Friday, 10 February 2017

What is new in Goa

North Goa is saturated. Streets and lanes teeming with tourists, very little space for walkers. Just like Chandni Chowk in Delhi, Charminar in Hyderabad or Hawa Mahal area in Jaipur. Be it Calangute or Baga beach, it is over crowded. What to do? Head south. Around the Cabo-de-Rama plateau, new resorts have come up. Ghumakkad gives you a glimpse of one such resort which opened two months ago. This is not a commercial post. Just admiring Nature and the view from the resort.

Let the pictures do the talking.

Just in case you missed browsing the story on Cabo-de-Rama fort, click here.

We close with another picture of the sea. We can't help it. The place charmed us all.
What do buddies-in-sixties do when they meet? Read the next post.

Thanks for browsing.

   -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with picture from Ramdas Dhavare

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Cabo De Rama Fort Goa

Fort with a View

Goa is known for its sun-drenched beaches. It also has old forts-- some well known (like the Fort Aguada) and some others not so well known. One such not-so-well-known fort in south Goa is Cabo-De-Rama. Estimated to be more than 400 years old, the fort is situated on top of a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea. Although all forts are constructed at a height, Cabo de Rama must have posed additional challenge being on a sea facing cliff. Ghumakkad visited the fort in February 2017 with Naval course mates.
Those not familiar with the geography, see the map of India below.

According to Wikipedia, "Portuguese claimed the Cabo de Rama Fort after defeating the Raja (King) of Soonda and renovated it subsequently. In the past, the fort has switched hands between Hindu, Muslim monarchs and the Portuguese and witnessed many battles in history. The present rickety structure with turrets and rusty cannons is a leftover of the Portuguese. The Portuguese equipped it with 21 guns and military barracks, as well as commandant quarters and a chapel. Later, this fort housed a government prison till 1955 and was abandoned again."

Although in ruins, the fort conveys a feeling of fortitude and steadfastness. The main tower with a lofty rampart provide a breathtaking view of Goan coastline. Turrets though rusted, are as solid even today. As Wikipedia says "Cliffs drop steeply to the sea provide a panoramic outlook of the surrounding areas, at the western side of the fortress. The fort provides majestic views of the entire length of Colva beach and the Canacona stretch." The ruins reminded me of Las-Ruinas a fine dining restaurant built amidst old ruins in Cuba which I had visited in 1986.

Courtesy Wikipedia, here is a 1889 picture of the Fort. 
Two rusty cannons caught our eye. And like children, we climbed it. See the picture.

The view from the fort is truly breathtaking. To give you a 'real' feel, here is a short 30-second video.

Those who have done the '17-mile drive ' in  California will recall the 'Lone Cypress Tree'. Sample another one in Goa India!

Defacing our monuments is a national malaise, seen across the country. Goa was no exception. Sample this wall in the fort.
 Another wall with an engraved stone-- can someone please translate it?
There is a church of Santo Antonio inside the fort which is still used by devotees. It is in excellent condition. Picture.
It was time to thank our guide Imran. Taking a selfie with bulky DSLR can be quite tricky. But this one came OK.

Thanks to Assembly Elections in Goa, it was dry weekend with all wine shop and bars closed. Strict enforcement. See a lone bike next to a bar in the picture below.
While exploring the neighbourhood, I noticed that the size of the bricks used for walls was larger than usual. Close scrutiny revealed that these bricks were made of local red sand. Picture.
Next time you are in Goa, do not miss visiting the Cabo De Rama fort in south Goa. There are more attractions and some exotic locales nearby. Like an exclusive resort with just four cottages on a cliff face with a private beach 200 feet below. See the preview picture. 
More on it in the next picture story.

Thanks for browsing

    Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Ananth Aisola/ 8th Feb 2017

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Young graduates to younger grandparents

From 21 year old engineering graduate to one-year young grandparent, it has been an interesting journey. Not just for Ghumakkad alone, but all 24 of us who joined Navy together. On 16th July 1973, we all reported at Basic and Divisional (B&D) School, INS Venduruthy Kochi for our initial training. Naval Academy had not been born then! Those specialising in Naval Architecture like Miti Sethi (featured in this story) were first sent to IIT Kharagpur.
This story centres around our grandchildren. We are now 'young' grandparents of grandchildren who are between 1 year to 13 years 'old'. So, being young and old is a state of mind! 11 out of original batch of 24 are getting together in Goa from 2nd to 5th Feb 2017. 

Here is a picture taken in 1973 of all 24 of us in khakhis. This was for musketry training (rifle training on the mighty .303 of those days) at Coimbatore. Don't miss the webbing worn by all of us. For fellow Naval buddies: Can you recognise all 24 officers (epaulets not yet worn being under trainees)?

Standing (L-R): Gopu, Potti, Katti, Aisola, Bal, Ravindra, Das, Nagaraj, Dhavare, Asokan, George, Gopal, Xavier
Sitting (L-R): Goyal, Bhargava, Trilochan, Uppal, Anand, Jogi, Chandra, Jain, Bhowick, RP

Our initial training was done at the B&D School, Kochi which had a separate wardroom called South Wardroom. Her are some pictures dating back to July/August 1973.

Down the line in 1989 when we completed 16 years, we had a bash in Mumbai. Copy of a poem specially written for the occasion and duly autographed, is reproduced below .

We have been meeting even after retirement. In 2010 i.e. 37 years after joining Navy, we had made a short five minute video titled 'Then and Now'. Take a look:

Who are the eleven who made it to Goa? How do their grandchildren look like? Where are they located? Answer to all these questions come through a picture story. 

As you would have noticed in the captions, our buddies and their children are spread throughout the world. A batch with global footprint! We will certainly miss our buddies who could not make it to Goa. But next bash will happen soon. Date and venue will be announced in Goa.
Before signing off, I came across few lines in Hindi which convey the essence of friendship. With invasive social media expanding the 'friends' network by hundreds, the Hindi couplet assumes special significance.

Indeed, life without friends is incomplete. Live every moment. Enjoy the togetherness. For senior citizens like us with balding heads, graying hair and croaking knees, such bashes are special.
Thank God for giving us such friends.

More on Goa will follow, although most of us have been to Goa earlier either by ship or with family. Thanks buddies for sharing the pictures. Bye till then,

   -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 2nd Feb 2017