One’s alone, two’s company and three is definitely a club. While each of us can have our individual hobbies, the fillip to take that passion to the next level comes in only with a group. And if you thought that our city was laid-back, when it came to such options, then well, hold your horses! From biking to birding, song to laughter and off-road to off-stress, we have them all. Yes, we bring you some of the most interesting clubs, and all have very varied and equally fascinating agendas.
Also, while they paint a picture of fun, laughter and togetherness; they’re extremely serious about the way they go about their activities. And perhaps that’s the reason why all of them achieved objectives far beyond what they had originally set out to achieve. So come, join us at Yo! as we take you to some fascinating clubs. And we’re sure you’ll say, ‘Wish I could be a part of this too!
If getting up at 5AM and kick-starting the day in a healthy way has been an unachievable goal, then this is the company you need to keep.
While most of us are forever intending to make the shift towards a healthier life – starting with waking up early, few of us are actually able to make that effort. Trying to get more people on to the healthier way of living is the motto of the 5AM Club. Started by KVT Ramesh, the idea was born when his friends asked this early riser, how he could wake up early every day. Because a group is more motivated than an individual, he brought together 78 people, with one common simple goal in mind – getting up and meeting at 5AM by the beach to do some healthy activity. And this pattern was to continue for the next 21 days, to make it a habit.
A month old now, the 5AM Club timed its start with the Pinkathon initiative of Rana Uppalapati last month. It formally started off at The Park Hotel, where an enthused group got together. Today, as you look back, this club has been able to not only bring in people at 5AM, but has also helped each person motivate the other. Spending exactly an hour in the morning together, they also plan different activities for each day. So while you may see them walking on one day, they’re cycling the next and going for a Kambalakonda trek on the third day. Today, they motivate and support each other through wakeup calls and pick-ups too. And while it’s just the club members who come for the regular activities, special activities include their families also. Current activities include a 5 week challenge of “Fitter by an Inch” (FBI) which is being undertaken under the guidance of the “Swaasa Yoga” team.
Rendezvous: 5AM usually by the beach or at a pre-chosen venue.
Want to join?
Get in touch with KVT Ramesh at 9885138855, participate without fail for 21 days, and you’re a member too!
Friends for Life
This fun karaoke club begins where the personal singing space ends.
As ‘ABBA’ sang so aptly, ‘What would life be, without a song or dance what are we…’Music is food for the soul and when an enthused group of friends from myriad walks of life get together to sing, music becomes therapeutic as well.
Started by Meenakshi Anantaram, the ‘Friends For Life’ group had its humble origins in a karaoke mike that Meenakshi had purchased for herself a couple of years ago. But after a year when this set became a hit at a small friend’s party, its purpose suddenly became larger. The friends became ‘Friends For Life’ and started to get together and sing more frequently. The spouses and kids joined in too and the group became more structured. They began getting together for pot luck at someone’s home, choosing a playlist, singing and the group soon started growing.
While the informal meets continue, the group today even books a hotel for their karaoke nights which usually start at 7PM and go on till even 1AM in the night. As the members stay in touch via a WhatsApp group, they share music updates everyday and meet as often as they can. Talking of Adele and Arijit Singh in the same breath, group members here range from 8 to 80 year-olds. Also the 25 to 30 members come from different walks of life, bound together by the single thread of music.
Meenakshi shares that over the year, they have come a long way. For one, people who were just confined to their personal spaces for singing finally came out. There were others who had once been singers but professional and personal lives had pushed the passion to the backburner. Given the enthusiasm with which this group’s karaoke nights picked up, future plans now include an annual concert called ‘Made in Vizag’ that would promote and celebrate local talent.
Rendezvous: Weekends or pre-planned day of the week at a member’s house or a hotel.
Want to join?
Call Meenakshi Anataram at 9848191866 to participate in one of their events.
V Super Bikers club
If you’re a biking buff who believes in safety first, hop on!
Vroom. Vroom. The sounds of bikes whizzing past is a definite head-turner, while their elaborate safety gear and helmets do catch your attention. While many people have the misconception that these bike riders are ‘illegal racers’, members of the club tell us that they are safety-conscious riders bonded by the passion for biking.
The group started out towards the end of 2011 with a core team of three members and the idea that this city too needed a riding club. 35 members strong today, people range from 23 year old students to 50 year old business professionals and office goers. Their agenda is a straightforward one. Members go together for rides, ranging from a short two hour drive in the outskirts of the city to longer ones up to the borders of Andhra Pradesh and farther. While few of the group members have done longer solo rides too, that is one among the future plans as a group.
The most important aspect that this club focuses on is ‘safety’ and so they’re particular about the way they drive and the gear they use. They also use plenty of hand signalling, a staggered driving approach rather than a neck to neck one and a steady pace as compared to a heady one. While they meet on Sundays for sure, they try to meet whenever their schedules permit them to do so.
The changes they’ve seen over the years as a biking club have been varied. At a personal level, they say that they’ve become more conscious riders with a deepened passion, strengthened by the company they now keep. At a societal level, they still fight the misconception of being labelled racers who do it for betting, an image they hope to change through safety awareness drives across cities and towns in the region.
Rendezvous: Usually meet on Sundays at a venue that’s pre-decided via WhatsApp.
Want to join?
If you have a bike that’s 600cc or above, safety gear and a mindset towards ‘safe’ driving over ‘whizzing’ past, get in touch with Srikanth at 9866461234. Once you go on a couple of rides with the group, members assess you and then decide whether or not to take you in.
Laughter Yoga Club
Why laugh alone, when you can have a yoga laugh together!
We laugh only when we’re happy and often the source of our joys is external. However, laughter yoga flips this concept, brings people together, makes them laugh for no reason, such that the source of joy becomes internal, makes a person feel good and also improves their health. While a person can experience the benefits when alone too, the club realised that laughing alone is not only difficult, but can also make one appear eccentric. A group however is great for making laughter contagious, helping individuals get motivated and giving better, faster results in lesser time frames.
Affiliated with the International Laughter Yoga Club, the Vizag Laughter Club began operations in 2009 when Dr. CV Nageshwar Rao took the initiative to bring an activity to the city that was easy, flexible, healthy and fun. So he approached a group of people at Tenneti Park and asked them if they’d be interested in Laughter Yoga, a question that kick-started a club that has grown over the years, its benefits reaching far and wide. Today it has over 60 members across various sub centres that have started with corporate and governmental organisations experiencing benefits through sessions too.
Research alarmingly also shows that while children laugh up to 400 times a day, adults laugh only 15 times a day on an average. Using a blend of unconditional laughter and Pranayama (deep breathing exercises) this dynamic Yoga aims to change those figures. For this, it stays away from jokes that can get crude, vulgar and insulting. It helps people laugh from 20 minutes to one hour. Also as the brain and body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, it makes the mind happy, releases feel-good endorphins, improves lung capacity, enhances appetite and improves health.
Rendezvous: Different chapters of the club meet at different venues.
Want to join?
Contact Dr. CV Nageshwara Rao at 9848083814 or login to vizaglaughteryogaclubs.com to get information about the club in your area.
Vizag Birdwatching Society
For the birding enthusiast who wants to know about our feathered friends.
From the spotted owlet to the Shikra, from the white-bellied sea eagle which is the largest in Vizag to the Peregrine falcon, which is a visitor from North America, these are our city’s winged friends, sighted by a group of bird watchers. As a group of enthusiasts, they started off a few years ago as part of the Bird Watchers Society of AP, but when the state split, they decided to form their own group. Vizag Bird Watchers Society was thus formed with a few core members. With Vivek and Vikram at the helm, they first contacted birding enthusiasts within their friends circle, and started by going for bird sighting together. As the idea caught on, they formed a Facebook group too. People across age groups and geographical locations within the district are a part of it. They also have a WhatsApp group where members share information about the birds they’ve captured on their cameras. While the members do meet up occasionally for a combined trip, most of them form their own small teams or set off alone on birding in the areas most accessible to them. The places they frequent include Tatipudi Reservoir, Meghadri Gedda, Kapuluppada Lake, Korangi Mangrove Sanctuary and the Telineelapuram Bird Sanctuary. Talking of the various places they visit, they share information about some of the birds they see. While the good news is that the white-bellied sea eagle, which was unseen for the past few years, has now been sighted, the bad news is that the natural homes of birds are fast on the decline.
Through their individual and combined efforts, the group has been able to record rare bird sightings in the district, conduct a census, alert officials if they spot any anomaly and play a key role in the conservation of birds. They have seen nesting sites as well, and hope to collect more data in the future on birds through a combined team effort.
Rendezvous: Few club members meet on weekends at a venue pre-decided via their social media.
Want to join?
Text them your intent on their Facebook page of Vizag Bird Watchers Society or call Vivek at 9052797234.
If taking the path less travelled by is your motto too, then this Off-Road Club may be just for you.
Just six months into existence, this relatively new kid on the block brings a thrill you need to experience to believe. Devised solely for jeep and SUV owners, this adventure club is all about exploring tracks and paths that you can’t go on a usual bike or car. It all started when four friends who had jeeps and shared a mutual love for the four-wheel drive, started off-roading. With the sport relatively unheard-of in the city (it’s a big thing in big cities), they began to look for people as crazy as them, and checked out both online and on-roads. In fact there were a couple of instances where they even followed jeep riders and told them about their Off-Roading Club.
Today six-member strong and growing, the Off-Road Club members get out every weekend to explore new paths that involve muddy/ slushy terrains or rocky places that aren’t reachable by usual two-wheel drives. With places like Araku and regions like the Panorama Hills vicinity being their current areas of interest, they say that the jeep culture is catching up in the city. However off-roading is still quite unheard of. Quelling any fear on safety issues, they say that safety comes first. To ensure that off-roading is a safe adventure, they insist on seat belts, spotters to give direction and riding in company – as such sport is best undertaken when you have someone to help if you get stuck. With future plans of overnight camping and riding up to far off places like Leh and Ladakh, this club is looking for more members to join the gang.
Right now they’re active on social media like Instagram and you can check them out on FB or Instagram as well. Their WhatsApp group is growing too, as it attracts more jeep owners.
Rendezvous: Off-roaders meet every weekend and go out for drives that last from morning till the afternoon.
Want to join?
If you have an SUV with a four wheel drive, have a basic driving sense and a sense for adventure then call Deepak at 91777 33433.
Vizag Film Society
For movie lovers who believe that cinema extends beyond commercially successful heroes and typical plots.
Cinema is perhaps one of the most impactful mediums for a message, but unfortunately it gets restricted to showcasing good-looking characters in typical plots. Breaking that stereotype is the Vizag Film Society, which also happens to be one of Vizag’s oldest clubs. Having started under the banner of ‘Chaya’ in 1974, it has come a long way indeed. From the days of 35mm and 16mm cinema which used to come in a film box to today’s digital technologies, this club has ensured that Vizagites get to experience what real cinema means. Screening world-acclaimed national and international movies in the AU Assembly Hall, bringing unreleased titles and showcasing parallel cinema to people, its Founder President was none other than the famed Satyajit Ray. The society began operations in affiliation with Andhra University’s Journalism Department, and continues the bond. Having started with over 200 members back in the 70s, the club screens high-quality movies that aren’t screened elsewhere. Promoting a film viewing culture, the society organises screenings of cinema supplied by the NFAI, FFSI and other film embassies. It also organises film festivals, discussions, workshops, seminars and interactions with film-makers so that participants can appreciate how cinema should be, rather than simply getting caught with what it is right now. With members who want to see the reality rather than the gloss, the society’s recent efforts included reaching out to college students through a Campus Film Club, which has now been opened in ten colleges across the city. Movies are screened at the colleges and discussions take place right there so students too get the opportunity to appreciate good cinema.
Rendezvous: Movies are screened every Saturday evening at Academic Staff College or Visakha Public Library and members are informed through WhatsApp, messaging or a newsletter.
Want to join?
If you would love to be part of a non-commercial, meaningful movie viewing culture and you are over 18 years old, then you’re eligible to join. A nominal annual fee is charged from applicants who can contact Prakasa Rao at 90324 77463 for more information.
*This article was first published in the July-August 2016 Edition of Yo! Vizag Magazine.