The Desi JungleMan

On Life, the wonderful experiences and else…

Adios, 2k16 !

Another new year is almost here and before we actually step into 2k17 and pace ahead, I would like to dwell upon the wonderful year that 2016 has been for me, on multiple counts.

January, 2k16 was when I finally graduated from JNKVV and bid adieu to Jubbulpore that had somehow hosted me for more than four years. Then was a period of few months at home before I managed to land myself in FRI, Dehradun for my Master’s. This duration was without doubt punctuated by some worthwhile travelling as well as bus –fanning (Aanavandi, of course!)

FRI was (Sorry, still is) altogether a new phase in my life. Though I assumed myself to have a fair inkling of the state of affairs in FRI since I’d been here past Diwali, I was in for a shock nevertheless. I was probably confounded by the diversity in our midst in terms of the people, their lifestyles, habits and eccentricities. Call it a culture shock, if you please. I was at a point of time not sure about whom to latch on to or whom to stay away from. Maybe I wasn’t too sure of anybody as such. But, coincidences followed me everywhere whether it was with Ameen, my roommate or the first encounter with Vishnu.

2016 served me more as eye-opener, if not anything else. My preconceived notions about many people were shattered to mere shards and those fellows proved to be great friends. I was fortunate to be having the kind of friend who could manage to manage to bear my childish tantrums and still stay on with me.

We’ve been through multitude of adventures, all in a relatively short timescale whether it was the trio who’d simultaneously been to ISBT and Railway Station at precisely the same time, playing the prankster with a dead lizard hidden in my notebook, the gang on leopard trail at 3 am, the brisk walks over the campus past one in the night, being worried but still putting on a brave face when it was the question of an year for our friends, safely dropping friends off at the Railway Station despite me being completely lost in ——- stupor or all of those memorable rides during day, alone, throughout entire nights or even when the rest of our batchmates were busy piling up answers in the examination and even having the #register come back in reverse gear to warn us of leopards जबकि हम तो गोलचक्कर पे सब धुआं धुआं कर रहे थे| 😀

It was also the year of multiple expeditions starting with the one in february to Jammu – Srinagar and equally eventful return, the impulsive bus trip to Manali – Rohtang Pass with my two daughters and finally the long bus ride to home, meeting up with many of my childhood friends and reliving those memories enroute.

I was often bold enough to push across crazy ideas and then get them actually implemented fruitfully, this being solely attributable to the few of my friends who stood by me and wished me sincerely (वैसे तू मर जाएगा तो I’ll be the happiest! 😀 )

The fag end of the year also saw me want to finally reclaim myself, thanks to one true friend I have. I have embarked upon it and will strive till I am fully satisfied.

The almighty also played his part equally well, by being there to save my ass before I ended up in deep shit. He literally took me from one adventure to another. (Read, getting picked up by rifle-toting cops before daylight broke, in Agra)

I am indebted to each and every one of you for being the fine people you’ve been, bearing with me always and for having gifted me all these wonderful moments and memorable incidents!

Looking forward to even more in the coming year, let us usher in the New Year with joy, strength, sincerity, optimism and toil to keep it so throughout. May all that you truly wish for come true!

Wishing You a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017!

-The Desi Jungleman

aka Abhishek R Nair



The Hindu yesterday had an interesting news item, albeit consigned to the side column. An Indian Naval Ship was calling at Vizhinjam Port (Thiruvananthapuram) the next day and public could visit it from morning till evening. Till then my association with the Navy Vessels was fairly non existent, apart from reading up on them if interested and listening to Nidhin’s NCC memories of sleeping in the hangar of a naval warship and having sighted quite a few Navy Ships off the Cochin coast during my Expedition_5 also thanks to Nidhin who’d pointed them out to me. I was much elated at this possibility of being actually aboard a navy ship.

The day dawned and I found the same news in  a malayalam daily as well, by then I had already made up my mind to be meeting up with INS KABRA. Having had my breakfast, I left home on my #1843, headed out to the Vizhinjam Harbour. I had on an earlier occasion been to the Light House and almost upto the breakwaters adjoining the Wharf, so the route wasn’t a problem as such. I reached there  a little after quarter past eleven and could already see that people had turned up in good numbers, in fact there was quite a crowd. I too joined the long queue that snaked along to the vessel. After quite some time along the breakwater blocks, I caught the first glimpse of her.

The Sighting!

It took almost an hour before we wound all the way around the wharf and finally came to close quarters with the vessel.

About to enter the KABRA!

Even before I actually entered the vessel, i saw people mostly kids having those sun-visors with the insignia of INS KABRA. I too wanted one anyhow and upon getting onboard I asked a Navyman whether I too could have one, a request that was refused. It was only for kids, they said. Being a kid was always on the perkier side and it was reafirmed here as well. But I resolved to have one of them by the time I left Vizhinjam, by hook or by crook. Now, before I proceed any further let me admit that I know nothing whatsoever about Naval Ships, leave alone any technical specifications. So all about the ship written here is siphoned off from wikipedia, I admit without shame! 😉

Lower Deck : Portside : Front


Lower Deck : Portside : Rear

Now let’s delve into what INS KABRA really is:

INS Kabra (T-76) is a naval vessel named after an island of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. It belongs to the Car Nicobar class of high-speed offshore patrol vessels are built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) for the Indian Navy. Kabra was eighth in a series of 12 Fast Attack Crafts designed as a cost-effective platform for patrol, anti-piracy and rescue operations in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone. It is among the first water jet propelled vessels of the Indian Navy.

Tech Specs:

lass and type: Car Nicobar class patrol vessel
Type: Fast Attack Craft
Displacement: 320 tons
Length: 49 m
Beam: 7.5
Propulsion: 3 water jet propulsion engines producing 11,238 hp
Speed: 35+ knots
Range: 2,000 miles @ 12-14 knots
Crew: 3 officers and 39 sailors

History: INS Kabra was commissioned by Vice-Admiral K.N. Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, at the Kochi naval base on 8 June 2011. Commander Bandhul Mishra, a specialist in missile, weapons and radar systems was the first commander of INS Kabra.

Design: The Car Nicobar class vessels were designed and built by GRSE. Production of the class was fast-tracked after the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The vessels feature improved habitability with fully air-conditioned modular accommodation, on board reverse osmosis plant for desalination, and a sewage treatment plant.

The vessels are each powered by three HamiltonJet HM811 water jets, coupled with MTU 16V 4000 M90 engines, delivering a combined 8160 KW of power. An aluminium superstructure reduces weight and is designed to reduce radar cross-section.

As patrol vessels, they are lightly armed. They carry various sensors, including the Furuno navigation radar and sonar. Armament on board includes a 30mm CRN-91 automatic cannon with an electronic day-night fire control system of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) origin. The vessels also mount two 12.7mm heavy machine guns (HMG) and multiple medium machine guns, besides carrying shoulder-launched Igla surface-to-air missiles to combat aerial threats.

Kabra has a top speed of more than 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph). The improved manoeuvrability and speed allows Kabra to have high-speed interdiction of fast-moving targets.

Armaments and Crew: Kabra’s main armament is a 30-mm CRN-91 gun. It is fitted with machine guns of various types and the IGLA shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. The ship has a crew of three officers and 39 sailors and is presently commanded by Commander Dharmendra Singh Bareth, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy.

Rear view from Upper Deck

Once we entered through the door on the side, we were led above through a staircase inside. We emerged on the upper deck, the front side had an officer explaining navigation systems to a group of interested people. We climbed down to the rear end and walked around to the front through the seaboard side, all the while clicking away photographs. I spent quite some time onboard, fully aware of the fact that being on one of them wasn’t ever easy as it was this time around.

All smiles, why not?
The Navy Flag
GRSE Plate on Rear Deck
Training sights on ‘Enemy’ targets
Panorama from on board INS KABRA
With our pride, the Tricolour flying high at the front
INS KABRA, in its full glory
Insignia of INS KABRA
The Rear End
INS KABRA from the Wharf

Once I deboarded the vessel, I went around clicking photos of the ship. Then I proceeded to side of the wharf where there was Navy merchandise on sale, which I sadly couldn’t afford with the limited ‘Gandhis’ I had on me. My attention then turned to the next stall where they’d displayed arms carried on board the INS KABRA. I got the chance to lay my hands on all of them i.e. Pistol, Carbine, INSAS Rifle, and Mortar (Forgive the layman for the improper nomenclature!).

Arms on display for the public

Once that was also done, it was time to bid goodbye to the INS KABRA until next time. It was quite a memorable experience for a layman like me to get up close with a naval ship, even if it was as part of Naval Week celebrations! Many thanks, INDIAN NAVY.

PS: I seriously hope that photographs posted here aren’t objectionable. If there are any issues whatsoever, I am all for taking them down. Do let me know. 🙂

Edit: I did take home a bit of the INS KABRA being naturally good at picking up left behind items, fetching a sunvisor that was left out on the ground right outside the port premises !





Fb: Word Porn, 29.12.16.

Fb : We Are Humanity, 27.12.16. 

Godspeed !

I usually actually don’t tend to bring out the expeditions (Huge Word, Yes!) into my blog soon after they’re done even though I would’ve desired otherwise. This I’ve felt was probably due to the hangover I would be in right away that dramatically would give way to hustle and bustle of daily life before I could actually be penning them down. Knowing such of my tendencies, I’ve always tried saving memorabilia from my travels be it bus tickets, entry tickets to places I’ve been to, notes by others and else. Someday I hope to sit down and start penning them down one by one with the obvious motive of reliving them.

For now, the wanderlust has bit me again. And it is so different from all of my past escapades. It actually signifies the turnaround for me. It is the first time around that before commencing a journey; I am actually putting it across to all of you.

It all started from a casual remark that I made to our Malayali gang back here in Shisham about how exciting it would be to travelling home from Doon by bus. Their first reactions excepting one or maybe two were generally that of dismissal. They must’ve assumed it to be another joke that I was supposedly pushing across. I even made a fleeting remark about it to my sister when I was onboard the return train to Doon. As time passed I took to heart and head what I’d said and dwelt about it in all seriousness. Whenever I would be mentioning it amongst my friends, Vishnu was the one who’d be pushing me to do it in all earnestness whilst others probably didn’t comprehend what I stood to gain from the adventure I was about to undertake. But, beyond the apparently exciting expedition it was to be, there were ‘n’ number of things (Yes! I’d missed using that) that were yet to be figured out if I was to be reaching home with my life and limb intact.

I counted out the opportunities that I could be exploiting in the journey. I could be meeting up dear friends right on from my early school years to now, putting up with them, do some local hitchhiking at most places, Bus-fanning throughout the length of the journey (the many States to be covered and the multitude of Buses! OMG!) And finally do some random crazy shit as is usual for me on such expeditions.

Once it was decided that the expedition was on, now came across the task of charting out my journey. Considering the options at hand I first planned it out something like following: Dehradun – New Delhi – Agra – Jhansi – Jabalpur – Seoni – Nagpur – Hyderabad –  Bangalore – Mysore – Sulthan Bathery – Ooty – Coimbatore – Sulthan Bathery – Thrissur – Ernakulam – Thiruvananthapuram. Agra, because six years in Delhi and I could never visit the Taj. Jabalpur, because I needed to be getting my certificates from the university and Sulthan Bathery because I wanted to ride on the Nilgiri Sulthan to Kovai beyond Udhagamandalam, return and then to make the descent to Thrissur in the morning via the Thamarassery Churam. I secured contacts in most places thanks to my mates in FRI as well as my KV upbringing.

But alas, the plan wasn’t to materialize atleast for the time being. The lack of State transport in Madhya Pradesh being a major setback and long sections of non-stop travel involved was there as such then came in the news of Selvi. Jayalalitha’s sudden passing away, that put me in a quandary about the state of affairs in Tamilnadu. But when the bug had already bitten, there was no looking back, the journey was rerouted promptly in a span of days, new contacts secured for the places I was to be in. Tamilnadu still stays very much with priority on the list, with me being hopeful of things improving soon. I set about with the preparations, almost on a war-footing for I didn’t have much time. Surprising was the fact that I indulged in it all when my examinations were on and I was supposed to be studying rigorously. But I could see the energy that sprang out from within, a wave that I’d been missing. I was happy with myself for that exact same reason. The route for now was restructured as Dehradun – New Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Udaipur – Vadodara – Pune – Bangalore – Mysore – Sulthan Bathery – Ooty – Coimbatore – Sulthan Bathery – Thrissur – Ernakulam – Thiruvananthapuram.

That’s quite a ride even when travelled in the tourist mode, I dunno how that’s gonna turn out for me. I am setting out anyhow with the belief firm that in the end, it will be one long memorable journey to home sweet home and that the Almighty will take care of what I’ve missed and the rest! Hopefully, I will write about the journey itself in one grand post once it attains completion.

So, Godspeed is the one that will help me in taking this post from anonymity to where it truly belongs! And I need it the most, from every one of you!

Silver Dusts…

So, there was this bollywood movie being shot on our campus. So what? Nothing extraordinary, right. Girls from our class announced the advent of the shooting crews and caravans with child like excitement that I brushed aside with a pretended disinterest.

The movie supposedly was titled, ‘Raag Desh’ and it was ‘Kunal Kapoor’ who was starring in it. All of them seemed to be apparently drooling over the the same. I realised myself to be no exception to it only a little while later. The talk in the classroom was all about the movie and people were enthused by the fact that students and seniors amongst us had been offered crowd roles to play in the movie and paid decent sums for a day’s work. The movie was being shot at different spots all over the campus near the main building, the lawns and elsewhere.

After the first day’s shoot they set camp near the rear portion of our main building where all crew vehicles and caravans were parked and their stores for everything from costumes to eatables to props was set. We were having our classes for an IIRS course in the Forest Informatics Division right by the rear end during those days. So  we were like kind of first hand witnesses to all of the proceedings. For me, on a personal note all of it seemed quite surprising as to how the things were progressing and also because I’d never watched a movie-shoot at such close quarters. So many different people in the crew working on altogether different things simultaneously and then all of it getting unified for perfecting a single frame/ shot was stupefying. More than the cast of the movie, it was the director (Tigmanshu Dhulia) that I was noticing for I was already in awe for the genre of cinemas (Read Paan Singh Tomar, Gangs of Wasseypur for his acting) that he’d given us.

Folks from our class were already in possession of the actor’s autographs and photographs with them. One day after class, when the shoot was on in the convocation hall in the evening, Even I did get a chance to be in those sections of the main building where I had never previously been.

On a later day while the shooting was still on, we three trooped down to the movie set after our classes. I was pleasantly taken aback to see familiar faces (our friends and seniors from the university) in the crowd running back after their shoot was done. We’d known by then that it was to be a movie revolving around the great Subash Chandra Bose and the INA. The shoot on was about a session of the Congress, where the leaders including Jawahrlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel were addressing the gathered crowds.

The Congress Session Shoot on our Lawns.

Vishnu, a dear friend I knew was seriously into movie-making. I’d seen and felt his passion for the same whenever he’d be speaking of films and also when he was on this set, observing the shoot with keen interest. He introduced me to a malayali crew member who was coincidentially from the same city as I was. The female lead for the movie was also from down south as Vishnu later told me. An interesting incident was just about to happen right then.


The actor essaying the role of Pt. Nehru was to be addressing the crowd in the given frame. The director was sort of impatient at times, which seemed completely justified if the day’s shoot was to be wrapped up succesfully. All arrangements were set, there was complete stillness and multiple dialogues got okayed with few takes. Then according to script, Pt. Nehru was to say, “ये गुज़रे हुए दिन बड़ी मुश्किल में गुज़रे थे।“ But somehow the actor himself found it awkward to be mouthing the same word twice in a single sentence. He kept repeating the same line over and over again to himself before the take. The last time around he just stopped off at “मुश्किल” and I spontaneously completed his sentence by shouting out a “से भरे हुए थे।“, altering the dialogue as “ये गुज़रे हुए दिन बड़ी मुश्किलों से भरे हुए थे।“. Even before I’d realized what I’d done, members of the crew were gesticulating towards me to remain silent. This was probably in fear of the director shouting at them as well. I was fortunate that it was not a take as such that I’d intervened in and that maybe the actor had indeed heard me shout for when the shot was finally it was taken, it was as revised. A feel good sensation ensued instantly despite what could have possibly been an awry twist. I understood how the slightest of the disturbances could completely be ruining a frame about to be shot. We soon left before the shoot came to a close.

Few days later, when the shoot was on the side of our main building was when I and Nidhin decided to stay put around the location in the afternoon to catch a glimpse of the actors and watch some real silver screen action. We had the opportunity to be masquerading as film crew and walk on the lawns up front which we couldn’t otherwise have done as students. The catering staff even fondly inquired whether we had lunch or not, presuming us also to be part of the shoot/crew. We spotted multiple vintage cars to be put to use in the shoot. The shoot commenced soon after with the lead actors performing. We were in the front row of the crowd of onlookers and were happy with the fact that the deployed bouncers asked us quite normally not to be video capturing the shooting and stay a bit back without any roughness whatsoever in their tones.  The frame was set and it was about to be shot when the director suddenly spotted Sourav Biswas standing with a cycle at the edge of the frame and shouted out for him to be removed. A crew member ran out towards him, while Sourav stood nonchalantly. He reached up to him, picked up his cycle and then both of them ducked behind a tree before the shooting continued. The director was occasionally pissed off about losing daylight before the shoot finished. We stayed till the last shots were okayed in hopes of an autograph or a photograph (Yes!). Soon as the shoot wrapped up, Kunal was literally whisked away in a Qualis to his caravan while we onlookers stood dismayed. Nidhin then said that we should anyways be walking over to where his caravan was in hopes of the same. We did and when we did reach up, we found our batchmates from different trades getting photos snapped with him and he he left in a flash into a waiting taxi-cab, before we could even manage to ask him for a photo. I and Nidhin did however jump over to the side where his taxi stood to at least squeeze out an autograph from him before he left. Nidhin promptly fished out my Library Passbook for getting the autograph and I goaded him to ask Kunal Kapoor for the same. He did, but we were politely refused for the day citing his hurry to be boarding a flight back. Nidhin spoke fluent hindi and was responded to by Kunal Kapoor in an even pleasing tone. We returned back to the hostel dismayed not by the fact that we didn’t get his auto or photograph but more by the fact that fate had denied Kunal the opportunity to gift us the same (Ha!).

The shoot was on for a few more days after that and the last of my misadventures on the set involved me and Anand on a scooterette riding right into the middle of the frame attempting to capture the Nazi Flags draped on our FRI building for the shoot. Alas there also, before I could actually take the snap we got surrounded by bouncers who warned us against doing anything of the sort and we made a quick exit.

Imagine all this and more happened to someone whose earliest memories relatable to movies remain conversing with മാമു കോയ in Calicut, a tale that wasn’t believed by his own family members for long!

The Ride to Resurrection…

I have been a person with a lot of crap in my brain and mind that also often reflected knowingly or unknowingly in my thoughts and actions. This I write here so as to serve as the flag-off for the betterment of myself to my true satisfaction.

I distinctly remember that my first time indulgence was in class I with me saying unpleasant stuff about a classmate, the same had a recurrence in class 6th with the girl I was to fall in love for, much later on in life. Class 6th was when I’d actually fallen sick (obviously in regard to what is being spoken of here). The illness only deteriorated with time and in years, it kind of was overpowering and suffocating.
Yes, Suffocating because I’d known all along that I didn’t need such an indulgence and that I seriously needed to stay away from it to concentrate on better stuff in life but alas, I couldn’t do that as such. My own failure at getting done what I’d resolved suffocated me.
I was very fortunate in the sense that there came many instances and even persons whom I could’ve successfully utilized to turn on a new leaf in my life. While I was at my lowest ebb in undergraduate years, came into my life the very same girl from class 6th. I’d resolved to change for the better to be worthy of her. I kind of changed also, but sadly the change didn’t stay on for too long. I’d soon reverted to my old crappy self. This and multitudes of incidents apart, I was still at square one.

Cut back to present, I’ve realized that my being good or better towards others and self is only to my own benefit in the long run and that I couldn’t afford to while away the limited time at hand in wasteful indulgences that could otherwise be put to use fruitfully to secure a fulfilling present and satisfying life.

More than ever, the one person who has catalyzed the turn around this time has been #RotiChehra, a dear chaddi buddy of mine who’d like me to do better. Her ‘pretending’ to distance herself from me was enough for me to know that it’s ‘Now or never’. Though this got me all upset at start and I perceived her incorrectly, now I think I know better. The lingering fear that she might someday entirely give up on me, if I didn’t rise up has been the exact trigger this time. But my resolve, rock-solid this time somehow tells me that I wouldn’t falter like before and indeed secure the light at the end of the tunnel.

Long live my resolution!
Long live the revolution!

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