Mildwave

Let the words flow. Let the pictures speak
Notebook

The art of Con

Being a bachelor gives me the liberty and freedom to keep the call bell to my residence, switched off. Having a house in the ground floor, that serves a lot of purposes in Bengaluru. I don’t have to wake up to salesmen practicing their marketing skills and failing miserably. I can dodge the wannabe watchman who dons his uniform only when he decides its time to collect his monthly dues. The other benefit it gives me is an exemption from managing to politely reject all the donation seekers that drop by. Then again, for being so smart, sometimes you do pay a small price and end up opening the door to them. This is one such instance.

Image of opened magic book with magic lights

I was engrossed in my morning rituals, no, I shall not bore you with the details of it, when I heard someone press the call bell and realise it was switched off. For some reason, I decided to open the door. And there he was, a typical Sikh/Punjabi with a not so long beard and the turban. He wouldn’t have been much older than me, maybe early to mid thirties at max. I either did not catch his name, or he didn’t give it to me. With my memory, I am betting on the latter. He gave me a card featuring an image of Guru Nanak, saying they were holding a Holi celebration near Ulsoor Lake, at some ground, and that they would be involved in charity. Then he switched on. Addressing me as a brother, he told me that I should not keep many friends as they hold me back from progress. I should not share my ideas with people as it would hamper its execution. He asked me what time I woke up, and to my reply of 8.30, he told me I should be waking up by 6-6.30 and that all plans that I do in the nights tend to fail. He asked if I was in service and I said yes. He said I had three-line on my forehead and asked me if I had noticed it. I said yes. He told me I only benefitted from the two lines and the third was elusive to me. He said whatever I earned so far was only due to my perseverance and hard work and the benefits of my luck were yet to fructify. He told me it wasn’t my luck that was helping me so far but a family member’s. He said that would change soon and taking a piece of paper, wrote 27/05/2017 on it. He said that would be a big day for me. He further wrote three letters P.H.M and underlining the letter P, asked if I knew what they were. I nodded a no. He said they were what awaited me after the said date. Writing another letter S, he asked me if I had someone whose name started with the letter and circled it. I again nodded no. He asked if I had any friends with the said letters. I said no. He said I would soon be meeting them and things would be great. Then asking me to hold his pen, he tore a small piece of the paper, wrote something on it such that I could not see it and curling it into a ball, asked me to hold it. Then he asked me to think of a winged bird. I said parrot. He asked me if I choose it or he made me choose it. I told it could be either. He then asked me to choose a number between 25 to 29. I choose 27. He again told me that I could have chosen any of the other four choices but I choose 27. Then he asked me to open the curled up paper. He had written P and 27. He then said the P.H.M stood for prosperity, happiness and money!

He asked me for my name. I told him. He told me to always give full names. I did. He gave me another piece of paper which had a list of names and asked me to include mine. I did. They also contained amounts against each name. He asked me how much I wanted to contribute. I simply handed him the paper and pen back saying I will see when I come there. He told me I should not let them go back empty-handed. I stuck to my I will see when I come there point. He said I was disrespecting them by not giving anything. I told him he was disrespecting me by not accepting that I would do the needful when I came there. He conceded and left.

If someone really wants to collect money for a good cause, why resort to tricks. Why not be straight forward about it. Unfortunately for him, I knew exactly where he was headed with his chatter. He blew his trick, the moment he went overboard on not being able to collect anything.

Let me explain how he did it. The initial chatter was simply testing waters and gaining confidence. Deep down every person always feels they haven’t been lucky enough and things have been holding them back. You simply need to hear it from someone and you will be all wrapped up in it.
When I told him I woke up at 8.30, I was lying. If he was a good one, he should have caught it, coz, I actually paused, as if considering my answer, before giving it to him. Then again, he needed to be bold to actually accuse me of lying. From there, the part about waking up early and not working in the night was simply an educated guess.
The bit about my luck changing was setting the premise for the trick. The date 27 was simply a suggestion to my mind, further enhanced by the clever inclusion of it being a great day for me. The underlined letter P and asking me to hold the pen was the second part. What this exercise ensured was that when I was asked to choose a flying bird, even though the first thought that came to my mind was crow, I didn’t choose it as it is associated with negativity. The next thought was pigeon. I skipped it coz I didn’t know what he was upto and I didn’t want him to succeed whatever it was. I picked parrot. It didn’t matter which I choose coz it would have started with the letter P due to the suggestions he had already fed me. I couldn’t have thought of a crane or an eagle.
When he asked me to choose a number between 25 to 29, he didn’t bother to clarify I could choose 25 or 29. He had said between remember. So there were only three logical choices. 27,28 & 29. Not only did he emphasise on 27 before, but it is also the median of the set he gave me and any normal person who isn’t really thinking would choose it without thinking twice. He later added 25 and 29 to the list of choices giving me the feeling I had more choices than I actually did.

There was a second part which I didn’t mention in the story above, since it did not get there with me. The list of amounts written included 2,000/3,500/1,000 and so on. The lowest amount was 500. If i did decide to contribute that would have become my psychological threshold and would have ensured I at least gave 500, provided I had the means. If i didn’t I would have still given a 100. I wouldn’t have dared to give a 10 or 20.

How do I know this? Well, if you watch serials like the Mentalist or White Collar, you would too. 😉

He might have been running an actual celebration for all I know. But to come to the other part of the town for collection certainly raises questions and I would certainly not travel just for a meal. Again, he had no receipt book or an actual invite with details. In any case, he certainly had one wasted trick to go back home to.

The year that was – 2015

Some good natured soul, shared a wonderful message about new year resolutions, and that got me thinking about a lot of things. Amongst them, I realised it had been a while since I blogged. Apparently, my last blog post dates somewhere in april 2015. *On the bright side, I still have a great memory, **laughs** * So, I thought my first item on the to-do list for the new year would be to write more. What better way to dust your fingers than to revisit the bygone. *turns out it isn’t very easy if you haven’t done anything noteworthy. you have to dig deep into your imaginative skills to polish the little things that you did into shiny trophies.*

I started writing for Oneframestories. It is a innovative idea where, a picture is posted every week and you can write a story based on the same within 99 words. So every week, we have one frame and a dozen different stories based on it. As much as it was my new year resolution to write every week *coz you know how lazy I can get and that I haven’t really been doing much of creative writing of late* I have missed a lot of frames, some due to work deadlines and the tiredness that came along, and some others due to lethargy and frames that didn’t evoke much in my imagination. Till date I have managed to make 36 frames out of the total published 73 frames. I started with Frame 18, so excluding the first seventeen, I have made 36 out of 56 frames. Not bad, I guess 😀 (Read all my frames here)

As a kid, annual reports meant craft and rocket materials. They made excellent rockets that lasted way longer, were sturdier and had excellent projectiles! *Its been a while since I made them, must pick one of those duplicates and make some, for old times sakes* Neat reports and numbers were always a favourite. Soon I realised, I could be a part of them in two ways. One, as the promoter who signed them as the owner or two, as a Chartered, who signed them as the Company’s auditor. And that was one of the reasons why I picked to become a CA. To accomplish it both together, feels like a feather on the cap! *It is a different matter that being a promoter of a listed entity or its auditor is still a distant dream*
Sometimes I feel, all my dreams have come true already and that I don’t have many aspirations left on my wish-list. *Then I kick myself, and wake up from the dream :D*

IMG_20151106_110708Seventeen month ago, when I started practice, I told myself I didn’t need an office space and that I would consider getting one when I had picked on a few clients and got a grip over the area I would mostly be around. *Having clients around Electronic city and having an office at Whitefield or vice versa, would have sounded foolish* November, a year into practice,I was finally setting up my office. It was not a planned deal, which goes to show, what is meant to happen shall happen whether or not you plan for it. I was on a work visit back home and happened to deliver a talk to some of my father’s customers. In the chance encounter, one of them walked up to me and told me they had a commercial space that was lying vacant for sometime since they wanted a known person. I was given the address and asked to take a look at it. One thing led to another and I ended up taking it.
I now train articles! Yes, it was just last year that I had written about finishing my articles and here I am already training others under me. I won’t deny that there is some excitement attached to it. Then again, there is definitely the added responsibility to not only teach them but get your work done from them in the time and manner required.

The advantage of vertical integrating in any field is that you already know what is expected and that enables you to save time. It was a wonderful experience to be on the other side of where I was just a while back. *you know you are doing something right when you type a lot of stuff and then delete it because you cannot talk about it :D. This year has been a lot about such things, so I think I should wrap this up short and sweet*

IMG_20150410_064216The travel during the year was mostly work related. I got to go to Andhra Pradesh during peak summer. My nature of work enabled me to a VIP visit to Simhachalam, a entry via the front door and walking right through all the barricades like it was a local temple in your area, was really an experience. The flip-side to the scorching heat was that I finally got to belt on authentic Andhra meals! Lunch was my favourite part of the daily routine. *thinks about the food and drools* The other highlight of the trip was the nursery corridor on the vizag-rajmundhri route. The nurseries ran into acres of land with all variety of plants ranging from a week old to a dozen years old! Apparently the plants are exported all over the world from there. Such simple folks the owners were. Each nursery owner owned atleast 10-20 acres of land on the highway. They get free water and electricity all through the year, thanks to the amazing canal system in place since the British raj. Yes, there was this Viceroy Walter Churchill, who managed to get it done. It is said, when he passed away, a delegation from that place actually visited London to pay their last respects to him on behalf of the entire village. You might not get to see many Gods’ pictures or idols across the village, but idols of the Viceroy, you will see in plenty. They worship him. And why not, he has literally made their life by providing the means of elixir; water.

*I have stretched this for months now and it is beginning to feel old. As much as the financial year is yet to end, I do not intend to use that card and shall consider this as a delayed but nevertheless a post to begin the year with. Hopefully, I will write more. If not, I will find something to blame :D*

VRL Logistics IPO Oversubscribed 74 times!

Tthumbhe initial public offer of VRL Logistics, a transport firm, received an overwhelming response and has been subscribed nearly 74 times at the end of its three-day IPO window.

The IPO received bids for over 1,20,41,97,865 shares as against the issue size of 1,62,69,006 shares, data available with the BSE & NSE showed. Besides the company has allocated shares worth Rs 140.36 crore to anchor investors, at the higher end of the price band.

The final break-up for subscription in retail, qualified institutional buyers and non institutional investors category are as follows:

The portion allocated for qualified institutional buyers saw 58.22 times subscription. The non institutional investor portion witnessed an even better response with 250.86 times subscription.

The category for retail individual investors was subscribed 6.61 times.

The price band for the transport firm’s initial share sale was fixed at Rs 190-205 apiece.

The logistics company, on April 13, received Rs 140.36 crore by issuing 68.5 lakh equity shares to 15 anchor investors like Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund, ICICI Prudential, Eastspring Investments India Equity Fund, DSP Blackrock Small & Midcap Fund, Birla Sun Life etc.

The equity shares of the company are proposed to be listed on BSE and the NSE. The global coordinators & book running lead managers to the issue were ICICI Securities Limited and HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Private Limited.

The IPO, which opened on April 15, closed today.

Bengaluru musings – Flying in a blue dream!

*Ah! A star before the story even begins! Not cool! Not cool! I know! But kya kare, I tried getting to the point directly, but realized, I could do no better than write a line or two. Why? Because, it’s been so long since I last scribbled three months back. Again, that was a post that began another three months back. **You might be thinking why is this fellow giving a crazy stat about his laziness? I do it for two reasons, one; to remind myself, how lazy I have been and two; After that long break, I am just warming up!!** *

About a year into Bangalore, yes, it was still Bangalore back then, I thought of starting this series to jot down little things I came across in my everyday life, giving me insights and probably making me a begin to feel a part of the city. But it didn’t take off and the post lay in the drafts, catching its fair share of dust for three long years plus a couple of months, until I found time to dust it off and rekindle it again.

bangaloreMarch, 2011 – I came down to Bangalore to live a dream, working in a BIG4! In doing that, I embarked on a lot of new journeys simultaneously, taking baby steps across them all. Among other things, I was staying away from my family for the first time in my life. out all by myself in a new place. I was working as the face of an elite organisation, in a field I had no prior knowledge of.  That meant, I had the scope for a very huge learning curve, which in turn meant a lot of stories to talk about.

26 March, 2015 – Four years later, 21 days later, as I walked into a mall for a little grocery shopping, I realized, even after having traveled across the length and breadth of the city covering over 60-70% of the major areas, *no, you can’t ask me if I have traveled to an x area and judge my stats based on it :P* this city still felt like a stranger. That is when I remembered, about this old post, I had once thought of writing, about this new muse in the form a city. I won’t deny that the post is very disoriented, but, I didn’t want to disturb the essence of the original thoughts in it, if any 😉

Now that I have bored you with enough jigsaw pieces and having cleared the entangled thoughts in my mind through you, lemme kick-start the series with a little story – Flying in a blue dream.

Diagonally across my house, there is small grocery store, and each day, I see this old man, probably in his late fifties or early sixties, wearing a dhoti, a gandhi cap and a navy blue jacket, sit outside the shop. Most days, he would be seated on a chair, but on days when the shop was closed, or even otherwise, he was found squatting on the floor. I have seen him sleeping there too. Every time I cross by, he waves, and I wave back. We have not had a real conversation so far and I don’t even know his name. In a city where you don’t know your neighbor, things like this, go on show that deep down the core, we are all social. Maybe some day, in the near future, I will find time to spark a conversation with him, and probably get a picture too…

Flakey breakfast!

It’s very interesting how our mind works, how it randomly links up routine daily events with random past memories. For instance, this morning as I was picking some veggies, my mind wandered to think about the biggest challenge faced by a veggie, while in a foreign country.

In a lot of countries, the concept of vegetarian is very alien. I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until I arrived at the breakfast table at a fine restaurant in London. A glance at the table told me, everybody present at the table were non-vegetarians, which meant I had to figure out what is what by myself. I went to the waitress who took my jacket and bag for me, and asked her which of the items were vegetarian. It was a buffet breakfast with a lot of names I was hearing for the first time in my life, and I didn’t want to risk. She took me around explaining what is what, letting me decide if its veggie or not, and that is when I realized she didn’t really understand the concept of vegetarian. I was left with the option of baked beans, bread, puffs (with a classy english name), corn flakes, fruit juice and a fruit for the day. For the next one week, each day, I had a bowl of flakes, bread and baked beans, washed down with a glass of fruit juice.  Being a south indian, I was used to a dosa/idly type breakfast for my entire life and suddenly, I felt crippled with bread and flakes. If only I had thought of guptaji’s nashta recipes then, I would have had a variety of items to choose from.

Kellogg-LogoAs I was watching their video, this story was the first thought that stuck me. And then as I watched the remote wala nasta recipe, I couldn’t help but remember the biggest war as a kid, sibling fight over possession of the remote! Having an elder brother who had different interests from mine meant the one with the remote got to watch his pick while the other sulked in a corner and ended up watching the show grudgingly. It would have been an easy task to simply coax mother into preparing something yummy and the tv would have been forgotten, just like that.

These little video clips have pictured little incidents that happen in every household, coupled with a simple flaky recipe to wrap up and that brings back a lot of memories. The subtle humor in them helps shreds some baggage. For the sheer gratitude towards bringing back some memories and adding a little laughter today, I wouldn’t mind being invited over for nashta at Guptajis’ and be served any of those recipes with a twist, well, as long as it is veggie. You know what I mean 😉

Now that you have come so far, take some time to enjoy some of their videos on Facebook or YouTube
Here is a little suspense filled introduction 😉

Refilled with ink…

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Pic credit: http://www.gdipl.com/

We humans have this unique quality called moving on, where we do this thing called pausing to keep in touch, until something jolts us, making us re-visit the  budgeted map.

2015, has been, touch-wood,  pretty interesting so far. I got back writing regularly and as an icing on the cake, I seem to be blogging regularly as well. So what about this change?

Somewhere in the middle of 2014 (Read: The year that was – 2014), I don’t remember the date, *no, I wasn’t able to find it readily, and no, I am not going to work on it to arrive at it, I choose laziness* I read about an initiative called one frame stories (Read: One frame stories) where one had to write short stories in 99 words or less. For the next few days, I tried to conjure short stories, but could come up with nothing and like always I invoked laziness and it didn’t fail me.

It is said, to become a CA you have to make a lot of sacrifices. Not wanting to change the old adage, I decided I would reduce writing gradually. By the time I was in the middle of the course, my blog had completed its metamorphosis into Kumbhakaran. True to his name, he woke at those scheduled intervals and went back to his sleep again. Somewhere in between those cycles, I had become a CA and suddenly has some time on my hands. So I decided to reverse engineer Mr.Kumbhakaran to his former self.

One of the factors that added to it was that one frame stories started popping up on my radar at regular intervals. An artist gets inspiration by seeing another art work, like ways, a writer finds inspiration from reading others writings, and that’s exactly what happened to me. I also wanted to be a part of the new initiative which was not so new anymore. I read all about it, the hows and the whens. It was about one story every week, and that seemed a good discipline for my requirements.

If only things were so easy. Thanks to twitter, the imagination came met a signal every 140 characters and the traffic was replication blore. I couldn’t come up with anything for the first frame. One week passed by. This was somewhere in late December of 2014. I knew if this continued, I would lose my writing skills, or whatever little I possessed. So come 2015, I decided I would dutifully submit a frame every week, thereby keeping in touch with words and kick-starting my imagination regularly.

All good things come to an end. So did this one. One day, there was buzz about a coffee table book, the next there was a change in the frame day, a week later, there was no announcement on the publishing, and the week after that, there was no publishing too.

In spite of the abrupt disappearance, it had given me the much-needed rejuvenation. I felt the pen was refilled with ink, good to go for the foreseeable future.

P.S. I still check their page everyday in the hope that they decided to return again. Even if they don’t, I shall always look up to the initiative.

Now that you have come so far, do take some time to watch the video below by housing.com. The music is catchy.

INOX Wind IPO subscribed 18.6 times!

logoThe initial public offer of Inox Wind, an integrated wind energy firm, has been subscribed nearly 19 times at the end of its three-day IPO window.

The over Rs 700 crore IPO (Read: Inox Wind – IPO: Should you subscribe?) received bids for over 43,15,65,435 shares as against the issue size of 2,32,01,121 shares, data available with the BSE & NSE showed. Besides the company has allocated shares worth Rs 306 crore to anchor investors, taking the total issue size to over Rs 1,000 crore.

The final break-up for subscription in retail, qualified institutional buyers and non institutional investors category are as follows:

The portion allocated for qualified institutional buyers saw 35.68 times subscription with bids received for 23.68 cr shares as against the 66.37 lakh share allocation. The non institutional investor portion witnessed a like response with 35.38 times subscription with bids for 17.04 cr shares as against the 48.18 lakh share allocation.
The category for retail individual investors was subscribed 2.15 times with bids for 2.41 cr shares as against the allocated 1.12 cr shares.

The price band for the integrated wind energy firm’s initial share sale has been fixed at Rs 315-325 apiece.

Inox Wind, earlier this week, had announced that it would allocate a little over 94.25 lakh shares for Rs 306 crore to anchor investors. The public issue consists of a fresh issue of shares and an offer for sale of 1 crore equity shares (including anchor portion).

Goldman Sachs India Fund, Swiss Finance Corp (Mauritius) Ltd, Indus India Fund (Mauritius) Ltd, IDFC Infrastructure Fund and Sundaram Mutual Fund A/C Sundaram Equity Multiplier, are among the anchor investors.

The IPO, which opened on March 18, closed today.

Together, we can…

We all have those moments when spent time with the ones we love – our family or our closest friends and it gave us the strength and motivation needed to go on and achieve something, or simply keep going. Here is a story that is on similar note, but a little different in itself, my write-up on #together for Housing.com

Year ends are never easy for a somebody who is into the Audit & Assurance services. The stock takes, cash counts & audits can take a toll. Add to it the different locations spread across the city, and travelling becomes your biggest nightmare! And you if you are somewhat good in what you do, your demand spikes. As a result, client place more or less replaces your home, weekends go on a much deserved long break without notice of return, your family starts thinking you don’t have time for them anymore, and the best of all, it takes a big toll on your health.

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Staying in a hotel, while on deadline assignments, has two big advantages, one being you don’t have to travel back and forth each day and being somebody who is used to travelling 100+ kms every day, trust me, there is no adjective that will describe my feeling. The second is that you get to sleep more, well relatively at least 😀 Now for the bad news; with advantages come disadvantages. The time saved from waiting at the traffic now gets converted into additional work time. When you were travelling up and down, there used to be the thought in the back of the mind that you needed to get home, sleep and come back again. Now your bed being a mere five minutes walk away, you are forced to work more! Then there is the rich food! Food from star hotels are tasty, but, for the first few days only. With lack of sleep, they start to mess with your digestion and your health literally goes for a toss!

It was the season of IPL matches and by the time I got back to the room, even the highlights of the match that is telecast after the panel discussion, after the second match is over, would have ended. Our body can take only so much, and there is limit to everything. Soon, one by one started falling prey to sickness. Like they say, the last one falls the hardest, I woke up one morning and realized it was my turn. The ground beneath me was doing a disco dance, my stomach decided it wanted an overhaul forgetting there wasn’t anything left in it to overhaul. As I walked down to the breakfast table, my colleagues noticed I was knocked. By the time they finished eating, I had decided I need some rest and could not take it anymore. Being the super empathetic team, they readily agreed. I still remember one of my seniors telling me, “Dude, you take some rest, we need you.”

It is wonderful what an hour’s sleep can do to a sleep deprived soul. The world felt saner again. But the task was far from done. In a place where you get only junk food as takeaways and the hotel provided rich food that you are sure, if consumed will make you fall back, it is hard to rejuvenate from meandering sickness. I decided fruit bowl would be my course of meal for the day. Come lunch time, while the team went back to the rich food, I went to the cafeteria for a fruit bowl and a glass of juice. As I was waiting for my order, the manager from client side came to have his lunch. He asked if he could join me for lunch and I agreed. He asked me what I ordered and on being told, insisted on sharing his food with me. He had banana curry, rice and sambhar. I felt like I was having food made by my mom. Apparently he was in a hurry and had to attend a hearing. It gave me an excuse to hog in hurry without looking ravenous. I don’t if it was luck or simply a reward for my dedication. Whatever it was, it ensured the black morning was behind me and the rest of the audit went by uneventful, well at least for me 😉

Sometimes you find a family away from home. New relationships are forged during testing times. Maybe some turn brittle later, but I have been lucky to have found some wonderful people to work with, without whom, I probably wouldn’t have been where I now am. In the run up to closure, there was a time when all of us were jittery and lacking energy. But the team spirit was such that, we bought a big pack of Glucon-D and shared a drink every hour or so 😀 This is just one of the many little incidents that formed a part of my rich three-year experience that goes to show, together, we can! (Read: It is time to fly…)

P.S. Yes, we were a crazy bunch of people to work like that. We are professionals.

Now that you have come so far, do take some time to watch the video below. The music is catchy.

It is time to fly…

“The eagle pushed its fledgling out of the nest. It dropped a few feet, spread its wings and started flying.”
It formed an introduction to a favorite Tom & Jerry show or another favorite cartoon. We grew up watching such scenes as a part of our cartoon entertainment. Back then, Tom & Jerry were the subjects of attention and we paid little attention to other subjects forming a part of the bigger picture.

As I grew up, I started seeing the world with my own views and become architect of dreams that no longer included the master planner parent. I learnt, the fledgling didn’t need a nudge to start flying. There would be rearing to go, the moment they find out they have the ability to fly. Here is my #StartANewLife write up for housing.com

For as long as I remember, I have always been fascinated by numbers, not the technical math types, but the financial types. Having a father who is also a CA and investor, ensured there were a lot of  annual reports dropping by every year, and the neat presentation furthered the cause. As a kid, they made excellent material for rockets! The sturdy papers ensured the rockets traveled farther and lasted longer. But as I grew up, I realized I could also become a part of those reports. I could either be the entrepreneur and sign as an owner, or I could become a CA and sign as an auditor. I didn’t know it was the Directors who signed the reports then. If I did, maybe I would have thought of another route 😉 Just saying.

For a kid being so interested in becoming a CA, I didn’t know the whole procedure to become one, until I actually enrolled for the course. Nevertheless, I soon learnt of the Big4 and my target was to become a part of one. Being from a small town, Big4 was something of an unapproachable big thing. I was told they were very selective about their recruitment and it spanned for weeks depending on the number of candidates. And then again, the result was not guaranteed. Did I want to risk it? I could have joined under my father and easily gotten through my articleship. But, I had decided it would be the Big4. I made it.

Big4 meant I had to move to a new place, away from home, alone. At home, a tiring day after college would have meant eat hot food that is ready and then sleep. But here, there were times when after a 18-20 hour shift at work, I would come home, prepare food, wash clothes, and eat dinner at wee hours in the mornings. At home, weekends meant lazing in front of the Tv and enjoying the Sunday special made by mom. But here, for months at stretch, there was no weekends. It was just another day at work. It was a new dimension that not only molded me as a professional through the vast experience, but also helped me become independent.

Fast forward three years and a final exam later, I was a qualified Chartered. I could have joined my father. My firm was ready to hire me. The industry would have definitely absorbed me somewhere or the other. I would have had a 7 figure package. There would have been no real worry until my parents decided to get me married 😀

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Pic credit: http://www.erikeverywhere.com/

No. I was never a fan of employment, and no amount of money could have gotten me to slog for somebody else. I always wanted to become my own boss, which in my field meant starting my own practice. I was told, starting immediately was not wise. Work for a couple of years, gain some experience, earn some money and then start. Big city makes building your brand difficult. You are still a kid, people will not take you seriously. So on and so forth.

My funda was simple. If you had faith in yourself and God, you will succeed. It might take some time, it might be difficult, but it will definitely happen. So I moved back to Bangalore, and have started a new life chasing dreams. The dream of being a part of an annual report maybe far, but the journey has already begun. It is time to fly…

Now that you have come so far, do take some time to watch the video below. The music is catchy.

INOX Wind – IPO : Should you subscribe?

400_F_41712869_srTcgPy5XKDyzk1ghRgi7H8njQO3mDPVInox Wind Ltd. is coming out with an initial public offer (IPO) which will be opening on 18th of March. The Co., promoted by Gujarat Flourochemicals Ltd., part of Inox group of companies, is one of India’s leading wind power solutions providers. The Company manufactures wind turbine generators (WTGs) and provide turnkey solutions by supplying WTGs and offering services including wind resource assessment, site acquisition, infrastructure development, erection and commissioning, and also long term operations and maintenance of wind power projects.

Co manufacture the key components of WTGs in-house while it manufacture nacelles and hubs at its Una Unit, located in Himachal Pradesh. Also, co’s rotor blade manufacturing facility and its tower manufacturing facility are housed in Rohika Unit, located in the Ahmedabad district of Gujarat. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Inox Wind Infrastructure Services Limited (“IWISL”) and Marut-Shakti India Limited (“MSEIL”) company provide turnkey solutions for wind farm projects. The objects of the issue mainly involves expansion and up-gradation of the above existing manufacturing facilities; meeting long-term working capital requirements; investment in its subsidiary, IWISL, and other infrastructure development.

Factors to consider:

Promising growth opportunities: As was evident from the Budget 2015, renewable energy is one of the key focus areas of the new government, and its vision is to multiply the capacity of the renewable energy sector. Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), the Government of India has set a target of having 15% renewable energy in the electricity generation mix by 2020, implying a total installed base of approximately 100GW of renewable energy generation capacity.

Access to superior technology and project execution capability: IWL has a perpetual and exclusive licence from AMSC to manufacture 2-MW WTGs in India and a nonexclusive licence to manufacture outside India. This gives huge technological competitiveness to IWL and in future the company could look out for business opportunities outside India too. Moreover, it stands out on the basis of the execution capability of its management demonstrated in the past. (It is to be noted that AMSC has recently run into some financial difficulties and accordingly, the Co. carries a risk in the licence.)

Strong order book and earnings potential: IWL intends to use part of the IPO proceeds to invest in new equipment at the Una unit to optimise the capacity of the nacelle and hub manufacturing facility. Combined with the strong order book it carries (approx. 1,258MW) and the expansion plans, the company is expected to deliver a healthy revenue growth ahead.

Valuation: The issue is quoted at price band of ₹315-325 (Incl ₹15/Sh discount to Retail & Employee) at p/e multiple of 29-30 on post issue 9MFY15 annualized EPS of ₹10.76.

Past listing performance: Inox Leisure – Issued at ₹110 and listed at ₹185 in 2006, achieved a lifetime high of ₹245 and is currently trading at ₹180.5

The issue opens on March 18th and closes on the 20th. The company plans to sell up to 1 crore shares held by the current promoters along with a fresh issue of 2 crores equity shares of ₹10 each. The issue is expected to garner about 700 crores. The price band is fixed at ₹315-325 per share. Retail investors (those investing less than ₹2 lakh) can get a discount of ₹15 on the issue price.

The company with its robust financial performance, well recognized promoter group, healthy order book & strong business potential looks promising for an investment. In addition, with its listed domestic peer Suzlon Energy, struggling with massive debts and profitability issues, IWL would emerge as a quality player in the renewable energy industry and attract scarcity premium. Therefore, this will be the issue to look out for in 2015 so far. We recommend, “Subscribe” on this issue, both for listing gains as well as long term earnings and growth.

Adlabs Entertainment – IPO : Should you subscribe?

400_F_41692549_x60kcjqp86BfYo8wrqSNKmPf74TRWq9JInvestors usually subscribe to an IPO for one of the two reason; Listing gains or Long term potential. Since the Company is operating in a line of business which has seen another company receive massive response to its IPO, it makes sense to analyse the Company by keeping into mind its competitor.

The IPO scenario for 2015 has been lukewarm with only two Cos. hitting the primary markets with an IPO, out of which one had to call off the issue for lack of subscription even after an extension and the other had to cut down on the issue size to complete the offer.

If you are a risk averse investor, you should avoid the the initial public offering of theme park operator Adlabs Entertainment. Expensive valuation, limited operating history, high ongoing capital requirement as well as operating risks make the offer unattractive.

The company owns is currently operating two amusement parks — Imagica and Aquamagica — near Mumbai and revenue is primarily from park entry ticket sales, with food, other retail sales and rentals accounting for a fourth of the revenue. The company’s EBITDA for the first six months of 2014-15 was ₹4.6 crore. At the lower end of the IPO the valuation is at a high premium and depends a lot on the potential growth and success story of the Company.

In contrast, Wonderla Holidays, a listed player in this space, had its price band 115-125 at a P/E of about 16.08 – 17.48 and its EPS trades at around 15 times EBITDA and is also profitable at the net level. Wonderla also has a long operational history — its park in Kochi opened in 2000. As opposed to it Adlabs started its operations in only November 2013 and it goes back again to rest on the high operational uncertainties. The price band of ₹221-230 appears expensive, given that Adlabs is yet to generate net profits since its incorporation.

However, it needs mention that in the span of operations, the company has ramped up its operations well. In spite of ticket prices being at the high-end (compared with other parks in India), both Imagica and Aquamagica attracted over a million visitors in its first year of operations.

Risks:

Profitability: Revenue may get a boost as the first phase of its hotel is expected to be operational by March 2015. Other revenue sharing JVs such as the planned snow park in the same location could aid the sales growth. While the company’s revenue is growing, profitability remains a concern. Due to the high fixed cost, depreciation and interest cost, breakeven will take at least a couple of years.

High Debt: Having ramped up its operations in a small span of time, resulting in large capital expenses, Adlabs has racked up high debt. Its total debt was around ₹1,278 crore as of December 2014, mostly in long-term borrowings from banks. Loan servicing expenses (interest rate of around 13 per cent) was ₹54 crore in the first half of 2014-15.

The company plans to utilise the IPO proceeds to repay ₹330 crore of debt. Debt-to-equity ratio is expected to be around one time after the listing. However, in the next two-three years, debt may increase due to planned expansions in new locations such as Hyderabad, leading to higher leverage levels.

The issue opens on March 10 and closes on 12. The company plans to sell up to 20 lakh shares held by the current promoters along with a fresh issue of 183 lakh new shares. The price band is fixed at ₹221-230 per share. Retail investors (those investing less than ₹2 lakh) can get a discount of ₹12 on the issue price.

This is a high risk-return investment that could make or break wholly dependent on the market conditions in the next couple days. Wonderla received a terrific response to its IPO and has risen over 184% at its high of Rs.355 from its issue price of Rs.125. So one can expect decent listing gains assuming the shares get listed on a day when the market is not looking any adverse conditions. Also another factor to consider would be the fall in the share price of Wonderla since the announcement of Adlabs IPO. It means there is some interest in this counter and it could be worthwhile to take a risk.

If you are a long term investors not looking at listing gains, it is advisable to see how the listing plays out and get in when the interest in the stock cools down. It has a huge potential in the long term.

Follow up edit:

As was expected, the IPO received a lukewarm response with the issue being subscribed for only 20% of the total issue which has forced the company to not only extend the period by also slash the price band. The issue has been extension by three working days and is now open for subscription upto 17th of March and the revised price band is 180-215. It is evident that the company has a lot riding on the success of the IPO and the revision in the price band should infuse some interest in the issue.

As of 13th March, the portion allotted for QIBs has been subscribed for at 19%, NIIs at 11% & Retail investors at 42%, there by the total issue received a bid of only 20%.

The year that was – 2014

Isn’t it a little too late to be talking about 2014 when we are already into the third month of the new year? I don’t think so. Here is why:

– Better late than never. Instead of keeping it as a draft in my mind, I might as well store it in my blog and save some space.
– I am a finance person. FY 2014 is not yet over, so technically, I am writing early and not late.
– I am finance person. Every entity under Companies Bill, 2013 has six months from the end of its financial year to finalize it reports. So even if we were to say its 2014 and not 2014-15, I have six months from December, ie. June 30th would be my deadline and am well within it.
– If you are still looking for more reason, you have something seriously wrong about you that expects you to find reasons behind the timing of a post rather the post in itself. Might I suggest some help?

Let’s be honest here. I have no fixed agenda and shall be blabbering to consume the next few minutes of your life. If you have something urgent to attend, you should consider taking care of it. There is nothing here that will turn your life. You can come back later too.

Well, if you are as jobless as I was when I wrote this, then let’s spend some time together and try to pretend you care about my past year.

A.C.A : The year 2014 hold a significance in my life mainly because I finally got a degree. Yes, until then I was only a PU graduate and a college drop out pursuing something they called CA. That meant filling the column of educational qualification was somewhat debatable. Anyway, I cleared the last set of papers and can now brag that I am a CA. *It’s a different point that people either ask me which year or which college when I tell them that and I have to clarify I have qualified. And no, I stopped giving people gyaan about how we do not have a college and things like that.*

Adieu to Deloitte, Blore: Having finished my CA meant I had completed my articleship with Deloitte. As much as I knew the end was coming, the way the journey ended was somewhat unexpected. I left behind certain desires unfulfilled. That was not how I had anticipated walking away, but sometimes life just makes you take certain paths with no alternatives. The years at the firm was filled with rich experience not just professionally, but personally as well. When I came down to blore in 2011, I only knew I wanted to be a part of Big4. Three years later, I had a lot more.

A new venture: For about half a decade, the concentration was only on finishing the course. Now that the course was completed, suddenly there was lot of new avenues to explore. It wasn’t hard to arrive at the decision of practice since it was always the goal, maybe not immediately, but definitely in the short-term. So I became another start-up in the ocean trying to stay afloat.

A new ride: The old bike at home was getting old. I could do with a new ride. moreover, experience with old bikes and blore was enough for once. And wala, I got a new bike.

Then there were other trivial things like India lost, India won. I left Bangalore and returned to Bengaluru. I could go on, but there is only so much tolerance limit each one of us has, so I shall put brakes and get to wrapping it up. And like the sun, it set and the year was over, just like that.

 

“I was at the mountain. And I was at the valley. And I was at the desert. And I was at the river-bed.
I was washed. And I was dry. And I was dirty. And I was clean.
I walked an ocean. And I walked a river. And I walked the thorns. And I walked the plains.
I walked alone. And I walked together.
And I will do it again…” 

One Frame Stories

It is said a new year has to be started with a resolution.I know they are usually made only to be broken, but this one I am hopeful shall become a habit soon.

I used to love writing. Yes, in the past tense, because soon I found out fitting it with my work and study was something of a challenge. To make amends, I decided on writing something at regular. Co-incidentally I had been wanting to write for oneframestories which publishes a new frame each week. What better way to bring life to the resolution than a compulsive weekly submission.

This post is a compilation of my take on the frames starting from January, 2015.

I am not proud of them all, but there are some that I like, and others that have kept me writing.

If I have inspired you to start writing for OFS, please visit oneframestories.com

If the inspiration isn’t that strong, there is the comments section below. Feel free to spam it 😛

ofs73Frame 73 : Lost Glory

“So this week’s theme is farmers’ suicide.”
“Why do you have to be such a spoilsport, dad? The crop looks so rich and beautiful.”
“Managing to get a healthy crop is only one of the concerns. When managing to recover the cost can itself be challenging, marketing it for a good price is more worrisome.”
“Instead of funding thousands of crores on consumer discounts, if someone funded agriculture, wouldn’t we have gotten back to our farming glory?”
“The ex-farmer turned IIM grad just got his next startup idea.”


 

ofs72Frame 72 : God is kind

I watched the stranger come, order, eat and leave in a jiffy. He seemed in such a hurry that he not only skipped change but also left back his bag in the process.
“God is kind”, I said.
“No sir! If I keep what is not mine, it will find a way to leave me one way or another.
By the time I could process the enormity of his goodness, he was already off, saying, “Please don’t leave, I will be right back. I know you are still hungry!”
Now I had to find another way to help him.


 

ofs71Frame 71 – fictional reality

“Look ma! You won’t believe what I found today! I didn’t know you were so romantic! When was this taken?”
“Oh that… It was our wedding day.”
“Wow! Tell me more…”
“Aren’t you supposed to be writing that story of yours?”
“Please ma, I will write this one!”
“Very well… I had the setup all planned and ready. As soon as he came, I pretended to have something in my eye and asked him to blow it out…. snap! We had our image…”
“Really?”
“Tell me once its published.”

ofs70
Frame 70 – The beginning in the end

“Thank you for having my back out there. Might have been a little hard to wiggle out of that one!”

“You mean, saving your life? You are welcome. Although, it is the least I could do…”
“You couldn’t have done anything about that. Having her in my life placed her under the cross-hairs.”
“So you read my file..”
“I had time to kill while recovery walked like a snail..”
“Why are you telling this to me?”
“Your performance was being effected by your guilt. More importantly, she wasn’t your responsibility, they are mine.”
“They?”
“Yes!”


ofs69Frame 69 – The closed portal

She had always known she was different. Today’s encounter was a proof of it. She had been handed a ticket stub and told, “You know the way to the platform”.
“But I don’t have a passport to travel abroad”, she had countered.
“There are many portals to the station. The right pole your folks use to dry nets at your premise opens up to one”, the catlike woman had said before disappearing.
“Why on earth would you run into a pole?”
“Daydreaming about one of your fantasy books again, were you?”


ofs68Frame 68 – A chance encounter
“Good Morning sir, would you mind if I captured your image?”
“Would it feature my facial traits?”
“No. I was hoping to do it with my words.”
“What if I were to give you something better instead?”
“If it makes my story interesting, I am game!”
“I am here to intercept the republic day attack!”
“You are a spy? You got to be kidding! Why would you even tell me?”
“People love fictional thrill. Your words will be left at that. My face, on the other hand could compromise my mission. Also I can spare your life!”


ofs67Frame 67 – Something like that
“What do you think is his story?”
“I can’t seem to get any vibes off him. I must be having a reader’s block.”
“Is there even such a thing?”
“I am facing one now. He could be having a writer’s block for all I know.”
“Let me make an image for the others to fictionalise.””Can you folks keep your discussion to yourselves? A man is trying to find some peace here. And, you were bluffing about the block right?””No Mr. Akthar, I wasn’t.”
“You can call me Farhan. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr…?

“Mildwave!”


 

ofs66Frame 66 – Deja vu

It was that bright afternoon that they had parted ways. How long ago, he wasn’t sure anymore. He had made peace with it; but the realm of dreams were beyond his control. She visited him occasionally. They rarely spoke, but he felt they were happy. His mornings would later be groggy and he would wonder when had she gotten a tattoo done. Maybe she had now. It wasn’t strange, he could always talk to her without being present.

“Did you see those birds in flight? I know what my tattoo design is going to be!”
“Come again?”


 

ofs65Frame 65 – It isn’t permanent
I was late, yet again.
She was simply happy to be blissfully free, not really concerned about my timings. She knew I would be there sooner or later.
“The website had too much traffic. We needed the filing to happen, like yesterday. The client would lose…. erm, Sorry, I got delayed!”
“Its ok. But do you ever wonder where your life is headed?”
“You see that tree there? Its barren now. It isnt permanent.”
“And here I was just wondering, why I can’t stay angry with you.”


ofs63Frame 63 – Empty spaces
It had been a great day. He was able to connect every delivery. His flight and slow deliveries were unbeatable. To lead a team at that age, people saw a lot of promise in him.
That tired but triumphant walk, reminded me of myself. I no longer had the stamina. I was rusty and hadn’t played for years. These days, I clicked pictures. The blues were mesmerizing, the subject was spot on. It was a perfect image.
I cast a lazy glance at the frame that hung on the wall, and went back to finalizing the consolidated financials.


ofs62Frame 62 – Extended Vacation
“Dad, why don’t we ever get Bappa to our house?”
“Can we please invite him over this year?”
“Why doesn’t he stay longer?”
“Is his vacations as small as ours?”
“Stop pestering and look! Or you will miss the view! We can’t stay back for long, its already late.”
“This should make him happy. Hopefully Bappa will change our fortunes too”, I thought, as I picked the unbroken idol from the debri carrier that had just arrived from the beach side.


ofs61Frame 61 – Hide and seek
The festive season was round the corner. The area would always be filled with mammoth idols, all in varied postures, colors and variants. It was their ground zero for endless fun of hiding and seeking.
As she watched the teenage couple walk by, she couldn’t help but smile at the memory of how she had met him around that very intersection. She could hear giggles now. She grinned at the thought of new age hide and seek.


ofs60Frame 60 – Flying in blue dreams

The damage caused by the calamity was incalculable. I caught myself wandering aimlessly, beaten by the thought of having lost my entire project when I came by the duo, who I found, now only had each other in life.
Ricky’s owner had woken up to see his house being one mother earth. Life had come back to square one. And yet, here he was sleeping as peacefully as ever.
I walked up, hoping to find out his secret, waking myself in the process.
The scene was mesmerising. As I made the image, I could bet I caught Ricky smirking.


ofs53Frame 53 – Reflecting upon

After a long day at work, she leaned back and streched. It had been a while since her last stint at writing. The deadline pressure had her so worked-up, even a cup of coffee wouldn’t make the image speak.
She blinked, and there it was, the image she was supposed to see. An old framed canvas with two distinctive wears and some-more. It wasn’t the whole picture. It was simply a little detail in the grand scheme of things.
And it struck her. Deadlines were no different. Her tomorrows were going to be so much better.


ofs42Frame 42 – Of perspectives and truth

“Was she trying to hide her face after she caught you pointing your bazooka at her? Or was it an effort to gain some respite from the heat? Don’t tell me she was wiping sweat off her brows and you timed it!”

“You can take it anyway you like for that story of yours. If you want the truth, she is a scarecrow.”

 


 

ofs41Frame 41 – Disturbing the equilibrium

The diagnosis felt a little harsh to me. For a person who made his living by running fine strokes of colours on a canvas, Parkinson’s was the nightmare of nightmares. I could no longer sign my artworks.
For days at stretch, I stared at my canvas, wondering what I would do next. I could only see retirement staring back at me. It wasn’t until I made peace with the nightmares that I realized; I could use it to my advantage.
I used to paint with colours. I paint with light now.
And I am an inspiration to the masses.


ofs39Frame 39 – Eyes only

“I have one request to make of you”, the lady said. “I know you will write about us, all I ask is, when you do so, please don’t portray us a symbol of poverty. Let us convey a little more.”
The subtle suggestion coupled with sufficient blandness, made the request sound very generic at the time. A hint of smile crossed his face as he signed off the defection report and sealed the file.

 


 

 ofs37Frame 37 – Of rich. And poor

“No ma, I still want the cycle. I will wait for it.”
Every year on this day, he got to make a wish, that they would try and fulfil within a year, failing which he got an option to stick to the same wish or make a new one.
Watching the scene unfold in front of me, I felt like I was back at work. My firm helped corporate houses negotiate the extension of their debt commitment period, their conversion or refinance. I couldn’t ignore the stark similarities. I wondered who was poorer, as I gifted him one.


ofs36Frame 36 – Consumed

Alone in the room away from the rest of folks, she knew her special powers were being respected. She soon built a reputation amongst her fellow inmates for her superficial knowledge on a wide array of subjects. The only one who dared speak against her was the, “wise old one”, who she had mockingly nicknamed as such, for taking objection of her words of wisdom.
Post a scheduled meeting with death, in an afterlife conversation, the wise old one asked, “Were you tested for intelligence before being consumed?”

 ofs35Frame 35 – A Lead Victim

“I don’t want any glitches to foil my plans.”
“Yes boss! Everything is ready as planned. Wheels will be set in motion, the moment you give the go-ahead.”
“I have a few crucial agreements to make before we can execute it. The timing has to be perfect. Any miscalculation could lead it to backfire!”
The placement of the bug had served its purpose. It only took an open window in the area to get the mastermind infected on his holiday. The epidemic botched the timing.
Elsewhere, people continued sating their hunger in two minutes. Nothing had changed there.


ofs34Frame 34 – Nature’s Verdict

“So, what game do we play today?”
“House?”
“What’s it with you and these games? House, Family, Life. I want to do something new. Lemme see, we have finished hide & seek, catch, dodge-ball, jinx, and treasure hunt.”
“He loves me; He loves not; He loves me.”
“So what was the nature’s verdict finally?”
“You knew? Finally! The frame had to hang on for dear life, a good seven years for you to bother!”
“Who plays with shards of grass, like that, every single day? Yes, I knew.”
“Then you already know the answer.”


ofs33Frame 33 – Shared Dreams
To the world, it was the place to be. A firm that inked more deals than any firm managed in its initial days.
The interiors weren’t as pretty. There was chaos. They were staring at defaults. Infringement would mean death of the Company. The inflows were on a drought. The bridge financed wasn’t going to last.
The waters looked inviting. She jumped. The water soothed her senses. She gave up on her dreams.
Then, she gasped for air.
She made it to the headlines next day.
The start-up had a new partner on board. Dreams could be shared.


ofs32Frame 32 – Alter Ego

“Why the long face kiddo?”
“This frame is so hard. I am feeling utterly blank.”
“Come, let me show you something.”
We walked to our attic, and for the first time in my life, I found a section, I never knew existed before.
“Wow dad! These pictures are purely magical. You were a rock star!! Why didn’t you pursue it further? What went wrong? Do you still miss it? Did you have a break up? Do you miss her….”
“Isn’t your story supposed to be in less than 99 words?”
“Dad! I can never win with you, can I?”


ofs30Frame 30 – Bulb-ology
“We had talked about this. It has to be me because Sparkplug is still very young and needs you to take care of him.”
“Hey kiddo, don’t trouble mommy too much, ok? Be good. I will miss you.”
“Me too!”
Later,
“Why do we have to do it?”
“So that the rest of us can survive. We get electricity only if we burn on the altar.”
“Ma, what will happen when there is nobody left to burn anymore?”
“They will dispose our colony and replace it with a new one.”


DMU graduation publicity picture. The students on the picture all know what the image might be used for, that is, advertising, posters, internet etc etc

Frame 29 – A missing trophy in the shelfYet another batch of students had graduated.
The happiness and joy on their faces completely overshadowed the sadness testing their well forged bonds. The enthusiasm to kick start a professional life masked the untimely death of a care-free life.
Yet another batch of imaginative minds would lie untested.

I watched with a mixed set of emotions, for, I could never truly fathom the idea of that life. It felt ironic when I received a text from my secretary, telling me, I had not yet signed their offer letters.


ofs28Frame 28 – Taking the plunge

As he stared at the image, his thoughts went back to the memory of their last meeting.
After watching the sun set in all its glory, they had taken a vow; if they couldn’t be together, it would be suicide.
She had lived up to her part of the vow. He would take the plunge too.
The date had been fixed to coincide with the date on which they had first met.
Tomorrow would be the day.
He was going to get married.


ofs27Frame 27 – Racing clouds

“You are not supposed to race ahead of the boat.”
“But too much of uniformity isn’t natural. We can’t let them know of our intentions. Our limited resources will then not make any difference.”
Just as the five passengers on-board, came into the open, the skies opened up.
The reds and yellows had vanished. The darker blues, that donned the skies now, didn’t do much to hide the rainbow.
Nobody found anything amiss in the whole episode. Meanwhile, the new epidemic that would plague the city had been averted.


 

ofs18

   THE PORTRAIT

   

He walked into my studio late one night requesting for a portrait session. We fixed an appointment. I set up my equipment and said, “Say cheese!”. He replied, “meow!”

     


ofs19

  MUSING OF A MUSE

 

She liked the awkward silence between two stranded strangers. It fueled her thought process, helping her get through the wait and the weather, which had a mind of its own, off late. The clouds opened up before her ride arrived; the pleasant, dewy petrichor flared up her senses. Inhaling deeply, she mused about being a muse; two victims of a million fiction variants.

 


 

ofs20  DATABUBBLE

A week ago, hiding behind the boulder, I aimed my super zoom and managed to capture one frame before being made.

I cannot hide from him forever. I knew it was a mistake to transgress privacy without permission. I am doomed. The rumors were true. A person, meta human as some would term, with the ability to produce data embedded bubbles. This one had my image captured within.

 


 

ofs21  IN THE ABSENCE OF DARKNESS

Searching for notes, pieces of paper jotted upon, he stumbled upon an old post he had ignored over his crazed experiment. “You have always been my guiding light. In the darkest of times when life denies me light you made me believe there was hope. You taught me light was just the absence of darkness. Don’t give up. You will light up many more lives. Auf Wiedersehen”. She was alive. Somewhere. The bulb was glowing. The dry cell had been invented.


ofs22  THE EXCURSION

“Look ma! This is the place they are going to take us for excursion this year. Can I please go? All my friends are going. Please ma, can I?” She didn’t have the heart to tell her kid that they could not afford it. “When is the last date to enroll?” She asked instead. “Next Friday.” “Ok, I will talk to your father about it”. “Thanks ma”, the kid chirped. Two days later, a terrorist attack rocked the place and all visits were called off. The trip had to be cancelled.


ofs23  ALCATRAZ

To the outside world, this was one of the oldest light house structure around. Even though public entry was strictly restricted around the island, it didn’t raise any flags, till now that is. It all started a week ago, when a little known author published his first book of fiction; Alcatraz. Three days later, the author was found dead under mysterious circumstances. A day later, further publishing of the book was strictly prohibited and all copies in the market sold. It was the Government’s worst nightmare. A piece of fiction that was true.


 

ofs24  CONTENT

I am happy and content being me. I don’t see a need for anything else at this point in time. My mother will be cooking my favorite dish and I always help her do it. He politely excused himself from the conversation, but not before inviting me join them for a humble but exquisite meal. I left. I didnt have words to describe those eyes of hope. I felt my experience as a journalist came to a naught. I was stumped. I posted a verbatim conversation that stole hearts.


ofs25  LIBRARIES

His characters no longer surprised him. It was like he knew what was going to happen of every moment, and every scene. He had become predictable to himself. He was facing a writer’s block. As he sat there reading his favorite piece of writing, the new librarian walked up to him and said, “We will have to consider suspending your membership until all your dues are cleared”. The old librarian had been too fond of him to bother. He had found a muse in her. She was Libra. He was Aries. It was a celestial nuptial.


 

ofs26  REUNION

The sky had a graduated orange merging with the wavy waters along the horizon. He watched as the kid enjoyed his moments with his mother. He didn’t know how long it was as he watched them indulge in happiness… The screensaver changed. This one was a picture of his family. He picked up his phone and finally made the call. He was going home to them, again.


A potential history…

image

De answer, a year ago, when I asked thee, to understand, I failed.
Fight each other, thine thoughts seem, an enigma, thou remain, till date.
Thy works, as I scrutinize, an interpretation, to arrive at, thine history,
uncertainty looms upon, thy need for inking, thine musing, if any.

A reason, there is, why, not everybody can write, another, thine pleasure,
thy wavelength, thy inspiration, more questions, poses, than it answers.
Language, a funny medium, a few phrases here, a few there, leaving thou
where thee started, far from, infuse curiosity, never cease to, thine words.

Underneath de goodness, a certain emotion, peeks, pain, deep agony.
Negative emotions, maybe not, missing element, a longing, a possibility.
A phoenix, from ashes, now arisen, felt let down, maybe a pile of hopes, by.
Such happiness, smallest gestures, return, de life, I ponder upon; a phoenix.

Expect history, a norm, its become, beneath pain, and rightly so,
an easy thing, it is to pick, it is everywhere, unlike it counterpart.
Become history, de decryption key, unintelligible, if tried; a feat,
if spoken aloud, sense of satisfaction, fulfilment, create absence.

To stare around, if thou cared to, find, de revelation, staring back,
strength, times of need, make presence felt, let down, a clever ploy.
Make believe, easily achieved, de hunger ensuring, thou miss to stop,
thine appetite, long messed with, de curiosity ensuring continued follow.

– De Nocturnal Poet

Stone cold…

114371

To indite this, another of those dreams, is like; to de heap,
another recollection added, wake up to nothing, I shalt.
A motion picture, it once used to be; a talkie, photo-drama,
a still image, it now is, lifeless, un-stirring and placid.

Bury thine memories, I believed, build distance over it, I could.
A pretence, being busy had been; I gave myself no time.
No control over them, lest de past haunt me, I bustled about,
liberate thee, I only could, from memories, never dreams.

De hunger for truth, blinded by, offered peace, when,
de underlying story, sought, I chose, to penetrate de veil.
Forget, absolute truth, there might not be, no rights,
no wrongs, repercussions, cleverly weaved, all along.

At peace, I feel, I am, tranquil, equanimity in sight,
on de eve of stardom, de long haul, repudiated,
tightly knot shackles, broken, my dream hacked,
out of de blue, like it’s just yesterday, my breath, knocked.

A pile of memories, at my best, I sit upon, knowing,
sort, completely reconcile, I will never will be able to.
De rose, long dead, de message deeply etched, flawed,
A little too much, I reckon, I laughed, I now shed a tear.

– De Nocturnal Poet

De matchstick

 Fireworks, when I am around, there might not be,
come, they shalt, after I walk away.

Warmth, there might not be, while I stay,
come, it shalt, after I am long gone.

Hungry, thou might be, in my presence,
fill thou, but I shalt, in my absence.

The best path, guide thee along, I might not,
shed light, enough, I shalt, where thou can be, to show thee.

Consume light, I shalt not, only provide it;
a matchstick, I shalt be.

– De Nocturnal Poet

Revelation…

An illusion, it was but all, thy knowledge of it,
the very reason, experience it, thou were keen.
Strike thee, solid, freeze thou, amidst nowhere,
cracking through, thy very belief, then did what.

Gotten to thee, the illusion had, the only logical
explanation; an answer, thy stillness formed to.

Thine company long gone, leaving thee far behind,
fighting thine battle, all by thyself. A little patch,
rugged & rough, it formed, in their minds, never once,
the long, dark tunnel, thine mind, that was taken over by.

End of the tunnel, I initially chose to be, beckoning
thee, towards the light, a victory in the battle.
Eminent, failure, I should have sighted, was.
Something was amiss, back of my mind, it felt.

Walk back, for scared stiff, afraid, the knowledge
I possessed, thou were. Hold thine hand, lead
thee through darkness, where mere guidance,
midst heavy rains, coming across a fire, was like.

My own battle, fighting, waiting all the while,
I was, ready to lend a guiding hand, if need be.
Talk about, thou wished, not to.
Grant thine space, I gladly did.

A chance thought, I sometimes cant help but wonder,
the granted space, taken to be granted, turned out into.

Walking in the darkness, I now am. Where art thou?

– De Nocturnal Poet

Just another like pole magnet…



A like pole, thou art, being understanding, repulsion, thy only fruit,
de law of nature, that, it is. Like a magnetic field, a clutter, around thee,
there seems to be, de field, enough reason, for de matter to stay attracted,
a direct connection, knowledge of existence, never felt.

To me, a para-magnet, that thou art, to ponder;
leaving me, procure an external force, where shalt.
A delicate sense of understanding, realization, there lies,
one which, except existence of, find hard; thine being.

Am I sad? No, a loner, just another like pole magnet.

– Nocturnal poet

OFAB: The Journey (Part III)

Chapter 3: Destination Hyderabad

A cup of hot lemon tea, and am set to begin on another phase of a recent journey, the one from a billion event.

Keep things short so that we can get down  to the matter at hand quickly, shall we, gentlemen?

Being the first flight for me, all things, no exceptions included, foreign, it was only natural, to be at the airport early. Two hours before departure? No, not that much though. Anyway, I reached the airport via a Volvo and got down at the satellite bus station, picked up a trolley, loaded my luggage and walked towards the airport to get a glimpse of what was awaiting me.Five minutes later, I was standing in front of the ticket counter, not sure what to do. I had a ticket in my hand, and being smart that I was, I knew about the existence of what’s called boarding pass. However , since the whole thing was foreign to me, I didn’t know where I was to get it, or whether the paper that lay in my hand itself would suffice, etc. etc. I decided on checking the ticket counter, found the Kingfisher counter, saw there was a small queue in front of it, joined it. As I was waiting for my turn to come, I found a lot of people walking through the doors that lay nearby. Each one walked in to be greeted by a security personnel, showed some papers and after a brief glance were allowed to walk in. I told you I was smart. I quit the queue, walked towards the doors. However there lay quite a few entrances and people around seemed to have their own choices. While there were a few with queues formed in front of them, there were others with literally nobody lined up. I chose the empty one. Walked up. As noted, a security guard asked for my ticket, I had only one paper which was related, which I passed it on to him. He glanced at it and asked for my identity proof. I produced it. Another quick glance, post which, I was allowed to walk through. *Yeah, the ticket and identity proof was returned back to me*

I walked in to feast on  the sight that lay ahead of me. *No. It wasn’t the filmy way, where the village bumpkin visits the city life for the first time and gets awestruck and stuff. None of that happened. **And hello! I am not a village bumpkin alright. Get that straight.** * As I walked in, I found another of the kingfisher counters, which I was pretty sure, was for checking in. I went to the counter and produced my ticket. *Actually I didn’t have anything else to do, did I?* The kind lady behind the desk, I say kind because that’s what they are meant to be, helped me through the procedure, the result of which I got a boarding pass. I accepted it as if it were a key to something. *It was only a card with my flight details scrawled on it.* I was told to head to some gate* I don’t remember which because, now flight has become more like a routine. **How can you forget the first one, do you say? Ok. I am not all that bad at memory, alright. It was gate no. 7. Happy?** oh wait! I am not boasting about being a frequent flier alright. After all, I flew only four times. It was only to give some finesse, that I added it. You can cut it off now.*

The boarding gates at the Bengaluru international airport happens to be in the first floor. So went up to find another security check awaiting me. This was those scanning wala security. Beeeep Beeeep stuff. I was asked to keep my bag, laptop separate, all metal objects in it, out of my pocket, all mobile phones in the bag. I did as asked and five minutes later, I was standing in front of a man who was equipped with a metallic scanner who scanned me down and let me pass.

I found my assigned gate, took up a place nearby and settled down with a novel I had. Since I had skipped lunch, I soon began feeling hungry. I had heard about food being served on the flight, but the flight was still a good two hours away and I was sure I couldn’t stay hungry for all that while. So I went down to the restaurant there, and a while later, was found munching on some rice item, looking around the place.

When you have a book in hand and you are a book lover, *Bah! Its obvious only a book lover would have a book in his hand, no? Yes. And no. Even a non book lover is forced to hold a book in exchange for a pass result in his exams.* its amazing how fast time flies. I soon heard the boarding call for my flight and rushed to stand in the queue. *It was my first time. So the stupidity.* Ten minutes later, I was in a bus which was travelling towards the flight. Twenty minutes later, I was comfortably seated. Forty minutes after walking through the gates, we were airborne. *The airport musing has begun again. Sorry! I am not the one to blame please. In fact, if were not for my timely walk out on the pretext of drinking water, I would have been a part of it by now. Can you believe it? Like just about an hour and half from weekend, no way! I think we can have one like for three hundred and sixty five days a year. Oh wait! Guess what, it over. Very quick. I likes it.* I was on one of those two seat-er, on the non window side. My co-passenger who happened to be some IIM prof or something, was kind enough to let me have his place, when he found me trying to shoot out of the window. For a person being on air for the first time, I was absolutely awed by the sight that lay beneath my eyes. I shot a few shots, yeah, but soon preferred to enjoy what I could see to what the lens could.

I reached the airport with an hour to kill before the scheduled time and once again the book came to my rescue. Two hours, a packet of biscuit and a few calls later, I found the rest of the crew finally arrive. It was not until another thirty minutes later, when we were given a go ahead sign. As we pulled out of the airport, I could hear the driver explaining about the things around. I tried catching a thing or two, but then decided rest was more sweeter than the facts.

Probably due to the heavy waiting, I felt quite exhausted and was altering between being asleep and awake. Every now and then I would watch a building or two pass by and then get back to the beautiful blackness.Another day, another cup of hot lemon tea, we begin again. *erm.. I had to finish off most of what I got, to get myself writing.* **The past event had to happen twice with a week’s break in between preceded by a little work which was the culprit behind the break and the inclusion of another set of stars.**

I was told to expect a lot of heat, but since the room was air conditioned, I really didn’t think much of it until I walked into the lift the following morning for the breakfast. From 8th floor to the 3rd was all that was required to acquaint me to the heat. *Shrugs off thinking about it* A hand full of hours and it was already show time.

Kart Kave,  The track, happened to be just behind the hotel, or rather, we stayed at a hotel which was situated just in front of the track. Thanks to it, we didn’t have to take much of the heat. Anyway, walking into a underground, my first impression of the track was, “Wow, I am going to have a wonderful five evenings ahead”. The place was given the form of a cave with the help of POP and the lighting present was only adding to the beauty of it. Now since the lights were facing the walls, the ground was almost in dark except for the track which was lit by the light affixed to the ceiling. The day began with a flag off preceded by a few flash fired. Yeah, they were from my camera. In case you had forgotten, I am the official photographer for the FIDA event (south zone) *Now before you ask, for as long as I know, Hyderabad has been a part of south zone. In case my knowledge proves to be wrong due to some different analysis that you did, or some new search engine you referred to, I request you to refer the previous line and forget you read this.* and am supposed to be capturing the important activities taking place at the event. *Now if you get down to ask me the definition of important, I would tell you important as per the dictionary but from my point of view.* So I had my tripod out and got down shooting. Being my first date with the tripod, I was having a good time shooting around, using certain settings I had always dreamt of using ever since I got a camera. *Before you begin scratching your head, thinking where this tripod dropped down from, let me tell you, I bought it before heading out to the airport. Didn’t scratch your head? Good for you.** Erm.. Even better for those leech tribe that has been making a living off your head 13 degree off north pole, yeah! Right there.** *Getting into my second venue, my dual personality was growing stronger as I continued to take pictures of each and every contestant that passed by to test the track. Thankfully, I didn’t have to endure the, When can I get this photo, Are you putting this up on facebook questions.

As I sat down to review the day’s pictures, the thought of the wonderful five evenings ahead, was crumpled and ready to roll into the bin. I indeed had beautiful shots, more than half of them panned beautifully to include a kart in beautiful motion, but thinking of it, I would end up having the same action, day in, and out all through the week. Also capturing viewers meant having to visit the gallery which lay exactly opposite to the pit lane, the steps leading to the same being at the extreme end of the other side. Given the number of laps a contestant was given, the speedy laps and the time I needed to capture the contestant post race, coupled with the hurry a contestant always came in with, I had practically little time to be else where. Now that meant a challenge to capture something different.

Come day 2, we had a guest coming down to the kart in the form of Raymond Wong,  the CEO of Exxon Mobil. That meant day 2, practically gift wrapped for me. It was certainly good to have the CEO of one of the oil giants to pose for you. We had another flag off, *I don’t need to tell you it was gift wrapped too, do I?* following which the day’s trails began. In spite of all the gifts coming in, unexpected as they were, I had my plan chalked out, thanks to which, I could reduce the pan to a very great extent and include everything else, thereby getting myself out of the, “Ade raga, ade hadu” mood. (Same tune, same song)

The following two days went by smoothly, as I only had one thing to do; stick to my plan, and the shots would follow. They did witness a little dancing around the tracks as I had  to keep running between the pits and the open area in amidst the track to switch between being a shaadi-wala photographer and myself. However since the former was more of just a routine procedure and the latter a practiced outcome, it didn’t much to get through it.  Add to it the minimal number of contestants registered, we were usually free within a few hours after which it would be time for us to test our skills on the tracks.

Back in the school days, end of Saturday always meant a sense of happiness. Why? It was Sunday that followed next, idiot! Coming into the event too, end of Saturday meant a sense of relaxation as Sunday meant, the day of shoot. As it goes by without saying, the day of shoot is a expected gift wrapped day for me. With the TV crew choreographing every little thing, all I have to do to get a piece of their cake is be there and click. However not everything can work your way and those are times when you need to adjust yourself to adapt. Unlike Bengaluru, where the shoot took place in the noon before the final day’s trials, due to the track presence being at a very prominent tourist spot, add to it, the being of a Sunday, it was obvious, the track owner would like to keep the track open for the visitors in the noon, the shoot for the Hyderabad regionals was scheduled to take place post the final day’s trials. Now that meant a few more hours on track, which in turn meant fewer hours of sleep.

If given a choice, I usually prefer to let the sun wake up before me, but not every time you have a choice and this was one such time. My flight was scheduled around 9 which meant I had to be at the airport, an hour’s journey from our hotel by 8. That was not all. The other fellas with me who were scheduled to go to Mumbai had their flights an hour earlier than mine, which meant I had to give up another hour of sleep just to wait at the airport. Thanks to one of the admin team member, Shuja, who offered to drop me to the airport, I saved myself an hour’s worth of sleep. *Yeah! A hour’s worth can be a lot when you don’t want to be waking up early.*Another venue, probably one of the challenging ones, done with.

 

Photographs of the Hyderabad regionals:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

 P.S: I have been extremely lazy in getting done with this one. I began writing on the 24th June, 2011. *That should tell enough about it. If it doesn’t keep staring at it, until it does.*

Chalakudi – Mangalapuram Super fast express!

The weekend was fast approaching and with only one more area pending under the belt, it was only proper that a home coming was etched on the cards. Thursday, the 16th, found me at a travel agency on my way back from work for a ticket back home. Being a person who dislikes a seater, that I am, much to my dislike, I found the only sleeper that was available had no lower berth. What’s more before I could even give a thought about upper berth, I was told all sleeper seats are already booked. That left me with no other option but to go for a non-sleeper bus. So I found myself booking a seat in a Volvo scheduled to depart at 10:15, the following night. Its wonderful how fast a day can run by when you have something exciting up your sleeves. It was already late in the evening, that time of the day when I was scheduled to leave. So I have a taxi waiting to drop me to the pick up spot.

I reach the stop early, enquire and find, the bus would be on time, and I get that feeling something is not right. Yeah that very feeling you get when everything goes by without a hitch. Ok, no. I didn’t have any of that feeling. It was just to make the write up a little more authored than a journal. *That call compare happening in the back ground is a little disturbing. Coming to think of it, I am reminded of the flight attendants’ announcements that comprise of the music at the airports. Well, I can’t ask them to shut up. So I have to endure it. Err.. No, you will have to endure my passing comments, every now and then, if they happen to come by.* I was on the phone, speaking of course, when a car comes down vroom and brakes in front of the travel bureau. Somebody steps out, mafia style and walks in to speak with the travel agent. A heated argument begins and the next moment we have Bam! Bam! Two shots fired, one man down, probably dead. The mafia styled man, walks out, finding me on the phone, pauses for a while, decides to poke his dirty nose anyway and does it. *Because of that activity thing I told you was going on in the back ground, I found myself changing tracks and with the influence of the action novels or movies, I can’t say, well, no! I can. It’s the novels. You see, I like thriller novels a lot, so they obviously tend to impact my writing. What I meant to convey is that, that last part about the shots fired and stuff was a bluff. Yeah, you can read that again, minus the masala. Excuse me? I hope you can recognize the masala btw.*

The gentleman asks me if I was also on the bus going to Mangalore, for which I reply in the affirmative. I find out that the bus which a few minutes back was scheduled was now cancelled due to a break down. *The work break down reminds me of a game called trans. Its short for transport tycoon, a game where you are heading a transport corporation and stuff. The relevance? Not necessarily one. I just remembered it, felt like scribbling about, did. Does that bother you? Ok. As a consolation, it had vehicles which broke down when they got old, or well, every once in a while for that matter.* I was void of feeling for a while and my first response was how could that happen. The ex-mafia could have said, ‘Are you an idiot or what? Didn’t I tell you it broke down?’ But thankfully he didn’t. The agent interrupted with the repeat reason. *ah! Wait. This ain’t that bullshit crap you used to read every time you saw a star and by now have probably decided on skipping the stars for lack of content and context. Well, let me warn you, you shalt miss some very important stuff if you miss this, which you obviously have, if you aren’t reading this. So now that I have convinced you, this stuff within the star is not nonsense, I can freely write my mind again. Whew! Oh no! wait! My mind doesn’t have all this. I work hard making it up. I have to rack my brains for the variety and the hidden syllables. It quite interesting how easily you can write faltu stuff, though. Just as easily as I can make up my making it. Ok. The main reason I drew the star in the first place was that I wanted to portray some of my immediate internal reactions, when everything else popped up. No. Ok, yes. Well lets leave the emotions to the inside, for I am not able to search for them now. Err.. I don’t even know where to search actually. So to the story, gentlemen, shall we? Now, you women folk, please don’t take offence, I mean none. Just penning.*
‘I have to be there tomorrow’ *Sorry for the early break, but if that last line meant foreign, go back a little and reread. You can skip the stars this time around.*
‘You just have to be there, if I don’t, I will be losing a lakh and half.’ *Now that was certainly filmy.*
‘So what do you intend to do?’ ‘I am going to the airport to see any flights are available.’
Having nothing else to do, I try again with the agent. I ask him if there is any other bus. No. Any other means of transport at all. No. The following morning. No. How far would the nearest airport be. No. oh sorry, don’t know. *I think he probably didn’t know proper english. Now since I didn’t speak malayalam we were feeding bouncers to each other.* He asks me for the ticket. I hand it over in exchange for six of those soiled papers people call currency.

I find recluse in my translator, my field senior as a matter of fact. He comes down, babbles with the agent. #@*%%& *#&%*@ *$%&$@&% #@*%&$@& @*$&%*$@ 4*% $*%& $*&%*$# *$#&%*$# $&#%*$& *One, the conversation was in malayali. Two, its written in short hand. So don’t mind if find it illegible. For those of you who happen to know malayali and short hand, but still find it illegible, please be sensible, I don’t understand it.* Five minutes later we walk down to the KSRTC bus station to find if we have any bus going to Mangalore. Surprise. Surprise. We had one. A dakota bus which was scheduled at 11. A super fast passenger express. *I didn’t know the goods carriers were also called buses. Probably so in Kerala. I think.* It was a complete no no for me. I agree wanted to go home badly but not in that bus please. Fifteen minutes later, we were walking on the national highway a bag on the back, a suitcase in the hand. *If you want narration for that fifteen min gap too, then you will have to contact me in person, for with the summary view itself I am losing my readers every second star. So please.* The hotel people showed some pity on us for having required to walk back all the way and of course for missing the bus. I asked if they could find out if there was any flight to Mangalore the following morning, which due to being late, couldn’t be found then, but the following day replied saying none was available for the day.

Having no other choice I went back to the work place. On the way, I found out due to rains and water on the tracks, a lot of trains had been cancelled. *Whats happening with me. You will soon find out, shut up!* I reached the place and found that there was a train that left at 12 in the noon and reached at 8:30 in the night. It was acceptable with me. However the ticket was a problem. Being a weekend, that it was, no tickets were available and general class would be no better substitute for a market. So that left one way. Road. Bus. I was told, I could get a bus to Calicut from where I could probably get a bus to Kasargod or Mangalore. It would take about 3 hrs to reach Calicut and then another 5 to Mangalore, more or less. I made the math. It was 10:15 in the morning, so I could probably reach by 7 at the latest. It would be good. I agreed. A few minutes later I was gives a route map, reading which I got a feeling it was going to be a long one ahead. *No faking this time.* It read Chalakudi —> Kozhikode —> Kannur —> Kasargod —> Mangalapuram. *Before I take the journey for a second time, I thought I would get my self a cup of black lemon tea. I walk to the vending machine only to find it asking for the boiler to be filled. Now that’s fail, isnt it. Is it necessary for me to re endure something to recount the experience? For a no, I could go to the opposite wing and get one, but that would be another journey, and I am lazy. After all I am going through a very long journey you see.*

10:30 AM
Chalakudi KSRTC Bus station
I found there was no bus going to Kannur, but there was one to Calicut in 10 mins.*I forgot to mention the other route told to me. Just permutation combination.* As I sat waiting for the bus with our driver, who was kind enough to sit with me until I boarded, I found that the although the buses had boards reading the places they went to, they were all in Malayali! I knew the next stops would call for some trouble with the bus recognition, if the same situation carried forward there too. The driver announced the arrival of the bus and I got into it. I got myself a ticket to Calicut and settled down. I had got a seat on those three seats and since it was going to be a long one, I wanted a window seat. I found the conductor sitting besides the window and went up to him and asked him if I could sit there. It was the same gibberish again. I would understand none of it. I tried thrice in different ways, but to no avail. It just wasn’t happening. So I just went and sat next to him. He again said something, probably something to do with my back pack, but since I wasn’t going to understand I just ignored it. Another reason to ignore was that it contained a few things I could classify as things money can’t buy. An hour or so later, the crowd thinned and I shifted to a double seat where I had the whole thing to myself. It was supposed to be a three hour journey, but it ended up taking another hour and half more! I was hungry. I was tired. I was at Calicut. It was fifteen past three in the noon.

I walked across the bus station at Calicut and found a help desk, only to find the enquiry about the buses going to Mangalore would on the other end, the place where I came from. There are time when you just need to do things with no other choice. This was one. *That reminds me of an audit where I had to redo a work paper three times before I could save it from being corrupted. **Some lady in the background just opened a perfume bottle or perhaps applied some, whatever, its got a good smell. I forgot my cup of tea.** What happened was it involved a lot of areas to work upon and by the time I was finished with, it somehow got corrupted. Bad times.* I reached the other enquiry only to find there was no bus either to Kasargod or Mangalore. But I could get one to Kannur. Where? It would at the other end! *This is getting on my nerves man! Really. How fair is it to make you walk all the way across a bus station not once but thrice. Fail.* My stomach was growling. Being a big place that Calicut is, I was hoping for a junk food stall somewhere so that I could save some time, but bah! That wasn’t going to happen. So I made my way to a hotel which housed the restaurant on the the third floor, with no lift. I walked in to find the lights were dimmed and it was more a bar than restaurant. I found myself a place and when the waiter came asked what was available. Chapati, parota, fried rice. Anything else? Chapati, parota, fried rice. *Nut case.* I asked him what could he serve me along with it. Chicken fried rice…. I am vegetarian. Then veg fried rice. *Seriously nuts.* Do you have any dry items? Veg. Gobi Manchurian. Ok. Get me one VEG fried rice and a gobi manchurian. Yeah that would be all. A few minutes later, I was served a bowl of rice and a plate of something. I had to stare at the plate long and hard to ensure it was indeed what I had ordered. Since I was hungry, I gobbled up the first half without even realizing what I was having. However, since the first half did some filling work I realized what I now was having and also how good it was. I left the remaining, paid the bill and left.

3:50 PM
It was better than the KSRTC bus, however it was no bus to travel long journeys. Yet, did I have any choice? No boss, I didn’t. So there I was on some bus enroute Kannur.*Hey! I am back. Oh sorry! You are still here. I know you didn’t realize, but I took a break. Actually my collogues found it pretty interesting that I was still at the office with nothing to do but scribble. They felt it was good for me to enjoy a little, so I left the office early which meant I shut my notepad. **My laptop, if you didn’t follow.** Anyway, I am back again. Oh yeah, the airport musing I kept mentioning, its shut down. So you can let out a sigh of relief, for, I won’t be mentioning it anymore. But, yeah everything comes with a catch these days, no? This ain’t no exception either. That is to say, I am listening to some music, and I have this side effect while listening to music, as in, I get reminded of previous moments that I was in when I last heard the songs. So if you thought the airport musing was going be bad, this is going to be worse. Enjoy anyway :P* *Sorry. Just found out India won. Heard it in the back ground. So thought I would mention. A time mark, it would help me sometime later, if ever I were to need it.** Actually the post would be showing the date and time of posting, but still.. Chumma. *** Company effect. Its tamil/telugu/malayali for simply*** ** *

I had made up my mind to enjoy the journey, no prejudice allowed. I tried my best doing it. Every now and then, I was able to spend some time sleeping, but again the slightest of the disturbance would have me up and alert, a brake, a slight touch by a co-passenger, a passing by vehicle honking, whatever.. So it was pretty much, I was mentally awake all the while. So when I wasn’t doing this activity of physically sleeping, I indulged myself in the beauty that was passing by me. Once again, I badly missed my camera. *Once again and badly? Looks wrong, but screw grammar dude, I was missing my camera, not a english grammar book.* *Sorry for getting directly to the once again part without the first part. It will follow sometime soon, I promise.* We crossed some beaches by the roadside. The tides seemed to be on the high. There were beautiful sit-outs, restaurants by the beach, sadly, I was in the bus with no time to stop by. Just as we were done with the shoreline and greeted by some city streets, the rains made their first presence. I immediately shut the window, but the window wouldn’t shut completely. Good, I thought, at least I was getting some cool air helping me drift miles away from the locale language, when the second person, half sitting next to me jumped in to help me, no so called help me close the window. Ok. Lets go back a little so that I can narrate about this character that sat next to me. I was getting tired of having my kid on my lap and since the bus was crowded enough, she never had the opportunity to get off my laps and just when the crowd fell, and I was relaxing with her next to me, this character popped up and of all empty places had to choose the one next to me. *Stop! By speaking of that kid of mine, I meant my heavy duty back pack which is heavy enough to weigh as much as a kiddo. So cut that thought you were exploring. P.S. She is beautiful though :P*

Not long into the journey, he stared with his gibberish. I was lightning fast to tell him I didn’t speak gibberish. Hindi? Yeah. I am good. He spoke about this and that. 99% gibberish and 1% english/hindi/gibberish mix. Yeah that was the mix he used. To add to the fun, a stop later, his friend/colleague/relative/acquaint/whoever happened to get in and our character immediately jumped on. Gibberish….. Gibberish… gibberish.. (sit down) *You can’t be serious dude! This is a two seater!* No no.. Its ok. I am good standing..(all in gibberish *After a while you begin to understand anything*) Sit. I insist. Ok. *I am not going to move. No way. You can share your space, no mine. **If I knew you were so willing to share, I would have had my kid take your lap. Oh no, I couldn’t do it could I? no. I didn’t either.** * And the gibberish communal begins. I remember something and dive in. *I remembered reading a novel where the character, to stay away from pain imagines himself to be happy and all that relaxing stuff. You got it right, if you did. I imagined myself back home, eating dosa and that special mushroom curry, mom-made. Happy. Relaxed. No gibberish. Yeah no gibberish. None at all.* It helped.

6:40 PM
I was at the Kannur TT bus station.
I was lucky to find a help desk nearby this time round. By near by I mean, near the bus I was to board. From the place of drop, it was the same old story again. The luck wore out soon, when I asked the person about going to Mlore, only to find out that there were no buses going to Mlore. Kasargod? Yeah there are quite a few. That way. I board a bus, one which the driver is yet to board, which goes to say, the departure is still a good 15-20 mins away. So I get down, wash my face and wipe it, thus coating my hanky with a nice layer of black dirt. I did feel bad for having dirtied it, but then, I really felt fresh. My psychological therapy was working and I was good to start again as if it were the first. *Ok. No. I am in the mood to write sense, so nope. Nothing.* Thirty minutes, the driver climbed in. Ten minutes later, the engine chimed and the wheels began to roll. The light were going down and the visibility was going from worst to nil. I gave up appreciating the streets, for I could no longer see them. All I felt was a chilly breeze blowing against my face. I needed it to keep myself alert and fresh. Every now and then, the bus went into a city station to pick up some more passengers. The bus was soon more than full, with more people standing than sitting. The one thing that meant was I again had my lap busy and it was not doing anything to help me relax. The spacing was cramped. My legs were beginning to burn. I kept shifting in my place to keep some movement and that someway helped, or I was so badly in need of some recluse that I thought it did. The timing between stops gradually began increasing until a time when it was so worse that I was reminded of the local city buses. It was nine in the night and I was still forty kilometers away from Kasargod. Ninety odd, from Mangalore. *I hate saying Mangalapuram.*

A hundred and sixty odd, from home. To add to the woes, I found from my kind co-passenger that, with the way we were going, we would take another hour and half to reach destination. I also found there was a train from Kannur at 7 that would reach kasargod by 8:30. *Seriously, those are the last things you want to hear, but it was what I did.* I satisfied myself by saying the trains were out of schedule due to the rains and there could be no surety of it. Was it true? I didn’t want to know. *If you know, don’t you dare tell me.* The only recluse came in the form of a phone call saying my family who was supposed to pick me up from Mangalore, would now pick me up form Kasargod, for they got to know the last bus to mlore was at 9:30, thirty minutes away, one and hour journey away. The crowd soon started thinning. The city bus attitude continued. I wondered what the whole point of naming the bus limited stop, if every stop was a limited stop and every bus was a limited stop one. I was beginning to get irritated. I found my phone ringing. Found out that my family was long at the destination. I hated it even more now. I would have liked me waiting. But no. They had to wait for me. It was fuel for irritation. I was hungry. Or I wasn’t. I can’t be sure. All the same, to divert attention, I started nibbling on an apple I had in my bag. It didn’t do much good but my hunger, it was present alright, got a little satisfied. I tried sleeping but even that wasn’t happening. I was probably beginning to feel sick. I wanted to fight it all.
Twelve hours back, I had decided on it. But now, I wasn’t sure at all. I had begun with a sack load of patience and now I was feeling the bottom of the sack being scraped off. I didn’t know where I was or how much further away, I was. I could easily ask, but I was in no mood to do so. It was time for some control. I tried relaxing. Breathing the fresh air, no even that wasn’t being good now. The chill had turned harsh. I closed it. I was feeling suffocating. Opened up a little. A few deep breaths did a bit of help. A while later, I heard the call for the last stop. I picked up my luggage, checked on everything, got down. Asked directions to the place I was told to come to, which happened to just across the road. *How cool. Now that journey was over, everything was so nearby.* Just when I was half way across the road, I heard my dad call for me. I felt all the tiredness drain. I dropped my luggage in the car. Moments later, I was ready for another journey, the last for the day.

God knows what time it was, surely a lot past ten thirty, I was heading back, munching on those very dishes I dreamt of a few hours back. Truthfully, I was no longer feeling tired. A reunion coupled with excellent mouth licking food did the trick. It was all loud talk that followed. After an initial description and discussion about the journey, it was left to that.

1:05 AM
I was opening the gates of my house. A while later I was having a late dinner, a very one late in that.

2:00 AM
I was on the bed, wide awake.

10:25 AM
I was walking to start the day.

*I am back. Myself. No. Won’t be bothering you. Serious stuff. You might be feeling a lot of thing now. Have something to say? Don’t think. Comment. Well, coming again, think again if you thought of writing gibberish!*

ofab: The journey (Part-II)

Chapter 2: Destination Bengaluru

Wednesday, the 18th of May. 10.00 AM

I couldn’t sleep for long. Excitement, exam mood hangover, rest got off the previous day, I couldn’t say. The previous day, I got in touch with my correspondent and was told I would be informed once the team arrived the Bengaluru airport so that we could more or less meet at the same time. I was waiting for the call for quite a while now. It was time to leave. It was better to be on the move than wait and do nothing. Post three bus journeys, one due to missed destination, an auto ride, where both the driver and the passenger were clueless about the destination, I was at the hotel, hotel Lotus Park. Fifteen minutes later, I was a part of the crew.

Somewhere in the early afternoon, we got a briefing about our roles, the dos and dont’s, schedules, the parting note being we would meet in the lobby somewhere around 3.30.

It was 3 in the noon when we, myself and Binoy, headed down to have lunch. We headed towards the chain of restaurants that was situated next to our hotel where we had a choice between Chinese, north Indian and south Indian, namely Shogun, The Dhaba and Malgudi respectively. Since we had little time, we decided to have something light for which narrowed down to Malgudi. We walked in only to find the light food we preferred wasn’t served in the place. With not much time left, we walked ahead to a fast food joint to savour a plate of dosa which seemed to take like forever to get prepared. I even felt like going down to the kitchen and asking the cook cum server cum cashier cum cleaner cum whatever else to let me prepare. Before I would really intend to do so, our dosas arrived. Once we were done with it, we went down the track were the event was going to take place. And the event at torq3, Marathahalli, began.

My job was simple. While the karts ran, I was required to freeze them. To do the same, I was equipped with a camera and a lens screwed on it. Each day, I was required to move around capturing more like covering the event through my lens. I had decided on the how quite a while back. The what, I didn’t know. I was yet to answer it. The first day didn’t do much to clear the mist, for we had a delay due to unseen circumstances and by the time things properly began taking its course, it was already dark. Now since I am not a professional, I do not like artificial light, a little because it destroys the natural feeling and also because I didn’t own one 😛 So I was in a situation where photographers would usually call it a day. Again, since I wasn’t a pro, I didn’t fall in that category of calling off. Also, I was at work which required me to shoot, so I had to do it. Light or no light 😀 The day was over, we headed back to our room, had dinner, and it was time to work.

When I walked in, my plan had been to have atleast 10 usable shots, but at the end of day 1, I didn’t have many pics that I could be happy of. However it was just day 1. Coupled with the amount of time spent at the track.. err not time spent in totality but time spent shooting, it was ok. I came up with 13 shots to depict the story that took place on that day. Oh, wait. Not the full story of course. 😛 Anyway, it incidentally so happened that my story coincided with the profiling of one of the crew members, due to which the editor found the need to cut short my story, resulting in the decrease from 13 to 9.

The following morning saw me up at 9.40, thanks to a call from home. I opened the door to find the breakfast coupon which read breakfast only till 10! I went in to brush my teeth, only to find I didn’t have toothpaste! You are so used to having a tooth paste every time you pick the brush that you take it for granted. I didn’t take into consideration of those times when the toothpaste is almost over and you either have to get a new one or wage a war against the current one to seek fruit out of it. Anyway, I called up the reception and requested for it. When I finally went down for breakfast, it was 5 past 10. The waiters had now converted into assemblers and forgotten about waiter-ing. I was lucky first to find there were still some idlis,  a couple of vadas and some sambhar left, secondly I found Kunal and Siddharth who were yet to have breakfast, which meant I could have breakfast peacefully with nobody sitting on my head. I had two other heads to share my weight, you see 😛

Post a vain wait for hot water, lunch and a couple of hours, it was time again to head to the track, for the proceedings of day 2 would begin.

Our hotel was situated just across the track, so we just had to cross the road to reach the track. By the term, ‘road’ in cities like Bengaluru, it means a double road, sandwiched between service roads. So we crossed all those roads and reached the track. Day 2 was put into flow. Thanks to a visit by Pankaj Advani, yeah the 7 times world champ whose pic you would have seen on the newspaper every now and then, with a stick in his hand, I could reach my target 😉 (btw for your kind information, the game is termed billiards) Just when I thought, the day had ended, Kunal announced we would have Pankaj and his gang amidst us. It was something one wouldn’t want to miss, so inspite of sighting hunger in the horizon, I stayed back. Pardon me for my earlier saying of Pankaj and gang, for it was a gang which Pankaj was a part of. Yeah, he was such a down to earth person, that people present there didn’t even know they had a celeb amidst them. Its a different question that most of them probably wouldnt even have known what billiards would be, even if they were told about him. Anyway, the trio, him, his brother and another friend went karting and probably had good fun. Oh yeah, I was obviously shooting all the while, apart from the one time when I was in front of the cam having a picture shot, with him. In all the excitement I forgot I was hungry.

Also apart from the excitement late in the day, the day happened to be a light one. Coming to think of it, I wasn’t sure if it was due to less number of contestants or faster runs. Anyway, everybody was wrapping up and I was asked if I wanted to kart. My first response was, I haven’t done it before. All the same, I was excited to do it and went on to the kart. Having never karted before in my life, it was certainly a wonderful experience. Once you learn driving cars, you usually tend to be careful about your surroundings, and in my first lap, I was literally driving a car and not a kart 😀 The second lap saw me a little confident giving me the realization I was in a kart and it wouldn’t matter if I hit. Bham! I hit! I had had that experience of hitting, years back when I drove those dashing cars, and this was more or less a similar experience. The rest of the lap and the laps that followed went uneventful. So there is nothing to write about. I just went round and round and round. Yeah those three and the earlier two, I just did five laps. It was a wonderful experience. The feeling of having nothing to worry about the traffic from the opposite direction, the very nearness to the ground level, something worth it.

The following day was more like a routine, now that I was into my third day. My course was fixed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner 😀

It was weekend for everybody, but it didn’t mean much difference for us. When I say difference, I didn’t include the role of shaadi-ka-photographer, I had donned upon. Yeah, I was required to get each contestants’ photographs against a backdrop. It meant two things, one, curtailment of my movement and two, I now became a social networking photographer! The first thing, I could manage, but the second was really a menace. Every one-third person asking me, where they could get the photo. A few went a step ahead in asking me to mail it to them. I wanted to say, err.. I didn’t. Instead, I asked them to mail me. There was even one person who got my contact number and wonderfully he didn’t know how one spoke over the phone. I had to hang up on him saying learn to speak first. There were others who were kind enough to request if they could get their photos. In the bid to get their photos, one person even drove up to the place where I sat by not stopping where he had to. A bunch of spoiled brats, they were, is all I can say. Anyways, the last day of at Bengaluru saw the film crew at the track for their shoot with the finalists, which meant I got more photos and also I had to be at the track two hours earlier than the normal time. We had some choreographed shooting taking place, with the kids being asked to shout, jump dance.. oh, no. Dancing wasn’t involved. It just came as a part of the package. Muft me.. 😛

At the end of the day, we were required to have a photo session with the finalists. They say too many cooks can spoil the broth. I felt the same at the time of the shoot. I replaced the too many cooks by two photographers. Yeah, we had another photographer with us. He was also a shaad-ka-photographer, like in real and myself a recent recruit into the field. I was bang in the centre, while the other fella was at a slightly angled side. He wasn’t satisfied with one shot and I couldn’t get everybody to look into my camera. Result, he didn’t get right shots, nor let me do so. That was not all, the incident that followed was what amuses me. Our digital guy, Udit, asked him for the photos he clicked to which he, like a typical studio guy says, you can collect it tomorrow. So Udit explains to him about the need of the photos and he agrees. He takes out his memory card and gives it. As it so happened, his memory card happened to be a different one, one which couldn’t be used through a card reader. On asking his help to transfer the pics, he says, I usually don’t do this, because one little problem and my camera’s chip with be damaged. But since its for you, I will do it once. I, who was there listening to all of it, was wondering what he was speaking about and what he was going to do. What he did was take out the data cable for his camera, connected it to the laptop and the transfer was done! I wanted to say, if you keep doing this only-for-you-business with every lay man’s pc invariably infested with virus, there is no doubt your cam will be effected! However, I didn’t say it, letting him savour his favour.

Breakfast daily was Idly, vada  and sambar with watermelon juice to wash it down, though one day we had those mini dosa too. Hot water was never hot enough, peas pulao had become something like a prescription, 2 in the morning, a usual witness. The hotel room service was something different, you asked for extra onions, you them in your plate, not in the rice. Food at Malgudi, claimed to be south indian was more or less like any other place at blore, for, after all it was prepared in blore 😀 The dhaba was surprisingly fast in its service, the food too being pretty good. A restaurant near by high on standards in terms of its appearance and ambience lived up to its standard in terms of its quality too. In the week I was at the place, shogun was one place that missed my course. Maybe because I had breakfast there daily, maybe, just maybe.

Monday morning saw me on the way back, the first of the three venues assigned to me, done with.

Photos of the Bengaluru regionals.
Day1
Day2
Day3
Day4
Day5

ofab: The journey (Part-I)

Prologue:

‘Kingfisher airlines wishes to announce the arrival of its aircraft IT2404, going from Chennai to Bengaluru. Passengers are kindly requested to proceed for boarding’.

The last day at the event for me being a sunday, meant I was required to be back at work on the following day, monday, the 6th of June. It was 10.50 in the morning and I was still at the MAA, Chennai. Due to some reason probably something to do with some other flight being delayed  or something, my flight also got delayed, the reason, I was still at the airport, half asleep, half awake waiting for the queue for boarding to get discounted. Half an hour later, I was on board, another few, we were air borne and  another forty minutes later, I was walking back towards the bus shuttle at BLR, a long schedule in store, ahead.

Chapter 1: Bare beginnings

I was back home on study leave. It was just another day of pouring in books, learning new stuff, when my brother found out about this event team force India was up to. As it so happened, the force india driver academy was on a hunt, a hunt for the next driver. The event was called ‘One from a billion’, where fida planned to bring out the driving talent of the upcoming generation. They had a contest running on their facebook page in search of photographers and blogger to cover their event. So my brother thought it would be a good idea for me give it a try, what’s more there was nothing to lose doing it.

A week or two later, one fine night, I got a call, when I was expecting it the least, for something I hadn’t given the least bit of thought about. Like in most story penned down, the stars looked down upon me, or should I say, the people deciding the winner looked upon my work to be the one. I didn’t know what the contest actually was when I first had applied for it and now, suddenly in the middle of the night, I was made aware of the fact that I was to cover the events taking place in three cities, spanning three weeks, yeah! three long weeks. It dawned upon me that I was a part of the big4 and was currently on leave for my exams. Another leave! I wasn’t sure at all. In answer to my first problem, I was told my part of the event happened to fall after my exams. One down. But it still left the second problem. Leave. I explained my concern to the caller and asked if I could be put on hold for the time being so that I could confirm my leave and get back. Sadly, I found it wasn’t possible and immediate confirmation was required. I wanted to blast the person for calling me at a time when let alone asking for leave, I could just not call any of my superiors. I didn’t do that but told it was quite late and was it possible that we do it tomorrow, again the answer to which was a no. So I ended the call with a is-it-possible-I-get-back-to-you-in-a-while. I tried calling one of my colleagues, but I couldn’t get through. So I decided to take my chance, called the correspondent back and confirmed my attendance.

The following weeks went by in the exam preps, yet the nights always gave time to think about the upcoming. I couldn’t fathom a way of getting through it. Yet I wasnt going to give it away without trying. A week before exams, I sent out a mail to my manager. Checked the mail each day just to find none. Called up a few days later, but the reply that was supposed to come never seemed to have come. The week that followed saw me busy with exams and I came to thinking about the event just a day before my last paper when it was time to pack, since my last paper happened to come on a sunday and I was required back at work on monday.

Cinematic-ally, I decided to check my mail, one last time, for the reply that was supposedly on its way. It so happened that the mail that was on its way had reached me on the immediate next day following my correspondence. Due to some problem in my outlook, I had failed to get it. Problem two solved.

Exams done. I was on the way to Bengaluru all set for the event.

Last resort…

tumblr_lkvj3xMSS71qbqasdo1_400

There aint a person to got to, not one,
to lend an ear, let alone solace, words
of faith, belief, lying, under layers of dust,
a shoulder to cry on, not available, lost.

Such time shalt sight thine thoughts, a path
lying ahead of thee, to seek, one requiring
courage, given the situation, thou shalt be.
A deserving place thou shalt forever have.

Speaking out to mother nature, on peaks
of a cliff, in grief, the story of thy sorrow,
woven. The pain of thy heart, as intense,
dense, like a heavy mist, in the air.

In thy last moments shalt thou sight,
the mist clearing slowly, the powerful
sun, burning it out, the world around thee,
as if, gone into nothingness.

The seldom sought path, a strong belief,
one requiring, to come back , faith over thy ability,
in words, shalt write them, thoughts put on paper,
in black and white, the clear picture depicted.

Putting thyself in the state, instead of,
throw that work of thine atop a cliff,
that the world below, resulting which,
shalt know thy grief.

– De Nocturnal Poet

Bday bash! (@akshy8)

The dude and others, with a wrong number ;)

Work in process ;)

The day for him, 8-May-2011.

A quiet silent beast, absolutely harmless, except for his looks. Of course there is the inherent risk of material mis-statement included, which means unless this post gets audited, I am absolutely 100% safe :)

Ok. The dude grows old and we find another reason to have some fun. Rather, we dare.

There is nothing to beat the midnight celebrations, but there are some cases wherein you need to take calculative risks and smart that we are, we knew very well to recognize such situations. Not that it could materialize even if we wanted, for we were rotting some place waiting for our chance to accrue the prepaid expense. Anyway by the time we managed to put together a little show, evening was ready to wish us.

We arrive at ground zero led by @nits4ever, yeah he probably thought he was going in for an ambush. The dude is somewhere in the maze, so our captain rings the house siren as if with a high amount of impatience, only to seek refuge when the dude finally lurks out. Formalities become history, the dude sense conspiracy and wishes to finish off the remaining business back inside, but our captain succeeds in luring him out. A landmine look alike stood atop a silver base, decorated with white toppings waiting for it to be cut apart by the dude. Cutting apart aside, the dude finds himself constantly in the look out for the conspiracy he expects. We feel no point in delaying the honor and our battalion launches itself upon him. A brave young lad, dares enough to bring in grenades, white little, fragile ones, and wastes no time in blasting them. Although a little in experienced, he manages to do pretty well by missing only thrice in the process. It is soon followed by a fusillade of chilling liquidized CO2, the last of the weapons. To finish things off, the victory team gets a snapshot.

PS: The brave young lad finds himself threatened for a counter attack of grenades, very soon. The team members thank their stars for not attempting the booting attack:D

Post ceremony