out. Just before some 200,000 years ago, there came us, the Homo sapiens a.k.a humans. Until now, there is no clear explanation about the Origin of Life. There are some theories that state that high level living things came into existence from the asteroid that had then made the dinosaurs to become extinct. We first wandered all over the place for food, didn't care much about shelter or clothing. We were literally afraid of everything, be it rain, thunder, lightning, big animals and most importantly fire. We couldn't understand these things so we feared them a lot and eventually, we started to worship them so that it wouldn't harm us. We felt pretty attached to the caves for many centuries. The biggest turning point for mankind was when we knew how to make fire (The time we realized that barbecue tasted better than raw meat). While going away from the caves, we either got some food or became food to other wild animals. That's when we understood that a single man couldn't survive alone, out there in the jungle, so we started to go out as a group. As a group, we were even able to kill a mammoth with some sharp tools. So now we searched not only for food but also for the tools. When men went out hunting, women took care of the young ones. Yes, women domestication and gender segregation started by stone age. We started to populate rapidly. We, humans, biologically not monogamous but we tend to it, and so men wanted to keep their women away from others. Later, we had to sometimes go so far for the search for food, and so the group accepted the strongest one among them as their leader and followed his instructions. Many circumstances forced humans to come out of the caves. Life became much simpler when we understood that circular objects could roll. Yes, wheels play a vital role in the migration and development of humans. I guess at one point we were sick of moving, and hence we started to build houses near rivers. I really think cultivating crops were either the result of humans feeling lazy or so scared to go out for hunting. So, with cultivation, a network of people, houses and a leader, there came into existence the society, civilization. Thanks for reading, do like and share your thoughts and views in the comment. Follow up the next article "Society, Civilization."
- Dawn of the Orb
Hello everyone and welcome to the pilot post "Dawn of the Orb" of article series 'Life'. I will be posting new articles on every Sunday eve. Do like and share your thoughts and views in the comments. Our dear home planet, born just 4.5 billion years ago, was happily running around its mum who was 8 light minutes away from her. Initially, it cried of molten lava like any other newborn child, maybe it was the painful tears after crashing with another rock, which turned to be her own lover later, again like any other teenage one side lover who always stalks yet maintains a distance. In the meantime, she was wrapped by the dark clouds, which helped her to settle only the heat above her and not from the inside. She really kept the fire inside her. After some millions of years, the dark clouds started to cry, as they couldn't hold Earth's heat, they cried so hard which became the mighty oceans. All mothers usually love all their children equally without any partiality, but in this family it was different. One had rings, another had several followers and just recently they had a very big family issue, that they abandoned the smallest one named Pluto. The one thing that Earth has, but no other planet has is 'Life'. At first, all the living things just swam in the big pool, for millions of years. All of a sudden one little creature hit its head over something and then it realized there was land. It was so curious to know what was above there, that it slowly evolved and crawled into the land. And in no time it started to move fast, started to hunt others and some even learnt to fly. Everything was perfect. The life cycle was good and the food chain was stable with lizards on the top of it, but they weren't as fortunate, as they all became extinct. Some claim that it was either the massive asteroid or the volcano which swept them all. Even then life bloomed again later, when some monkeys tried to walk and that was it. Just before some 200,000 years ago, there came us, the Homo sapiens a.k.a humans. Check out the next post of this series, "Homo Sapiens"
- End of Teeny Tunes
Hello everyone, once I made a post about completing the school-age and entering into the college. And this is post is about completing the teenage, the one which will end as soon as you get to know about it. One day you see a strand of hair out of your chin and in no time it is all way around the body, clogging the drains. That's how hard the puberty hits and how fast the time and hair flies away. By today I complete my teenage, yes I am a millennial. Almost all my school and college mates are in their 20's. That makes me the youngest of the batch. I think there are even some juniors who are elder than me and that's one of the second reason why I didn't participate in the traditional "Senior-Junior Interaction" with my batchmates. The first one is they didn't call me. One real perk of being a millennial is there is no need for any heavy mathematical calculation to get our age. In childhood, I was so elevated about the birthdays, but the summer vacation starts by the first week of April. So I won't get a chance to be the kid on the colour dress and the one who can bunk the classes just to distribute chocolates to all the staffs and fellow students. Yet I had my fake birthdays, which will mostly fall on the last day of the annual exam, which is mostly the Tamil oratorical exam. From senior school, I started to celebrate with my friends, by inviting them and throwing a party. I celebrated even when I had blood-stained cotton bands wrapped around my leg. It continued in the college days too. Where getting the cake is the most exciting part, with our nicknames on it, and which hardly ends up in our stomach but surely on our faces, where we get the cream's ever bonding love as it refuses to go with ease even after scrubbing so hard. I actually write this post with my mind hitten by the entering-the-adulthood-crisis. Once we all were so excited about our birthdays, counting the number of years left to get our driving license to drive without any fear or guilt while seeing the police around the corner. And to get our voter id, so that we could use our democratic rights and change the fate of our nation. We all passed that stage. And if not for the lockdown due to Coronavirus, some of you reading this would have finished your college life and maybe looking for jobs and higher studies. Thankfully I still have two more painful years at my college. With tons of responsibilities to carry upon our backs in just a few more months, I still don't have a clear view about me. And myself studying to be a Data Analyst, even with my own two decades of data, I don't know how the upcoming years are gonna be. We all never know what is about to come, maybe that's what the whole life is about. Maybe the uncertainty keeps it interesting. So I think it is just better to keep on learning from the data than to predict from it, even after the learning curve smooths. But the one thing I know for sure is that the school's WhatsApp group is gonna be flooded with marriage invitations in some months. I thank all my family, friends and Facebook for reminding some of them about my day, who took some time like nearly three minutes to read all through this and for wishing me not only for this birthday but for all my 20 birthdays and making me feel a special and the day as a really memorable one. "leh leh legura, ander ne nogura"
- Land of Thunder Dragon
Hey Deyor Hello everyone, again it is vacation time. So what would be the first thing that will strike our mind hearing that? Hitting the sofas and turning the TV on yet not even glancing at it as we are busy with our phones. So initially I thought of the same thing, then the end of teenage crisis hit me so hard that, till how many youthful energetic days that I have more to explore and enjoy the world. And so I was particular about doing something interesting, but I didn't sort it out for a while. And all of the sudden during my semester examinations my dad forwarded me a Facebook post of a bike package at Bhutan and asked whether I like to go for it. That's it I sealed the deal and booked everything before even doing any of the groundwork. It was arranged by Deyor Camps, a Delhi tourist company with similar much more adventurous packages. All the thing I knew when I booked the ticket was Bhutan is a small nation where Indians could get on arrival visa and it is the happiest country in the world and I am going to ride a Royal Enfield Classic 350 over there. Flying Away I booked my flights from Chennai to Bagdogra via Calcutta. There were some terms and conditions from the Deyor that we are supposed to bring only one bag with us, so I bought a 75ltr rucksack from AmazonBasics and fit all the required outfits for a couple of weeks. I took a bus from my hometown Sivakasi to Chennai and stayed at my sister's. Where during the night I could not even bear the coldness of her room's air conditioner. The next day we checked the weather over Bhutan for the next 10 days, and I started to shiver just by seeing the result. Everything was below 10-degree Celcius. Then I called a friend from there and went to the mall to shop some thermal wears and some other health and care products. After buying those things, my friend just told about an accident his friend met while he went on a similar trip to Ladakh. And that's the moment I decided to invest some on my safety. The next day we went to Spartan Pro Gear outlet and after several hours and iterations of trying out all the accessories over there, I bought a jacket, gloves, knee guard and a face mask. And after shopping all these things, my 75ltr bag was not enough to hold all these things. I and my sister saw some videos on youtube to get an idea of how to fit everything in it. And finally, with the most possible compression ratio, we did it. And boarded my early flight the next day. Madrasi Daa! Travelling in flight, I realized that the government town bus has a better legroom space to occupy my humungous legs. After landing at Bagdogra airport, took an auto-rickshaw to go to the hotel that I booked. No matter how many times I travel by air, I always have some trust issues with the airlines about baggage transfer. Amazed by the auto fare, I checked in the room. I met the guide the same day, who will be accompanying us the whole trip. And the next day all other trip mates arrived at the hotel. Yes, I was the only one who doesn't know Hindi. Which made me a typical "Madrasi". Yet my room-mate translated as many things that they were talking about to me. We gelled up pretty well by the first day itself. There were three doctors, one married couple, a couple and a father-son duo. And I was the youngest. And fortunately, I was not the only one who doesn't smoke and drink. We all had a trial ride with the bikes and finalized. We were about to roll, the next day. I got up earlier that day, had a very nice breakfast, and was putting all the armours. Uff, it was a nice feel to suit up for the first time. After dressing up as a perfect rider, I stepped out to the parking and got on the bike, an hour before the departure. East of the Border With all those over excitements, I just remembered seeing the weather of Bhutan on the whole, not about Phuentsholing, which is the city located in the border of the two-nation. I wore all the clothing thing. Inners, thermal wear, the hardest shirt, and the riding jacket with both thermal and waterproof lining in it. And I realised with so much pain while riding under the scorching Sun. Literally my body was boiling under all those fabrics. But the ride was worth it. Even before crossing Siliguri, I noticed that my tyres were not that grippy. So if I hit the back brake harder, the heavy motorcycle started skit sidely. I was so afraid that, how would I manage with this bike the whole trip. And I was the only one riding a 350cc engine. Everybody else rode Himalayan which has about 430cc and 500cc Thunderbird. And the roads were amazingly wider and smoother. All were maxing their throttle and flying more than 100kmph and I was struggling to cross 85kmph. And moreover, Royal Enfield and vibrations are like a better love story than The Twilight. So at higher RPMs, holding the handlebar, felt l like holding a vibrator. After several pit stops, we reached Jaigoun, the town of India near the border. Crossing the border was a different feel. We straight away crashed at the hotel, while our guide went to get all the immigration forms. Then we all went to the immigration office and finished all the procedures and got all the clearance paper for the bikes. After we went to walk around the city. Actually it didn't feel like another country, it just felt like we were in another North-Eastern state, as they accept Indian currency and everybody knows Hindi. But the only thing is, it was like India which we wish to see. Cap City The very next day, again I did a mistake with my costume. This time I didn't wear enough dress. We started soon after having our breakfast. Our Bike Captain joined us from there and instructed us about the way of signalling over their country. Then we started from there. And there started the mountains, steep roads and hairpin bend. The things which thrill the rider. In the moment of time suddenly it got cold and the roads were completely misty. The biggest problem was with my helmet, which was getting fog with the visors on. We reached the capital city, Thimpu by 10 pm. We had dinner at that amazing hotel. I didn't really expect the quality of the stay and food would be this good. The next day the bike didn't start in the first few tries. In these days all the bikes come with only with the self-start, not even with the kicker or choke. All the Himalayan turned on the very first try itself. Then we went to Buddha Dordenma, which is a big Budhha statue on a mountain. Then we went to Simply Bhutan, where the people over there represent the culture of Bhutan. It was so nice and kind. Then we had lunch in their style. Where ever we go there was this dish called "Ema-datshi". We went to some temples and went to a national park where we saw the national animal of Bhutan - Takin. Then by the time of dusk, we went to the Thimpu City view. It was so scenic. After the long day, we went back to the hotel. And that was the first time I ever used heater in the room. It felt so cosy. And at the bed, I was wondering what are all the things I would be experiencing the next day. The Ride of my Life As usual the next day we started after breakfast, to Punakha. That place is just 85 km far yet it took around 2:30 hrs to reach over there. And yes I have to admit that, it was the best motorcycle ride of life till now. All of us were riding with the rhythm. As I was the tail I could see everyone bending towards the ground at the turns and the synchronized blinkers. It was like a snake crawling through the mountain. Everything was perfect in that ride, even the weather it was cold, yet the sun was shining. And after that amazing ride, we reached the Punakha Dzong. Then we went to the nearby Suspension bridge over the Mho and Chu river, which is the longest suspension bridge at Bhutan. And it was the longest I ever have seen. That night we were about to reach Paro, and we have to go ride through the same route that we rode in the morning. By evening it started to get cold. Our hands almost froze that we were not even able to pull the clutch properly. At the time of dusk, we were at Dorchula pass. It was a heavenly feel over there. Seriously you could not see anything as beautiful as nature, at it's best. We stopped over there and had some butter tea and hot chocolates to keep us warm. Then we reached Paro by 10 pm. And I have never seen the sky, that clear. I could see constellations and the Milky Way belt. Then only I came to know that Bhutan is a negative carbon nation. That it produces more oxygen than producing carbon dioxide, which resulted in zero pollution and the clean sky. My roommate tried to make a night timelapse of the stars moving, with the GoPro. Tiger's Nest And we woke up earlier that day and our guide warned us that it is going to be the longest day of the whole trip, as we were about to hike to the Taktsang Monastery. We went to the base of that place. Where they were renting hiking sticks to assist us. I got exhausted soon after we started, and the crew just broked into pieces according to their pace. Being the youngest man in the crew, I paired up with the oldest guy in the crew, so I could get some extra breath at each step. And it had multiple paths. At a point, I took a separate path and I almost lost myself. For the moment I thought of retreating to the base and then I saw a very very old man, coming towards me. He gave me some water and said something in his native tongue and went forward. And that gave me the motivation to complete the rest of the track. After 4.30 hrs of hiking, we reached the Tiger's Nest. After looking around that sacred place, we marched down the mountains, which is always an easy task. And we went as a crew, singing some well known English songs. And I was playing and singing some of A.R. Rahman's song in Tamil, while the rest were singing the same song in the Hindi version. At that eve we had delicious pizza over the city and I went for a hot stone tub bath. It was so relaxing after that long tiring day. And it was our final day over Bhutan. So we went to the city to buy something back for our kith and kin. Hardest Goodbyes The next day was the coldest in the whole trip. After having breakfast, we went to our bikes and surprised to see some layer of ice covering the seat. We started after scraping them for some minutes. We knew that it would be the longest ride. Our crew captain bid us farewell at Phuentsholing, where we stopped to have lunch. The moment we crossed the border and entered India, suddenly I could feel the change. I really mean it. I suddenly felt the smokes, noise, garbages littered everywhere. It was a bit depressing to leave the world's happiest nation after making several happy moments over there for a week. Then, after all, we reached Bagdogra by 10 pm. All of us were so tired, I couldn't even open my eyes, yet we all hang out at the married couple's room for the one last time. Actually to be honest I got emotional by that time. Our whole crew, all the riders, truck driver, mechanic and the guide were inside the room, we all hardly know others for a couple of weeks but we were more like a family. And with warm hugs and hardest goodbyes, I went to sleep. When I woke up the next day already half of the crew left. And I had my flight around 2 pm. And went back to my college at Coimbatore. Even now when I feel stressed with my college works, I just take some moment, sit back and think about the "Land of Thunder Dragon" and it never failed to leave me a smile. THANK YOU!