Thursday, April 30, 2009

Test Drive of the Beautiful Monster

TATA XENON XT 4x2 2.2 Dicor

Specifications: EX 4x2
ENGINE: 2.2 L 16 Valve DOHC VTT DiCOR (Variable Turbine Technology) (32 Bit Fully Electronically Controlled) (Direct Injection Common Rail)
Capacity (cc): 2179
Max. Output (PS) at rpm: 140 @ 4000
Max. Torque (Nm) at rpm: 320 @ 1700-2700
GEARBOX: G-76-,5/4.1 - Synchromesh with Overdrive

SUSPENSION
Front: Independent Double wishbone
Rear: Parabolic Leaf Springs
STEERING: Power steering
BRAKES: Vacuum Assisted Independent Hydraulic
Front: Ventilated disc brake, Twin Pot Caliper
Rear: Drum brake, Auto Adjusting Type

DIMENSIONS (mm)
Overall Length X Width X Height (mm): 5125 X 1860 X 1833
Load Body inside Length X Width X Height (mm): 1518 X 1414 X 405
Wheel Base (mm): 3150
Ground Clearance (mm): 200
Turning circle Radius (m): 6
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT (Kgs): 2500
Kerb Weight (Kgs): 1900
Load Body Load Carrying Capacity (Kgs): 260
FUEL TANK CAPACITY (Ltrs.): 65
SEATING CAPACITY: 5
EMISSION STANDARD: BS III
DRIVE: 4X2

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A 'PLUSH" Birthday Dinner at The Astor

I celebrated my wife's Birthday by not such surprise dinner at PLUSH lounge at The Astor.

Plush Lounge and Bar
The Astor Hotel
15, Shakespeare Sarani
Kolkata- 700071

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birthday Celebrations @ FLOATEL

I celebrated my Birthday by a surprise dinner at THE FLOATEL.

The Floatel
9/10 Kolkata Jetty
Strand Road, Kolkata - 700001
Tel: +91 33 22137777

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two Good Movies

Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) manages to cheat the Reaper after his death and in the words of his colleagues at his funeral chases down a scoop from his grave. He appears to Sandra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson) a journalism student from America and on holiday in the UK at Sidney Waterman (Woody Allen) magic show and fills her in on his story which involves disclosing the name of the Tarot Card Serial Killer in London.

The lead points towards aristocrat Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) who is not only good looking, but a suave gentleman. The story unfolds and finally Sandra does manage to nail the killer.

The movie is cute and has you guessing all the way. If you want to know who the actual killer is watch this cute, funny odd and thrilling movie and you’ll be in on the Scoop.

My Cousin Vinny is the ultimate funny movie and if you haven’t watched it, you need to right away. The film is about two kids William 'Billy' Gambini (Ralph Macchio) & Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield) driving across America to join College. Unfortunate for them, they get picked up and accused of Murder of a convenience store owner in a small town. Not really understanding the accusations, they even admit to it, thinking that they are admitting to Billy having “nicked” something from the store. Only when they realised the gravity of the situation, Billy calls his mom, find out he has a lawyer in the Family, His Cousin Vinny.

Vincent 'Vinny' Gambini (Joe Pesci) and his girlfriend/fiancĂ© Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) drive down to his rescue. The rest of the courtroom and out of courtroom drama is hilarious. This is Vinny’s first case and he actually doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, but in his own logical and argumentative style and of course the closing argument of his girlfriend in favour of the defendant’s, saves the day. Marissa Tomei is at her unbelievable best, which even got her the Oscar for the role. Joe Pesci with his straight faced humor is just too good.

My Cousin Vinny is a laugh riot and a must-must watch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Road Art

Awesome Gujarati Thali

Rajdhani Restaurant
4th Floor, 164 / 1,
Mani Square Mall
E.M. By Pass, Maniktala Main Road
Kolkatta - 700054
Contact: Mr. Sanjeev Roy
Mob: +91 9330113881

Saturday, April 18, 2009

SJC94 get together at Tung Fong

Tung Fong Bar & Restaurant
25/B, Park Street,
Kolkata - 700016
Tel: +91-33-22174969, 22174989, 22176563, 22176564

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Road that could lead to a Revolution

Can someone please tell me what this movie was all about? Yes Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet back together for the first time after Titanic and Kate winning the Golden Globe and all is fine, but still, what was Revolutionary Road about? Someone, anyone, please tell me because I didn't get it! Oh and if you're going to watch it so that you can figure it out, please don't curse me when you come out after watching this bizarre film.

Anyway Revolutionary Road is about a couple Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) and how they drift apart after years of marriage. On the surface they seem to be the perfect couple in the community and yet brewing under are issues. Mrs. Helen Givings (Kathy Bates) the real estate agent who is full of praise about the lovely couple and even seeks their help with her ailing son, John Givings (Michael Shannon), turns against them at the end when their marriage falls apart.

In terms of acting, both Leo and Kate do give splendid performances, but overall the movie is quite bizarre.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Road Trip to Bakkhali: Day 3

As usual we got up later than we had planned and so the Crocodile Farm idea was shelved. We quickly packed and got ready and checked out. We had to get to Namkhana in time to get across the river before they went on their lunch break. So we were out of the hotel by 10.30am. Check out time was 11.00am anyway. After that it was a bit of “swift” driving but all the time enjoying the great country side and before we knew it, we were at Namkhana. We reached the jetty at about 11.20am and saw the ferry just leaving for the other side with a full load. The ferry did look a bit different. We were the first car to reach there and so I decided to get onto the jetty and watch the entire round trip that the ferry made. So as it reached the other side and docked in place so that the vehicles could disembark, we were shocked to see the number of vehicles that got off the ferry. We counted 4 trucks and more than half a dozen cars get off. This was the bigger Ferry. They had two, so the one that brought us this side was the small one and now on our return journey we were going to get a ride on the big one.

So as we waited and watched in anticipation, we were carefully following the loading on the other side now. It got off to a bumpy start as a Honda city just couldn’t seem to get over the gangway and onto the boat without the bottom hitting. Finally with some makeshift arrangements it got on and then so did the rest of the vehicles. Buses and trucks seemed to make it with ease. The last vehicle to get on was a cart carry sugarcane or hay and seemed to have trouble too. By this time, I was getting nervous. The closer we got to 12 noon the more likely we weren’t going to make it across and our effort of getting here would be wasted. There was already a line of about 5 more vehicles behind us now. Finally the ferry pulled out of the jetty on the other side and made its way towards us. I went right up to the edge to watch how it manoeuvred and hooked up to the jetty. It was an interesting sight and finally as the vehicles started coming off the ferry I decided to head back to the car and get ready to make our return trip. Finally all the vehicles did come off and as I drove up onto the jetty I noticed that the ferry was moving away and parallel to the jetty. I just died. Were they retiring for lunch? None of the cars behind me had followed me on. Oh my god, this couldn’t be happening, there were still a couple of minutes left and all sorts of words began leaving my mouth cursing how lazy and blah blah blah the people of the state were and how Bengal would never progress with this kind of attitude and only then did I notice that it was turning around to face the other way so that we could drive on to the ferry from the loading side; One side for loading and the other for unloading. Though I felt like a fool when I saw that man waving his hand and beckoning me onto the ferry, I was even more relived that we got to cross before the break. Phew! If not, it would have meant a 2 hour wait in the hot sun in the middle of nowhere!

I was directed to the extreme right and soon had two more cars parallel parked beside me. It was a big one. I got off and paid the fee for the return trip which was only Rs.160. Then both of us decided to climb up the ladder onto the viewing deck, something we hadn’t done when we were coming. We made the journey up on the viewing deck and only came down as we approached the other jetty. As we did I noticed a fairly large vessel unlike the boats around. It was a small ship with the Indian and Bangladesh flags hoisted and sailing downstream. The ship was M.V. Hazera Begum (its not such a famous ship, just that I could read the name. so no need to look it up) and it crossed behind us just as we were ready to drive off the ferry.

We were back on the road to Diamond Harbour and though we did get confused at certain T-points, we made good speed still amazed by the greenery. Kakdwip wasn’t that crowded and we didn’t waste much time negotiating through its main roundabout. At the pace we had maintained we soon realised that we were near Diamond Harbour and decided to stop there for lunch.

So I pulled up outside Hotel Sagarika and as we alighted from the car I noticed a ship, a fairly large one cutting through the waves coming downstream towards us. I quickly got my camera out and captured some shots of the fully loaded container vessel as it came right in front of us moving downriver. The huge white letters SHREYAS across the side of this blue ship. That done I was satisfied that in one day I managed to catch two ships sailing right before my eyes, so we headed into the hotel and up to the first floor. That’s where the bar is located. This time we weren’t alone, there were a couple of other tables occupied making the most of the long weekend. We ordered beer and lunch. Daal-bhaat-aloo bhaja-maach-chingri is the best thing to order here and we knew from experience having come here just a few weeks ago, so we did just that. So finally we were done with lunch and got back on the road on our final leg of 45 kms to Kolkata.

Unbelievably the drive back was smooth, fast and quite uneventful. No bus drivers speeding towards us, no traffic jams and not too many people on the road. So we made it back to Kolkata in about an hour.

We were glad that we made it back in time so that we had enough time to unwind for the back to work Monday morning ahead of us. We made a pit stop at my in-laws place and chilled out for a while telling them all about our adventures.

Another Destination canned. We were already talking about destination for our next trip.

Another Dream Machine

We still had to get home actually for us to say the Bakkhali trip was over. So after having tea and on our way home, we headed to South City Mall. After much debate and three trips around the huge Spencer’s store we finally decided to buy the Firefox bike I had been eyeing for a while. So kicked about the new purchase was I that when it was finally readied with all the accessories (i.e mud guard, compass bell, lock and water bottle) we paid for it and I rode it out of the mall all the way home. My wife took the car back. It was such a dream to ride that I rode like a bat out of hell and nearly reached home the same time as she did in the car. It didn’t end there. Once home, we lugged up all the luggage and I brought down the other Firefox bike and we both went out riding. We did make quite a spectacle of ourselves, again, as we pulled up to have Puchkas at Hiland Park.

After that we rode around for a while and then headed back home. Now the Firefox Tempest is not alone and has a Firefox Reloaded 2.1 parked beside it in our apartment.

Now our trip to Bakkhali was complete. I rode home for the last 5 odd kms.

About the Bicycle.

FIREFOX FULL SUS 26" Reloaded 2.1

17" Alloy 4-linkage frame
Suspension fork
Shimano 21 speed with EZ fire shifter
Front disc & rear V brakes
Alloy rims and QR Hub
Alloy handlebar, stem & seat post

Color: White/Blue

Road Trip to Bakkhali: Day 2

Though we had set our alarms for 6am, as usual we woke up a bit later than we wanted and finally were out of the hotel at about 7.30am. Surja was waiting for us and immediately told us the plan for the day. He took the brick road alongside the hotel and headed to our first destination of the day; Henry’s Island. I’m still wondering why it’s called an island. In a pure sense one might not call it an island, but the fact remains that it is disconnected from the mainland by a narrow canal of sea water which among several others, feeds this unique fishery that covers hectares of land. The West Bengal Fisheries Department has created this huge inland sea water fed fishery. It also has a couple of cottages that one can stay at. The tourist attraction is that one can climb to the top of the main building where they have a sort of tower created for viewing the entire island. So we did just that. Large rectangle water bodies all the way till the sea on one side and a vast expanse of mangrove forests on the other make up Henry’s Island.

That done, we got back on the van and headed to the next destination, which was the Frasergunj Ben-Fish pier from where we would get a boat to take us to Jambudwip. Once we got to the concrete pier along the narrow river with mangrove forest on the other side, we had to wait for enough passengers to accumulate to get a designated boat to take us to the island. So we sat on the pier under the shade of some overgrown mangroves and watched a fisherman wading through the water with his nets catching little fish among the mangroves just behind us. It wasn’t long before one group after another came onto the pier and we had quorum for the trip. The guy on the pier tried to sell us the idea of hiring the entire boat at Rs.1400 to ourselves. Did we look that rich & touristy? Anyway, it did help too as the captain of the boat quite sneakily offered us the comfort of his cabin or the “balcony” as he called it, and told us that if we enjoyed the journey to and fro, we could give him something extra. Finally after waiting in the little rooftop sort of cabin which had I’d say the best view and yet was shaded, and watching all the fishing boats of various sizes going down the river to the sea, we disembarked from the pier.

The diesel motor chugged a constant beat and the captain stood just behind us up on the deck navigating through the waters with the rudder in his hand. Everyone was instructed to sit and after some minor seating adjustments the boat came to a centre balance. We steadily headed out with the mangroves on the right and the white sandy beach head on the left. Soon I could also see the windmills just behind the beach head of Frasergunj. We were now heading out of the mouth of the river and we could see the entire length of the island, Jambudwip where we were headed. On its left extreme we could see the white sandy beach and the rest of the island was just green with the mangroves. The sun was also getting a bit stronger now and we were glad to be in the shade. As we were getting further out, the waters began to get choppier and the front of the boat rose and came crashing down into the water creating huge splashes and waves on either side. Each time that happened and it did seem with more fervour each time; there would be a crackle of hysterical screams from all the lady passengers sitting in front. The bumpy ride soon gave way to calmer waters and we sailed without much incident to the inner side of the beach head on Jambudwip.

Even before we could anchor, people just got up all excited to get off the boat and step onto this virgin uninhabited island. The boat tilted from side to side as the anchor was set and the boat was pulled to shore. The ladder was placed and only then did they realise that they’d have to climb down the ladder on the front side of the boat and wade through knee-to-thigh deep water. That didn’t quite stop them and so I waited till the excited crowd descended. My wife refused and so I went by myself. After a short walk around, I prodded and one of the boat men convinced her to join me on the beach. And so she did. That wasn’t too tough, was it now. She hardly even got water up to her knees.

So we walked along the entire semi-circumference of the beach head in ankle deep water. I realised earlier that walking on the dry white sand was like walking on a frying pan. The sand was hot as hell. I only stepped on it to read a sign board that said that this island had 20 hectares of mangrove forest. So we walked around for half an hour and the funniest part was when we asked another one of our co-passengers to click a picture of us, he assumed that we didn’t know Bengali till I spoke back to him in the language and he was quite shocked and embarrassed. We got a great photograph of the two of us. I just love being touristy!

Once back at the boat, we let the same mad crowd go up the ladders before us. And that’s when my wife went into shock. The boat seemed to have moved out further and now it was nearly waist deep till the ladder. She cursed and wondered why she ever got convinced to leave the boat. I was thrilled. We had set foot on Jambudwip, where many a tourist like us had done before. I just felt it would be such a waste coming all this way and not stepping on this Island. So she did get her skirt all wet but it was a small price to pay. We went back and settled in our little cabin, now even happier than ever because it was scorching to be in the direct sun. The boat ride back was as bumpy as we got closer to the mouth of the river, but now the reactions were a bit paler in comparison to the going time. People were dog tired I think, spending a good 45 minutes out in the sun on the island.

We disembarked, still not really knowing what the fare actually was for this round trip to Jambudwip and so as the various groups were paying their respective fares, we attached ourselves to them and got to know that it was a mere Rs.40 per person. Mind blowing! 40 bucks! We paid and gave the captain a handsome tip of Rs.20. I could well imagine if we had struck a deal in isolation, we’d have been ripped off. Actually I do take that back. I’d like to add that honesty is one thing I was one of the best things I liked about this destination. People charged a certain fixed rate for their service and did not try to make a quick buck otherwise.

So as we walked off the pier in the hot sun in search of Surja and our van, we saw a bunch of vans parked close by out in the hot sun. It took us a while to find him. In fact he found us and took us a short distance away where he had parked the van under the shade of a large Banyan tree (it looked like it was a banyan tree). Anyway, smart and thoughtful fellow this Surja was. So we got on the van and headed down another semi brick and mud road through a village. It was a fairly long and bumpy ride but most enjoyable. This was rural Bengal; Ponds, thatched huts, Coconut trees, cattle, poultry et al. I just went clicker happy, taking pictures of any and everything. I even managed to get a picture of a calf feeding and all this on the move. We finally came out on the main road at Frasergunj and again I was amazed to see the huge windmills towering above in front of us. Surja offered to take us to Frasergunj beach too, but we decided to go straight to the hotel. Frasergunj beach was just an extension of the Bakkhali Beach and on the first day we had walked half way there too. So we made a pit-stop at the Liquor Shop, picked up 4 more beers and headed back to the hotel. It was around 12.30 now and the sun was beating down on us. For his excellent service we paid Surja Rs.400 for taking us around the entire morning. The usual fare is Rs.60 per head with 6-7 people on board, but we just kept him to ourselves so it was a good deal. He had kept us engaged in conversation and told us a lot of stuff about the place, like about land prices and things to see and how this place was still not that badly spoiled by tourists and some funny stuff about the local cops who instead of keeping law and order were themselves the ones who would get drunk and get into brawls. So all-in-all, it was great sightseeing trip for the morning.

Once back in the room, I realised that my arms till the shoulders were burnt. I was wearing a sleeveless vest all morning; the price of being by the sea and out in the sun. We ordered some daal-bhaat-prawn curry-fish curry while we drank chilled beer the rest of the afternoon in the comfort of the AC room. Ghoom followed and our plan of watching the sunset was abandoned.

The evening was spent drinking some more beer and planning the next day’s adventure. We couldn’t really decide whether to leave in the morning or in the afternoon. After a Chinese dinner of Mixed Fried Rice-Mixed Chowmein-Chilli Chicken, the decision was made to check out early and catch the ferry back before lunch.

We did think of going to the crocodile farm which housed 6 crocodiles near the beach, but kept it as a might do plan for the next morning if we had time.

Thus ended day two of our holiday at Bakkhali.

Road Trip to Bakkhali: Day 1

After our trip to Diamond Harbour, we had made up our minds that Bakkhali was going to be the next destination. Of course as the weeks went by and options of some other far out places also were suggested by friends, we stuck to the original plan and booked our hotel at this virgin beach destination and just in the nick of time. We got the last room available at Hotel Dolphin.

So as usual, on Thursday night excitement built up and our bags were packed. Only sleep eluded us till the wee hours. So finally we went to sleep at 2.00am with our alarms set for 5.00am. Of course we never got up at five and finally ended up waking up at about 6.45am. By the time we were finally on the road, it was about 7.20am. We took a slight detour and made a pit stop to get Ice - for our good old Ice-box. That was a good discovery close to home on this morning. Once we had the slab of ice in the box, we headed out to New Alipore from where we skirted the Diamond Harbour Road on the Bypass called James Long Sarani. Of course the road was the same as that which we had taken a few weeks ago to Diamond Harbour but the saving grace was that this early in the day, there wasn’t much traffic and the journey till we came out on the Main Diamond Harbour Road at Joka seemed much shorter.

From here on, we made good speed and unlike the last time, there didn’t seem to be that many speed demon Buses. So before we knew it, we were at Diamond Harbour and as we came around the bend we noticed the river was in high tide and the brown muddy water covered the banks up to embankments. I stopped, got off, clicked and immediately got back in the seat to head to our next destination which was Namkhana. Amazingly the road after Diamond harbour improved on a lot of fronts: Quality of tarmac, density of traffic and the scenery just turned greener. The meandering road through a green country side with thatched hutments was truly rustic.

Soon we came upon a crowded marketplace from where we had to turn leftwards. This was Kakdwip. This was another hub on the river and the marketplace was bristling with activity. Vans ruled the roads and it took us some time to negotiate this stretch till we came back on to what seemed to be even more scenic country sides. Finally we came to a T-point where we turned left and after a couple of minutes came upon what I had been looking forward to ever since I heard about the road to Bakkhali: The crossing point. It was just about a couple of hundred feet across but one could only cross it by Ferry.

The West Bengal Surface Transport Department had two Ferries’ that made round trips. The trip across didn’t take more that 10 minutes, but loading and unloading was what consumed most of the time. So when we came upon the crossing point, we were the 4th vehicle in line and saw the ferry disembark to make its trip to the other side. I was quite amazed to see a huge bus and a truck too as part of the cargo. Anyway we sighed in relief knowing fully well that we’d be getting on the boat on the next round. It was nearly 11am right now. The point being that the ferry operations stop for 2 hours between 12 noon and 2pm for a lunch break. So we made it well in time not to get stuck there. So while we waited for the ferry to make the round trip, we had some Sugarcane Juice and bought the ticket to make the trip. To our Surprise it was only Rs.30. Once the ferry was back with its load from the other side and the vehicles kept coming down the gangway, I was growing more excited and jumped into the car to drive onto the ferry. Since it was a small ferry we were the last car to get on board. It was such a rush making that last push over the jetty onto the ferry. Two trucks and two cars on board, mine being the last, I pulled up the hand brake and hopped out. The ferry disembarked and then I was told that I had to go to the cabin and pay for the trip. Aha, I knew it couldn’t be that cheap to make this journey. So as I had read about it, the fare was Rs.160. So in total it added up to Rs.190 to make this trip across.

Before we knew it, I could feel the ferry turning and then there was a thump. Contact with the other side. Once again, I jumped in started the car and set upon driving back onto land over that jetty. Once over, the traffic seemed to be held up and I noticed some people collecting some sort of toll. Once I reached them, I noticed it was the perennial problem that plagues all tourist destinations in Bengal: “Pujor Chanda”. What Puja, I didn’t care to ask and paid and drove on. Bakhalli was now just 12 odd kms away. Rural Bengal was green as ever and the mud huts with their thatched roofs were something else to see.

Suddenly I saw the blades of a windmill towering in front of me and the sign as the road turned left said Frasergunj. We were a stone’s throw away from Bakkhali and as we drove straight on, we kept a lookout for our Hotel. In fact we came right up to the Main Bus Stand and turned right towards the beach and realised that we had probably passed it. We then back tracked and found our hotel half way to Frasergunj. It was on our right now and we missed it because we were looking to our right all the way in. It was about 12.30 now and we checked in and headed straight for lunch at a restaurant we had seen near the beach. It was the most recommended place to eat and the food here was typically Bengali Maach-Dal-Sabji-Bhaat. Hotel Parijat lived up to its recommendations. We then parked the car by the beach and took a stroll around the white sandy expanse. We first spotted a Daab-wallah and to solicit some information about the things to see, even bought a daab. The tide was out and after a short survey we headed back to the hotel and the comfort of our AC Room. “Ghoom” (Afternoon Nap) was the best thing to do after a meal like that and on a hot sunny day like this.

Later in the evening we got a van just outside our hotel and headed back to the beach. A van is basically a cycle attached to a flat open back, which can seat upto 6 people or more. In the local dialect, these are called “bhans”. The sun had just set, but there was still ample light in the sky. The beach was pretty crowded and there were muri wallahs at regular intervals. The number of chairs had also increased and while some people were frolicking in the water, others sat on the chairs and watched on. It was definitely the digital age as it seemed that everyone on the beach was armed with a digital camera or camera phone. As the light faded a young chap came up to me and offered me a variety of massages. I decided to go with the half body. He immediately pulled up two chairs and I sat on one of them and he set upon relaxing my muscles. It started with the head and then went down. I was particularly happy when he got to my lower back and a couple of twists and it felt quite relieved. Interestingly at the end of his near half hour session, he pulled out something from his pocket and went about doing something over my closed eyelids. It was most amazing and for his efforts, I rewarded him an extra Rs.10 above his rate of Rs.20.

We sat there the rest of the evening and it was quite hilarious to see rows of people including ourselves getting up and moving back ten paces every time the tide came up a bit. By the time we had left, we must have taken 100 paces backwards. On our left it was still a bit brighter, and as I was giving my wife some theory of how the setting sun’s rays must be illuminating the sky on the east, I noticed, quite foolishly that a full orange moon had just come over the horizon. It was a sight to see.

We finally paid for the chairs and walked back to our van, on the way stopping to have some tea and anda-bread at one of the stalls. Of course on the short walk to the tea stall, we had some excitement when my wife realised she’d dropped her sun glasses somewhere on the beach! We then backtracked, and wonder of wonders – I spotted it lying on the beach unharmed! We then got on the van (the driver – Surja had waited for us all this while!) and decided to get some more information on the plans we had for the day ahead. Our Van driver offered his services for the next day and as we rode back and were chatting and negotiating the deal for the next day, we asked him the all important question. Where could we get beer? He stopped just short of our hotel and pointed out to a half completed single story building which housed the sole licensed liquor shop in the area. It was a short walk off the road, in the middle of some fields. I came back with 4 bottles of Kalyani Black Label. He told us that liquor was available at all the shops, but they charged a bit more. This seemed to seal the deal. Surja was now going to be our designated driver for the next day’s outing. So we got off at the hotel and told him we’d meet him at 7am the following morning. We put the beers in the ice-box and headed up to the room to freshen up. The rest of the evening was spent eating and drinking. We decided to try some Chinese food; Mixed Chow and Chilli-Chicken. It was surprisingly nice.

Day one was a blast. And we toasted to being in Bakkhali.