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What was different in 2018 ?

It's time when you look back at happy gains and learnings from the year which is about to end. How about looking at the things which I experienced for the first time, did differently by breaking the jinx in 2018? I am sure all of you will have a similar list from your timeline and here's mine:

Wild Card Entry at Tirumala: Visiting Tirupathi and getting darshan of Lord Venkateshwara needs a lot of meticulous planning. I also did the same almost and was planning for darshan with my less than 1-year old infant, confirming whether they have restrictions like Dharmasthala. In contrast, Tirumala has something called Supadha entrance for people with special privileges and one of them is for parents with less than 1-year old infant. So, without much plan and a little bit of research (thanks to GoTirupathi website) we landed up in Tirumala and had darshan of Lord Venkateshwara with a waiting period of 1 hour or so. More about this experience in a separate post.
Alipiri Gate Entrance to Tirumala
Sun touching Shivalinga at Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple: Staying so close to the famous Gavigandhareshwara temple for last 20+ years, I could never witness the rare event of sun rays touching Shivalinga on Sankranti evening marking the entry into Uttarayana. But this year, I managed to break this jinx and credit mainly goes one beautiful article in livemint which was wired in my brain to provide a timely reminder. Actually, the common people are not allowed inside the temple due to space constraints and the proceedings are beamed live on a large screen at the shamiyanas outside the temple. Initially, we (me & Ananth Shayan) were a bit dejected for not being inside the temple, but being at a venue with a large crowd and listening live narration from the head priest made the event more memorable.
Sun rays falling on Shivalinga


Concluding proceedings of Bangalore Karaga: I have managed to see initial proceedings of the famous Bangalore Karaga festival and also visit to the Dargah along with other temples in pete area. But witnessing the return of the Karaga to back to Dharamarayaswamy temple in early morning hours didn't materialize for long due to personal commitments, business travel etc. Before start of 2018, by I had earmarked dates of the festival in my calendar as it was falling on a weekend (Saturday night to Sunday morning). Apart from this, it was a long wait on the day of the festival as well. Due to last minute change in the Karaga bearer, the Karagashakti came out of the temple 3 hours late and the final proceedings at the temple were also delayed. Thanks to my friend Anantha Shayan for accompanying me to witness this festival yet again.

Staying overnight at Nandi Hills: I am sure most Bangaloreans would have been to Nandi Hills multiple times in their lifetime but not stayed there overnight due to limited availability of accommodation. There has been only one option i.e. KSTDC MayuranPine which had only 3 rooms and it's been tough getting a room there on weekends. Recently, they have brought booking of Gandhi Nilaya room on the same platform for increasing capacity. Earlier this year, when I took off for a day for my son's birthday this place turned out to be our obvious choice for having a unique getaway and being very far from the city. More about this experience in a separate post.
Late evening at Nandhi Hills

Witnessing Deepothsava at Bhogonandeeshwara Temple: In last decade this famous temple next to Nandi Hills has become a must-visit destination if you are traveling around Nandi Area. Also, the location is quite famous for pre-wedding shoots and nowadays for kinda limited audience destination wedding near Bengaluru. And not many know that there is famous Deepothsava which happens here on last Monday of Karthika month. As it always falls on a weekday this event doesn't appear in calendars of many netizens of the city and also it clashes with famous Kadlekai Parischey festival in Basavanagudi. However, this time I managed to visit this along with my colleagues and actually, during peak hours the place was just 50 mins drive from our office Manyata Tech Park.
Deepothsava at Bhoganandeeshwara Temple

Kuvempu's home at Kuppalli: Visting famous Kannada's poet home at Kuppali in Thirthalli taluk was in my bucket list for a long time. The place is only 17 kms from my hometown and I could not manage to be there being so close! Finally, when I had been Hariharpura to witness Deepothsava on Saturday, I ensured to leave a couple of hours early while driving back to Bangalore for having a stopover at Kuppalli.
Kavimane at Kuppali

Visiting Mahabalipuram near Chennai: I had been to Chennai several times but somehow a visit to Mahabalipuram remained in my bucklet list for long. But during one of my recent biz trip to Chennai, the trip materialized, thanks for my friend and award-winning blogger Shrinidhi Hande

Pancharathas at Mahabalipuram

Managing without a Facebook app on mobile: Once upon a time, Facebook used to be a handy app on mobiles esp. when I used to manage activities at Bangalore Photowalk. But in recent times the amount of noise to signal has increased multi-fold and browsing Facebook on mobile was mainly unproductive. It was so sub-consciously addictive that I was not able to avoid it. But the decisive step was taken when I did a factory reset on my smartphone due to some issue with an upgrade of software. Later, while re-installing all necessary, apps I thought of how about managing without facebook app for a couple of days. Now, it's been a couple of months and I am alive without the Facebook app on mobile. For any FB requirement, I occasionally login thru browser on laptop/mobile. And for any photo sharing and updates, Instagram is sufficient anyday!

Traveling to and fro to office without a motorized vehicle: Cycling to-n-fro to office has been in my to-do list for a long time but due to fear of traffic, cycling in the night time, weather conditions made this act postponed indefinitely. In fact, I made an attempt for this in Dec 2015, but I could complete the loop in a day as I was too tired and later after 2 days I had a horrible experience in pollution, traffic while making return journey after 2 days. This year, the decisive decision taken when I got stuck in a cab at Hebbal Flyover for an hour around 12 noon due useless white topping work at outer ring road. The jam was so much that after passing thru the bottleneck Google maps sent me a notification for rating my visit Hebbal BMTC depot! Anyways, post this day I have done multiple trips (once a week) to the office on a cycle and experience has been rejuvenating. And major credit should go Lumos cycling bagpack which brings in all confidence for cycling in the night time. More about this bag in a separate blog post.




No visit to a cinema hall: Courtesy Amazon Prime and other video-on-demand sites I didn't have the need to visit a cinema hall. And also with an infant at home, it would be difficult to be at a hall just for experience purpose.

And lastly, not writing even a single blog post - well, it was almost there and I managed not to have this in the above list by composing this post to summarize different things which happened in 2018.

Happy new year to everyone ! Looking forward for having much more eventful 2019!

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