Super Blue Blood Moon

January 31, 2018 was a lunar eclipse. It was an important day scientifically and historically. It was second full moon of the month, hence Blue Moon. Also because the moon was closer to the earth, it was brighter and bigger in size than usual, therefore, the Super Moon. The moon wqs red in colour due to the Earth’s shadow, hence it was also called Blood moon. All the three phenomena occurred at the same time hence the name “Super blue blood moon”. Thats what my understanding is. Please feel free to correct me by dropping your comment in the comment box below. It was important, historically, because it was seen after 1866 as per the reports .

I have always been fascinated by the moon. Looking up in the sky and gazing the moon without a blink  is my favourite thing to do. And I strongly believe “Moon is a loyal companion“.

My sister always asked me, “why don’t you click moon, my friends keep taking photos of moon”. I never had an answer to her. I used to believe that taking a photo of moon required a highend camera and lens, so i never tried with my camera.

But this time I decided to give it a try from my entry level dslr camera (canon 700D) with the kit lens 55-200 mm, without a tripod!!

Trying to capture a lunar eclipse without a tripod is very challenging because the moon is dark during eclipse and if you try to increase the ISO, it will add to the noise, shutter speed and aperture has to be carefully chosen so that the pic is not blurry or extra white like a bulb.

As it was my first attempt, it took time for me to get the settings correct but by that time I lost the photo of the blood moon. I could not capture the blood moon cleary because I was still trying to get my settings done. But I did capture the other phases of moon after blood moon and eventually full moon at the end. Here is my version of Super blue blood moon.

I have made a video of different phases of the moon. Do let me know how is it.

 

 

 

 

Kodaikanal

I had a chance to visit this beautiful place in Tamilnadu with my girlfriends. We were a group of five girls from Bangalore. Before going to Kodaikanal we planned our trip, as in how much budget do we have, where would we want to stay, how would we like to travel, etc. Since all five of us were busy in office we decided to split the planning so that everyone has an equal amount of job to be done and no one is overloaded with the planning.

Since I have been travelling a lot, I decided to travel cheap this time so that I can save some money for my upcoming trips. I have always travelled in an AC bus, never tried non-AC bus for such a long distance. This time we decided to travel in a non-AC bus for a different kind of experience. We booked a non-AC bus with KPN travels from redbus.in. My experience with KPN travels was not great so I would not suggest it to anyone. They had charging point but it was not working. They don’t provide blanket even for a long-distance journey. No water bottles as well.

On the way to Kodaikanal
On the way to Kodaikanal

We wanted to stay in a cottage in the mid of the hill station to get a feel of the place. After doing a lot of search online, we decided for Pink House. It is in Vattakanal, seven kms from Kodaikanal. We reached Pink House in the morning and I was so mesmerised with the view that I felt my two days’ stay would not be enough to absorb the beauty. It felt as if we were staying amidst the clouds. But one has to climb a few steps (actually a lot) to reach this cottage. There are other cottages also on the way to Pink House. It is located exactly opposite to Altaf’s Cafe. Dolphin’s Nose is quite close to the cottage. The cottages here provide breakfast and dinner on request. In case you want to enjoy bonfire, they will provide you woods for which they charge as well.

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Pink House (view from the entrance), Vattakanal
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Pink House, Vattakanal

The owner / care taker had a dog. The dog’s name is Luci and she had a cute baby too :-). Both the pets were very friendly. It was fun playing with them.

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Luci
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Luci’s baby

After getting fresh, we had our breakfast (which was prepared by the owner / care taker of the cottage), we headed towards Pine Tree forest. Our cab driver was also our tour guide.  After Pine Tree forest, we headed towards Pillar’s Rock. It was disappointing. When we went there the place was covered with fog and we were unable to see the Pillar’s Rock. They have entry fee also and we felt our money was wasted as we could not see anything. Maybe it was a bad day for us to visit the place. There is a small market outside Pillar’s Rock. One can explore the market. The shops had many handmade toys, chocolates, essential oils, coffee and tea powder and other decorative items. I bought homemade chocolates from there and it was yummy 🙂

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Pine Tree Forest

After exploring the market near Pillar’s rock, we went to Sheep farm. Well, even that was a disappointment. The place was stinking and i could only see rabbits in the cage. Sheeps were having fodders at a distant place where we were not allowed to go. From that farm, we could see one lake and my friends wanted to go there.

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View from Sheep’s farm

So from the farm we went to Mannavur lake (it’s exactly opposite to Sheep’s Farm). At first I was a little skeptical to go because I was tired and I could not see the lake at all. One has to walk a kilometer or two to reach the lake, the weather was sunny and above all we were hungry. My friends somehow convinced me to walk down to the lake.

After a good walk, we reached the lake. The location was beautiful, I forgot I was tired and hungry. I sat calmly on a bench and was absorbing the beauty of the place. It was serene, I just wanted to be there. I could see people boating, some people sitting quiet and enjoying the nature, some like my friends, who were busy taking selfies and photos. After a while I also joined them in taking photos and getting clicked.

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Boating in Mannavur Lake
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Mannavur Lake View

After spending an hour at Mannavur lake, we decided to take a break and grab some food. There was a small tea stall near Mannavur lake entrance but we wanted to have lunch so we didn’t stop there. Our cab driver took us to a small restaurant. By the time we reached there, the lunch was almost over. We had biryani (biryani is always a savior). All of us were tired and it was getting dark so we decided to go back to our cottage. The cab driver dropped us near Altaf’s Cafe and left for the day.

After taking rest for a while we decided to visit Altaf’s Cafe. This cafe is famous in Vattakanal. The cafe was full and we couldn’t find a seat for ourselves.

We went to a nearby cafe and had some snacks and coffee. The distant city lights from the cafe was looking like a sky full of stars. We asked the care taker / owner of the cottage to prepare dinner for us and asked them for woods for bonfire. We had dinner by the bonfire and after that we called it a day.

Next day we woke up with a beautiful sunrise. Trust me I have never seen such a beautiful sunrise in my life so far. We got ready for Dolphin’s Nose. I would suggest you to visit this place early in the morning when the sun is not that bright. Also, wear a pair of shoes as you would have to walk for some 20-30mins.

The view from Dolphin’s nose was beautiful, it was covered with trees full of greenery. There is a deep valley on the edge of the Dolphin’s Nose. It’s dangerous to go near the edge of the rock. Please avoid going near the edge if you are afraid of heights.

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That’s me trying to go near the edge of the rock while posing @Dolphin’s nose

On the way back to Dolphin’s Nose, there was one more view point – Mountain View. There were small stalls for breakfast, tea and coffee. We had lime juice there to buck up our energy.

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Mountain View
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Mountain View

Now was the time for Vattakanal waterfall. I had read tourist reviews about it and, therefore, kept it for the last place to be visited.

It was cold and knowing the water would also be chilled I was reluctant to go inside the water. But my friends dragged me in. The water was crystal clear and we went inside water till the rocks. The rocks are very slippery, I had a bad fall there. Fortunately, my friends held me back from falling in the water. Of all the waterfalls, we saw in Kodaikanal, Vattakanal waterfall was the best and it had more water than any other waterfalls. There is one more famous waterfall, known as “Liril waterfall”. Apparently, the liril ad was shot there but now this waterfall has very less water.

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Clear water of Vattakanal waterfall

After visiting some more waterfalls, we went to Coaker’s walk. As the name says, this place is more for a walk. This place would be ideal for morning walk or evening walk. They have an entry fee, and they charge for camera separately. Since we were running out of time as we had to catch our bus back to Bangalore, we took a quick walk. Nice scenic view could be seen. They have a small telescope room as well, in case one wants to have a telescopic view (it is NOT free). With coaker’s walk, we ended our trip to Kodaikanal.

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View from Coaker’s walk

Tips:

  1. Carry warm clothes even if you are travelling in summer season (we travelled in the month of May-June and the weather was cold)
  2. Do hotel/cottage and cab booking in advance in order to avoid last-minute rush and price hike.
  3. Make a list of places you would like to visit by doing some search on booking websites (the cab driver may say this place is not good or that place is good according to his convenience).
  4. Don’t forget to carry your camera if you want to capture the beauty of the place.
  5. Carry notebook and pen, in case you want to make a note of the places you visited. We have notepad in the mobile also in case one wants to use that. I would prefer notebook and pen though 🙂
  6. If you are travelling in a group, it’s better to maintain an expense report. Try Splitwise app to split the expenses.

Note: This was my experience. I would love to hear from you all about your experience. Do comment below your experience or leave a link of your story in the comment. 🙂

 

Bench

Bench ~ clicked by me

One day, a bench like this will be residing in my garden. I’ll have my morning coffee on it. That would be a time when I would have grown old, I will have kids and they would be somewhere in the world earning for their living. I won’t have the tension of projects, deadline, meetings etc., because by that time I would have retired.

I would often lie on the bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches romancing with the nature, till the time I could see moon and stars.

But for now, I have to run office, I’m getting late for a meeting and I also have a project deadline to meet.

*Starts running*

P.S. This pic has been taken by me at Nandi Hills, Bangalore, Karnataka, India. 

Sardar ji Uncle

12797948_1758731601025782_1269249174_aDr. Tirath S. Sehmbhi from Punjab, young, dynamic and 67. All I know about him is that he is in London for the past 45 years or may be more. He did his studies from Imperial College, London University. He works at my client’s site. I had heard a lot about him from my other colleagues who keep visiting the client’s site. Now that I am at the client’s site, I met him. When you see someone in the foreign land from the same country as you are from, you feel connected. I was also feeling connected to this Uncle and may be the uncle was also feeling the same. He is senior at the work place so ideally I should call him by his name i.e. Tirath or “Sir” but I call him uncle. He is not talkative but, yes, he has lot of stories to tell, and, sadly, no one to listen them. “I am more patriotic than anyone living in India”, his favourite dialogue, he keeps telling us. I have never questioned his patriotism and don’t have any intention to do that.

It’s my second week in Cambridge. I went office on my usual time. At lunch time, I asked him if he would join me. It has become a routine now to ask him. Without a fail he would reply, “Beta main to lunch ghar se laata hu”. Today he saw I didn’t have lunch with me he asked me before I could ask him, “Beta ji aapka lunch kidhar hai”. I told him I keep fast on Tuesdays, and, therefore I didn’t bring lunch with me. To which he asked me if I take fruits. I told him that I do take fruits but forgot to bring it today. He offered me his fruit bowl which he would take after his lunch daily. I was a little embarrassed. I didn’t know what to say him. I was quiet for a moment, then I said I had fruits in the morning, thanks anyway. On that he said “le lo beta, isi bahane mujhe yaad to karoge”.I took the fruit bowl, said thank you and I went.

Even if he had not offered his fruit bowl, then also, he would have been remembered always. It’s hard to forget someone that you know you’ll remember always. 🙂

Sardar ji Uncle will always be remembered for his kindness, stories and of course fruit bowl.

Madame Tussauds Museum

I am not a big fan of visiting museums or art gallery. So, Madame Tussauds museum was never on the list despite the fact that, its a wax museum with branches in a number of cities. My colleague wanted to visit this museum and I did not. But I decided to visit this museum because of my colleague’s sake. The wax figure of Indian film stars are not much similar to them so I was little disappointed. But, the 3D movie show and the spirit of London show was the main attraction for me. And if I happen to visit this museum again, I would be seeing 3D movie and taking the spirit of London ride only.

The spirit of London ride is the journey of London’s history. One has to hop into the London’s infamous black cab, and witness the historical, cultural event which are responsible for its growth into one of the leading cities of the world.

P.S.: All the pics have been clicked by me

 

Canon 700D

A very dear friend of mine had said once that if you want to get into photography, start with your mobile and explore each and every feature of that. At one point you will feel that your phone has limitation and then you go for a DSLR. After exploring my phone’s camera for the two and a half year, finally i’m a proud owner of Canon 700D.

P.S. Pics clicked before this post, are from my mobile iPhone 5c.

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#myclick

Commercial Street

When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and i need to do it again.

Everytime I do the shopping I feel the same. Shopping makes me happy, actually, super happy. Leaving Mumbai and coming to Bangalore was a great pain. I would compare each and everything between Bangalore and Mumbai, and make myself feel sad. Initial few days went in comparison. But then slowly I started accepting this place too. Yes! Because life has to move on (*the cliche dialogue*).  I missed Mumbai for anything and everything (this will be covered probably in my next post).

Here, in Bangalore, the first question asked from an outsider (female) is “Have you been to commercial street?” After being asked by many people (including colleagues, friends, acquaintances), I decided to visit this so called *street*. Since I was just few days old in the city, I asked one of my college friends, Smita (the one with whom I went to Marine drive in Mumbai, yes yes she is in Bangalore 😀 ) to take me there. As being a good friend of mine, she fulfilled my wish and took me to the commercial street. But, that day I couldn’t enjoy my visit to this *street*.

For a shopaholic like me, fancy stores never attracts me. It has to be either online shopping or the roadside market or anything of mom dad’s choice (trust me their choices are better than mine 🙂 ). Next time I went with a colleague-turned-goodfriend. But we were so tired that it was like a walk rather than shopping/window shopping. Few days (actually months) later I got a chance to visit this *street* again, this time with my roommate and her cousin (who had come from chennai during flood).

So we started our journey in a non-ac bus. We spent 2 hrs in bus standing because we didn’t get any seat. But none of us were tired as we were excited for shopping ❤ . Finally we reached our destination. We started our shopping with earrings. I love earrings whether it  be earstuds or jhumkaas. The one thing about shopping is one should know how to bargain and the irony is I don’t know the bargaining part. We went to the next shop. It had bangles, all kind of bangles. I love bangles (specially glass bangles) but not in my hands. I can spend a whole day in a bangle shop if all the bangles are made up of kaanch (glass). But the shop I had been to had metal bangles and wooden bangles. Such bangles doesn’t attract me at all. My roommate and her cousin bought bangles. I was just looking at the bangles.

Since it’s christmas time, shops were decorated with christmas bells, wind chimes having christmas bells, christmas tree, and what not. All of us stood in front of a shop having all these stuff. Christmas has always been special and dreamy for me. Special because I remember watching “The Polar Express” every christmas eve with darling sister. Even now, we make sure that we watch that movie every christmas eve. I wish to live that movie every time I watch it.

Anyway, coming back from my special and dreamy part of christmas, me and my roommate decided to decorate our room. From there , we went to another shop. It was for handbags. We all bought sexy handbags for ourselves. We did nice bargaining (the two sisters did bargaining for me as well).

All these shopping/window shopping were tiring and we wanted to stuff our stomach with something nice. We encountered one shop “Chetti’s Corner“. They had good snacks. We were attracted towards the “twistato“. I had never heard of this. All of us wanted to try this twistato. It’s nothing but fried twisted potato. And it was yummy.

While returning we encountered one temple near St. Mary’s Basilica. I like the architecture of the temples here in south. They have small idols over the temple. After all the shopping and wandering, we came back to our room, tired and tired and tired. But, over all, I had a nice time after a long time.

P.S: This post is my experience of commercial street and not what to buy and not to buy also, where to buy and where not. All pics have been clicked by me, copyright reserved.