If you’d ask me who made me what I am today in terms of career, I would name three people, all from Webchutney.
Nishi Kant, our Creative Director then, who interviewed me in spite of the fact that I didn’t have an appointment or any work experience for that matter, with whom I spent countless evenings and nights brainstorming on various products and clients, both in office or at shady bars that cops raid often :)
Meghana Bhat, our Copy Head then, who took my inexperience as a junior copywriter and nurtured and guided me into writing better and more powerful copy while keeping branding and positioning in mind, who would be up till 5 in the morning just to review a concept note I submitted at 4 AM.
And finally, Amit Basak, our Art Director then, who would spend relentless time guiding me in Photoshop and Design concepts, even though I was from the Copy department, eventually giving me the skills to do my own wireframes, UI/UX design, webpage layout and banner designs directly for clients, earning me a unique designation in Webchutney - Creative Trailblazer, basically somebody who does concept, copy, art & design, coding and sometimes even servicing, for a client :)
So when Amit announced his engagement (to the beautiful and dear friend Girija Naiksatam) a few months ago, I was truly ecstatic for the two of them.
And what comes before any wedding?
A BACHELOR’S PARTY of course!
And so there we were yesterday, most of us Webchutney and ex-Webchutney peeps, all close friends of Amit, at the coldest place I’ve ever been to here in Maharashtra – Rusticville Camp at Tikona, around 25 km from Lonavala.
Here’s the groom-to-be, having the time of his life on his bachelor’s night!
But wait, let’s rewind a bit here, à la Hangover Movie style, and retrace our steps back to see how he ended up like this :) Here’s our travelogue:
We started the day on Saturday. I reached Sharad Kalawar’s place at Bandra Reclamation around 12:30. Saw this cute doggy outside his apartment.
Sharad and I then proceeded to LPQ at BKC, where Roopesh and John were already waiting for us. Nishi arrived soon after us. Roopesh was one of the organizers of the bachelor’s night and he was all tensed and frantic. He kept mumbling, “Comon where are the others, comon man, we gotta leave soon, arree we must reach there before dark so we can see the sunset, uuufff ya, how long are the others taking, this is a picture of my 4 months old daughter, isn’t she cute, arrreee when are the others getting here mannnn they’re so late…”
LPQ - La Pain Quotidien, an awesome French bakery right adjacent to California Pizza Kitchen at BKC was the rendezvous point for all of us. We were all supposed to leave from there at 1:30 PM.
Unfortunately, I guess only the five of us got the memo :)
We made use of the time by ordering good breakfast at LPQ. I had Belgium Ham and Cheese Omelette, which was awesome.
Nishi had an egg toast in bread, and that’s exactly what it was – It came in a large bread crust shaped as a spherical pot, and the inside was filled with egg, cheese and risotto rice. None of us knew how to eat the damn thing without making a mess, lolz. Damn gourmet :P
Finally the second car comprising of Anoop, Mustafa and Jonathan reached LPQ. And the reason they were late was because dear Mustafa was… giving his showers of blessings all over Mumbai roads, including at a Toll gate! :D
Here he is trying his best to sober up… so he’ll be fresh enough to get sloshed later that night :D
We decided to go ahead in two cars, with four people in each car. The others, including the bachelor boy himself, were definitely going to be late. In our car were Roopesh, John, Nishi and me.
We made a short pit stop at the base of the Western Ghats, before proceeding up towards Lonavala. Here is the journey ahead
Due to the delay and last minute shopping here and there at a highly congested traffic jam at Lonavala market, we were definitely not going to make it to Rusticville before sunset. Here are a few pics I took on the Western Ghats, watching the sun slowly go down between the scenic hills.
By the time we crossed Lonavala, it was pitch dark. However, data connectivity was good on my Vodafone network (Airtel people kept losing signal here and there) and so I ended up navigating the entire route for Roopesh who was driving. Trust me, it was dangerous to drive blindly because everything was dark, we’ve never been there before, the winding roads were small, and one wrong turn meant flying off the precarious cliffs to thousands of feet below.
We finally reached Rusticville Camp site around 9 PM.
My first reaction was that of a tad disappointment because everything around the campsite was dark so we couldn’t marvel at any of the breathtaking scenery around it, like those pictures we saw online. Here’s the first glimpse of our tents…
And yes it was freaking colddddd
Here’s the first batch of alcohol for the bachelor’s party. The second batch was on its way along with the latecomers :)
Some ice for the drinks. You might be thinking, why the heck would anyone drink with ice when it was so cold already. Well, we needed ice because of reasons. :P
I ended up drinking more Jägermeister than Old Monk rum because of the cold. It really kept me warm and going! Of course I wasn’t stupid enough to have a Jägerbomb and puke like how Mustafa did all the way from Mumbai to Tikona :D
Jonathan with the chicken for the BBQ
Marinating the chick
Our DJ console for the night :) Two different music system speakers connected to one jack input.
Finally, the rest of the guys arrived. After wishing the bachelor boy, he was welcomed with a special Rusticville cocktail (that John made up) which comprised of 30ml Jägermeister, 30ml Old Monk, 30ml Smirnoff vodka and 30ml Double Black whiskey. Man, that was one lethal concoction!
Amit had to gulp down the content in one go, as we all shouted “CHUG, CHUG, CHUG!”
This happened thrice. Now you know how he ended up like that in the first photo above :)
A few photos of the BBQ below…
Nishi on BBQ [video]
Anoop Menon and Johnathan Sreekumaran on BBQ [video]
Anddddd the food was gone as quickly as they came :D
These battery operated lights really came in handy during the BBQ…
Meanwhile, all this time, our bachelor boy was drinking and drinking and drinking, enjoying his last few nights of freedom (remember he had that weird concoction in the beginning too)…
FINALLY, he ended up puking everywhere while making abnormal retching noises that sounded like an Orangutan raping a Gorilla (photos cannot be shown for the obvious reason). And then it was lights out for him.
That was the end of the night for our bachelor boy.
We on the other hand continued partying, having the time of our life on Amit’s expense :)
Finally it was time to sleep, and we all headed back into our respective tents. The inside of the tent was warm and cozy.
Next morning, I woke up early to catch the sunrise…
…only to learn that East was blocked by this mountain (below), so we could see the sun only once it was over the mountain! :(
Everybody’s still asleep, the camp certainly looked different and “dead” compared to the fun and noise we had the previous night…
Finally the sun started appearing above the mountain in front of us…
People started waking up one by one and groggily came out of their tents…
Bachelor boy too woke up, with a tremendous hangover and no recollection of what took place the previous night…
The tea wasn’t strong enough to wake him up properly…
…when suddenly his face lit up!
Ahhh… it was this pretty damsel on a neighboring camping group that managed to bring a smile across his hungover face :)
And then of course he was immediately back to depression when he realized that was one of the last times he was ever going to smile at some random woman, otherwise Girija would go all Naiksatam on his ass.
Anyhoo… the rest of the guys kept drinking more tea to refresh themselves…
I on the other hand preferred Jägermeister as my early morning beverage :P T’was ghooood!
Some leftover alcohol…
Tikona dogs scavenging for leftover meat…
Soon it was time to pack up and leave…
Bye bye, Camp Rusticville!
On our way back, a few random pics from the car…
The two cars below are Menon’s and Amit’s actually!
We stopped by a roadside Tea stall right on the banks of Lake Pawna. The view from there was breathtaking.
Here’s a short video I took of the lake…
After we had our fill, we made our way for the Mumbai Pune Expressway. There was this really beautiful “tunnel” on the way…
One incident to remember – So after we left the tea stall mentioned above, Amit the bachelor boy couldn’t find his iPhone! Their car went back to see if he left it behind at the tea stall while we waited for them near the Expressway intersection. They couldn’t find it there either.
And then they called us up to check online since none of the guys in their car had data network. John and I created hotspots from our phones and Roopesh logged into his tab using our network. From there he accessed Amit’s iCloud account, and using the “Find my phone” option, we saw that the phone was still RIGHT THERE at the tea stall. We called the guys there immediately but they couldn’t find it.
And then the freaking phone moved.
Right then we knew somebody had the phone and was hiding it. So we rushed back immediately, and the moment we reached, we jumped out of our cars like FBI agents looking at our phone’s GPS and pointing to the area where the phone was located. It was on a slope. We scoured the entire area but since the accuracy of the GPS location was 100 meters radius as Amit wasn’t having proper data connectivity, we weren’t able to find the phone. By then, one of the waiters of the tea stall was starting to sweat.
The others from our group explained to the waiter in Marathi that in today’s age and technology, every phone could be tracked and that the cops were on their way. By then, a small crowd had started to build up, including an old woman who we assumed was the waiter’s grandmother. She said something to him menacingly too. Finally, the waiter, along with some of the local kids, went to the spot nearby (within the GPS radius) and pulled out Amit’s iPhone from behind a bush!
Mannnnnnn… I’m probably one of Apple’s biggest critics, but for THAT, I really got to give it to Apple. That was one neat feature (even though all the devices we used to find the GPS location were Android devices :P )
You should have seen the look on Amit’s face when he got back his phone. The last I saw of the waiter, it was of the old woman beating his ass with a stick and tears rolling down his cheeks. Ahhh happy New Year you thief.
After that, we made to the Expressway…
Man, that as one truly awesome and memorable bachelor’s party. Wishing Amit and Girija all the best in their future!