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Grew up in Oman. Worked and lived in South East Asia for 15 years. And since 2021, back in Bangalore again!
Now, a little bit about me..
Until Covid happened, I followed a circular life. I would work for 2 to 3 years in a boring corporate job somewhere in the world. I save money, and then take a long travel break for a year or two- either flying around different parts of the world, or taking my motorbike and riding around every state in India. Covid probably changed that mindset - and the inclination for a sabbatical life - as my goal now is now to build a base, buy a beach property somewhere in the south of India, take short vacations as most normal people do, and prepare for an early retirement.
I used to be a crazy party-surfer, but I guess I have decided to age maturely. I have left the party-life, and use couchsurfing as a platform to collaborate with artists and other creative folks nowadays. Or just meet people actually. If you are a photographer, writer, blogger, videographer etc, give me a shout! I would be happy to meet you and discuss about each other's interests. Check out some of my projects/platforms below.
And since the party-life has subsided, I have been living an extremely healthy life. Been cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes and training for various obstacle runs like spartan, viper etc. If you feel the urge to do some burpees, do a strength workout, or play some sports, say the magic word!
I am a proud Indian and wouldn't give up my passport for anything or any other country in the world. But I have been told by people that I disappoint them with my level of 'Indianness'. I am not spiritual, I don't plan to get married - arranged or not - or have kids (I am strongly anti-natalist, especially in context of the Indian population), I dont enjoy mainstream bollywood, I am not communal, I can survive without spices forever, prefer vodka to yoga, and I don't prefer to watch cricket.
I am a traveller, and belong to the Peter Pan generation, simply refusing to grow up. But rest assured, I am just your average next-door-guy who who can hack my neighbour's wifi bandwidth, and even gives him/her a wink at times . Just like this ;-)
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
I've couchsurfed in nearly 50 out of the 90 countries (as of 2021) that I have been to, and collected numerous stories, friends and life lessons. In turn, I host people whenever I find a permanent place to live.
However, I waited till I hosted atleast 5 people, before I asked anyone to host me during my travels. So, if you are writing me a couchrequest, note that I will look at your profile to check if you have ever hosted anyone. This is a give-and-take community, so you gotta give first before you take.
The exception to the above rule is, if we have common interests or if I see you as my spiritual doppelgänger. Do you like photography, sports, Salsa, tattoos, writing/blogging mundane thoughts? Or have you been to any country where I am planning to go? Yep, you could get an invite from me if I saw those things in your profile, or I might accept your couchrequest.
1) Certified shutterbug. You tell me its ok to click you, and I will follow you like a paparazzi, making you look good in every click!
2) I love to play quizmaster, and the Singapore quizzing community (well, some of them) can attest to that. If I am in your country, let me know if you want me to set up a quiz for you. ;-)
3) Getting inked. 13 and counting.
4) Blogging or writing about my perspectives on life. Medium is not important. What is important is the damn message.
5) Working out.
6) Any beach.
7) Generally very sporty, and will try any sport with you. Love to play obscure sports like bossaball, tchoukball etc.
- solo travel
Music, Movies, and Books
All movies of Tarantino. Park Wan Chook's vengeance trilogy. All movies by Luc Besson. City of god. Among Indian movies, I like all movies of Mani Ratnam, Vishal Bharadwaj and Anurag Kashyap. And the mallu in me cannot refuse any Fahad Fasil movies!! (His eyes are like a bloody Shakespearean Sonnet!)
My travels have hugely affected my taste in music. Go through my playlist, and you will find everything from Kurdish rap, Brazilian baile funk, Balkan beatbox, Korean hiphop, German bands like seeed and gentleman, and even a Belgian singer who some French hope was one of their own. Yep, Stromae isnt actually French. Now you know ;)
As for books, generally love all books by by Puzo, Leon uris and Khaled Hossieni. So, you can say that I love fiction, which also teaches you about a particular cultural history.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Plenty to recall, but cant really call some of them as achievements though :-D
1) Did a K2K2K ride in India. Rode a motorbike for 4 months, and 12000 KMs, from the South of India (Kerala) to Kathmandu (Nepal) and Bhutan, finishing in Kolkata. I think my ass pretty much died after that ride. As if that was not enough, I did another K2K2K ride within a year, riding from Kibithu to Kanyakumari to Koteshwar. That's the easternmost, southernmost and westernmost points of India!
2) Love riding a motorbike, and rode some really long and difficult terrains in East Timor, raced against the rain in Bolaven Plateau (Laos), taught the vietnamese how an Indian rides a motorbike, and rode 1400kms in Bali before getting pulled up for riding without a license. And also rode through Srinagar (Kashmir) in 2014, in the middle of the worst flood that the state has ever seen.
3) While many are scared of crowds, I love places with large-crowds, or cultural festivals. (you see, that's the Indian in me!). Been to the Rio carnival, the canal gay pride (amsterdam), Tori ni ichi (Tokyo), Galungan (Bali), Panagbenga (Philippines), Songkran (Thailand), Kumbhmela (India), Masskara (Philippines) and the Thaipusam festival every year in Singapore.
4) Watching glorious dawns at AnkorWat, (Cambodia), Bagan (Myanmar) and Zambales (Philippines), Efate (Vanuatu), Goreme (Turkey) and Blue mountains (Australia).
5) Getting lost in the rice terraces of Banaue, Philippines in the dark, and being assisted out of it by NPA members. (A rebel army outfit in the Philippines)
6) Witnessing Silom Rd in Bangkok during the songkran festival, narrowly escaping a stampede after a bomb-scare.
7) Doing a road-trip (in a car, thank god!) through Southern/Midlands England, right in the midst of storm Imogen. The folks at Stonehenge must have thought we were nutters.
8) Stayed in an illegal hostel in Dubai, slept on the hotel lobby in India (multiple times), slept in a car park in Germany (yeah, it was illegal), slept in an empty hostel in Budapest (not even a receptionist) and couchsurfed in a bedouin cave in Wadi Musa, Jordan. Actually, I insisted on sleeping OUTSIDE the cave, because i wanted to sleep under the stars. It was probably the best night of my life.
9) Despite all warnings of rockfall, visited the Taroko gorge in Hualien, Taiwan during the rainy season, and walked through the TG national park, narrowly missing several small rocks that were falling.
10) Getting stranded in Karachi, Pakistan due to flight issues for a day, while travelling from Oman to India. This was during the Kargil war between India and Pakistan, so almost shat myself during my stay there.
11) Listened to the pope speaking at St. Peter's basilica. I am not religious or anything, but that guy has the most soothing voice you can ever think of!
12) Eating turtle testicles in the Hua Xi night market in Taipei, Balut and shipworms (tamilok) in the Philippines, crocodile meat in Singapore, horse meat in South Korea, Camel meat in Qatar and Frogs/spiders/scorpions in Cambodia.
13) Visiting Dresden in Germany during the heights of the Pegida episode (Pegida started in Dresden), engaging in staring matches with some Germans, and being showered so much love by others.
14) Being confused for a gypsy in Romania, a bedouin in Jordan, a daily-wage labourer in Qatar, a CEO in Riga, a loanshark in Thailand, and a media photographer in many festivals of the Philippines earning myself front-row seats. We browns are stupendously versatile, I tell you!
15) Chartered a boat to see the smaller islands of Singapore, and it ended up crashing head-first into another boat. Worse, it happened to be a coast-guard boat!
Teach, Learn, Share
I work at unicorn in product ops. So, can teach you a thing or two about startup culture from San Francisco to Bangalore.
I can teach travel photography :-) And how to set up wordpress blogs.
I can teach you some mean workouts with a TRX or resistance band. And if you are a spartan, I am your best friend!
I am a geek at heart. Ask me to conduct a quiz, and you are almost giving me an orgasm.
And how to dance the chicken-dance and make it look like salsa.
How to thumb-gun a beer. (a shot-gun's so passe, people!). :-D
What I Can Share with Hosts
I am more of a 'people person' than a 'tourguide'. Which means, during your stay with me, you can expect me to take you to a multitude of events where there are people. Like parties, gatherings, meetups. But if you expect me to show you around Singapore and its highlights the whole day, sorry, I dont think I am the right fit.
Similarly, if you are hosting me, please dont take the pain of being a tourguide to me. I am capable of walking around myself. But yes, if you have awesome people events happening, I would love to join you.
And maybe, just maybe, you will let me cook for you!? (Do take a health insurance first, just to be safe)
Countries I’ve Visited
Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Micronesia, Federated States of, Monaco, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Réunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Vatican City State, Viet Nam
Countries I’ve Lived In
India, Oman, Philippines, Singapore