Friday, September 26, 2008

My New Bike

I bought a brand new Bajaj XCD DTSI 125 cc bike today, for Rs. 48,169, with a down payment of the whole amount, at the Khivraj Bajaj showroom here in Indira Nagar. After a week's time of research on the internet, reading up lots of negative and positive reviews about this model and other bikes, asking people about their views, visiting Hero Honda showroom and comparing the features with other models, I decided to buy this one. The bike is black in colour. I have already started loving it. The dealer promised a mileage of 65-70 kmpl. I hope it renders as promised. As far as looks of the bike go, I like the bike a lot. I had taken a test ride on the bike 2 days ago and it was very comfortable and smooth. So was it now, when I rode the bike from the showroom to Krish's place (where I'm temporarily put up). I promptly got a helmet too, for Rs. 1050. Registration work for the bike is not completed yet and I expect it to be over by monday.

I now have two 2 wheelers. The other one is my Honda Activa, which is in Chennai now. I'm totally excited about my new bike. Looking forward to many happy and safe rides on it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paid Vacation Gets Over

I left Bangalore on July 16th, for training at New York. I came back on September 14th. The 2 months in Manhattan was fun, despite the few initial shocks - economy class was such a punishment (very painful), weather at NY was extremely hot (comparable with Chennai), NY was totally unclean (garbage and waste everywhere), the train stations can bake us alive (that hot), people don't wait for the signals to cross the road, etc. As I mentioned, these were no hurdles in our way to fun, making the trip more of a vacation, though the purpose of the trip was training.

We (all the new joiners) had the luxury to get an accommodation at mid-town, Manhattan. We stayed at Eastgate Tower Hotel (at 39th St between 2nd & 3rd Av). We used the metro trains 4, 5 and 6 for commuting to office.

Places I went to, during the US trip :-

  1. Atlantic City - I won 45$ on the slot machine
  2. Six Flags, an Adventure Park featuring roller-coasters like Kingda Ka (tallest and fastest in the world), El Toro, Superman, Batman, Nitro and many more - I went on all the rides
  3. WWE RAW, a house show - Though I had lost interest in WWE way back in school, the real thing, with the crowd cheering unanimously, was an awesome experience. The crowd went crazy for John Cena and C.M. Punk. Adding to the exhilaration, D'Lo Brown (my childhood favourite) had a fight that night. Though he lost, he and his attitude were awesome in the ring as always.
  4. Niagara falls, a wonder of the world - The experience was out of the world, not to mention Maid of the Mist, which was a boat ride to the foot of the falls, from where you can see the horse-shoe falls surrounding you. The scenic beauty of the falls at night goes beyond words. On the way to Niagara falls, we went to Corning Glass Museum, which was amazing too. Buffet dinner at a Chinese restaurant on the way proved to be the heaviest meal I had in US. I had 5 servings of fried rice and noodles, one serving of a variety of fruits and one more of ice-cream (3 flavours), all for $12. The food was very good.
  5. Broadway Show - Phantom of the Opera - Oh, how can I ever describe this? Is superb the word? This Broadway's longest running musical was an orchestral performance, magic show, dance performance and many more (don't forget acting skills) put together with an amazing exhibition of stage management, both onstage and backstage. The music, still playing in my head, just blew me away that night.
  6. Columbus - I visited Ramu mama's house for 3 days. It was a pleasant stay at their place. I played a lot with the kids. We also went to a water-theme park and a bowling alley. They have a palace for a home. Their dog Duke, which scared me to death initially, was actually very friendly. I am now less scared of dogs.
  7. Brooklyn bridge, Central Park, Bronx zoo, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not, American Museum of Natural History (where the movie Night At The Museum was shot), Top of the Rock (Rockefellar Plaza), Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets (where I bought my Nike shoes), Times Square and other stuff made huge contributions in making the trip very memorable.

I also went to Janaka chithi's home at Staten Island, NY. She was very loving and affectionate, and gave me all the food I needed for the stay. Raghu chithappa was interesting to talk to and we talked a lot. I also met Ram and Sumi. Right from the first visit, Staten Island became my home in NY. The ferry ride to and from Staten Island, not only gives the best view of the Statue of Liberty, but also makes anyone wish that every frame which his eye records could be taken as a photograph and kept for life.

On our journey back to Bangalore, four of us (Karthik, Shravani, Aparna and myself) had a 13 hours halt at Dubai. So we took an on-arrival transit VISA at the Dubai airport for $145 and took a tour around Dubai for $45 with the Dubai Big Bus Tours. The Jumeirah Beach was very clean, beautiful and tempting, and the Burj Al Arab was magnificent and eye-catching. The Dubai museum is an underground museum and was originally an underground fort built in the 1800's. We had nice fun at this museum. Karthik lost his wallet in the public bus just after we left Dubai airport. It was quite an experience even to have a friend losing his wallet in a foreign country, with a plane to catch in some hours. Karthik however took it light as with anything else and enjoyed Dubai with us.

In a nutshell, the whole trip was fun-packed and awesome. But I'm happy to be back in India now, even if paid vacation is over and real work starts.