Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Back in the groove

(And I don't mean that in a bad way :D.)

After the last trip of a practically never-ending back-deck stint, I was quite surprised that everything went to plan and we were actually done in barely four days!! Of course I didn't let my hopes get too high till I landed up on shift on the second morning after, and still found everything chugging along as it should :). That would be today.

I get this strange feeling I've kinda been thrown off my usual routine! Honestly, I'm still on a sort of a high after my fabulous break :). Unfortunately, all good things come to and end, and letting it linger too long might not be the best of ideas. For instance, I still haven't gotten used to the new year, and the first month is over already!! If I don't watch out, this one will go by just like the last one did, way too fast for comfort :|.That said, I'm actually having quite a good time of it. On my hours off, I've got a one point agenda, read :D. Almost done with The Simoqin Prophecies! I can't believe how much of it I actually remember quite clearly, given that the only time I've read it was over three years ago! (Which is a shame really, 'cos the book does have some awesome twists and turns :-<.) Somehow, I don't seem to remember the details of The Manticore's Secret nearly as clearly. Which is a good thing then...

The other thing high up on the to-do list would be to actually cut down on the pictures I want to post from New Zealand and Bombay-Pune-Bangalore. Well okay, New Zealand. The rest wouldn't really have to get cut down by much :). Have only managed to get it down to about 300 so far :-<. But, in time, I shall get to something less ludicrous, I'm sure.

Ah, as for changes, it looks (I know I should probably not actually be saying this so early...) like this might (you know what they say about counting chickens?..) be the last trip for the boat in New Zealand, and in fact, the entire Asia-Australia region!!! Right, now I guess we'll just wait and see if I have to eat my words.

Currently: well on the way to recovery :)
Listening to: Everclear - Wonderful

Friday, 25 January 2008

Now, where was I?

Ah yes, cancelled flights the day I was supposed to fly. Turns out I was altogether premature in anticipating an end to the excitement /:). It's late Sunday afternoon, and in my rather paranoid state of mind, I check my flights again, and guess what I find?! My flights cancelled, again!!!!!! I could hardly believe it X-(. More frantic phone calls. I don't really know why, some sort of premonition I guess, but I decided to finish up packing and get ready to leave, just in case. And I'm not kidding, at 5 pm I get a call from a rather distressed logistics coordinator asking me if it was possible for me to make it to a flight departing at 6 :|.

It turned out to be the only time I managed to give the traffic jams a slip. And of course it helped that I live 10 minutes form the airport (in the dead of the night when the rest of the city sleeps that is, realistic times stretch between 20 to 50 minutes :|). Bottom-line, I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. But hold on, I still didn't know where I was flying to!! All I had was a flight number and an e-ticket number :-S. Found out from the airlines desk that I was headed to Bombay instead of Delhi, and that I had barely enough time there to transit to the overseas flight :((.

Then this flight decided to hover above Bombay airport for a good half hour :|. Perfect Bollywood masala flick material I tell you /:). The thing that saved my skin there was Jet Airways finally growing up and allowing a proper through check-in of baggage. No check out and check back in, no identify your luggage at the counter bollocks.. check in your back at departure and pick it up at final destination! (I think I managed to irritate the airline staff at various points trying to make sure that there was indeed nothing that I had to do to make sure the bag travelled to the final destination :P.)

Oh well, then onwards it was pretty cool. Watched Stardust in the flight to Singapore and loved it. I though it was quite funny, though a tad overly dramatic in bits, but hey, it's fantasy :D. I had a massive 12 hour stopover in Changi, and was desperately looking for a socket to plug in my pc when the lady at the transit counter pointed out that I could just head to the business class lounge!! So I did. Only, on the way I walked into a book store and could not resist the temptation when I found all 5 GRRM books stacked neatly in a row :|. Thereafter of course, it was a struggle to try and fit 4 more books into my already filled-to-bursting bag :-<.

The rest of my stay I proceeded to spend in style :D. Watched the Ivanovich match on a massive flatscreen from an impressively deep couch. Thanked my lucky stars that I'd loaded a NFS Underground on the portable disk. Was amazed by the quality of food at the free buffet ;). Generally had a good time basically :D. What followed was obviously my best flying experience to date. And the best part of it was that it wasn't just me :D. Some six of us from the crew had managed to get ourselves seats in the business class on the same flight! Just trying to figure out how many ways you could move the bloody seat was hilarious :P.

Unfortunately, even here, sleep eluded me. So I proceeded to watch Rescue Dawn. Not the best of choices, I must say. Harrowing story that was :(. Thereafter I switched to less intense stuff. War was fun, mindless action, and well choreographed mindless action at that :D. By the time I got to Christchurch I was hanging on with barely 2 hours of sleep in 60.
Finally crew change on Wednesday, and we land up back in Lyttleton! Even went for a nice little walk around. The town is small enough to feel familiar after barely an afternoon that we'd spent here a month back. Walked up to the Time Ball Station and ran into this monstrosity of a cruise liner!!Oh well, now it's off to the south again. And the cold and bleak weather. The back-deck work's also started up in earnest. Looks like blogging will take a bit of a back seat. Only question is, for how long :-<.

sleepy :(
Listening to: Dave Mathews Band - Crush

Sunday, 20 January 2008


I was supposed to leave home on Friday. But on Wednesday I was informed of a two day delay in said departure. I wasn't complaining, I'd just finished the mandatory tour, and finally had some time to myself. Spent most of that time sorting through old stuff... pictures, movies, music. I'd managed to get myself one of those massive 500 GB external HDD thingies while in Mumbai, and I proceeded to (yet again) back up everything I hold dear :P. And while at it, also managed to finally fill in the photographs for the road-trip posts.

This feels like a break in more ways than one. Several changes are afoot, significant and otherwise. Which is a good thing. And while some of those changes might see off a few plans I had for the near future, more avenues might open up instead. The usual man proposes God disposes sort of stuff basically...

Oh well, headed off to the boat again later this evening. It's been so long since I've had even the slightest contact with work that I'm actually a teeny bit worried that I might have forgotten everything :P. This time they've steered clear of sparring with lady luck, and gone for a port call instead of screwing around with choppers and ferries and what not. Unfortunately, that did not prevent spectacular f***-ups with flights. It's been a while since I've been put in a spot, but it's a good thing I always check in time anyway.

With a close to midnight flight out of Kolkata I decided to check my itinerary one last time this morning, just to be sure. Two of my three flights somehow showed up as cancelled :O!! Part of me was a little relieved since this provided the possibility of avoiding what had promised to be a gruelling 15 hour stop-over in Bangkok :|. A few frantic phone calls later, I now have an earlier flight out. And a close to 10 hour stopover in New Delhi :(. But there is some good news, for the first time ever, WG's flying me business class :D. That too on the longest leg of the trip :D. (Yes, yes, I'm really clutching at straws here :-<.)

Ah yes, one of these days, I'll get to sorting through stuff again and do some justice to the photoblog too.... hopefully. There's a pretty big bunch waiting to be uploaded. But for now we'll see you on the other side. The Trident's back-deck beckons :|.

Currently: gearing up
Listening to: Moby - In my heart

Sunday, 13 January 2008

My life without me.

This has to be the longest hiatus I've taken from blogging. A more than ample and free access to the internet notwithstanding. Somewhere buried under a plethora of reasons (not the least of which was plain old laziness :P) there was some connection to the fact that this was the longest stint I'd spent around campus since graduating. Confirmation yet again that I'd done a good thing by starting off with my blog after leaving college :). I shall not go hunting for that connection here.

I had been worried, to be honest, going in. Well, maybe worried is a strong word. There were, shall we say, doubts in my mind. In the course of the last few weeks most of those have been happily alleviated :). Some questions I'd been asking for a long time, I found answers to. Not all in the most favourable way possible, but answers nonetheless. And some precious insights. (Okay, I just read this paragraph, and find it more than ordinarily vague. So here on, I shall stick to more sane stuff :P.)Let's just say meeting up with old friends helps you in a whole bunch of ways you couldn't even imagine. And I did a whole lot of that :). Of course, the duration of the stay helped a lot with that. The timing could scarcely have been better. The thing to see of course, would be if (and if yes, then how long) I can actually keep the many promises of 'we'll keep in touch' and 'see you sometime, somewhere' and so on and so forth. Again, true to form, I was as vague as possible with said promises :-<. I hate breaking promises. I do! Honestly.

I even managed to make some new friends actually. Well, acquaintances more like. But then I also managed to make good friends of some previous acquaintances. I can somehow never tell when a friendship jumped that line between just another one to a really close one... Well, barring some glaringly obvious instances of course.It felt like a rather extended walk through a bit of the past. And I felt like I'd dressed up as someone I once knew, and was thrilled when some of those around me saw through the camouflage. Most didn't, and I didn't particularly mind that either.

At the end of a few cycles of days of intense activity followed by those of the other extreme, the much awaited and anticipated wedding was at hand! I'd hashed together an extremely ramshackle 'plan' in an attempt to meet as many people as was possible in a very short period of time :). Headed off for Pune on the 9th. A bus ride that was altogether too short for the many many photographs of the near and distant past. A hilarious hunt for an elusive diner. Snores in the dead of the night :|. A simple and lovely wedding ceremony. A vegetarian lunch over discussions on life from perspectives split wide open by long distances and varying circumstances.Then it was off to Bangalore. My first visit in about 15 years I think :P. A delayed flight, a trademark thump on the back of another old friend after sneaking up on him from behind at the airport :). A hurried meeting to avoid parking. Crazy traffic, crazier driving. A surprisingly clean flat, and finally the somewhat delayed bear hug :D. A hazy night under a starry sky. More meetings. And surprises. Yet another crazy and hilarious hunt for a restaurant. Lingering goodbyes again. More discussions on life and other more tangible things, this time on the flight back to Bombay.The flight was on time, only, it ended with the longest ever wait on the tarmac off the aircraft. And then the longest ever ride on a bus back to the terminal. Back at the place I'd been calling 'home' for a while, I had to start packing to finally head home. A mistimed pang of hunger led to a wild goose chase of sorts in search for some food. And ended up at the midnight buffet in a once oft-frequented restaurant near the airport :D.

A rather dazed flight after 3 hours of sleep followed immediately by an emergency trip to get the car fixed saw me finally get home in the proper sense only at 6 in the evening. No wonder I was out like a light for the better part of 12 hours. And then in the evening it was time again to attend the other leg of the Pune wedding! Awesome food. Coincidences galore with acquaintances through the wildest of connections. An emotional farewell that left a mark on my white shirt that might have left a girlfriend fuming :P. (Oh yes, I was all dressed up this time, having attended the actual wedding in a kurta and a pair of jeans :D. What can I say, none of my friends seem to get married in Kolkata!)I could not have envisioned a better start to the year. Or a better end to my vacation. Well, technically, there's another 4-5 days to go. And I shall make the most of it by attempting an express trip to Shantiniketan and Asansol within the next 3 days...

Currently: home :)
Listening to: Frou Frou - Must be dreaming