Courte voyage sur Pondicherry...

... or a short trip to Pondicherry, as we say in English. Thursday and Friday were holidays for our team in office. Temesh and I decided that we will go on a trip to Pondicherry taking advantage of the extended weekend. Vimal, Sathish, Vijay and Kapil also decided to join us. Primary inspiration and information for this trip was gathered from Anu's digital world.

Thursday morning, six of us gathered in the Kempe Gowda Bus Terminus. The KSRTC Airavat (Volvo) bus started at 8:40. The bus stopped twice on its way to Pondicherry, finally reaching at 15:00. We checked in to our guest house, and soon came out to explore Pondicherry. A stroll on Goubert Street (or Beach Road as it is popularly known as), shows you the French connection. The buildings, clean streets, the old lighthouse, the road signs all tell tales of French colonial times. After sunset, we came back to the “Indian” side of Pondicherry. This side of the city is like any other small town in India – crowded, dirty and chaotic.

The next morning, Temesh and I went out at 5:40 to see the sunrise. An hour of roaming around the clean streets, clicking a few photographs was a perfect start to a long day. Later we went to the bus stand to bid adieu to Sathish – he left Pondicherry for his home town.

After breakfast we went to Aurobindo Ashram. Then we hired bicycles and explored the city. This is probably the best way to see the city. After three hours of cycling, we called it quits and took a taxi to Auroville. Auroville is a planned international city, for people who are spiritual and wants to live a divine life, without following any religion. We enjoyed our tour there and shopped quite a lot, in the end.

After coming back to our guest house, we relaxed in the evening. We sat on the roof top and shared drinks and stories. We came to know a couple of us a little better than we knew them earlier.

On Saturday, we went to a water sports complex called Chunnambar. This is a back water area. There were not too many options for water sports though. Just your usual row boats and paddle boats. We chose to take a ride to the nearby Paradise beach. This is a natural sand beach where we all enjoyed the water a lot. One can also play beach volleyball and football there.

On our return, we went straight to a French restaurant for lunch. We did not want to miss the opportunity to have French food, at least once, and we were not disappointed.

We checked out in the evening and went shopping. We got tired pretty soon and settled down in a restaurant soon for a couple of hours of food, drinks and tour recap. The bus started at 22:30 and by 4:00 we were back in Bangalore.

Some more pics are uploaded on flickr.

The name's Bond, James Bond

Dialogues from the first Bond novel, now made into a movie. For me, the most anticipated movie in a long time. All the controversy about Daniel Craig not fitting into the Bond role, and then the only time Bond falls in love - I had to see this movie. Highlights of the movie:

Bond is definitely more brawny! The action scenes are more real than ever. He is beaten up many times. Sometimes so badly, the Indian censor board had to cut the scenes! The first chase where Daniel Craig chases Sebastien Foucan is awesome. Sebastien Foucan is a pioneer of Parkour and Free running and his skills are simply unbelievable.

Gadgets! Where are the gadgets? The gadgets shown are all at least 5 years old. GPS enabled phone, phone as a remote control (my phone has that too!), life saving kit in car - that's it? They don't even show Q!

Bond falls in love! Couldn't have imagined this dialogue between Bond and Vesper Lynd(his love, played by Eva Green):

Vesper Lynd: You're not going to let me in there. You've got your armour back on.
James Bond: I have no armour left. You've stripped it from me. Whatever is left of me - whatever I am - I'm yours.

The movie is supposed to be a prequel to all the Bond movies. However, the setting is modern. The Sony Vaio laptop, Sony Ericsson phones, the Walther P99 gun and the cars are all modern.

Looking forward to Bond 22 (the working title for the 22nd movie in the official Bond series). I would like to see a few futuristic gadgets, Q and Moneypenny.

There was another Bond movie named Casino Royale in 1967. It was a spoof though.
Hrithik Roshan was considered for the role of James Bond.

50 point subhadip

Deepti's loooong tag post shortened here:

How to do this tag

The things I've done are in red
The ones that I want to do have asterisks (*) at the end. More *s indicate how much I want it.
An asterisk preceded by a - denotes I don’t want to do it.

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink -*
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid *****
6. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
7. Said 'I love you' and meant it
8. Hugged a tree -*
9. Bungee jumped
10. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
11. Seen the Northern Lights
12. Gone to a huge sports game – have watched Michael Jordan play!
13. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
14. Slept under the stars
15. Changed a baby's diaper
16. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon ***
17. Gone rock climbing ****
18. Midnight walk on the beach
19. Gone sky diving
20. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
21. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
22. Visited Japan
23. Milked a cow – rather a buffalo -*
24. Got flowers for no reason
25. Performed on stage
26. Been to Las Vegas ****
27. Recorded music
28. Had a one-night stand -*
29. Gone to Thailand
30. Been on a cruise ship *****
31. Spoken more than one language fluently – unofficial sign language counts, right?
32. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
33. Wrote article for a large publication
34. Petted a stingray
35. Broken someone's heart -* (unfortunately, many times - don't want to do it again)
36. Gone on an African photo safari ***
37. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
38. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
39. Ridden a horse
40. Had a snake as a pet -*
41. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon ***
42. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
43. Visited all 7 continents *****
44. Eaten sushi
45. Had your picture in the newspaper
46. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
47. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
48. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
49. Dyed your hair -*
50. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream

Phew! Please leave a comment now. And please be tagged.

Kick Ass!

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Longing for a short lens

After some serious research, I have come to the conclusion that the best lens for my use with my DSLR is…. ta da … Canon 24 – 70 mm EF f2.8 L USM

  • With a DSLR, it will give me a range of 38 – 112, which I think is just about perfect for portraits and street photography, which I intend to do.
  • It has 2.8f aperture throughout its range. In simple terms, that means sharp photographs where the background is completely blurred.
  • It is an L series lens, meaning it is built for heavy duty pro use. Even top photographers in the world trust the famed red ringed lenses from Canon. Remember seeing huge white lenses by the sidelines in a football match? They are all Canon L series lens. This one is black in color though.
  • It has extremely good reviews. I have seldom seen anything slightly negative written about its quality. Almost all reviews start with “The best just got better”, referring to the previous version of this - the 28 – 70 mm. Since I don’t have the luxury of trying out different lenses before buying, I would trust the experts.

Anything against the lens? It is heavy! Both in weight and price.

Check out the lens here.

So when am I buying it? As soon as I buy my Canon DSLR. When am I buying that? Waiting for Canon to launch an upgrade of the Canon 30D :-)