WARNING: INSANELY LONG
There's something about July :)..For the past 3 years at least, it has been the BEST month of the year :)
July 2008 -
The turning point of my life ...on 30th, I got my Visa to come to the US to do my MS :)
July 2009 -
The 2nd best vacation of my life :)...Went to India after 9 long months..:)..It was a series of SURPRISES..These are the most memorable surprises ever...
I had informed just 3-4 people or so...that I would be coming ...Saranya and Pavithra were 2 of them :)...The LOUD screams of joy let out by them when I said I would be coming MEAN A LOT TO ME :)...and shall resound in my ears FOREVER and ever :)..
I landed straight in Chennai instead of Bangalore on July 1st at around 12.30 am or 1 am....It started off by surprising my chithappa, then grandma, 90-year old grandpa...then...going upstairs in the house and surprising my mum, aunts and my periappa...Most-surprised was my mum who broke down..:)
The surprises continued the next day with me surprising another chithappa of mine ..and loads of other relatives...and narrating to them...how the whole thing was planned beautifully by myself and my cousin Arun...my bro, too played an active part in misinforming them that I was with him in Knoxville :)..
After the great 90th bday ceremony of my grandpa, the next day was super-eventful as well
Date: July 2nd, 2009
Time: 8.30 am
Venue: US Consulate, Chennai
Partners in crime: myself and Mr.Asok aka Vinz
Victim: Mr.Asok aka Arun C S :D
We wait until 9.10 am...Vinz is almost about to leave for office when we see the trademark walk ..from the thalaivar :D ..as he comes out of the consulate...He seemed like he was gonna get into an auto...So..Vinz and I dashed..from the bus stop....to the gate...He saw me running ....It was priceless to see the transition to a face of shock :P...followed by a scream - "SUP DUDE!!!!!!!!!!"...This was followed by slurpy, delicious Masala Dosa at Hotel Sangeetha...We returned to B'lore on the same day...same train...Lalbagh exp...same compartment as well :D....Whew!! Destiny at its best! And of course, our famed "concept" discussions began in the train as well :p...in the vestibule...
We reached B'lore that night...It was time for the next surprise ...The next day morning, I woke up early...at 7 am...went straight to the residence of Abhiram Natarajan....gave him a rude shock by waking him up....without wasting any further time, we resumed what we stopped a year ago...we straight away went to Indraprastha and had breakfast there...
The next day, July 4th..was a memorable one as well :)...I went to Malleswaram in the morning...caught up with Mr.Asok (Arun), Dharu, Babu and Pavan...had AWESOME food at the legendary Janatha Bhavan....After that...back to Vijayanagar CCD...where I met TS and Flubber :)...and then...headed straight beyond MG Road....n met my thangachee, Manasa :)...It was an unforgettable experience ...watching the movie Perarasu@her place...with Gap10's greatest female fan herself :)...that too, correctly at the point where Cap10 was wearing a yellow shirt and dancing :D...much to our laughter :P :P...Surprising Sindhuja was another one to the list of surprises.
I had an awesome time at Daksh's surprise bday celebrations at CCD, Vijayanagar..where I got to catch up with Daksh herself, JJ, Prathibha and Aneesha..I wanted to surprise one of my closest buddies Jayanthi as well ...but thanks to Shayan's laziness :P :P...I couldn't surprise her ...But spending time with her, Shayan and Swathi was the BEST part of the whole trip...I met them thrice that month...It was worth every meet...I never had that much fun with anyone else that month :)..It was awesome fun meeting Pavi, Puneeth, Rama; TR (Thayu); Yems, Raasa; Saranya, Shyam, Subhash and Arvind....(YES! Pal didn't come x-( )...; Sriram, Rufus; Suman..
It was very nostalgic visiting college after one year...and getting to meet Kuthiyaaa (Rahul) and Masci...It was a perfect end to the vacation, by jamming with Cole..
Soon enough, it was time to go to Chennai and depart from there....I made the most of my time at Chennai too...meeting Vinz at Ratna Cafe and hanging out at dearest Marina Beach...
Of course..no one can discount the invaluable time with family....and it was great catching up with school buddies Nithin and Tejaswi.
July 2010 -
On July 2nd, I embarked on my FIRST-EVER SOLO tour...AND MY FIRST EVER PROPER VACATION....All my life, vacations usually meant going to Chennai...:)...with some exceptions like Ooty, Yercaud, Mysore, Shimsa falls, Madikeri, Nandi hills, Pondicherry, Munnar..n of course Shirdi & Pune....Finally, the biggest vacation of them all...was my UNFORGETTABLE TRIP to Dubai during my 10th std vacations...It was a lot of firsts - my first-ever flight journey...my first-ever international trip.....First flight journeys are always unforgettable ( I am sure Jayanthi'll agree with me on this :) )....The excitement you get when you are inside the flight, when you feel the flight moving at insane speed during take-off....everything below you looking like toys and lego-building blocks...the flight food...the weird feeling in your ears where you won't be able to hear anything :)...all this is just indescribable :)..you've gotta feel it !! :)...
Anyways, coming back to the present...this was my first-ever PROPER VACATION ..which I had ...n I kinda felt good about financing this trip from my hard-earned bread and butter :)...Those who know me, know that I suck at planning :)....But this was one thing which I had planned beautifully :)...considering the time and resources I had :)...DAMN...why am I not a manager? :D ...and why didn't I do an MBA? :P
The Bay Area -
Anyway, My flight departed from Columbus at around 4.30 pm EST...and we halted at Denver at 5.30 pm local time...From there, it was a big flight to SF...and I reached SF at 8.30 pm PT...:)..
I took a BART train from the airport...reached Millbrae station in 5 mins....I was waiting for the 9.05 pm Caltrain ...I was happily speaking to Harinee on phone and entering the train...upon which I realized how "responsible" I was :P - I had left behind my backpack!! :P ( with all my passport, I-20 and laptop and what not!! )....in 1 word - i was SCREWED! ....I got down at the next station...quickly took a bus...thanks to a lady passenger who generously paid 2$ for me..when I told the driver I had only $20 notes..God bless her with whatever she wants in life!..This bus left me 1 mile away from Millbrae station....I RAN BACK...dragging along my carry-on baggage...reached the station....and BY GOD'S GRACE...it was still there!!!!! :) Everything was intact...I took the next Caltrain...and reached San Antonio station, where I met Shayan after a year...
The next day, we began by having SOOPER-DOOPER breakfast at Komalavilas :)...headed to
- Santa Cruz beach (not so good),
- The mystery spot (was good because of a really very cute ABCD chick we saw over there ;)...Shayan and I were joll unlimited :P ),
- Carmel beach (easily one of the BEST BEACHES EVER....the water's so clean and cold...and we saw one of the best sunsets here...It was memorable for other reasons too ;)..which can't be disclosed here :P...right, guys? :D ),
- Big Sur...(we had the worst burrito ever over here :) )...But, if there's some place in the USA to be called as HEAVEN...IT IS THIS!!!!!! Big Sur is nature's beauty at it's best....It is very rare to find hills and the ocean together...But here it was...It was simply indescribable...you've got to be there and feel the beauty of the place :)
- Returned to Saravana Bhavan for dinner...it was ACTUALLY bad...the service SUCKS!!! but I ended up getting free food ;)...thanks to the "replacement" policy of the waiters after closing hour :P
The next day, it was entirely about San Francisco....after taking the Caltrain to reach there...
- We took the cable car which went from Market St...to the famed Lombard St....Lombard St is the world's most crooked street..It was very nice to see the way it was built...crooked road and beautiful flowers all around it ...This is so meant to be a driving license testing area :P...
- From there, we went to the Ghirardelli factory...had some awesome fudge...though it became too overwhelming with time...
- Bad lunch at some Indian restaurant over there :P
- The best part - we went on a cruise upto The Golden Gate Bridge (AWESOMENESS) ...and then around the Alcatraz island prison (nothing great really)...
- Perfect finish - we stayed up at the beach in front of Ghirardelli to watch the July 4th fireworks...Magnificent is all I can say! We took the Caltrain and came back to Mountain View..
The next day was about
- BEAUTIFUL breakfast at Madras Cafe :)
- Close view of The Golden Gate bridge (AMAZING AS EVER! )
- Muir beach (AWESOME!!!! BREATH-TAKING!! )
- Stinson beach (VERY DIRTY)
- Visit to Point Reyes Lighthouse (WONDERFUL, but could've been better with a little lesser mist :) )
- Stanford University (STANFORD man!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) the name says it all :) )
- BAD BURGERS...at In&Out :P
The next day was an awesome day :)......I met Aks (albeit for a little while) for the first time after Dec 2008....Shayan and I saw the following places
- Lunch at Shiva's...very nice indeed..
- San Jose Airport (pretty good)
- The Cisco City ( YES..I wouldn't call it a campus...it is a city in itself!! ).....Boy!! Cisco...should be called Chicks-co :P...It has some wonderful chicks!! :P ( Shayan, Isn't someone we know, a good example? ;) ;) kidding kidding :P )
- Dinner at Chaat house (decent :)...but the "chaas" was just AWESOME )
The next day was a total rest day...we didn't go anywhere AT ALL...
On my last day in the Bay Area, we saw the following :)
- Shoreline lake (pretty good)
- Google campus :) (WOW!! Google itself...Thanks to Jaspreet for showing us around :) )
- Lunch at Amber cafe, undoubtedly California's BEST Indian restaurant (SIMPLY WOW! )
- AWESOME chaat at Chaat Paradise (SIMPLY AWESOME! )
- A quick DASH to the Caltrain station to catch the 7.54 pm train to Millbrae...This was when I realized ..I HAVE ACTUALLY BECOME FAT !!!!! :D ...With this bulging belly, I just couldn't run :D..while Shayan did so effortlessly :D....Darn! Time to hit the gym!!
- I took the flight to LA from SF :)
THANKS A LOT, Shayan...I owe you big time! :)
I landed in LA at 1 am...Thanks to Girish and Shreyas for picking me up at the airport...Without wasting any further time, we zipped on...and had a view of Santa Monica beach, Staples center and LA downtown...We reached Girish's apartment...had some AWESOME sambar and palya made by one of his friends...
The next day, Girish, Manish and I took the train to Universal Studios and spent the whole day there...
- Universal Studios is SUPER-AWESOME...Every ride (except the Jurassic Park ride, where the main purpose is to make you wet with dirty water :D )...was SIMPLY MARVELOUS...The Simpsons ride, The studio tour, Water World, The Mummy ride.....all so BEAUTIFUL !!
- After this, we saw Hollywood...Walk of fame, Kodak Theater, Madame Tussauds, The Guinness building, Chinese Theater...and other FAMED buildings...For the FIRST TIME, It felt like I WAS IN THE US of A!!!!!! Columbus is like a village :D...and The Bay Area is infested with Indians more than Americans..It felt like a developed and problem-free India....BUT LA...was AMERICA IN IT'S VERY ESSENCE......We had delicious dinner at California Pizza Kitchen..
The next day, it was once again a late-waking-up :P...
- We went to Hollywood, simply bcos I wanted a snap of me with the Hollywood sign :)...which wasn't visible at night....
- From there, we went to Santa Monica beach ..(LA buses suck :P...it was a 1.5 hour journey! but the chicks in the bus made up for it ;))...Santa Monica beach ..well what do I say? It's the beach where all males wear sunglasses ..so that they can freely ogle at all the hottest of hot American chicks who come there to tan themselves ;)...Santa Monica was good, but not as good as..
- Venice beach, which was our next destination....This one was better...not much of a crowd...a much more calm beach...
- We reached LA downtown at 6.15, scampered to Girish's place quickly...Thanks to Shreyas for some super-fast driving even under heavy traffic, I managed to reach the Amtrak station on time :)
THANK YOU SO MUCH GIRISH PAI ..:)..Was simply great fun with you in LA...But please do send pics soon :P..LOL..
My first-ever Amtrak journey from LA to San Diego...was initially quite boring ...but then...when it became dark, I could, through the window, with my hands covering the sides of my face, see the train going JUST NEXT TO THE COAST...i mean...REALLY....I wouldn't've been surprised, had the water come onto my feet :)...IT WAS SO FREAKING AWESOME...But I so wish it was during the day!! It would've been way way way better! :) But never mind, this was like SUPER EXHILARATING :) ...It felt like going on a roller-coaster in a water park...Well, not quite :)....How do I describe it !!!!!! :) :)...It was so damn super-awesome :) :)...the train was going RIGHT NEXT TO THE WATER for at least half an hour :)...I arrived at Sonata Beach station
where Ranjitha and Avin picked me up...We had some AWESOME food made by Ranjitha :) She has a magical hand when it comes to cooking delicious food ..
The next day,
- Thanks to Ski who dropped me at the beautiful La Jolla Coves...it was a pretty, beautiful place..
- Gaurav Chittoor then took me around San Diego...We went to downtown, where we saw the airport and....
- The famed Coronado bridge - IT WAS AWESOME ..architectural marvel !! No wonder it's one of the world's best bridges
- Coronado island - what a place!! It was a beautiful view of downtown from here...By now, I had fallen in love with San Diego...If at all I had decided to live in the USA, I would've DEFINITELY preferred to live over there :)...The place was awesome..
- Awesome dinner at Punjabi Tandoor
THANKS A LOT Ranjitha and Avin for having me over :) You guys were wonderful...and thanks a lot Gaurav and Ski..for your time...
The next day, I took a flight to Portland, Oregon...Arun was supposed to work that day :P...but already my influence started rubbing on him :P...he worked from home :D :D....I didn't see much in Portland...thanks to my laziness which developed :D...But among the places I saw were
- Pittock Mansion - very good view of Portland from there...and also very good mansion too :)
- Wild wood trail - ok..pretty good in fact :)
- Lloyd Center Mall - nothing great about it ...other than the fact that it's Portland's largest mall...
- Oregon Zoo - very nice zoo, very well-maintained...it was so much fun to see kids jumping in joy ...at the sight of every animal they saw...Aaah! I wanna be a kid again :)...Err..am I not one even now? :P...It would've been better if the animals were awake n active though...but yea..I guess I influenced them as well :P...when I entered the zoo :P...which is why they slept :D
- Rose Garden - very good :)...but there's not much fun in seeing it alone...It wud've been ideal if I was with my special one ;) over here...( Yeah yeah! Ask me who ;) )...Just roses all around...It would've been like being in some love song
- Japanese Garden - not so good...disappointment
- The little of what I saw of Hillsboro from the light rail - not good !
THANKS A LOT ARUN...I know I don't've to thank you...but still...supppp dude!!! :D...gonna miss you big time...:-|
I returned to Columbus on July 27th...thereby ending my FIRST-EVER solo tour :)...in life...of the US West-Coast...:)
Columbus now looks very bad :D...after visiting all these places :).....
PHEW, That was the longest blog post I've ever written :)..
Anyways, last points :) -
- August will mark my tour of the US Eastern area :) - Atlanta (3rd-6th), Chicago (6th-8th), Rochester (12th-19th) and New York City(19th-24th) :)....before I finally fly to Bangalore FOR GOOD...from New York City, on Aug 24th.....through Bombay :)...
- August 11th WILL BE MY LAST DAY IN COLUMBUS, where I've lived for 2 years+ now :)
- Hoping that the East Coast is if, not better, at least as good as the West Coast :)
- I now feel so free...and feel TOTALLY satisfied for the first time in life ever..with a vacation...This was my first trip which TRULY FELT LIKE A VACATION...no tension, no hassles, no worries....NOTHING AT ALL !!!!!!! Just chillaxing and relaxing and ENJOYING life :)....WHEW!!!!!
THE BEST MONTH finally comes to an end :)
Thanks to all of you who had the patience to read this much :P
PS - "July Madhathil" is also the best song of Tamanna till date :P :P