Back in June, a bunch of us decided to vacation at Chikmagalur
, a hill station quite close to Bangalore. We booked a couple of rooms with the Horticulture Department of Karnataka (they run lodges there), prepared ourselves by packing warm clothes, and left.
The check-in time was supposed to be around noon, so leaving at 6 in the morning, we were sure to reach there around noon. After a few hiccups that I’d rather not mention, we were at the bus stand at 7 am. We caught the first bus to Chikmagalur only to realise there weren’t any seats left. Getting down at the next stop, we spent some time snacking on biscuits while I spoke to a friend. In the heat of the moment, someone brought up the topic of going to Mangalore, and just as that came up, a bus to Mangalore was in sight. Without thinking, all of us boarded the bus and began our trip to Mangalore. “Screw the room bookings money”, we said.
We ended up staying in Bhatkal for a couple of days, visiting Idugunji and Murudeshwar in the process. Then headed over to Honnavar and Jog Falls
. Jog was brilliant, even though it wasn’t the right season for it. We stayed here for a night and boy, was it fun!
All in all we clocked about close to a thousand kilometers and about 6 days out of the house in total. EPIC!
Here’s the map of the whole trip:
View The Bhatkal Trip in a larger map
After a long period of inactivity on my blog, I am now back and have decided that I will regularly update here (or at least, try to). Before I begin, this *is* a personal blog, and I like to write about traveling, my college that I’m very proud of, and the occasional extensive tech reviews that I love to do.
One of the main reasons for me not updating my blog has been a hectic college life. An 8 to 6 time table isn’t exactly something that gives you time to do anything much apart from studies. Any how, there’s been a lot happening in my life right now. Let me update you.
I’ve been traveling a lot these days. The East Coast was where I started off. Chennai and Pondicherry to be precise. I’ve blogged about the recent trips to Gokarna and Mysore. Gokarna especially was an amazing experience for me for various reasons. I’ll be going to Chennai again for Cruisemaniac’s wedding this weekend and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. It’s also going to be a break for me from regular college life. Did I mention I have 8 hours of classes this Sunday?
Speaking of college life, I’ve started to realize that being away from home, Bangalore, and my friends, is something that is a herculean task. I remember a year from now, telling my mother that I wanted to be far away from home for studies, and that I would do just fine. Now, I end up taking the first bus home on every weekend. There’s something about Bangalore that makes me feel like home. That sense of insecurity I have in college vanishes just as I knock on the doors of home. I feel welcomed and cared for as soon as I meet my childhood friends. These guys have been the reason I’m able to endure college.
College hasn’t been as bad as I just pictured it to you however. I’ve joined the IEEE, an organization dedicated to empowering students and encouraging them to participate in co-curricular activities, something that becomes a rarity during Engineering. SIT’s IEEE student branch has been great so far. We’ve had a lot of fun building robots (and blowing them up), hunting for treasure, and spending a night dancing to DJs. I’ve also been given an opportunity to design the IEEE SIT website, something that’s a work in progress right now. Of course, I’m building it around WordPress, the opensource platform all us adore so much.
I also have a new laptop now. A very gorgeous mistress I’ve named as BlackBeauty. She’s a Dell Inspiron 14, and yes, she’s dressed in Obsidian Black. And, I’ve developed a deep liking for Windows 7 and Visual Studio lately. Cannot wait to try out the full release version of VS 2010. I’m lucky to be getting it licensed as an IEEE member and as a Microsoft DreamSpark candidate. It’s probably something Microsoft have done right, recently at least. Now for some Apple news; I’ve upgraded from an 8GB 2nd gen iPod Touch to a 32GB 3rd gen iPod Touch, aptly named SanPod. I still use both.
And I’m somewhat ashamed to mention this, but I’ve become sort of a Facebook addict!
Engineering has been quite monotonous so far. At least 6 hours of classes everyday and sometimes up to 8 hours. Thankfully, you only have to be stuck with each subject for less than 5 months. After the semester exams, a bunch of us close friends headed off to Gokarna, a small town in the Karwar district which has some really beautiful beaches that attract a lot of foreigners.
We initially wanted to go by train, but the train timings were such that we would reach Shimoga in the middle of the night, and from there, we would need to take a bus to Gokarna. Instead we took a sleeper coach bus right from Bangalore itself. The bus was an hour late! En route, our dear friend Somo made the bus wait for a good 10 whole minutes as he came running from home.
We reached Gokarna at 7 in the morning. What was surprising was that there was almost no humidity despite being a coastal town. The weather was excellent!
Once at Gokarna, we had to hire autorickshaws to Om Beach. The beach is pretty far from the bus stand and 100 bucks for the rick is worth it. En route the tiny ghat section, you will see Gokarna’s other beaches which are equally as beautiful as Om Beach. Once at Om Beach, we had to walk till the end of the beach to find a place to stay as every other shack was either booked or available only to foreigners. Apparently, charging foreigners a large amount for a lousy shack is how these people manage to keep the price cheap for us.
The entire stay for 2 days was just brilliant. Day 1 went away with exploring the geography of the place, lazying by the beach, and a visit to the temple. On day 2, we trekked quite a lot in the somewhat hot sun and found a stunning spot where we could see a panoramic view of the sea. Sadly we hadn’t taken our cameras on the trek.
The rest of the day was spent floating in the sea, playing catch in the water, and losing precious stuff.
Budget wise, I had expected us to spend close to Rs.2,500 like the last trip to Mangalore
. Surprisingly though, the whole thing worked out at exactly Rs.1,600 per head
! Here’s the run down for those planning to go to Gokarna:
- Travel – by bus (to and fro), sleeper coach (Seabird) — Rs.800
- Accommodation – Sunset Cafe — Rs.300 per room (2 people in a room with maximum 3 allowed)
- Food – this was the costliest because we did not skimp on our non-veg craving, and yes, ’cause we’re hogs, lol – Rs.450
- Autorickshaw – the only way to travel from the beach to the town — Rs.200
I haven’t gone into much detail about the trip due to lack of time and patience. Gokarna is overall a very nice place to visit. Om Beach is calm, quiet, and a privy place away from hooligans. Contrary to recent rumors, the beaches are kept really clean and morally well looked after.
A week has passed since I moved into my new room at SIT, Tumkur. In the 7 days there, I’ve made a bunch of awesome friends, besides knowing everybody staying in the hostel. It’s just great. North Indians and South Indians are bonding together pretty well for now.
Now about SIT. Hats off to the Principal and to the Director. Two amazing men who have gotten together to organize Personality Developmen Programmes to everybody at the hostel. It sounded lame at first, listening to a guy speak about how great he is and all that. But a few hours past, all of us were glued. The speaker, Arjun Devaiah, an international athlete, was absolutely BRILLIANT. It was evident when I spoke to Prashanth HN that I had already changed in just a couple of days. More on this some other time. For now, I’m enjoying classes and the PDP classes as well. SIT is probably the best thing to happen in my life (yet).
P.S. I wrote this in a hurry on my iPod. Leaving back to Tumkur in a couple of hours. So do excuse the lack of information, photos and what not.
From the past 6 weeks, I can confidently say that I’ve been having the best days of my life, (yet). I’ve gone out with friends instead of being stuck up at home in front of the computer all day. I’ve taken part in some really nice experiences like Paintball (yes, I’ll talk about it a hundred times and still won’t get tired of it. So what?) and Tweetups of different kinds. I even made it a point to meet up all of my old friends at least once.
In June, I was always at home, either watching movies or doing something not at all worthwhile. I was repeatedly told to leave the house and go out a little.
In July though, the complaint was that I was constantly away from home. I would leave at noon, having gotten up only at 10am, and then come back home only past 10pm. There were quite a few times that I had to stay over at a friend’s place because it was too late.
I watched six movies at the theatres in the span of a fortnight, almost each with a different group of friends. Finished watching at least a dozen different TV shows. A couple of hundred movies still left. Gotten high a dozen times. Lost my mind at least a couple of times. Killed my iPod Touch once. Resurrected my iPod Touch once. Almost killed myself once. Waatevaaah!
As with all things, this damn 6-week long run comes to an end. On Saturday, I bid goodbye to Bangalore, at least for another 4 years, as I move to Tumkur, a town that’s around 70kms away from Bangalore. And although close, I still won’t be able to come down to Bangalore as much as I would like to. I’ve never left the Garden City for more than a couple of weeks. And I’ve never really lived by myself either. This is going to be… weird.
I’m not leaving depressed or even a bit sad. I’m actually looking forward to this part of my life. A whole new friends circle is something that has gotten me excited as well. That doesn’t mean that I forget or leave my present friends circle. Nope. It just means we get closer. The fact that each and everybody close to me has said that they would ‘miss me’ (surprisingly, even the guys!), an emotional phrase that none of them had ever come even slightly close to uttering before, just brought us all closer than ever.
Well that’s that, it’s time to bid goodbye to Bangalore…
Image source: karenebiggs