Friday, August 12, 2016

Bucket Ride - Begins here...

Kiran is traveling from Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji international airport to Los Angeles international airport...

I could have done this FB check-in 15-20 times since last year and half. It indeed was busiest time for flying with multiple trips to Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta and even USA. I am once again at the airport for 39th flight (I counted!!).

Its said that, "If you want to have something that you never had, be prepared to do something that you never did". There can't be any other sentence that can describe what I am into right now.

The anxiety cannot be described in few words, the fear of unknown cannot be contained in few lines and excitement cannot be penned down even in few paragraphs now.

This is a teaser of time ahead and looking forward to an exciting, ecstatic euphoria that lies ahead. Last time I felt this was when Momo arrived...but this even bigger (Oh Momo, I will miss you).

I am all set to take "the" journey which I had been daydreaming for years. I am not known best as a planner, nor as the guy who can get things right the first time. This journey however requires commitment and planning. I have been quite secretly working on getting this kickstarted. This is not something that can be done time and again. There is no second chance, "this is 2016" and its now or never.

I am about to board a flight of imagination, dreams and madness. This flight changes everything: money, mind, experience and life will not be same where it is. I might come back broke, or might come back a new me.

There are just few things now between that sense of accomplishment or failure...however there will always be a comfort of trying that can overcome everything. These efforts and pains are needed to keep us alive, afterall, "Failing to try is failure and not the failure itself".

So I am going to take that first step to knock of some items from my bucket list.

I will be riding into the USA and Canada over next two months. Starting from west coast, i will be riding towards east and crossing into Mexican/Canadian border when possible. This is too big a country to see in this short time yet I will try to make most of the time available.

This once in a lifetime RIDE is named "Bucket Ride"!' It's a solo ride but there is truly no solo achievement in life. Everyone around you helps you shape your life in some way. Somewhat like the movie "Slumdog Millionaire". I will need lots of wishes and prayers to make this possible. Please do ☺

The ride updates/report will be available on
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/bucket.ride (warning: too many check-ins ahead)
Instagram - @globe_treader
Blogger - http://blog.kiranghag.com

Subscribe/like/follow the page as I follow my dream on this Bucket Ride!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Coke studio, travel and friendship day

When I listen to each mesmerizing new song on coke studio and drown into songasm...

When I imagine how Indo-Pak-Afghan via Khyber could have been a "must do before you die" like "getting leh'd" for tourers...

When I imagine the picturesque mountains to keep clicking endlessly...

When I imagine that rich colourful culture of cloths and carpets that could be witnessed...

When I crave for tasty, spicy food that could be had on the way...

When I drool at those beautiful babes in the region...

When I realize that world that we have today owed a lot to travel in this part of world...

Wish people treated religion as underwear - wear, don't show and don't care what others have...

I really wish that we could have a friendship day at higher level...world could be even more beautiful place to live in...



 

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Tips for Canada Tourist VISA (TRV) online application from Mumbai, India

I recently applied for Canada Tourist VISA. This is the first time I applied any VISA on my own so mostly relied on internet.

I applied to consulate directly and did not go through VFS or any agent. While the detailed procedure can be found on http://www.cic.gc.ca and other websites, I would like to mention some tips here which might help you.

Note that these steps were followed by me and they do not represent steps required by you. Each case is different and refer to the official website for current information. This is not legal information.
  • Apply online on http://www.cic.gc.ca. This will save fees on agencies like VFS
  • The process is smooth if you have USA B1/B2 VISA. The form will ask you if you have one. If you don't have, you may be asked for more documentation
  • When you answer questionnaire to determine eligibility, you will be given a reference number. Save that
  • Have your scanned copy of passport ready.
  • Use lower resolution while scanning the passport, however the passport must be clearly readable on a computer screen. You can skip blank passport pages from scan
  • If you have expired passports, scan them together
  • Use PDF format to scan so that all pages are in one document. If the PDF file resolution is not supported, the website will reject your upload. In this case, use Microsoft Word DOC format. You can paste all scans in DOC file and upload it.
  • You need a valid VISA photo as per specifications. Scan this with higher resolution.
  • Create an account on CIC website. I chose "Continue to GCKey" sign on option.
  • Use the reference number saved earlier and create new application for VISA request
  • You need to download two forms in PDF format IMM5257E and IMM5707E. These files do not open well in browser. Save them to your computer and open with Acrobat Reader application.
  • Save changes to the files and make sure you click on "Validate" button in file at the end. Without validation the file wont be uploaded
  • I had trouble at uploading these files again. So used DOC format here too.
  • Upload passport again for travel history
  • Submit application and pay online. You don't need to submit any physical document or passport yet.
  • Be prepared to wait! After this, there is no response from website except to let you know that VISA application has been accepted. There is no "helpful" helpline. A nested menu choice and voice prompt will merely redirect you to website.
  • The website has a selection to find out what is current wait period. This is pretty accurate. When I applied, the expected wait time was 22 calendar days. However it soon increased to 31 days. I was notified about next step exactly on 30th calendar day!
  • If there are no issues with the application, you would receive notification asking you to submit your passport.
  • You don't need to obtain an appointment.
  • VFS is their partner and you will be asked to go and submit your passport to nearest VFS collection center.
  • You need to carry the intimation letter, passport and money. VFS is merely an collection center. VFS will collect passport and provide you a payment receipt.
  • This receipt is important to collect your passport back.
  • At VFS, you have choice between collecting passport yourself or have it delivered to your home. If your house is under Blue Dart delivery network, choose to be delivered at home.
  • If you choose to pickup from VFS office, there could be delay in getting notified, going there and pickup. This can delay more if there is a weekend in between.
  • Now again wait! The passport is sent to Bengaluru and you would be asked to wait for 5-7 "working" days to get it back.
  • Even though the intimation letter says, "we have made a decision", no one would confirm that VISA is granted till it is stamped. All this while, the online account will tell you that interview or additional documentation may be required
  • The VISA will be stamped and delivered to your house. In my case I submitted on Thursday and it got delivered on next Wednesday.
  • The receipt has a tracking number which you can use to track your application on "VFS" website. However, this tracking is not fully in sync with your actual status. It might tell you that application has been accepted and passport submitted to embassy. In my case, the passport got delivered first and then updates started flowing my mail after 2 days of delivery!

It took almost 40 days for entire process after form submission. But without interview and biometric or any additional documentation the VISA was granted.

Lets see how the actual travel goes. All the best for your application!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to achieve songasm?

Songasm (n): When a song is so good, you feel waves going through your body and soul. Basically a portmanteau of words - Songs and Orgasm.

Have you experienced songasm? Do you know how you can achieve songasm?
If not, then keep reading.

First of all, choose the right song...there is not one fit for all here really, just choose a song that you can relate to, choose a song that you understand. Oh wait! understanding a song is optional too (even though its like a one night stand after party with a guy from different country :D )
But yes, choose a song that you can understand.

Be in a right place. While a song can hit you anywhere, having less distractions helps. Go away from anything that can break the rhythm - phone, emails, people or whatever/whoever that can distract.

Every song has a background to it, think about that as you hit play button...Someone has just fallen in love before that song, feel the love. Someone might have lost all his life, empathize with that situation. Someone has just given up the shackles of life, smell that freedom. Consider that as foreplay!

Every song leads you somewhere, follow that song as the song plays, this is where the lyrics play a role...read the song and read between the lines...a song may take you from desperation to being hopeful, follow that journey as if it is your own.

Appreciate the elements that make music. Have you ever focused on a particular instrument in the orchestra...just choose one and isolate that track in mind...you can choose a different instrument every time or just jump from one to another...but connect with that one and let it reverberate in the mind...you would realize the even though we don't realize explicitly , that each instrument is integral part of the song, its not possible to let that song be same without it. However the player has to standby and wait for its turn to come, sometime halfway into the song. Player would play a bit and then again wait.
Some songs have those delicate interludes which you can simply miss unless you are paying attention. But once hooked onto those, they can reach deep inside. The ups and downs can convey the mood without words.

Appreciate the people behind the music, real and characters. A lot of efforts are put by people to make that song happen. Don't we feel a hart-break, Don't we feel bit lost? We do but we perhaps cannot create something beautiful like a song out of it...we need to appreciate that someone is gifted to pen down those feelings in words that we can understand and relate with. Someone is gifted to create fictional character that can enact and present those for you. Someone is gifted to act those characters out of you. Someone is gifted to shoot the video beautifully as you see it. There would be someone just shaking "ghungaru" in the orchestra, while someone playing a distinct prelude that identifies the song with masses...all these make up the song.

Be Youself. Like all these, you are also a critical part of that music...without your readiness to connect with the song, the song cannot exist in isolation. IF your heart if full of grief, you would hardly like a party song. That grief can instantly connect with a sad song.

So choose what you are and you will find a song that takes you towards that finest experience. Close eyes and get immersed in the song.

It may take a while but suddenly you will resonate with the music and it will stir you from within. You can feel goose bumps and forget everything else for the moment. If you are emotional, perhaps tears will roll down your eyes. Its a maddening experience and  can teleport you in the song instantly. As the name suggests, this is exactly like an explosive orgasm as the name says.

Congratulations, you have perhaps achieved your first Songasm!!!

Here is my current top favorite


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Random Birthday Memoirs

Birthday still brings up a secret excitement and anticipation for an miracle. What kind of miracle? pretty much unknown, a miracle that was deeply wished for once upon a time, one that changes something irreversibly in a good way.
 
Why just the birthday? Maybe because you don't want to get disappointed everyday!

I know plight of school kids who have/had their birthday in May. Well, they got deprived of wearing casual colorful attire instead of uniform and distribute sweets/candies to everyone. God forbid if you opt for engineering, you need to spend the day either burning for exam prep or exam itself. Poor fellas! Yes, been there!

Celebrating birthdays was never part of tradition Marathi family in the 90s. I got wished by parents and maybe a sweet dish was cooked. However my most memorable childhood birthday was spent in our village. I think that was first and last road trip done in konkan with beloved baba (grandfather). We visited nearby villages where he spent his childhood and also where aai (granny) belonged. Once we were back in our village, my favorite aunt had come to stay. It was a typical warm day in May and in the evening I witnessed hailstorm and full rainbow on the mountain. To top it off, I got treated by a home made cake...Those were very simple and happy days.

Remember the teenage days in college when you would be interested in birthday of your crush? I think universally, birthday of a girl in college is chosen to propose her. Did you do that?

Cut to present...birthdays have become routine...facebook pops up message; people frantically start posting on wall or inbox a HBD message. Then there are people who just don't bother to read those....(I usually remove people from my list when I see last message I sent them was HBD last year :D )Your whatsapp groups would probably notice and someone would wish you there. Invariably all active members start posting, perhaps the group title is updated to wish you. Oh yes, those automated bots for all forums you registered, those have been pretty loving to me as they wish me birthday before anyone else :) :)

Sometimes I dig up those greeting cards received during college...Used to spend a lot time selecting cards for other's birthdays back then...As I scan through mine, I just wonder whether those are still being preserved somewhere or they got thrown in the trash long back!

Don't you have friends who proudly forget your birthday? I have one too...we essentially wish each other on her birthday :D :D

Since long I have removed my birthday from facebook :) It feels good to see being remembered without facebook, call me old school or call me snob :p

This year only family and bots made it!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Journey...

"If my younger self had met me today, I would have punched myself in the face..."
 
We always wish for the butterfly effect to go back and fix something. But we cant. Life is like this, everything that we do today has potential to make or break our future. We can only look back at past and decide to do something, again with the same potential risk. We can succeed, fail or both. We are going to be judged irrespective.
Look ahead and choose what you want to do now and DO IT, NOW. At least love and believe in yourself as much that you would not want to punch your past self tomorrow, hopefully. When everything else fails, only you would be there for yourself.
Keep going with knowledge that the butterfly effect is a myth and future is a mirage. Never know when the mirage turns out to be real Oasis. The journey should never stop.
 
 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

"Living with Ninja Experiences" - 50,000 KMs!

3 years and 4 months and just completed 50,000KMs on Kawasaki Ninja 650R 2011 today!



Some boring stats below Words cant do justice to how beautiful this machine is, so if you have specific questions, I would be happy to answer.
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ODO Reading - 55011 KMs
Consumables -
4th Set of tyres
- Stock Bridgestone Battalax (16,000 KMs)
- Metzzler Sportec M5 (6,000 KMs)
- Metzzler Sportec M5 (8,000 KMs)
- Dunlop Roadsmart (16,000 KMs)
Chain sprocket set
- Stock set (28,000 KMs)
- RK X Ring + Sunstar Sprockets (49,000 KMs)
Clutch Plates - (48,000 KMs)
Fork seals (42,000 KMs)
Spark plugs (42,000 KMs)
Battery
- Stock died at (47,000 KMs)
- Replaced with Motobatt AGM with warranty (cheaper than stock and better technology, dealer in Mumbai!)
Brake pads, Air filter, Oil/Oil filter and Chain lubes etc at regular intervals

Cost Per KM - INR 18
Fuel Average - 21 KMpL
Total Fuel - 2358 Litres
Total Fuel Cost - INR 174314
Average Fill up - between 12-13 Liters
Typical Range between fills - 250-270 KMs