Assam Memoirs Part 7 – Convocation

The class WhatsApp group had been abuzz as soon as the message about the tentative convocation dates were mailed. Everyone had been planning to fly to Mumbai from their work locations, as this could possibly be the last time the entire batch would be together. There were a number of reasons why the idea of convocation didn’t thrill me – travelling approximately 3500+ km one-way over a span of six hours just to attend an event was on top of the list. However, the more I thought of it, the more eager I became to meet my classmates and collect my degree certificates in person. Convocation wasn’t just an event that marked the completion of five years of university life – it marked the end of seventeen years of hard work and effort.

As the time for my flight to Mumbai inched closer, my excitement hit the roof. I had begun packing a week before the journey and had been counting down the minutes to the flight. Having made elaborate plans to optimise my luggage, I ended up packing stuff almost until the moment I boarded the cab. The seemingly infinite 23km journey from my guest house finally came to an end, as the cab finally came to a halt. The SpiceJet flight was due to take off from Guwahati a little before 4pm and would reach Mumbai only a wee bit after 10. I was allocated a nice window seat in the front and enjoyed the view for the whole of the evening.

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The layover in Delhi was an interesting experience. I got the opportunity to witness the number of activities that take place before the passengers boarded the aircraft. I was amazed by the level of precision and optimization of the entire process – within the span of forty five minutes 150+ passengers had deplaned, a team from ground operations had come in and checked the luggage and the boarding passes of the remaining passengers, the entire cabin had been vacuumed and cleaned (including checking of seat pockets, spraying of disinfectants and criss-crossing of the seatbelts), and the boarding of the new passengers was complete. Kudos to SpiceJet – it felt like an airline equivalent of an F1 pit stop!

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An aerial view of the city that never sleeps

Considering the huge number of graduating students, my college had allowed only one parent to attend the ceremony, and that too on a first-come-first-serve basis. My dad was supposed to pick me up from the airport and accompany me to the ceremony, as my mom was heading to the city where my sister is studying. A part of me was really sad, as my only wish since the beginning of my college was to see my parents and sister celebrate with me on the day of my graduation. A long fifteen-minute-wait at the rendezvous point later, I saw a familiar figure walking to me. My jaw dropped, as I realized it was my mom – she surprised me by cancelling her tickets and coming to Mumbai instead!

The next morning was pretty eventful – like always, I took the train to the college. Having collected my gown and cap after registering for the ceremony, I spent a lot of time talking to my batch mates. It was a lovely feeling meeting up with friends – people had flown in from various corners of the country. There was a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach – although I had been eagerly awaiting the receipt of my degree certificates, I didn’t really want the time to pass.

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We did discover a number of things that day, including the fact that we had a really badass Registrar. She didn’t even need a mic – her voice alone was enough to evoke discipline from the rowdiest of people sitting in the last rows! She did have a sense of humour though. After a couple of rehearsals for the main event (and one of the university anthem), we left for the class photograph and returned half an hour later.

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Seated on the seats reserved for meritorious students, I couldn’t be prouder. Five years of hard work and effort were being recognised, and having my parents be a part of the moment was certainly the icing on the cake. The chief guest for the afternoon was Dr Ajit Ranade, the Chief Economic Advisor for the Aditya Birla Group. His speech was really memorable – he spoke about quite a few topics, while citing examples that we could relate to. Quoting Sir Francis Bacon, he urged us to develop the “Desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to reconsider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; to neither admire something just because it’s new and nor because it’s old.” His speech ended in a thunderous applause as he remarked “Your future is so bright,” putting on a pair of shades, “that I’m putting on sunglasses!”

My day had been excellent so far and I thought I was done with my share of surprises. Clearly that wasn’t the case, as my sister came running out of nowhere and hugged me tight. “I promised you that I wouldn’t miss it for the world” she whispered. Having travelled by an overnight interstate bus, she astonished me by directly arriving at the venue. A million emotions filled my head as we posed for the family photograph, with happiness being the most dominant one. Gratitude was definitely a close second – all that I had ever hoped and wished for had come true.

 

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From Classroom to Cubicle – The Aarambh of Corporate Life

The end of exams signalled the beginning of corporate life for most of my batchmates, and the beginning of a six-week-long vacation for me. The first two weeks were good – this was probably the first time in months that I lazed around without a care in the world, considering the fact that we had been continuously bombarded with coursework over the last couple of years. Most of the remainder of the vacation was uneventful (my “internship” at the kitchen wasn’t exactly a hit, even though mom had been bragging to my aunts about finally getting me on board), save the heavenliest trip to Hyderabad to visit my cousins and celebrate my sister’s birthday. Never had I imagined that the weekend would just fly by and I would have to come back to Mumbai so soon.

Being awesome as always, my employer, a telecommunications major, had organized a hotel stay in Mumbai for approximately 40 of us trainees for about a week. This week was certainly the one where I had learnt the most – spending time with the other trainees (although a few of whom were my batchmates, a majority were from NITs). Although we all had our share of small talk in the beginning, we started actually interacting after the ice-breaker corporate theatre session. The lesson was by far the most valuable one – we became aware of some interesting facets of human psychology, learnt to open up and laugh freely, and finally shed our inhibitions and participate in activities that we would usually be really uncomfortable with. The learning that had the most profound impact on me was that something which is induced in the beginning becomes a part of our natural behaviour if practiced over a period of time.

The weeklong stay was also a place I bumped into really interesting people. The first one was an amazing person named Sukanya, who just like me had begun her career. I found that there was quite a bit about her that I really admired – she was fluent in ALL the major South Indian language, as well as French (She was learning German too). As a couple of other trainees joined us at the table, she conversed with them in their mother tongue effortlessly. The coolest part was that even though she had been in Mumbai for about a month and was already familiar with Marathi, which she spoke almost like a local would. Sitting with her gave me one of the most memorable lessons in life – when life gives you a fork with vanilla ice-cream in a soup bowl, savour it before it melts. We couldn’t meet again after that as she had to leave Mumbai the next day. I guess this is one experience I am going to cherish for a while.

            The other person who just made me smile was a live musician named Denzel who plays often at the hotel we stayed in. Having been at the office for almost twelve hours and finally returning to the hotel in an almost famished zombie-like state, listening to him sing while we dined was almost like a trance. He played a couple of Billy Joel songs that a buddy of mine requested and acknowledged us with a big smile on his face – it seemed like a couple of people appreciate him just made his evening. As I walked to the elevator he waved while singing “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. I went downstairs again in a while to enjoy listening to his voice, but he had already stopped by then.

Listening to the leaders of the organization speak and asking them questions was another privilege that we were given. They shared with us a bit about their departments and their experiences during their corporate life, and finally wished us the very best of luck in ours. We were mesmerised by them – their insanely amazing presentation skills, the crazily infectious level of energy and the charisma left us all gaping with awe (and hoping that we would be as good as them someday).

The best part of the week was learning that we were to attend cross functional training in different parts of the country for about a month. We trainees were assigned to locations scattered across the country. Special care was taken while choosing the locations, as each of them was right outside our comfort zones (I guess this was done to give us a clean slate of a location so as to maximise our learning). I grinned when I learnt about my posting in Guwahati, Assam, along with five other new trainees (three of them being my batchmates). The six of us hail from different parts of the country and have never visited North East India before (and needless to say, have absolutely zero idea about the geography and the life there). We are scheduled to fly out to our respective locations at the end of the induction week. I eagerly await the adventure that lies ahead.

Unleashing Creativity: Start-Ups

What does one get after throwing together a huge population of enthusiastic youth, a tinge of cost-effectiveness and a dash of entrepreneurial attitude in a blender? Well, the answer is creativity. “Start-up” has been the trend since 2015. Well, the whole thing really took off with the introduction of the web series called TVF Pitchers (“Tu beer hai” had even become the conversation opener for one of my cousins!). With the Government initiatives like “Start Up India, Stand Up India” the start-up environment did get a real boost. Here are a few of the experiences I have had with start-ups in the past few days (Some of them really crazy, the others not-so-much; but each of them kinda memorable).

 

Going chronologically, the first one on my list is Frools. This start-up supplies fruits depending on the family size on a subscription basis, six days a week. The coolest part about it is the element of surprise – we have no clue about which fruits would be delivered.

I would look forward to opening of the paper bag every evening and checking out the fruits of the day. It could be something local like bananas or sweetlimes, or something seasonal like mulberries and strawberries, or something completely exotic such as dragonfruits, mangosteen and rambutans. In some cases, when we wouldn’t know when a certain fruit would ripen, there would be some sticker attached to the bag, which would help us out (as in case of avocados). He has now diversified to supply tender coconuts and vegetables as well. He even gives recipes for the not-so-commonly-available vegetables… Cool isn’t it?

 

The next one on the list is Born Adventurer. This start-up is the brainchild of adrenaline junkie nature lovers who believe in redefining their limits with every adventure. My experience with them, a daylong trek to Vikatgad and back, was bittersweet. Although we had our moments, the trek was a wonderful learning experience. Ignoring the aching muscles and pushing myself to complete the trek made me realize that we are capable of achieving so much more than we think – all we need is the will to walk and a can-do attitude. The best part is that we feel so much at ease in the lap of nature, and the view from the top is totally worth every ounce of pain one goes through.  A special thanks to everyone who made the trip an experience to remember.

 

Well, there are quite a few things that makes the next one really special, the one on the top of the list being passion and enthusiasm. For a special occasion we decided to trust the Zomato ratings for Mexican cuisine and not go to the regular restaurants for dinner. Looking at the ratings for The Fusion Kitchen (TFK) at Borivali West, we were intrigued to give it a shot. And I had absolutely no clue how enjoyable the evening would turn out to be. The place is barely 5 months old and already has a rating of 4.5 out of 5!

Although the place is a little cozy, the ambience kicks everything up a notch. With really cool art on the wall, amazing music and a refreshingly creative take on the food, TFK lives up to its name. The love and passion for food they share shone in the way they interacted. Well, the best “jugaadu” part that I loved was the menu – although so simple, it was plain genius. I was pleasantly surprised by the “Paneer Tikka Laced with Dark Rum”: it was something I couldn’t have imagined, and the smoky flavour really kicked it up a notch! My favourite part of the evening had to be “The Flowerpot Surprise.” It looked just like a flower in a pot, and I was left truly amazed after he told us that the “mud” was edible. This one is really worth a try. I am surely going there again soon.

 

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Juugaad.in is a food-based start-up – the USP being that it serves late night food. Although I have not tried this one yet, I am truly a fan of the marketing ideas the guy has employed. It might classify as annoying to some (and vandalism maybe?), it successfully managed to grab some eyeballs. Apart from circulating the usual pamphlets, this guy has spray-painted the contact details on QUITE A FEW places. The most interesting one being on the doors of a dilapidated Maruti 800 car! The car just stood out among the numerous others parked nearby. This guy just gave a new twist to marketing altogether!

 

Flicbox is one of the start-ups that really makes people with a sweet tooth smile (and makes me grin :D). Applying the idea of discovery commerce or d-commerce, this gem brings imported and gourmet chocolates to one’s doorstep at VERY competitive rates (yup… a fraction of what you would be otherwise paying in malls and airports). In addition to that, on Flicbox Thursdays, one can get chocolates such as Hershey’s for upto 1/6th of the market rates! Well, soon they plan to expand the product line to chocolates for the health conscious too. Although the shipping is currently limited to Mumbai, I hope that they spread their sweetness to other cities as well soon.

The last one is the simplest of the lot, and really got me thinking. At a very rare occasion of an early morning walk near an IT park, I came across a guy – no more than 20 (I guess) selling idlis and wadas. The people there prepare the food early in the morning, bring it in steel containers, and serve it to the people on their way to work at a really reasonable price. Summing it up: home-cooked warm food and reasonable price – a win-win for everybody! An entrepreneurship is not always about making a big splash and big money – it’s more about observing a lacuna, filling it creatively, adding some value in the process, and bringing a smile to someone’s face.

Rediscovering History – Kanheri Caves

25th March 2016

7.20 am: I drowsily peeked at my phone, wondering why the alarm hadn’t rung yet. My eyes widened in horror, and I jumped out of the bed like a freaking ninja. Luckily I remembered packing all the important stuff the night before. Switching on the WiFi router, I scoured my wardrobe for suitable clothes. I saw a host of messages on my phone from the newly created WhatsApp group, the last one being from my buddy Adwait, telling me to stop lazing and rush to the meeting point – Borivali station.

Kanheri Caves had been one of the places on my wishlist for a while and I was looking for someone to go there with. After planning the visit to the caves a week in advance (and seeing the plans fall through) my friend Adwait decided that a last minute plan will be the best way to ensure its occurrence. Considering that most of the people back out in the last moment of the trip, we managed to achieve a record: roping in 4 others – my classmate Neeti, Adwait’s classmates Dhairyashil (or Dhairya, as we called him) and Aishwarya, Aishwarya’s flatmate Milky tagged along as well. The impromptu-planning-phase for the trip turned to be a lot more successful than we thought… A WhatsApp group and a couple of hours of trolling each other later, we decided to rent a bicycle each and cycle to the caves.

As almost everyone found travelling by trains pretty convenient, we decided to meet up at Borivali station at 7.45am and take rickshaws to the entrance of the park together. But as I was running late, I decided to join all of them at the main entrance of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). My dad was sweet enough to offer me a ride, and mom didn’t mind an early morning drive either. My sister was the awesomest of the lot – with completely dishevelled hair she was the first one out the door, in her pyjamas, a half-drunk mug of coffee in her hand. The weather was just perfect for trekking, or at least it appeared so in the beginning – partially cloudy and windy. Most importantly, it wasn’t too hot. Although we missed a turn and had to take a longer route, we reached just in time, at about 8am.

Well, Kanheri Caves lie in the interior of SGNP. One can either choose to cycle, or trek or take the bus which goes right up to the base of the caves. The route from the entrance of SGNP is about 5.5 kilometres long.

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En route to the Caves

“Kumbhkaran” Adwait smirked at me as we walked to the bicycle rack. We found that the bicycles enough for only half of us. Sighing, we decided to walk instead. The walk felt lengthy – even though we walked for about an hour, we barely made it halfway. Taking a short water break, we resumed our journey. On our journey we came across people selling chana chaat (boiled chickpeas with vegetables and spices), fruits and vegetables. Briefly stopping to grab a little bit of chaat and a few slices of kairi (raw mango), we resumed our journey. We talked about everything under the sun – CGPAs, placements, crazy experiences, ideas for future treks and what not. We came across a Jain temple on the way and decided to pay it a visit on our way back. We did see quite a few people ditching their bicycles for a short walk or for selfies.

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We did see a few cars and buses pass us as well. “We are definitely taking the bus on our way back,” Neeti muttered. It was kinda sunny now and had slowly become tiring for all of us. We however cheered up and started walking with renewed vigour as we saw the main entrance leading to the caves in the distance. After resting a while, we purchased tickets to the caves and went in.

Well, the caves are under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and they have done a decent job of maintaining them. The cool caves were definitely a sharp contrast to the sultry afternoon weather. Initially we just came across small caves which we guessed were the places where the monks resided – or Viharas as they are called. I hoped there was something really interesting ahead, and my prayers were surprisingly answered in the next quarter-hour that followed.

We saw a chaityagriha – a prayer house as well. It was beautiful, in all its ancientness. The stupa, the sculptures, and a sense of satisfaction (on being able to walk so far) gave us a goody-goody feeling of peace. The caves got us more and more intrigued about the life the monks led, and about our history in general. After spending a few moments sitting and chatting there, we moved on to the other caves. We came across a huge hall with two long rock benches – I guessed it must have been the place the monks had their meals. Well, I found out from the ASI website that it is called “Darbar Hall.” Close enough!

We rested at the Darbar Hall for about an hour, yapping about everything under the sun – the weather, our colleges – the upcoming exams, internships, graduation, getting posted in different cities, and the amazing journey that lies ahead of us. It was almost noon, but we didn’t want to go out – the cool cave and the good company (and the creeping laziness) was getting the better of us.

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We climbed to the top of the hillock and caught a 360 degree view of the place. It looked splendid – although the mid-day sun wasn’t exactly forgiving. Munching on snacks, clicking selfies and teasing each other, we had our share of fun. We left the caves as per our plan – 2pm. Being kinda lazy to walk back all the way, we decided to take the bus to SGNP main gate.

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Adwait, Dhairya, Neeti and I got off at the stop closest to the temple and spent about 15 minutes there. The temple was just beautiful – definitely worth a visit. We walked back to the main gate after that – where Aishwarya and Milky awaited us. We made lunch plans en route to Borivali railway station and decided to ultimately eat at this restaurant called Sai Veg a couple of stations away.

After a nice sumptuous lunch and a chocolate cake later at Monginis, we bade each other bye. Sometimes, all it takes to have crazy amount of fun is an impromptu plan and a crazier bunch of people.

PS: Photo Credits – Neeti 😉

Well, if you wish to visit Kanheri Caves in the near future, here are a few tips that would be helpful.

  • It would be helpful to have a look at the ASI website so as to appreciate it better.
  • Speaking of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the park timings are 7.30am to 6pm. There is quite a LOT to explore. Check out the website to check out what event or attraction interests you.
  • The entry to the park cost around ₹45 (Parking for vehicles extra). Additionally, the entry to the caves for Indian nationals costs about ₹5 and about ₹100 for foreign nationals.
  • There are a multitude of options to get there from the main gate. One can choose to walk the road, rent a bicycle, take a bus or even trek to the caves.
  • Bicycles can be rented at about ₹60 an hour. It is a pretty good way to explore the place, but if you are going as a group, it’s better to reach early as most of the bicycles will be booked otherwise.
  • In case you are carrying disposable plastic items (bottles, packaged snacks etc.) it will be necessary to pay a security deposit at the time of entry to the park. The security deposit is refundable.
  • Carry enough water in case you plan to trek or walk to the Caves. 1.5 litres per person should suffice. Carry a cap with you, keeping the weather in mind. Fresh fruits are also advisable to prevent dehydration and tiredness.
  • If you plan to walk to the caves, you can purchase fruits and chaat along the way. The raw mango sprinkled with chilli powder tastes pretty good, and so does the chana chaat.
  • Weekends are more-or-less crowded, so it’s best to plan a trip on a not-so-busy day of the week

Best Weekend of the Year…. Comic Con Mumbai 2014 (Part 2 of 2)

Part 2, 20th December

I woke up revisiting the highly disturbing poster-losing incident that occurred the night before – in a span of five minutes, where exactly could the poster go! I recounted retracing my steps twice hoping that I would find it, but to no avail. It was just too irritating now. The last thing I remembered doing before falling asleep the night before was booking the one-day ticket online.

I jumped out of my bed at 8.30am and rushed out by 10.15, after a hurried breakfast of garlic-bread. I intended to be at the Bombay Exhibition Centre somewhere around 10.30am. The only difference between this experience and that of the day before was that I had no friends accompanying me this time (All my calls to my friends sadly remained unanswered). Although this seemed depressing at the moment, it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought.

We comic fanatics counted down as the clock struck 11. It was quite a queue. My excitement got kicked up a few notches at the thought of spending the entire day there. Organisers were just beginning to open their stalls to the public. The buzz was just building up. I stood in front of the cabin designed for Mark Gatiss. It was only then that I realized how badly Sherlocked I am. About half an hour later, I saw the people beginning to queue up. The actual depths of my dejection now dawned upon me, as I wasn’t in the list of the lucky-draw winners.

After getting a fresh Iron Man poster signed by Nick Spencer I swore that I wouldn’t lose it this time. On my way to the main stage area, where a few quizzes were being conducted, I passed by the Mark Gatiss cabin. I got a glimpse of him from behind the curtain, and for some reason my heart sank all the more. I paused with the hope that I would find someone with an extra ticket. Too bad I didn’t.

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I spent a couple of hours in front of the stage, witnessing the launch of a couple of comics, a quiz conducted by ACK Media, and a talk with Nicolas Wild about his comic Kaboul Disco. I decided to try my luck with Mark’s autograph one last time. I fortunately managed to find a Good Samaritan with an extra ticket. It was now that I bumped into Harsh, my newfound friend, and a volunteer responsible for the International invitees. It was only after we started talking that I realised Harsh and I had a lot more common than we thought – our colleges are barely a couple hundred metres apart. In fact, we are in the same year, pursuing the same major!

I was dazed as I met Mr. Gatiss. His personality was almost the opposite of that of Mycroft Holmes, the role he essays in Sherlock. I couldn’t actually believe that I got to speak to him in person! I pinched myself just to be sure. “10 times is too less!” he joked when I told him the number of times I have seen each episode of Sherlock. He autographed the book I had gotten, dedicating it to my sister and me. “Merry Christmas,” he said warmly, as I walked out after a quick photo. I guess he did make it the merriest Christmas ever for me yet.

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It was almost 3pm when proceeded to the stage. In about three-quarters of an hour, we would see him interacting with the audience live. I couldn’t be more excited. The crowd went completely insane each time his name was mentioned by the host. It went even crazier when he actually arrived on stage (I was surprised by the fact that he wore pink socks. “Its fuchsia” he remarked, correcting us!). The audience was huge. Cheers echoed each time he said something. At one point of time he just said, “These are just words coming out of my mouth!” After almost an hour of answering all sorts of crazy questions (including “Who-Locked” aka Sherlock combined with Doctor Who, and if Sherlock and John were a gay couple) he bade goodbye, leaving the crowd electrified.

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As a result of incessant hour-long cheering, my throat got pretty hoarse. I decided to have a couple of doughnuts before I left. Although I was really happy about the experience, I had just one regret at the end of the day – not being able to dance to the beats at the JustDance3 stall. My legs were completely exhausted.

I recounted the terrific experience I had over the past two days – reconnecting with old friends, meeting new people, interacting with the coolest artists from around the world, finding the coolest stuff while shopping and finally, enjoying clicking photos and cheering the Cosplayers. As I walked to the exit, I couldn’t help but smile.

It is now that I am able to relate to the fact that everything that happens has its purpose. Had I not lost the Nick Spencer autographed poster the previous day, I would never have attended the second day of Comic Con and would have never gotten a chance to meet Mark Gatiss and get his autograph. As Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford speech, “Connect the Dots…”

Best Weekend of the Year…. Comic Con Mumbai 2014 (Part 1 of 2)

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Part 1, 19th December

“Wake up – Eat – TV – Sleep – Repeat.” This was the best phrase to describe my Christmas break until now. There was hardly anything eventful, other than an occasional captivating novel. The time off usually meant catching up on a much required dose of sleep, before another sleepless semester began. After visiting the Mumbai Films and Comic Convention 2013 last year, I finally found something worth waiting for. Sadly for me this year my sister couldn’t join me as she was out of town. So… decided to do something special for her.

 

Another reason why I found Comic Con fun was because it was the perfect place to meet friends, roam and enjoy, and finally, shop. That was the plan I had in mind this year. The programme would span over 3 days – 19th to 21st December 2014, undoubtedly the best weekend of the year. There was extra-addition to my excitement this year, as the cosplay contest would be judged by Pro-Cosplayers Miya and Shiguma, who came all the way from Japan. The list of international of invitees included Nick Spencer, Nicolas Wild, Dan Goldman, and the icing on the cake – Mark Gatiss… Yes… You read it right…At first I couldn’t believe it either. Being Sherlocked for a long time now, my heart was racing just at the thought of seeing him there! It couldn’t get better.

 

My initial plan was to meet my schoolmates there on 19th and have a good time. Interestingly, things didn’t go exactly as initially planned. My college classmate, whom I intended to attend the Comic Con with couldn’t come owing to a last minute meeting. My new colleague (Oh yeah, I got an internship!) offered to accompany me instead. The rest of the day went more or less the way I wanted it to be – meeting my schoolmates, a couple of whom I met after five long years… The time continuum continues to surprise me. Although the last time I met my classmates was a few years ago, it felt as if it had been yesterday. Standing in the Star Wars a posing with light sabres and speech-bubbles, and with the Avengers, we never realized how the time rolled away.

 

The thing I find so special about Comic Con is the attitude. Although people are complete strangers, the fact that amazes me is that they behave like one big family. I don’t think anywhere else you could walk up to a stranger and ask for a selfie with them without either of you feeling even remotely awkward! That being said, the Cosplay event took the cake. The contestants actually brought the characters to life!   It was bigger than the last year, in terms of everything – the number of contestants, the effort they put into their costumes, and finally, the fun component…My favourites included the Power Puff Girls, Maleficent and Darth Vader.

 

 

Although I missed out on Mark Gatiss’ autograph session earlier, I was pretty excited to get an Iron Man poster signed by Nick Spencer (He’s so sweet!). After all I am an Avengers (more of a Tony Stark) fan. After excitedly carrying it all day, I was more than shocked to find it missing from my bag. More on the lines of heartbroken actually, as it was almost closing time when I realised. Being absolutely positive about the fact that it couldn’t get worse, I decided to go try my luck again on the next day…

 

 

An Evening to Remember

Sometimes the best thing one can do is enjoy the simple unadulterated pleasures of life, forgetting about everything else. Although I have lived in my city for quite some time now, I never have been really inclined to explore Mumbai – especially the town area. The only occasions I remember being there are when we had to board an outstation train.

 

We friends had been planning for a while about going out on a weekend. The plans we made sadly never materialized as there was always some assignment to be submitted or a class test due soon. And hence we just decided to go and have fun on a whim after college. The 5pm walk to the railway station was very pleasant – it was a nice cloudy breezy evening. We hoped that it didn’t rain when we were out.

The tickets barely took any time as the rush hour hadn’t begun yet. We rushed to the platform as the train had pulled in and was about to leave any second. Fortunately, it waited long enough for all five of us to board the ladies’ coach. As we were going against the rush-hour-crowd, we had no problem with the seats. We didn’t realize how quick forty minutes would pass, as we had been busy chatting about everything under the sun. We reached the Charni Road Station at around 6.15pm, and soon made our way outside.

 

The place was a lot more than I had possibly expected to be. As the usual destinations for hanging out are malls or multiplexes, this experience was more than a welcome break. The sea face was pretty well maintained. We were right in the middle of Marine drive and the experience was like nothing I had had before. The old buildings lining the road imparted a completely new dimension to the otherwise plain beach. Fortunately for us, the weather was amazing. The cool breeze was the highlight of the evening. It was nothing short of a delight walking there.

The most memorable part of the evening probably was the fun we had on the beach – playing in the waves and eating junk food at the seaside. Sitting on a carpet listening to some songs, cracking jokes, clicking selfies and laughing the evening off, we saw the sky grow darker and the Marine Drive area gain a new life altogether.

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The train ride back home was a different story altogether. As Charni Road station is very close to the Churchgate (where the railway line begins), we had the seats of our choice. We all were completely sapped of energy and almost fell asleep on the way. The first half of the return journey was pleasant. The crowd in the train however increased exponentially after Bandra. The insane fight to the exit at my station (even though I was barely inches from the door) marked the end of the amazing experience we had.

 

It is surprising that the best moments in life are the simple and uncomplicated, and have rarely anything to do with materialistic pleasures, at least in my case. It is these small moments that I remember and cherish the most.