JYG: A Concert to Remember

There are bands you always wish that you get a chance to listen to live in concert, but being in India that doesnt often become a reality. Big Band concerts are few and far between and often limited to the same set of bands. Now the indian rock scene is an interesting one. There are more bands than you realise and they are all trying to fight for the top positions in india and believe me its not a easy thing to do.

Junkyard Groove is one such band. I first heard of them through Rajat. They had appeared on Channel V’s Launchpad and they apparently played an epic version of ‘Dont Cha’ by PCD. That piqued my interest and after a little bit of digging around i found out that they gave their music away for free download, actually they would get paid if people downloaded their music. So i got all their tracks downloaded and i was hooked. I got people hooked as well. I keep doing that. I am a self-confessed music explorer ever on the lookout for good alternative music. My latest find was ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and before that was ‘Newton Faulkner‘. I would like to mention more but i digress.

So when i came to know i was going to work in Chennai, i was hoping to get a piece of the music i had heard so much about. But 7 months passed by and with no luck. I sincerely feel that finding out events in big cities(or small) is not easy. I know there is Burrp but that isnt always so helpful. For eg., i finally came to know about the JYG gig via a friend and more info via a Facebook event. I had to be there for the concert. I was not going to miss this opportunity and i started rounding up people to go along with.

Junkyard Groove had all of a sudden undergone a breakup barely a couple of months back. It happened on their Facebook page where 3 of the quartet decided to call it quits while Ameeth was left in the dark about the whole thing. Sad stuff. When i heard that they had called it a day, i was sad. I thought i should somehow finish a tribute post to them but soon i came to know that the line-up was reformed by Ameeth.

The new JYG line up has Hudstin Fernandez on drums, Naveen Thomas Joseph – Fan Page on lead, Ameeth Thomas on vocals and acoustic guitar and Sajith Satya on bass …..

This was good news, but even better was the fact that they would be playing their first gig at nearby EC41.

So 17th July was the d-day and we made it in time. Bassin Bridge was headlining for them. Sajith played the Bass for them as well. So the show began and that was one awesome night. I missed the fact that i didnt have a camera to capture those wonderful moments. I had to make do with Nievu‘s android phone. So not much could be salvaged from that. Hardly anything is clear but then i could not be choosy either. The venue was wild, underneath the moonlight sky they played with the bay in the background. After the first few songs, me and Reddy made our way downstairs and we spend the rest of the night there. In front of the band, enjoying the music we swayed, barely a meter from the band. I didnt want it to end and i screamed the songs and headbanged through the night so much so that i had to take the Tuesday off ;P but i still say it was totally worth it. That was my #1 concert till date and i had the most fun. Even now as i write this post , i am happy that i was able to attend it.

JYG, Rock On!

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UX and me

 I really have kept this post pending for quite sometime and some one had to poke me out of my stupor. So UXnext  was the UX Conference held in Chennai on 16th July 2011 at IIT Madras Research Park. This was being organised by the RIA-RUI community. Now just a couple of months back i had heard about HCI(Human Computer Interaction) courses for M.S. and when this event came along i thought it would be the best thing to get a perspective about user experience and a career in it.

Believe me, i came back presently surprised and inspired from the event. Apart from the fact that i won a Antetype License worth $289, it was the realization of how much interesting the job would be. I learnt what designing is all about, how the industry works, what are the various jobs available and also found out about courses worth considering for higher studies.

UX is an essential thing in today’s world. Everything you look around you has a reason behind its design. Take the mineral water bottle for instance., there is a reason its like that. Innovation is the key to market a product. The little things you add to a product like the way Apple does, adds value to it and a happy customer is what companies should look at. The way a product looks is key to it being popular, Ideas are powerful and dictate whether the product will survive or not. People are fickle and they need to be shown that they are given more value for money and that is exactly why UX is important. Attending this conference did help me a lot in understanding UX and consolidating my decision of higher studies in the field.

I am not great with coding and i feel that is because my OOPS base is weak and no matter how much i try to make sense of things it just doesn’t seem to work. But i feel UI is different. I feel at home with the coding and sometimes i just know where something would look good at. My day-to-day office work deals with coding UI using Javascript frameworks mainly EXT-JS , and i am one of those people lucky enough to be doing something interesting like that in a service company like TCS and i am grateful for that. That is why i decided to write my GRE the moment i heard about HCI programs, so I hope my GRE goes well and i end up doing what i like in the end.

Here’s hoping for the best.

Showing Off, he he!

Pondy Polama!

My Visit to Pondicherry!

We left around 1pm but it was only around 150 that we caught a bus for Pondy. We gave up waiting for the AC volvo and boarded the deluxe one. The cost for the one way trip varies from Rs. 55-150 from Thiruvanmiyur. This trip was planned last minute i.e., in 2-3 days hence we had trouble getting accomodation and had to settle with Anandham Residency instead of a guesthouse which we had wanted. We chose Anandham because it was priced at Rs 1250 for a double AC room and charged Rs 300 for an extra bed. They also provided complimentary breakfast.

We reached Pondicherry around 5pm and were at the hotel easily. We dumped out bags and were set to explore. We found our way to Mission Street which was deceptively named as Cathedral Street on our map. Lucky our hotel was about 4 blocks away. Next we rented our two wheelers. We got 1 Star City, 1 Activa, 1 Access 125 and 1 Scooty Pep Teen2.

And we were off to our first destination eventhough along the way people got lost on the way to re-fuel. I got to ride the Access 125 after the re-fuel as i was one of those eligible riders around. So Chunnambar Backwaters it was as scheduled by our tour planner Nievu, although i had already said it was too late for that. So we headed out of Pondy as this is a good 8 kms away on Cuddalore Highway. Finding the place is not easy and you might just overshoot this place like we did. Naturally, it was closed. A bystander told us to come back the next day after 8:30am.

We headed back to Pondy. Interesting events that occured during this were, the unlicensed riders taking a fall and after half a kilometre being stopped by policemen. The Promenade was next on the list. The Promenade is a 1.5km stretch of beachfront. Vehicles are not allowed here and its a Walker’s paradise. we parked our vehicles on the side roads and went walking. It was past 8pm by then and it was a lot crowded. Not surprising, it being a Sunday and all. We hung around a bit, clicking pictures and soon it was 9pm after we had a small snack.

We had read online that this place called ‘That’s Y Food’ is supposed to be one of the best places to eat at, so we hunted for it. After a lot of hunting on Mission Street we found that the restaurant was no more and the one that had replaced it had closed its kitchen. Now Pondy is a small town that means restaurants and other eating out places are closed by 10:30pm and we were running out of places to eat at. In the end, we decided to choose ‘CKS’ as it was open. Ordered a veg. burger combo for myself. Satisfying. We headed back to our Hotel.

After a good night’s sleep, it was morning again and after waking people up and having that yummy complimentary breakfast and a quick re-fuel, we were off to Auroville. Auroville is a good 10kms away our info told us but those long straight roads make you wonder if its really 10kms. We just kept going on and on. Finally we were there. We parked at the Vistor’s Centre and strolled around. Visited the boutiques. I bought a Rope Bag and Apple Butter Cookies. Next we headed to the Matrimandir but we came to know that we needed the entry passes to enter the compound. So as the pass distribution would resume after lunch break at 2pm, we decided to skip it. We headed back to the Cheese factory. Midway, the girls took a detour to shop and i waited at The Bakery with Girish. I had a Quiche and a Pizza, that was to be my lunch. Most of us had a snack at that point except our Vegetarian(@nievu) and the Cheese Intolerant(Faris) 😉

Back we went to hunt for the Cheese factory, and after many wrong turns and double backs, me, shwetha and girish were the last to arrive. Sadly we came to know that they wont show us around. We need to inform prior to coming. So that was sad. So after our bad luck that day, we hit the road but stopped at the first open restaurant. It was GoodMan’s, and i say the food was Good. The Seafood was more affordable than in Chennai and quite tasty. Late afternoon we headed back to Checkout from the Hotel.

The journey back went well except two vehicles overshot the hotel and finally ended up back at the hotel after quite a ride. With our luggage now on our bags, we headed out to Chunnambar. We knew the way by heart by now. Actually we knew quite a lot of Pondy by heart. This time it was my turn to overshoot the destination. The rest were worried as i didnt pick their calls either. But i made it back and somehow hopped into the last boat ride of the day. It was a relaxing sunset boat ride on the river and it made us realise that our trip was coming to an end. These barely two days were a lot of fun. We headed back to Pondicherry hunting for a place to eat dinner. After much searching, we found La Terrasse. The food was awesome! Thanks to @anahgem for the recommend. Somehow we made it to the vehicle shop minutes before 9pm. There we had a minor disagreement about the damage to the Scooty Pep+. We ended up coughing up Rs700 as a fine. With that out of the way, we headed to the Express Bus Stop to perhaps catch the last Volvo out of Pondicherry that night.

At 10pm, the bus arrived and we settled into our seats for the ride home. It was a memorable trip. Wish i could do it all over again.

What we didnt do right: Find out about hiring two wheelers. Check if Tourist sites are open during your visits. Many of the museums seem to be closed on Mondays. Call and book visits for places like the ‘Le Ferme’ Cheese Factory.

What you should do: Find out details about places of visit, their timings, charges, etc. Know that restaurants close early. Keep a map handy. Rent a vehicle.

What we would want to do next time: Visit the museums and roam the city. Visit Matrimandir. Visit the beaches. Scuba diving, Surfing also on the list, Have french food.

Refer this list for more details about Pondy!

7 Things About Chennai

Share Auto Life

Things have Changed. Circumstances forced this move to Chennai. Its been a month here so far and the schedule is hectic. I have just got down to blogging again. For people who do visit to check my blog posts, Geekd.in would be the place i would tend to update more often.

So how has Chennai been so far? Not entirely unfriendly. I knew that Language was to be a problem and Water too. We dropped by in October to find a place to stay at Ambattur as our ILP centre was close by. We ended up with a small room in Annanagar West Extn., after a wild 3 days which saw us roaming around in marshy areas finding something that sounds like ‘Abhinjyam Stage 1’ Flats in Mogappair West at night and Going to the MMM Hospital to get Bottled water at 11pm. Lot of New experiences definitely. But then every one of us who came here had their own list to share.

So back in November, we left Mangalore on 31st. Around 32 of us travelled in Train to Chennai. That was the beginning of our Adventure. Arriving at Chennai for the third time in 2 years , i had grown accustomed to some of the things. And we learnt more along the way in the past one month.

1. One of the basic things we were confused about were bus journeys. The Buses had fares which were completely indecipherable with respect to bus type and distance covered. Finally i was enlightened to the fact that the bus fares are ruled by the bus boards. The White board buses are the cheapest and the Blue the costliest (i think). Also a M prefixed to the bus means you get charged 1 buck extra. Travel is cheap here in Chennai. This link helps us at times. Rab.in.

2. Food didn’t turn out to be a problem although the notorious white rice is everywhere. Never try Non-Indian food at Vegetarian hotels no matter how good they are supposed to be. Had a bad experience ordering American Chopsuey at Saravana Bhavan. But i Found their tea heavenly and its pricing (Rs 16) too.

3. Language was and still is a problem. Thanks to Karthik and Rathan, i can survive with my limited knowledge of Tamil. Broken English is a great help at times.

4. We discovered Share Autos as a more viable option over the meterless autos any day. There were lots who got looted by rickshaws. Travel can be dangerous too. We had a ride where the driver thought he was playing ‘Grand Theft Share Auto’. He broke a lot of those so-called traffic rules. But then not many people in Chennai seem to stick to them. I’ve had many close shaves trying to cross the road here.

5. Chennai has freaky weather patterns. Cyclone one day, Sunny the next. I Caught a cold thanks to that and had sore throat thanks to the water. Bathing is horrible due to the salt water and feels almost redundant.

6. Chennai has an English Radio Channel, Chennai Live! 104.8 fm It plays good music and glad i discovered it. i Bought a new Nokia 5030 to manage my new Chennai number and this was a pleasant surprise.

7. Diwali in Chennai is like being in a WarZone. People just burst crackers left and right, On the road and near vehicles. Scary stuff. And deafening too.

More News from Chennai soon.
Image Courtesy: Deepsan