Friday, October 21, 2016

Pune Oktoberfest 2016

It is the third week of October and the Oktoberfest is over in Pune.  It is one opportunity where I get to click some good candid pictures, like this one - a special kiss: 

Or the one of this couple who were totally engrossed by the music belted out by the live band.

I tried to click this child enjoying a ride, but the parents spotted me and was quick with an appropriate smile. 

Conducted by the IGCC (Indo German Chamber of Commerce-Pune) it is held every year at the Pune Race Course premises.
Youngsters and the not the so young come for a swig and  to shake a leg: 

Some like to pose with the band while others are real quick in posing when they see that my camera is pointed at them (taking selfies has made them an expert in this field) 

In this video you can see how this guy below (in red tee shirt) got himself into this funny pose.  

Did make a few videos and uploaded them on You Tube, while some are on the FB site of Pune Oktoberfest.

If you are patient enough, you can get some profile pictures with a good dark background.

Space is the main constraint especially when it comes to dancing, and trying to capture some action in that crowd is not easy. 

Earlier during the day, there was the horse race with some of the sponsors keen to see their horses win. 

At this enclosure, I saw this bell, probably hanging there from the British era. It may not be in use now, but I like the shine on it. 

Also saw this photographer catching a few winks while taking care of his gear too. 

Got some more footage of the dance and the band in action. Will link those videos here later, once I compile them. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Small islands on Andaman

One of the places to visit in the Andamans is the Munda Pahar. The beach is shallow and good for kids to play. They have earmarked some safe zone where you can venture out into the water. 

I liked the way they have carved out the fallen trees into some lovely sit-outs. 

We did some horsing around clicking some pictures. Setting the camera on timer and rushing back to hold the pose in 10 seconds is really a challenge. 

Earlier we had been to the Red Skin Island (from Wandoor Jetty) Before landing on the island they give you a teaser of watching the coral and the sea bed from a glass bottom boat. Photographing the coral through the glass bottom is a difficult task. 

This is a good place for guys who love and study corals. I saw some guys snorkeling in the area. 

It seems the Red Skin and Jolly Buoy are opened alternately for six months. This is to preserve the ecological balance. The ride to all these islands by the ferry always gives you some good view of the tiny islands that Andaman is made of.  

There is a light house which adds to the old world charm. 

It is said that this lighthouse can be seen on the Indian 20 rupee note.
It kept alternating between clear weather and rain, hence the angry clouds.
One of the items that I have ticked off from my bucket list is scuba diving.

North Bay Island is a good place for scuba diving, something that I thought I will never be able to do. 

They give you training for about 15 minutes and assess your confidence level. If you are convinced that you can do it, they take you further out into the sea where you can dive to about 40 feet. 

It is a wonderful world down there and one should not miss a chance to see it. Here is a video on it.

A few things to note about scuba diving, it is not necessary for you to know swimming to dive. The lead weight belt that you wear takes you down and the buoyancy compensator takes you up by releasing a knob.
On the whole, a wonderful experience.    

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ross Island

The first thing that greets you as soon as you land on Ross Island are the deer. They are friendly and gather around you, (mainly looking for food)  

There were instances where the deer tried to escape from the island, maybe due to lack of food or drinking water. 
The island gets its name from Daniel Ross, a marine surveyor. It became the natural choice for the settlers (British) due to its commanding geographical location. Settlers went about recreating a home far away from home with vigour, so much so that the island soon earned the name of “Paris of the East” Soon churches, homes for the  British and Indian officers, store houses, shops, printing press, hospital, post office, tennis court, mineral water plant, swimming pool, bakery, library and general stores came up. An entire bazaar and three separate clubs were constructed. About 500 personnel including officers, troops, Indian merchants and families lived at Ross Island.  

The bakery still stands, but is in ruins. 

And so are some of the living quarters 

Since 1979 the Indian Navy has set up a small permanent post here. No one is allowed to settle on the island.  What you get to see are a few air raid bunkers like this one, built by the Japanese during their reign at the fag end of WW-II   

  There are very few who has been to Ross Island and not met Anuradha Rao. 

Its been a life time that she was on the island and has a good rapport with the animals and the birds. The deer, squirrel, and birds  respond to her call. 

Once while feeding the deer I noticed a squabble between two deer. She immediately called out to them by their name and told them to stop the fight. That is when I realized that she had names for each one of them.
When the Japanese invaded, her grandfather, who was involved in the Indian freedom struggle at that time, was a prisoner of the British on the island. He was executed by the Japanese on the suspicion of being a “British spy” 
The bread that she feeds them is without yeast. She says that Yeast is not good for the deer and can even kill them.

The island which was 200 acres in size, lost about 130 acres due to the earthquake in 1941. The 2004 tsunami also took its toll of the island but on a lesser scale as the main impact was on Nicobar and not Andaman.

Like Ms Anuradha Rao said, its only when you visit such places and understand their history that you can comprehend the scale of the sacrifice made by people of another generation, so that we can live in freedom”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Connie's at Bangalore

Was in Bangalore last month and had been to this eating joint by the name of Connie’s at St Thomas town, Kamanahalli.

After a long time enjoyed a place for its ambiance, service and the food. Need not be in the same order, but then all the boxes get ticked and you don’t mind spending some money to have a good evening.
Their servings are very generous and delicious. The complimentary garlic bread too is great. You pick any meat and they will do it the right way for you. It has been more than a month, but I can still savour those perfectly done ribs. Sorry, I did not click any of the items that we ordered as I was busy enjoying the music. Or rather taking in how the guests were enjoying the music. 

Its very rare that you see the guests enjoy the music and take part in the live music by singing and dancing. 

And when I say dancing, it includes all age group, right from the small kids to elderly couples as can be seen in the video.

I think one of the reasons for the repeat guests are those old classics from the fifties, sixties and seventies.

 Oh yes I clicked the desert and here it is. 

When you visit, do read the comments left by the guests, which adorns the walls. 

The next time I visit, I will make it a point to read all the comments (and may be attach some more to this blog post)
I would recommend that you book in advance before visiting as the tables are limited and the guests are not in a hurry to leave.

Like one of the comments says – Going Home with a Big Smile.