Beach Shacks on Calangute Beach, Goa

Beach ‘shacks’ as they are called seen lined up at Calangute beach in Goa, India against a blue sky and golden sands of the beach. Shacks act as open air restaurants and bars on the beach serving great food and liqour. They are propped up right on the beach and thatched with palm leaves and have chairs and tables arranged. Perfect spots to relax and unwind, you will be at peace in these places far away from everything…

Lucky Number 13 With India’s (28 hr Late) Longest Distance Train

On a chilly morning where it looked like it would rain (and it did), Arakkonam’s 25-year old WAP1 #22013 crawls into Kottayam bringing in India’s train with the longest running distance, the 15606 Vivek Express from Dibrugarh in Assam the very eastern frontier of India to Kanyakumari on the southern most tip. The train was scheduled at 0340 on a Wednesday. So I first thought it was 4 hours late, when I realized it was Thursday, making the train one day and four hours or 28 hours late!! The train was dirty and filthy, crammed with people and stinking like a poultry farm. The photo is aa bit overexposed. The 22013 is a cracker of a loco.

A Sunset Over Distant Hills in a Blaze of Glory!

The majestic sun goes down over the distant hills in a blaze of furious white and yellow glory, painting the surroundings in a haze of orange and gold as huge high-tension electricity towers stand dwarfed on the foot of the hills silhouetted against the fury of the sunset. This scene is from the fields of central Karnataka just before Davangere where empty land so quiet and calm stretches out for kilometers as far as the eye can see. The sunset and the setting of this serene landscape presents an incredible feeling of tranquility that makes memories of the tiring city-dwelling life seem so far away…

KSRTC’s Old Ordinary Bus TS620 “Aana Vandi” of Muvvattupuzha

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s ordinary bus TS620 of Muvvattupuzha deport wheezing up the curves of the MC Road on its Muvvattupuzha – Kootthattukulam run which takes it entirly though hilly areas which the old, dusty, flaky, moldy (note the moss on its roof) 14 year old (1999 model) Ashok Leyland grandfather bus still manages to endure. This old warhorse must’ve started its life as a Superfast or Fast Passenger which is now condemned to lead life like this in the last few years of its life.

This design of KSRTC buses which was in vogue for several decades, now phased out and replaced with the more modern “straight lines” look, coupled with the elephants on KSRTC’s logo was what inspired the name “aana vandi” for KSRTC buses. This iconic aana vandi design is gradually disappearing from the roads as more of these buses are being scrapped. Note the epic ground clearance, the Army can put this bus to good use!

The Lush, Green Rolling Vagamon Hills!

A small part of the rolling green hills of Vagamon, Kottayam district, Kerala. Vagamon is a locally famous hill-station tourist destination (though not much known outside Kerala) with green meadows covering bald hills (motta kunnu), pine forests and tea estates. The hills are especially famous. You need to drive up a mountainside from Erattupetta and Teekoy (69 km east from Kottayam) to get to Vagamon. Thankfully the place is still not commercialized. Vagamon gets covered by mist and fog quite quickly, in the afternoons like the time when this photo was taken from Vagamon view point looking at the valley below. Vagamon is also the starting point of the highranges.

Lots of Colorful Bangles Lying on the Ground

A close up shot of a lot of colorful bangles lying discarded in a field. These bangles are called ‘kuppivala’ (????????) in Malayalam, translating to ‘glass bangles’ though they are made of plastic and not glass. These were popular among all girls when I was growing up but today’s new-gen girls mostly prefer costly show-off branded stuff to these ‘traditional’ ones. Lots of colors around.