Eudaimoniacs RTW Series: Leg 1 India (Mumbai) Day 61 to 63 – Thosai and Chai

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All good things have to come to an end. Unfortunately for us, we had to leave our paragliding family to continue our journey. We decided we needed to rejuvenate our bodies and do nothing for a while. Discussing with our paragliding mates, we opted for Rishikesh, the world capital of yoga. Unfamiliar with the complicated train system in India, we opted to pay extra for convenience by flight to Dehra Dun’s Jolly Grant Airport, 25km from Rishikesh.

From Kamshet, we had to go to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport and fly to Delhi, transit for 1 hour before heading to Dehra Dun. Our dear fellow paragliding pilot, Hemanshu, volunteered to host us for our short 24 hour stay in Mumbai before our departure. Leaving Kamshet in a jeep, we descended down from the Deccan Plateau to the most populated city in India – Mumbai.

We reached Hemanshu’s place around midnight. Stuck in a complicated avenue, we called Hemanshu for help and like a galiant knight in shining armour, he rode a scooter from behind and showed us the way to his colony (in India, residential buildings under the same management are called colonies).

There i was greeted warmly by his aunt who surprised me with my second birthday cake in India (altogether i had 3 birthday cakes this year in India when usually in Singapore, nobody cares). We slept about 1 in the morning, woke up early to catch the sunrise on his rooftop while having breakfast made by his lovely mum and then began our hectic tour of Mumbai.

First stop was Hemanshu’s office. He is a lawyer specializing in real estate and the ambience of his office really commanded respect though it was balanced by his humble character. The afternoon went by quickly with Hemanshu driving us to malls, newly developing properties in Mumbai’s ballooning real estate market and passing by some slum areas. And yes, all this while we were experiencing what driving in a gridlock city feels like and it does not feel good at all. Stress and forced patience were constant companions throughout.

At Hemanshu’s law firm


We went to Marine Drive, home to the biggest Bollywood celebrities. By chance, it was Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday and there was a huge crowd of fans and paparazzi in front of his bungalow gates. We stayed for a while before heading off to Haji Ali Mosque.

Outside Shah Rukh Khan’s mansion. Hundreds of fans came to catch a glimpse of the birthday boy.


Haji Ali Mosque was a sight. Even the drive there was a magnificent sight. We had to drive past a newly constructed bridge that resembled San Fransisco’s Bridge. The mosque is situated in the sea and is only accessible by a tiny road which was heavily packed with stalls and sightseers. We watched the sunset and headed back to the carpark to meet our other paragliding buddy, Husein.

Haji Ali Mosque

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He brought us to her sister’s house and we were totally shocked by the grandeur of her apartment. Being a security guard to support myself through polytechnic, i’ve seen a fair share of what a wealthy apartment looks like but this was something else. In short, her apartment was the best i’ve ever seen in terms of aesthetics, view and technology.

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After that we went off for a long savoury dinner followed by a combined cake for the November babies – Linda, Husein and myself. We spent about an hour by the coastline before Hemanshu and Husein took shifts to drive us around Mumbai covering the iconic Taj Hotel and Queen’s necklace. We had a final cup of coffee together and all of us were getting drowsy from a lack of sleep.


Husein went home and Hemanshu painstakingly drove us to the airport punctually at 4am. In short it was a comfortable tour of Mumbai made possible only thanks to our paragliding buddies, Husein and ESPECIALLY Hemanshu. So with that, we would love to say our thanks once again to the both of them and rub our palms in anticipation of the adventures that await us in Rishikesh. Until then, we are in desperate need for sleep right now.


Eudaimoniacs RTW Series: Leg 1 India (Kamshet) Day 49 to 61 – Thosai and Chai

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Paragliders from Kirzruba on Vimeo.

After our ordeal in Pune, we signed up for an impromptu 10-day paragliding course where we had the best 10 days of our lives.

Shah wrote an article for Temple Pilots Paragliding School. We thought this could sum up our experience in Kamshet.

“…refusing to adhere to the typical Singaporean life, we quitted our jobs and packed our backpacks to see if the grass was really greener on the other side.

We started off our trip with India or what we call ‘mini-earth’. From mountains to oceans, deserts to vast plantations, snow to hot, humid weather and everything else in between, it is of little wonder why Indians are so proud of India. Starting our trip in the state of Tamil Nadu, we went northwards to Karnataka and planned to take our advanced open water scuba diving course in Goa.  

Our enthusiasm was doused with disappointment because all water sports activities were temporarily suspended at the time we were there due to some ongoing issues with all water sports companies requiring government permits to operate their business. Googling online for a nearby adventure we could indulge in as a replacement, we found paragliding in Kamshet near Pune.    

We enrolled for a 3-day beginner’s paragliding course with Temple Pilots. At first we were strangers, the typical scenario you get in a new social setting. The bubbly Anita did not waste much time to break the ice. By the end of the first night, we were cracking jokes and feeling much at home with our coursemates.

Training was gruelling initially, with a lot of emphasis on both physical and mental endurance. But with the patient and accomodating instructors led by Avi, we were all making independent flights from a 175ft hill by the end of the course. However, the teasing surge of adrenaline made us hunger for more and we extended another 7 days to complete our certification course. That was when our eyes were opened to what paragliding REALLY is.    

Running off a 750ft hill made us yell our soul out to be one with the skies. Though it was just basic turning and soaring and nothing of the dangerous acrobatic stunts, adrenaline was flooding our veins. Coupled with mesmerisation for this new world, we forgot who we were. In one of those rare moments in life, we were one with the void. Our senses were overwhelmed with this new experience and we felt reborn.    

We felt like birds, amazing creatures soaring the skies being the envy of men. Aeroplanes make men fly but now we know what it feels like to have the wind brushing against your face, savouring the panaromic view without windshields, smelling the fragrance of the clouds and hearing the wind whispering its strength into our ears. In short, there was no turning back from falling in love with paragliding.    

Looking back at our pictures on Day 1 and at the end of the course, we observed a significant difference. We looked fitter and all our coursemates were glowing with confidence and positivity. To sum it up, it was a transformational journey for us that we did not expect. A famous quote says ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ but for me, i now say TIME IS FUN WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FLIGHT.”    

Through this sport, we have made some really good friends, the ones whom we look forward to have for a lifetime. Wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else.


Eudaimoniacs RTW Series: Leg 1 India (Bangalore) Day 20 to 28 – Thosai and Chai


Equipped with a 39-year old Japanese name Hideaki (long story), the three of us made our way in a taxi on the bumpy roads of India for 6 hours from Tiruvannamalai to Bangalore. As hours pass, the countryside slowly turned to valleys and plateaus of granite used for extraction. Eventually it all melted to city life. Urban buildings, shopping malls, gyms, orderly traffic (compared to Tiru) and all the usual stuff you have in Singapore.

Hideaki, our Japanese IT & software guru from Tiru

Our first stop was at Hotel Empire in the City Centre along a busy road called Mahatma Gandhi Road – (MG Road for short). After dispatching our baggage, the second stop was a sumptuos buffet lunch costing $3.30 located conveniently at the hotel lobby. Having refrained from eating meat as much as we would love to, we devoured the Halal chickens and muttons like zombies in Resident EVil. The staff tried to con us while paying. For the first time ever, i saw the smiley Hideaki lost his cool. Trust me, you do not want to see an angry Japanese. (Hell hath no fury like a Japanese scorned)

After ingesting meat protein back to our systems, we’re up and about exploring the city of Bangalore. Lanes of shopping malls and branded stalls lined up the streets. The people here looks more well off and the women are more attractive (and arrogant as well). We observed a stark difference in the level of humility, warmth and manners compared to the more welcoming Tiruvannamalai.

We went on to explore the Cubbon Park, Post Office and more administrative building along the way the next day. Halal food is easily available here in Bangalore and we had happy tummies all day long.

To summarise our stay in Bangalore, we would highly recommend this for expats trying to get their feet wet, for it is one of the more metropolitan cities in India. The interesting thing is that if you look hard enough, there are many historical sites and natural places to see in Bangalore. Unfortunately, we pass out on this opportunity because motorbikes can’t be rented here and drivers tend to overcharge.

Bangalore tip: When taking the auto-rickshaw, ensure that they’re using the meter before alighting. For Muslims, you definitely should check out Ammi’s Briyani. Slightly pricey Briyani but extremely tasty.

We managed to roam around the busy and colorful KR Market

The largest mosque in Bangalore, Jama Masjid

Unfortunately, we were unable to enter the mosque as the entrance is closed. Closed? -_-”

The main entrance of Jama Masjid

McDonald hotcakes in Bangalore

Bangalore’s Wild Safari at Bannerghatta Biological Park

The unique thing about the wild safari is that we can get really upclose with the animals as seen from the pictures, but of course, in the safety of our safari van. Park entry cost SGD 5 per person. Heeee~~

We managed to catch two shows in the cinemas: Heart-warming Bollywood movie, Barfi & the action-packed, Resident Evil: Retribution. Both were great shows. One thing that’s different is the movies in India have intermissions (a 10min break halfway through the movie) – something we’re beginning to get used to. Kinda reminded me of the cinema in Thailand where everybody have to stand when the national anthem is playing and slideshow of the King is screened, before the movie starts.

Some terminology that might interest you:

In India, “TAPAU”, “PACKET” or “TAKE AWAY” is known as “PARCEL”.

To top up your pre-paid card, you say “RECHARGE” instead of “TOP-UP”.

Traffic lights are called “SIGNALS”.

Restaurants are called “HOTELS”.

At traffic light junctions, when it’s green light, locals called it “OPEN”.

Well, there it is our 9-day stay in Bangalore.

Next stop, the picturesque coastal town of Gokarna and Goa!

From the mountains, to the plateau and now to the coast.