Infosys Bus System

Credit for image –

It’s a fact that I’m hugely averse to using public transport in any form and would prefer my bike (that I owned) any day. But when I relocated to Pune i.e. my new workplace in the state of Maharashtra, I decided that I’ll make up for all those days when I didn’t walk enough in Delhi. Fortunately or unfortunately, Indian government makes you pay a lot of money to transfer your vehicle from one state to another and when it comes to moving to Maharashtra, it’s even more painstaking. And so to avoid a lot of headaches in dealing with authorities and bribing them, I conveniently sold my bike away before I shifted to Pune and in keeping to my promise to the environment and my body, haven’t bought another vehicle till date.

When I joined my new company, I found out that they have a flourishing bus service for employees and that it is relatively cheap. So I decided that this will be my preferred mode of commute. I found out that what the company charges for the bus service is nearly the same amount I used to spend for fueling my bike in Delhi and given the fact that I won’t spend on maintaining my bike anymore made the deal all too sweet. I was not comfortable though at first because of an unrelenting belief that anything cheap has to be substandard. And how wrong was I? It’s been 2 years now and I’m glad that I made that decision because not only does my company manage that service excellently well, they also deserve accolades for encouraging employees to use it and I’ve seen tremendous acceptance from the employees for that initiative and it in turn gives them a greater sense of satisfaction.

The move aims to reduce all types of pollution and traffic on the roads, especially in Pune which has mostly 2 lanes on every road, which in itself is a huge pain. The roads are often filled with people driving solo in their Range Rover’s and other ginormous cars which frankly is an appalling behavior. Not only do those morons not think about the environment but they remain aloof to the misery of hundreds and thousands of others who struggle to find inches to even stand beside the roads. These morons don’t think twice before getting off the road to pass people at the front thereby putting so many lives in danger only to save a maximum of 2 minutes per journey. Anyway, I can ramble on and on about them but that’s not what we’re here to do.

Again fortunately or not, the route that our bus follows has me on the last stop for pickup and first stop for the drop. Why fortunate? Because it takes me the least amount of time to reach my office and the same to get back home. Why not-so fortunate? Because as my company has started pushing the employees to use company buses more than their cars, which is better for the environment, the buses to the office come nearly full to capacity at my stop and it sometimes gets tricky to get a seat in them. But that doesn’t ever deter me from using the bus service.

The coverage, in terms of kilometers, in the city is immense. They touch nearly every major area in the city and have multiple buses for the routes on which the number of employees boarding the buses is significantly large. I don’t believe anyone from us bus users has had to hail a cab or an auto-rickshaw because none of the buses had space to accommodate them. For example, my bus stop has buses arriving at every 20-25 minutes from 8 am to 10:30 am, which is awesome considering our area houses a large number of employees because of its vicinity to the company.

What’s another great fact about using these buses is that I get time to either meditate or read books or listen to music or simply browse through the pages for news that may interest me. I like that time a lot. It’s best for the environment and for me too, as I get to walk an extra kilometer everyday apart from what I walk in the office campus.

The bus drivers, while some of them drive in earnest to reach the destinations, are very safe and receive instructions for routes in case heavy traffic or jam is foreseen or noticed in some areas. That way, they can go around the problematic areas without causing a lot of hassle to the employees. The drivers are quite smart too and remember all their routes and the alternate ones in detail. They have been trained to identify company identity cards so that only the employees board the buses and no one else.

One of the most spectacular thing about the entire bus system is the bus-bay where employees board and off-board the buses and that houses the buses during their idle time. The entire roster for the buses is prepared meticulously and barring some strange circumstances, the buses always arrive and leave on time from their parking slots. The buses are neat and tidy barring some for which you can raise complaints and they’re addressed rather quickly.

Not that I wanted to bore you guys with the details but I have learnt that among the barrage of crap news we hear and read everyday, and we’re thick and charging to read bad reviews, it’ll be a welcome change if someone said something good, about something that really does work with clockwork precision. My praise is where its deserved best and the Infosys bus system deserves the best accolades.

The Dawning Of A New Day

From being an addict to a neat sober life, from being a couch potato to burning my muscles again, from losing my job to regaining one in one of the largest MNCs in India, having to plan for an overhauled life when there’s none left in my soul. I’m fighting  each day and every hour of my existence, for revival of my body and soul. I’m living better, I’m eating better. Striving to host a chapter that powers me to dream of happiness, completeness, an error free foray into being who I want to be. I’m dying to see if I’ve learnt from my mistakes. It’s history repeating itself to test me, break me, shake me, wake me up from my slumber. For the past few months, change has been the only constant.
My attitude has changed. Never once did I think of running away even while perfectly knowing the agony each phase brings with it. For the first time I’m ready to give life a chance to come to me. For the first time I’m giving myself a chance to roll with whatever life dishes out, to fly with the wind, even snowball. Never once did I say “NOW WHAT?”.
In December, they told us to start looking elsewhere for a job for the project here had ended but they’d try to absorb us in. In January they hinted they won’t absorb us for the sake of well-being of both the company and my career. I thought it was a very valid and wise move. I have way too much experience to get absorbed in a team where people of nearly half my experience would work above me only because I didn’t have hands on their technology.
To me though, it gave a chance to get out into the world and to see if I’m any better than the man who joined this company nearly 5 years ago, to test my skills, to gauge my self-worth, yet again. For some adventurous reason, I rather relished this challenge and instantly knew I had to leave for my betterment. Both, the company and I, had realized that moving on was the better option for each of us.
This is the new, aged me. The earlier, the younger me would have tried busting their balls for having sacked me, for I had way to much ego. I’m learning to think past my ego and think of all the betterment that any opportunity brings. I’m letting people stay themselves around me. In short I’m trying and giving up my inner force that made me change people around me. I’m letting them come to me. I’m letting life engulf me in its arms. I’m not afraid of leap-of-faiths anymore. I’m running full seasons, gaining new leaves while shedding the useless and old ones.
Moving to a new city offers me an opportunity to start from scratch again. Not only will it give me a chance to meet new people, it’ll also give my wife a chance to settle down at a place that she knows and loves. We’d together forget the horrors we faced in Delhi. This time we are wiser, capable of paying our bills from day one and free of all debt. Oh yeah I forgot to tell you all, I’m finally free from all debts and it is so relieving. 😀
I’m so passed my past now. While I waited for my offer from my new employer, life also threw me a chance to get even with my past. A chance to understand that I was never wrong, for all I’d done was lose a battle of love. I now know what happened, had culminated to a better today and an even better tomorrow.
This waiting period also threw me a chance to get out of this country for a while and land in a place that has forever intrigued me – United States of America. I got to witness the miracle of a new-born baby. I’m so happy for you brother! I got to see a culture far advanced than ours. A thinking not swallowed by petty religion & caste. The ability to talk to and smile at strangers. I got to see the affluent middle class that’s provided for by the government in ways Indians are still dreaming about. We are so unwilling to learn. I got to see the real order, not the one borne by chaos. I got to see a willingness to accept laws and a hesitation to break them for it may harm another human being. I got to drink better hazelnut frappes. I inhaled fresh clean air in the middle of the town, oh how much I miss it back here!
Future is about smart choices, about creating better opportunities, and working hard to bring them to fruition. It’s about learning to adapt and curb your instincts to see past your preferred options and your preparation to dive into a better realm that provides foundations for better plans and people & resources to execute them . I can finally back myself to think positive and not worry about failures for I’ll never miss a chance to learn and grow and become the man who dictates the wellbeing of his loved ones. I grow!

I Smell People-ish

My dad arrived home today. He’s come to say goodbye to the sixth member of our family who leaves for US tomorrow! Sounds so hunky dory, doesn’t it?

But, I killed it for myself. I’m running low on cash these days, for a lot of travelling and health bills were torn against my name this month. So instead of taking the more expensive option of auto rickshaw, I decided to use the Delhi Metro to reach the New Delhi railway station and help dad deal with the luggage that he was carrying. Well it wasn’t as heavy as I’d expected but it sure was difficult bringing it up to the 2nd floor of my house.

So, DELHI METRO! The pride and joy of Delhi. The only project in India that’s actually making profit. The guys worked really hard and it shows. Terrific infrastructure and great maintenance. Something though, didn’t feel very right yesterday. As I gathered myself from slumber, and walked to the platform, there were huge groups of people waiting to board the metro. Something was wrong!

The metro arrived packed to its capacity and yet around 20 of us managed to find a place to stand with people’s armpits on my nose and my armpits on someone elses and what not! Ugghhhh!

Now to make matters worse, there are close to 15 metro stations between the station that I boarded and the New Delhi railway station. Each time the door opened for passengers, when 2 left, 4 boarded. I had my headphones plugged in though and people weren’t really bothering me, just that I knew how I’d smell like after I got down from the train. People inside just kept making space out of nowhere and people from outside kept boarding till the last inches were used up. And then some more came in!


Then a scuffle stirred up. A police constable standing right in front of me and next to the door, tried to stop passengers from getting in, for there was absolutely no space left in the coach. The counter argument from the outside was – “You get down as you are the public servant” and they started pulling out the constable nearly tearing off the sleeves from his shirt. The constable though had nowhere to go, for he was stuck inside just like all of us were, and so they even couldn’t pull him out, such was the agony we were all going through!

To be honest, I was enjoying this. This misery that people decide to put themselves through everyday, made me feel proud of what I had achieved in life and how my resolution to never put up with this kind of life always put me in a better place. I made a resolution very early in my struggling days that I’ll never use public transport for two reasons –

1. Those places are very vulnerable and I have too much to do in life than die in an accident or a bomb blast.

2. They are very risky, for Indians in general treat public transport like the transport system owes them something once they’ve paid for the ticket. What they don’t think of is, these are the same buses and trains they may need to take everyday for the rest of their freaking lives, and they are all responsible for its upkeep and smooth operations. But once they stop respecting the means, the means stop respecting them and so they start crumbling, till they are at the point of breaking and that’s when public transport becomes a danger. Case in point, was the taxi that we boarded, once my family members had arrived. That taxi sounded awful and when it started to move, I felt the wheels coming off every time we made a left turn!

Now back to the Metro. We were about to reach the largest station among all metro stations – Rajiv Chowk. Rumors started flying that the train will be half empty by the time we leave this station, and sadly ALL the passengers along with me were eagerly waiting for this miracle to happen, quite badly! And like all stories that don’t have a happy ending, luck didn’t favor me this time! No one got down and still some more found a way to get in. The next station was where I was to unboard. This was real tricky. For once in my life, I had to handle people subtly and that I did. I started cracking mean jokes that made people laugh and in between, I’d ask them to make some space to let me reach the door, so I don’t miss my drop station caught up in this hell hole. And I made it, just not on my feet though. The moment the door opened, I (125 kgs) was picked up in the air and helped down right next to a pillar. I have absolutely no freaking clue how or what happened. I just counted my lucky stars for the night, checked my wallet and my watch, and started to walk to the railway station.

This was one hell of a ride, and I’m never travelling in a Metro again.  what’s tha God awful smell? Wait, I smelled  ‘PEOPLE-ISH’!

Harda – A Seed is Sown

A trip back in time will definitely take me to a day in Harda. It’s a tiny town at the heart of Madhya Pradesh. Unnoticeable railway station, shabby outdoors, pathetic roads, and yet an amazingly calm and earthly demeanor that makes you feel at home.

I first met this place on a wet day. Me and my brother were to appear for an entrance test at our first convent school. It was tough – for English was never our forte. They kept talking to us in that foreign language all the while getting us to appear for tests in Mathematics, Science, and English. I don’t remember the marks I scored then, but the principal seemed pretty satisfied with however we had performed. I remember dad buying our books, notebooks, and our uniforms from their stationery shop. I remember the parking, the church, buildings under construction, ducks, birds, green color of the wet trees, incessant rain, and the hooting from the trains passing by the nearby railway station.

By the time, we completed the admission formalities, we got late and dad decided to buy us dinner from a nearby market. I remember us searching for food throughout the town in that rain. The rain, the rain, I just can’t get that rain out of my head. It just never drizzled. It poured all day so hard and with such ferocity, it forced shopkeepers to stay in and finding an eatery was hard. After much search though, we found a street side vendor selling CHAAT and GOLGAPPE (Pani Puri) in a deserted street.

GOLGAPPE – ones that I was going to remember for all my life. Now to let all of you in on what GOLGAPPE are all about, let me show you a picture and the procedure on how they are served –

Pani Puri

These are served with a filling made from potatoes and peas and later filled with tangy tamarind or mango water. You then put the whole thing at one go inside your mouth and let it blast inside, leaving a heavenly taste on your tongue and on the cheek walls. Now, these are so thin, they tend to sog even with mild moisture in the air and that day, it was pouring. So to add some taste to them, he added hot fillings, off the stove. There were no potatoes, only peas and I’m yet to taste anything like that till date. Somehow he had added magic.

When we returned though, all I remember having was a rather unwelcome feeling of separation!

What I’d like to visit from that day again –


2. The railway station.

3. That rain.

4. That school compound.

5. I’d like to know the marks I scored in my English test.

What I’d like to skip on my next visit –


Lets see what others have for this prompt

  2. what if | the hilarious pessimist
  3. Toes like telltale crocuses | Butterfly Mind
  4. Insert End of an Era Cliché Here | AS I PLEASE
  5. A sight never forgotten… | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  6. Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time- Psychology Behind Being Present And Daily Life | Journeyman
  7. no regrets | think | architect
  8. The Match | The Jittery Goat
  9. Daily Prompt: If I could Turn Back Time | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  10. Living in The Early 1900’s – WANGSGARD
  11. Daily Prompt : Turning back time | Love your dog
  12. Those Crawling Days – Undoubtedly The Best | Ambiguity and Fraternity
  13. A is for April: What’s New This Month | My Little Avalon
  14. Personal Atonement | In the Present
  15. May contain nuts | Kate Murray
  16. DP Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time | Sabethville
  17. Now | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  18. Grey | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  19. Daily Prompt – If I Could Turn Back Time | hometogo232
  20. Back To The Future For A Fresh Start | Awake & Dreaming
  21. My fleeting high school dream of being a genetic engineer. #DNA @wordpressdotcom @postaday | Frozen Spaghetti
  22. What if we can Travel Through Time. | Free Thinkers Mag.
  23. enter | yi-ching lin photography
  24. Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time | Basically Beyond Basic
  25. Don’t do it | The verbal hedge
  26. Looking Back | Works By Anastasia
  27. If Time Could Go Back, What Would I Do? | From Hiding to Blogging
  28. But All the Time Turners Broke… | thanks for letting me autograph your cat
  29. Endless Summer | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  30. Daily Prompt: If I could Turn Back Time | Bob’s Blog-O-Rama
  31. Daily prompt 🙂 | myjourneyeveryday
  32. My First Bloggyversary! | Haiku By Ku
  33. Zin « Averil Dean
  34. Daily Prompt: If I could Turn Back Time | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  35. Presente | Daily Post. – Missmosta
  36. For the Love of …. The NORTH BORNEO RAILWAYS | Duniya Ku
  37. If We Go Back | Flowers and Breezes
  38. Relive those moments… | FREE BIRD
  39. Daily Prompt: If I could Turn Back Time | | Shawn
  40. If I Could Turn Back Time | Dave Kester
  41. Turn Back, Stop at Fifty | Emotional Fitness
  42. The Best Moment Award: Living for the Now and for Mom’s Penguin Stories « psychologistmimi
  43. Revisiting myself | One Educator’s Life
  44. Corn | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  45. If I could turn back time | theoriesinthought
  46. I’d kick my own butt. | Thoughts Go Back
  47. Help Me Distribute Personal Care Items With Dignity
  48. Time Travel | Life Confusions
  49. Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  50. If I could turn back time | That Montreal Girl
  51. DP: Do Over | Scorched Ice
  52. Travel to the innocence | Life is great
  53. Would I have asked you to dance? | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  54. First Love | wisskko’s blog
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  57. If I Had It To Do Over – Daily Prompt | Why is there bread in my Kool-Aid?
  58. Daily Prompt: If I could Turn Back Time, 01.04.14 | Markie’s Daily Blog
  59. It isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. It is just a thing. | Vampire Maman
  60. Harda – A Seed is Sown | Views Splash!
  61. Daily Prompt: Mother | Morrighan’s Muse
  62. but that was yesterday and yesterday’s gone | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
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  64. Disrupting the Flow | djgarcia94
  65. Once upon a summer | mnemosynesandlethe
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  67. You can’t always go back. | SusannaAntihero
  68. Glazed in Gold | Call Me Incorrigible
  69. Flowing Backwards | Overcoming to Becoming
  70. That Time We Had to Smuggle Bacon Into the Country.. | Kosher Adobo
  71. If I Could Turn Back Time, from the Daily Prompt | janetcatland
  72. If I Could Turn Back Time: Daily Post | Destino
  73. If I Could Turn Back Time/DP Challenge | Starting Write Now
  74. DP: Turn Back Time – A Question of Moments by Ruswa Fatehpuri | aliabbasali
  75. If I Could Turn Back Time – ROBIN’S REAL LIFE
  76. Daily Prompt: Being able to Relive! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
  77. If I could, I wouldn’t . . . | Right The Writer
  78. If I could Turn Back Time… | ~Tiger lily~
  79. Of Days that Once Have Been (A Poem) | meanderedwanderings
  80. Daily Prompt: If I could Turn Back Time. | Ty
  81. It had lights! | Trucker Turning Write
  82. The Two-word Answer | My Author-itis
  83. Hindsight is 20/10 | litebeing chronicles
  84. Back To The Blanket | Edward Hotspur
  85. Letter to My Future Self | the intrinsickness
  86. If I Could Turn Back Time, If I Could Reminisce. | My Renaissance Blog
  87. Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time | F X T 8
  88. If I Could Turn Back Time | Late Bloomer Liz
  89. Wrong Answer | Speculative Paradigm Shifts
  90. If I could turn back time | A Guatemalan Affair
  91. Fleet | Seat | Retreat | fifty5words
  92. Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time with More Talking Animals | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  93. Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | Here I am !!
  94. Still Sand | a sweet bright thing
  95. Back in Time | itsmayurremember
  96. Unrequited | vic briggs
  97. If I Could Turn Back Time | Tonkadella’s Things in Life
  98. Daily Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time | Nola Roots, Texas Heart
  99. If I Could Turn Back Time | Alexia Jones
  100. The Past Unrecovered | Sugar, Spice, and Everything euNice
  101. My Regrets Aren’t What I Thought They’d Be. | ktjjenkins
  102. Mental Time Travel | Psychology Muffins

Leisure Redefined

Fortunately I have a lot of options to spend a leisure day that I never opt for. My usual cooling time doesn’t include anything but a pizza and tv/computer. But I have done a lot on some of my yawning days and this one takes the cake beating the next best only by a thin margin, a very thin margin indeed.

I spent it on my trip to Bhopal recently. After a very sober morning that included tea and some camera work, my parents and I had all the time to ourselves.

The Star Attraction
The Star Attraction

My adventurous parents, who always have a hard time cooling their heels in our super comfy home, took me to a fair. Yes, you heard that right – I… WENT… TO… A… FAIR!!! The moment I heard Fair, a creep crawled up my spine which I tried hard subtly to put to rest. My last trip to a fair was nothing but dreading. My mom and I had gotten into a fun wheel called TORA-TORA and a clumsy me just couldn’t get my weight balanced throughout the ride. Except for the start, I felt myself falling down some crazy height all the way through and I dread it even today. Hell I even cried like a baby, so embarrassed was I. But then I remembered that they have aged too and may not want to take that risk. I acted cool and they got my lazy bum off the ever so comfortable sofa and into one of the cars and off we went to spend the evening in a craziness called FAIR.

So what was I to do in a family fair visit – I started clicking using my half charged cellphone. Here are some of the clicks –

The Masks We Wear
Toys For Fun
Toys For Fun
Indian Snacks
Indian Snacks
Loved the Colors
Loved the Colors
Ladieeesss - You're Welcome!
Ladieeesss – You’re Welcome!
Color Splash
Color Splash
Paani Puri - Hog All You can
Paani Puri – Hog All You can
American 3D Show - Like Indias wasn't enough!
American 3D Show – Like Indias wasn’t enough!

There’s a place known as Boat Club that Dad was throughout interested in. Apparently, he wanted to show me something spectacular but he wanted to keep it a secret and so we reached this “Secret” destination. But What A Bummer! The glowing sign board that seemingly had to give a “HOLLYWOOD”-in-LAS VEGAS feel in the night, won’t glow for a couple of weeks more for repairs. But we had some fun time there too with a few ducks –


After a satisfying dinner, we all headed home and called it a night. And regarding the question if this is the way I would have loved to spend my day, I can say that I Won’t Mind it at all! 😀

Lets see what others are writing about their leisure time

  1. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But a Good Time-Planning life | Journeyman
  2. The Riddle of the Sands | Exploratorius
  3. The Genie Lied And The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  4. Where in the world is my Postcard? | Greg Urbano
  5. Master Manipulators: response to Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  6. Let’s Get This Party Started ! | Knowledge Addiction
  7. Good Times! Daily Post | Destino
  8. Magical moment | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  9. I can catch that shark with my eyes closed 🙂 | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  10. couples massage | Life Love Lily
  11. Nothin’ but a good time | The Shevster’s Space
  12. Mirth Sublime | Eleazar’s Writing Space
  13. Fun | dandelionsinwind
  14. of dreams and nightmares | Anawnimiss
  15. Zip. Zero. Nada. Niks. Nothing! | thoughtsofrkh
  16. Tonight I fly high: Spiritual Tankas of Fun | 365 days of defiance
  17. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  18. She’s whispering in colour… | Hope* the happy hugger
  19. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | Awl and Scribe
  20. a suicide for a free day……. | ensuing light…
  21. Nothin’ But A Good Time | The Nameless One
  22. Friday Fast One – Fun | Tommia’s Tablet
  23. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | Cee’s Photography
  24. Resources for taking a geography-based literary tour of the US | Andrea Reads America
  25. 2 Core Beliefs For Having A Good TIme | Ako Si Ehm Blog
  26. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time « Mama Bear Musings
  27. The Crazy Next 24 hours | Phelio a Random Post a Day
  28. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | Basically Beyond Basic
  29. Fun | Poetry response to Daily Prompt | Focal Breeze
  30. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  31. Nothin’ But A Good Time | Flowers and Breezes
  32. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  33. DP: Good Times Planned | Scorched Ice
  34. West of Eldora | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  35. Among the Whispers
  36. Nothin’ But A Good Time On Sunday Drive Anytime | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  37. A Perfect Day | snapshotsofawanderingheart
  38. Tunzo Funzo: A daily prompt blog | Maria For Real
  39. Like my birthday, perhaps? | Casually Short
  40. day one of a fun filled future forever | peacefulblessedstar
  41. One Crazy Mom » A Day Off
  42. Having a good time | Processing the life
  43. The Best of Life | Emotional Fitness
  44. A good Time | Life is great
  45. A Day Without Stress – Wellbeing | WANGSGARD.COM
  46. The Rock Anthem by Poison and the Temptation of Eve | meanderedwanderings
  48. All But A Simple Day | Navigate
  49. Ooo ye sweet freedom !!!! | Life Confusions
  50. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time « cognitive reflection
  51. Do Anything! | Cats, Coffee, And Life At Random
  52. Whimsy in a bottle: Rock concerts, road trips, cocktails and slides « psychologistmimi
  53. My super/awesome/spectucular/epic perfect day(s) | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  54. Vacation Wishes | Thoughts Less Traveled
  55. Day of Procrastination | djgarcia94
  56. The Fun In Between | Stiletto Momma
  57. Busy doing nothing. | Tales of a slightly stressed Mother!
  58. Fun | The Land Slide Photography
  59. Daily Prompt: Being Free! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
  60. Six Things You Can Do To Help a Friend With Depression Have a Better Day
  61. Land Of Mike
  62. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | snippets and words
  63. The Red Baron of Kauai | Jaspa’s Journal
  64. Have ALL THE FUN! | Thorough and Unkempt
  65. My Ideal Introvert Day | 61 Musings
  66. Nothin’ But A Good Time | melissuhhsmiles
  67. Day of no obligations: Chattanooga Style | Relocate to Chattanooga
  68. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | A Day In The Life
  69. A Day Without a Mental Illness: What Would I Do With Myself? | Schizo Incognito
  70. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But a Good Time | Life’s So Sweet
  71. Day 52… Nothin’ But A Good Time… Lazing about | Dear Blog ’14
  72. Daily Prompt: Fun | Occasional Stuff
  73. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | Brittney Ortega
  74. 267. A Day to Myself | Barely Right of Center
  75. Daily Prompt: My Day | Lady K’s Lounge
  76. we explore with our | y
  77. Owl Be Back! | Overcoming Bloglessness
  78. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ but a good time | Occasional Stuff
  79. Suicide no. 28: Limerick | derekalanwilkinson
  81. That Was Kind of the Plan | My Author-itis
  82. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time | Yowza, Here We Go!
  83. How to Spend a Snow Day | Kosher Adobo
  84. Playing Hooky | Edward Hotspur
  85. Nothin’ But A Good Time | Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
  86. fun…our fountain of youth | In The Moment
  87. Beware: Nothin’ but a good time | The Christian Gazette
  88. Daily Prompt: Fun | That Montreal Girl
  89. And it don’t get better than this! | artymaz’s inky fingers
  90. Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Thing | Christina Designs Art
  91. | preethikarthik06
  92. Fun is not the word I’d use… | Making Life an Art
  93. Tales of Tails | field of thorns
  94. Wrapped Up In To One | Wanderlein
  95. Daily Prompt – Good time – About town on the velo |
  96. Saturday morning good times | Empressnasigoreng’s Blog
  97. My ideal introvert day | Susi Matters
  98. Daily Prompt: Nothing But a Good Time | SIM | ANTICS
  99. Happiness is… | Rima Hassan

Bhopal, Here I Come!

train from bhopal


Aaaaahh it’s a nice feeling, ain’t it? When you head home after some real routing at the hands of life. And now you have your hands full of the positives that life offered you and bad days are apparently over! This is my first trip in a long time when I’ll actually stay stress free at home. Let me not jinx it by saying it again and again but I’m a little light-headed these days. For the first time in a long time, I may feel the light and the wind battering my face and nod and say – Yes… this feels good!

It’s not the destination that I’m very excited about, not that I’m not excited about meeting my parents after 3 months, but I’m really excited about the journey. I may even not sleep tonight. I may read. Yes, I’ll read. The book will be decided at the railway platform. And that’s why I want to reach early. I want to carefully select a book and improve my reading skills. Care to suggest one to me anyone?

For any of my friends there reading this post, if you are in Bhopal, I’ll be there for a couple of days and may have a few leisure hours (give and take) to spend. Keep me posted!

For my readers, I may not blog at all or may just write a couple of short pieces. No serious effort will be made to post for I’ll unwind in the silence of those lazy weekend afternoons on a couch that’s made for a slouch like me. I may even write a review of the book I’ll read. Good things are on their way!

Don’t visit India

Don’t ever visit India for we don’t deserve you. If you are a man, you will be looted, made a fool of and left to rue your decision and if you are a woman, you are about to enter hell for none of your body parts are safe from scratches, fondling and some may even go through the worst nightmare – rape!

A country that’s not safe for even its own woman, can’t be safe for foreign women who bring in extra charm, trust and a free (and sometimes forlorn) sense of adventure. You are all vulnerable unless you are very confident of your self-defense techniques, techniques that may help you snatch them balls out of those nut sacks!

Our tourism may get hit but who cares! All they care for is money and they’ll for sure make a hell lot even without the tourism from one or the other scams. They’ll kill, oppress the weak and still leave you to live so they can repeat the process without any resentment.

Don’t ever pity us for we don’t deserve that either. Our women endure this shit everyday. They are used to it and maybe they can, but don’t do a shit about it. We have fallen prey to our own judicial system. It just doesn’t help us.

Some are starting to open up about mis-happenings with them trusting our media but who’s to care then too? Government has started giving a blind eye and a deaf ear to people who cry for help. Police is assigned but what they do is sheer harassment. Around a 100 of them would cower over you and ask you the same fucking question over and over – How did it happen? Like it’s kind of jovial story to tell and people would drink a beer and make merry over it. And then a big boss would arrive who would at start show a lot of compassion and sympathy but quickly starts seeking avenues to make some quick bucks if the case seems rather small and meek to stand a trial.

It’s pathetic and ugly once it happens but once it goes to police, it becomes dirty too. No one stands to support us but ourselves and we have to stand up for it but my heartiest plea is to people who are not from India, please make sure to start scratching India from your favorite destinations if you are a woman planning to travel alone here. No place or person is safe for we have been given a middle finger on our faces.


Snake Charmer

I have no clue since how long has this been going on but I just witnessed a new way of begging – threatening a passer-by using a snake!!!

Here’s what happened or what may happen-

A completely unsuspecting “You” is parking your vehicle near any ATM. Since it’s a source of money and beggars expect you to carry money at least while returning from the ATM.

So you park your vehicle and turn around and find a SADHU/BABA/BEGGAR carrying a fat snake in his hands completely unhindered to bite you and it’s just coiled up against his chest and wrists breathing heavily as if it’s full! He asks you for 2 Rs. in the name of some God. He will keep trying till he finds the right God for you and he’ll keep shoving the snake and his pot of fucking HOLY water against your face asking you to give him the said amount. Since it’s a small amount, people tend to open their wallets easily and that way the beggar gets to have a look at your wallet and see how much money are carrying.

Here starts the next phase of modus-operandi. The phase now divides into – whether you are carrying good money in your wallet or not. If you do, they’ll ask you to touch one of your BIGGER notes to the pot of water saying it’s holy and that all your problems will be solved right then or else they’ll wait for you to return from the ATM and then repeat the aforesaid step of holy water. In either case, NEVER PULL OUT ANY MONEY FROM YOUR WALLET! ‘coz what they do next is really smart. As soon as you pull out any money from your wallet “IN THE NAME OF GOD”, they’ll pull it out of your hands and feed it to the snake!!!

Those snakes apparently have been heavily sedated and hence, never tend to digest the notes. Not only will you be shit scared of getting your hands inside its mouth but you’ll also have lost around 100 Rs. or 500 Rs. to an ugly ass near-dead snake!!!

Mind this and since most of my audience doesn’t belong to India, please be careful when you visit Delhi. This happens to millions of tourists who at first think this is all fun but then… it doesn’t end as one!!!

With me, I had already heard such stories from one of my colleagues and I was careful and almost frightful to nearly shit in my pants seeing that 4 inches wide snake coiled up in his hands breathing really heavily. At first I could keep the beggar at bay but the next time while returning from the ATM, he caught hold of me again and then, he started with all that GOD and holy water nonsense. I almost had enough sense left in me to shout out for a security guard who after nearly 5 minutes of frantic calling appeared from behind the trees where – who knows he may have been watching me getting looted or as he said – been having tea and Indian unfiltered tobacco BIDI. In any case, I managed to get that goon out of that premises to my satisfaction and then I again left for my office.

Be careful people. Begging is turning into quite another form of looting and since, I have been looted quite many times, I’d wanna warn you that do not mess with people on the streets. Not all of them are as friendly and fun loving as me!

My first successful job interview – To Char Minar and back!

The story so continues from –

After having that heart attack of a time with the three-wheeler driver, I had to meet the concerned people who would give all the heartbeat skipping moments through the day. Yes I’m talking about the interviewers and I was shit scared ‘coz I wasn’t so sure of my preparations. What would their subject of the questions be, how many rounds will I have to face and no one around was ready to give me anything valuable that would soothe my nerves.

As the day panned out, we (me and some friends I had made) had appeared for a written test and two interviews. It was already 6 o’clock and as the year was nearing its end, the night had arrived earlier too. We were very anxious and quite frankly tired too as it had been awhile since we had been entertained by anyone from the company and then right on cue it was announced that 2 more rounds of interviews would be conducted as the number of shortlisted candidates could not be further reduced on their separate abilities. So the interviews will now be harder and we started appearing for them one by one, some 35-36 of us. It was now 9 PM and the results were announced and BAM!!! Only 2 candidates were selected.

I was pissed – they wanted to select only 2 candidates out of some 300 that had appeared that day? They had got to be kidding us but they weren’t and we were shown their doors. It left me heartbroken quite literally.

We would then catch the first bus available that night for Hyderabad.

It was early morning when we reached Hyderabad. Made through the day doing the usual stuff and attending my classes as well. There were rumors already about Accenture hiring in Hyderabad but nothing was quite sure and I didn’t give a heed to it. Tired as I was, I came back to my room and just as I touched base at my bed, I got a phone call – you have to attend Accenture interview in Chennai – these were quite literally the words from our receptionist. Bugged as I was, I called my dad and asked if should I go and he said – see if you can, if you are tired skip this interview. I went to a few friends and they had all started preparing for the interview. I couldn’t study but I would for sure attend, what else better could I have done in Hyderabad as well? And so I got my reservation done and for once I got a seat by a whisker in Char-Minar express. Man, that was some relief. I could at least sleep for some time in the train and so I did – slept like a log!

Happy Birthday Shrek – Love You!!!

My wife loves pets!

If I allow her, she may even turn our home into a zoo, quite literally! From birds to mice to cats to dogs to anything even remotely tamable, she would own each one of them if my salary ever permitted. Thank God, it doesn’t! As I just don’t quite share the same penchant for pets as she does.

But I love her and so a gift on her first birthday after our marriage was always on and to celebrate it, I decided to gift her a new pet. Now what would it be? A dog, a cat and a lot other species came to my mind but I stuck to dogs. Reason – they are easily controllable. I’d rather not have an animal around me that doesn’t listen to me if I call out its name and dogs were the best bet against them. Once tamed, they won’t bite or so I was told. Also, my wife hates the attitude thrown by some cats which I quickly learned when one of our friends got himself 2 cats. I also had to take care of the fact that life as a software engineer can be very busy and hence, not every pet will be able to survive with us.

I just casually asked her once, which dog would she like to own and she quietly replied – a Labrador. I thought – a good choice. They are the friendliest creatures on this planet and understand humans way better than most other species. They are good to kids, elders, are very playful and don’t bark much. I loved all these qualities and hence a Labrador, it would be. The color thankfully was up to me to decide and hence, I went for a peaceful faun. One rainy day I took a day off from my work (lied to my boss) and took my wife for a ride on my bike. Reached a market that I had found after a thorough research and got to the sought pet-shop. Sent my wife in who saw two ultra cute labrador brothers in a basket. Sleeping – one on top of another. Took both of them in our hands and looked at them and we got ourselves one that had the kindest face. I still say that he has the kindest face ever among all living beings but that’s just my view. We were on our way back with him in her hands, when she casually asked,”What should we name him?”. We discussed for about a kilometer or so when we came upon “Shrek” and there it was decided, for his ears were packed filled with dirt.

Being untrained and only 30 days old, he had to learn a lot about living with humans. So dirty he was, that we had to take him for bath to a close but very homely dog parlour. They had their own 2 dogs that they took care of and Shrek even though, was very scared to interact with both of them, would come to love them both after 3 visits. And he was so tired and sleepy after that hefty bath that he couldn’t even open his eyes with all his effort. Here are some pics from that day after his bath –






Thankfully my wife those days wasn’t working and hence it proved easy for us to teach the little guy. No wonder, he was getting all the colors of my wife as he spent all of his days with her. There were also some dark times in the fellows starting days with us. Even though I loved him in my home, I hated him for shitting anywhere in the house as he took some time to get potty trained, eating anything, from anyone’s hands and tearing things apart – he even ate my laptop’s charger once while it was plugged in. And I will never forget the first time I hit him. The bugger just won’t stop crying. One right hand right below his neck and he slammed into the cupboard. That was the first time I cried for him too for I will never forgive myself for that dastardly act.

The only problem we have never faced from him was barking or howling unnecessarily. He is as quite as a whisper and sometimes it’s easy to lose him in the silence. He never barked. He played like hell but never barked. There was one time, which my wife would forever be jealous about – he was very small and was watching other kids play outside of our home all the while peeking from below our main iron gate and a football came flying towards him and hit the gate right above his head, we heard the loud thud – he was so scared, he ran and ran so fast and although he was forbidden to jump up onto our bed, he jumped and came and sat on my lap all the while looking back as if the ball would still be chasing him. I saw fear in his eyes and I then knew, how dependent he really was upon us and why he shall forever seek our shelter.

He is resilient but not brave like other dogs who can fight with other dogs. He is brave as in he can really sustain himself for a long time in adverse conditions and hence, he has survived our bitter times with us. There were days when he was a sole light in our dark days, always happy running around the house like not a thing in the world could bother him. And then there were bad days. There was one such instance of his bravery that highlights what I’m talking about. If anyone has ever owned a dog, they would know how difficult it is for dogs to control their potty behaviour. They have to take a shit if they feel the urge or they will do it anywhere. We had to travel from Bangalore to Delhi as we were relocating after some hard times. This guy had turned around six months old by then and had gotten big. Thankfully, it was only his size that had grown and not the weight else we would have had to go well beyond our budget and make him travel by air than by a train. Now to tell you guys the truth, Indian railways sucks with facilities for humans so we can totally understand how good it would be for pets. For pets these guys have a 2×4 cage, a dark one where the animal is supposed to be tied by a chain with his food, in the ticket inspectors room. The cage is never cleaned and while I was tying him in it, I felt a sudden urge to abandon all plans of travel itself as I couldn’t myself bear the smell emanating from it. He went in, stood there and barked. I think he knew whatever was going on wasn’t good. Now before going into the details of the travel, let me tell you he had been at the receiving end of an absolute horror of a day which was unbearably hot and he had been tied to a tree for around 3 hours with no food and no shit or piss as we were moving out of our house. We straight up carried him in our AC taxi where for the first time during his day, he slept. Coming back to the journey, the journey was supposed to take 27 hours to our home town Bhopal from where we would carry on to Delhi while Shrek would stay with mom and dad. The journey only had 6 stops on the way where at each stop I was supposed to feed him, each stop being 2-3 minutes each. That meant that he would be fed alright but won’t get to shit as he was taught very early not to shit where he sat. And he didn’t. He ate but didn’t poop. At Bhopal when his turn came to come out of the cage, the guy was sitting all frightened in the cage but jumped on me with so much love as soon as his chains came off. He was dirty but it didn’t matter to us then. I took him and he couldn’t have been any happier. We never anticipated such behaviour from him but learnt soon enough that he wouldn’t leave me. Thankfully, he was to be taken home then and given a bath and relieve himself to all ends. Mom and dad were so happy with the love they received from him, it didn’t take him any time to mingle with them. We were proud of him.

The same thing repeated again when we brought him to Delhi with us. The same train journey although very short 10 hour one and he was welcomed by a brand new home that was burning our human feet as if an oven in the Delhi summer. We were proud of him again when he learnt the very first day that he was not to spread dirt anywhere other than the roof. This was an untrained dog but he could converse with us almost akin to humans. This is our buddy when he was 6 months old –




Another one of his most brilliant qualities is he loves water. He can bathe for several hours together and swim for another countless ones right after that. He swam the very first day he caught the sight of a pool. Thankfully the pool was made for pets and he showed us all his panache while pumping himself forward, rolling in the water. While all his friends only roamed around the pool looking at him, we could sense the jealousy in them. We were made proud again. Not something that happens to us very often.

We lovingly call him “Shreka” and he has so many other names and he somehow responds to all of them, something rather rare as I have heard most dogs only respond to names that either make a sound like their own or by their own name itself. But he can respond to us anytime.

He is happy with us. I can tell. My wife – she can tell. The way he jumps on our chests when we return home after our day of work is such a lovely adorable welcome, the tail wagging, a happy face, asking us to feed him so he can gain energy again to run up and down the house. He is amazingly fast for a labrador and loves skidding on our marble floor. Loves jumping and as soon as you touch the top of his head, he is bound to leap up to your chest to get a hug. The way he always peeks from the side of the stairs when we call him from the roof right at the start of his descent, all of it makes him so lovingly cute and we can never ever get tired of him. He does get me angry sometimes but that’s ok. As long as he is fine with me being angry at him, I can make do with the status of his master.

You are such a sweetheart Shrek. May you live with us for at least 20 years more!!!

Happy Birthday to you!

Here are his latest pictures – He is all grown up now to be 3 years old. And weighs a nice 36 kgs.

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Unforgettable Past – ITARSI – The Escapade!

He was 6 years old. His second school after his father got transferred from Bilaspur which then belonged to state Madhya Pradesh (now Chhattisgarh). It was his first day at his new school. Far away from his home, he wasn’t used to the alien feeling. He was small and was about to do something that will forever force him to do, only the unthinkable.

Father took him to his new school in his Jeep. He entered the main wrought iron gate of the school – Shri Tagore Vidya Mandir. Like it was his habit from his earlier school from the same town, he started looking for his class. Roamed around for a while and found it wasn’t on the ground floor. Those small feet then climbed the roughly cemented stairs. He was perplexed – why were all the others were wearing red shorts, and his were green? Never having known the concept of mediums in a school, he matched feet to feet and proudly entered his class, having found it on the first floor. He was half an hour early. He entered never having noticed the teacher who was sitting with the kids. She saw the boy with the green pants. She got up from her place and without asking a single question, slapped the boy hard on his left cheek. And then another. She yelled – ‘Baahar jaao yahaan se (Get out of the class)’!

And he promptly did so, shedding tears not because of the stinging pain on his cheek but for the sheer embarrassment that the incident had impaled in his heart. He cried, cried loudly when a maid heard him. But he didn’t notice. She yelled out at the boy for roaming around on the campus and there came another slap on the same cheek. He hadn’t yet spoken a word on the alien land and had already been assaulted thrice. He forgot the face of the teacher with the last slap but will forever remember the face of the maid – the stroke was ferocious. The boy sat on a tampered round-about, looking at that wrought iron gate that brought him into this hell. And in a fit of rage, decided to open it for he had quit. This was not how he wanted it!

He stood on his toes, slowly and silently opened the gate, got out, leaving the gate hanging limply on its hinges. He smelt freedom, still crying.

He knew his way home. Never once thinking about the distance, he started walking. Wandering around, he saw the relieving sight of the railway station. He saw the rails. He saw the ever-so-fascinating engines. Tears blurred his vision as he started crossing the web of rails never aware of the danger. Guess he never knew danger. He was so small. He was just 6 years old.

Getting across the station and into his favorite empty street, plunging trees caving in from the right and the rails on the left. He now knew what he was looking for. He was looking for a clinic where his father would bring him for treatment when he got sick. He knew that the road from this clinic, drove straight to his home. He had forgotten his tired legs, thirst, hunger – for he knew his way home now, joy bleeding from his heart. Home where his mother will greet him. He found the clinic. Finally relieved, he kept walking.

Then a miracle happened, small as the place was, a driver from his father’s office noticed the boy, took him in his Jeep and took him home.

He was then a happy wanderer!


Remember, I once announced that I’ll rewrite some of my posts. This is the first of the series!

Lets find out how others fared today –

  1. Be a Hero | Rima Hassan
  2. Prison | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  3. Moon-rock | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  4. California: a fat wave* of options | Andrea Reads America
  5. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer-How an Introvert Travel (pics) | Journeyman
  6. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  7. The Happy Wanderer: My Travel Style #DailyPost | The Wayfaring Family
  8. Travel Style | From Journo-baby to Journo-babe
  9. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  10. The Unhappy Wanderer | Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
  11. DP Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | Sabethville
  12. How to Get a Green Card: A Lesson in Planning and Letting Go | Kosher Adobo
  13. There’s Nothing There & Professor Hamilton’s Advice To Writers | The Jittery Goat
  14. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  15. love-hate | yi-ching lin photography
  16. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer’s | My Outlook on the World
  17. I love airports | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  18. An Uncommercial Traveller | The Ambitious Drifter
  19. Just following the sun… | Hope* the happy hugger
  20. What Sue wrote – wandering happily | Sue’s Trifles
  21. The wandering traveler: Can’t wait to catch my multiple personalities in the rear-view mirror « psychologistmimi
  22. The Happy Wanderer | Eyes to Heart
  23. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | Under the Monkey Tree
  24. Spontaneous: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BlOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  25. Daily Prompt-Happy Traveler-Not So Much | A Day In The Life
  26. Daily Prompt: My Travel Style | Pinstripes&Lipgloss
  27. The Happy Wanderer I am not | Jennifer Paige
  28. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | wisskko’s blog
  29. Traveling Into The Unknown | Lifestyle | WANGSGARD
  30. The Wondering Wanderer ::E.N.Howie’s Motivational Moments
  31. Wanderlust | Bardo
  32. “The Happy Wanderer” | Relax
  33. Minutely Infinite | Wanderers
  34. The Happy Wanderer | Life Confusions
  35. The Happy Wanderer | Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
  36. The Happy Wanderer | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  37. lord I was born a ramblin’ man | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
  38. The Happy Wanderer | Roving Bess
  39. Ramblin’ Rose | by L. D. Rose
  40. Getting Away | Flowers and Breezes
  41. Alone, I miss out on wonder | Emotional Fitness
  42. Two white girls on a minibus | Lesie’s World
  43. Wandering Together. | Kota and Coffee
  44. A Change in Direction | snapshotsofawanderingheart
  45. A Peace Walk | U Be Cute – Follow the child inside of you…
  46. The Happy Wanderer on a Schedule | 20/20 Hines Sight
  47. How to Vacation Effectively | melissuhhsmiles
  48. Happy Wanderings? | Live, Love, Laugh, Dance, Pray
  49. Pain Tolerance Matters More Than Happiness | Parents Are People Too
  50. Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | The Daily Post | MetaRead360 Small Press presents
  51. Travelling – Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | MetaRead360 Small Press presents
  52. Wandering | Blue Loft
  53. Through The Woods | Knowledge Addiction
  54. Daily Challenge: Travel Habits | MTEagles
  55. The road least traveled | Unlocking The Inner Creative

Unforgettable past – Jabalpur

There’s a lot of your past you wish you could forget – like erased blank… swish… wiped off of your memory slate. Then there is your past that you just can’t forget. Not that it affects you but its a huge burden on your brain to carry and you wish you could just write it off onto your blog for good. The latter is what this post is about.


Summer vacations.







Toy cars.

A huge house.

Lots of people.

The compulsory siesta.

Playful evenings.



Kulfi (Sweet Indian summer delicacy).


A lot of people around will find these dots really easy to connect. I want to write it out ’cause I don’t want to retain them yet remember them forever – kind of memoir to myself – only for my personal use. These are recollections from (last) – a 13-year-old fat boy who diluted a relationship on a very bad note and will regret it forever for he never got say the final adieu.

His summer vacations would last for about 75 days as these were the hottest months in his part of the country. All he knew was it was time for indoor afternoons and fun & frolicking evenings with no homework, coolers, mangoes, lychees, lots of sleep, lots of cricket, ludo, carom, puzzle, TV, cartoons, video games. Just him and his brother enjoying and playing with each other. It was a time for all heavenly stuff. Things he never knew, he would love so much but that he would get berated off forever. These days often arrived after he had received his gift for his stand-out performances in school exams – HotWheel cars, cycle, carom board and many others like these. He would be very happy to board the train for that familiar destination. No matter how many times he had been there, it was always fresh for he knew no other world and these represented the only two worlds that he spent his childhood in.

You gotta give it to the place – Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India! Place which gave the world one of the most beautiful scenery in Bhedaghat on the river Narmada. A river bank located purely on marbles! It’s beautiful – the air itself is pure – rather was pure (just been to the place after 11 years and felt a bit let down).

Lets start off with the journey to the place. He couldn’t wait to get inside the train. To get the smell of puri-sabzi at the first station and to feel the wind on his face. To look at the train engines which according to him were a miracle that he could watch everyday on his drive to his school. The rails and the train itself were such a mystery for that small, young mind that he couldn’t (till he got Google) ever fathom how the trains even turned!! The sound of the wheels chugging below his feet, the smoke from the engine entering his nostrils (no matter how gross it would feel to others, he would forever relish that smoke), the sight of the trees passing him by at the speed of light, occasional huts, fields and rails cutting each other running along his train. And then would come the sight he still dreads – a bridge on the river Tawa. The bridge apparently had been labelled dangerous by Indian Railways standards and he would always feel that the train would fall off especially as the bridge had no rails on both the sides. Nothing but a very tall height to fall into. And in between this, a far away sight of a dam. He would always wonder what that dam would look like when in full flow. Never to be experienced though. A lot of stations would pass through for that young mind to remember but he would remember things that made a direct impact on his coming life. He would remember each bridge, each platform, each fort and the smell of each one of them distinctly fresh.

Once he started to near the destination, the air of anticipation would raise the anxiety in his heart for what new and novel would surprise him this time in his second world. Nothing, nothing ever. For nearly 9 years or more on a trot, he would see no significant change. The same route always led him to the same house. The same marketplace, the same buildings, the same under-bridge greeted him. A perfect example of sustainability and persistense.

The house which still stands tall and huge – it reflected the late 80’s Indian modernism. It has seen various colors – white, pink, green and at one instance, he could also remember yellow. Six rooms on the ground floor divided by a wall with 2 doors to connect the 2 sections built with 3 rooms each. The first floor, built quite late is a replica of the section below from the ground floor with rooms that were larger. But no matter what you did and where you were in the house, it always gave the same feel everywhere every single time (wish I had some pictures).

Their welcome was always the same – Nani (maternal grand-mother) would shower them with holy Ganga water and then the entry. Keep the luggage at the proper place and room. Then go about the chores in the house according to time you make an entry in it.

Coming to the chores, a typical day in that household would be something as follows:

Wake up… roll up your bed… place it at its proper place… brush the teeth and freshen up… then it was a choice to either sit with Nanaji (maternal grand-father) and Naniji or go upstairs and have tea with a younger group which included Mama (moms bro), Mami ( Mamas wife) and their children. It was a happening group and he would prefer spending time with anyone but would prefer a place where his mother would prefer to be. Then after a heavy breakfast would be time for a bath in the cold water in the Indian summer… somehow the water always suited him more than any place else. A very clean feel after a bath. Then was the time for indoor games played between all brothers and sisters. This would normally be the time women around would engage in their household works, men would leave for office and Nanaji would spend time reading the newspaper. Games would often include Boggle, ludo, carom and sometimes if the noon was cooler, some cricket as well. He would never forget the days when all of them brothers and sisters would play together in the small porch and the sisters would just cower into corners so they don’t have too get involved in the game. Fun times they would stay. The afternoons comprised of a mandatory siesta. No exceptions for anyone in the household. No sounds. No lights. He hated that period. For he could hardly wait for evenings that would include a heavy dose of cricket, dust, dirt. No matter who would play against him, he would have had to face the boys wrath with the bat. Then return home, for now would be the time for watering the garden and the plants using the water from the hand pumps. This was the best part of his days. The freedom that was allowed to him to perform this chore would be something he would sorely miss all through his life – but he didn’t know it then. All he knew was porch was hot and plants needed water. Water the plants. Then would be turn to get drenched in the same water. This was time to get wet. To get wild with and in water. Unforgettable freshness. Change and then would be the time for dinner. Supper supper supper… super super super… nothing could beat that food for it was his mother that would cook the rotis, dal, veggies and rice. This was normally the time when Mama would return home and after dinner, he would often buy us kulfis. This would also be the time when the entire family would come out into the porch and walk for a while all the while laughing at jokes cracked. In the mean time, the siblings would find time to swing in a swing. It was built to carry at max 4 people at a time, was sturdy and brought with it the feeling of a drowning night. An awesome day was over. Now was the time to show the mosquitoes the power of Baygon. Complete house would get a dose of it. Satisfied with the results, each member would bring their bed and would face absolutely no problem in laying down and sleeping but not before Mama would make his presence felt again. He would make each of the siblings kneel in line on the beds and make them repeat the mantra – La Ila… Il Lil La… Mohammed-e-Rasgullah. Fun it was and it would repeat 60 of the 75 days he would spend there.

He particularly waited for Sundays. They were usually the days when Mama would take them all for a swim in the river Narmada – Gwarighat. Back then, the way to the river was through a jungle, a sparsely populated area. Upon arrival they had to cross the river on a boat which was an absolutely out of the world feeling. To feel the river on his palms would heighten his anticipation of how water would feel like. It was truly amazing! Take off all your extra clothes, get down to your bare essentials and jump into the river. This was where he learnt to swim and he would forever respect the man who taught him to swim (Mama) and the river for letting him learn to swim in it. A good 2-3 hours of frolicking in the water would barely leave him with any energy and when out, they would all dress again and cross the river again on a boat. The sinking feeling of the separation from water would forever lure the boy. But life had to move on and to the next shop upstairs on the ghat. The shop where Mama would make each one of them indulge into Bhajiyas and laddus. He would then be totaled. Even with absolutely nothing left in his body to endure the remaining of the day, he would remain jubilant and never know that he was tired to shit pieces. The first foot on the bed when home, would cover his body with the most tantalizing freshness of a sleep so richly deserved (or thats what he thought).

There had to be days when he had to go and meet his father’s family members. It was normally a day worth of affair and spent peacefully. They were nothing special except for some cricket that he would get to play with his elder brothers.

He loved it and would forever love it. Those days would define his character for the rest of his life. He would learn a lot from those days but the best lesson was – hard work always tastes bitter but reaps sweet rewards.

The child has grown up to be 29 now but nothing would make him forget his longing for the water and he would still dream in red!

Readers’ favourite railway stations


BBC News – Readers’ favourite railway stations.

I have traveled so much in my life and so many miles in a very short span of time, that I think I know the insides of Indian Railway travel. Not the routes, but the authenticity of true India, the feel of a new life that you have to live inside every train, on every separate occasion. The co-travelers, the beggars, the luggage, that typical foul smell of a toilet in any train, the open doors, the windows that leak the cold air into the compartment every night. Every travel makes you live a different life. And each of it starts with a railway station. Some beautiful, some not so, some busy as hell and some barren as deserts, most dirty and some being cleaned with a hose in the early mornings – all so futile.

This post is not to tell a tale about my days inside a train but it showcases some of the best railway stations that you can get to go into and live a dream, some so Harry-Potteresque. Please try and browse through the descriptions, locations and models of some of these stations that help you live your dreams on rails.

Cathay crew threaten no smiles, booze on flights

Quite a threat this… Beware passengers. You may be Cathay Pacific borne this holiday season and you may not be provided food, drinks and even smiles!!

I don’t understand this though. Why is it that almost all the time when I hear of a company posting major losses, I also start hearing employees seeking pay raises? Isn’t it unethical to push a company into a further rut? Or is it that employees know their own fate and start pressing onto the wind further extinguishing an already reducing fire?

AP – Cathay crew threaten no smiles, booze on flights.

Mission Highlights Video: Austrian Skydiver Felix Baumgartner Breaks Speed of Sound in Record Jump

Mission Highlights Video: Austrian Skydiver Felix Baumgartner Breaks Speed of Sound in Record Jump

One hell of an achievement! The time it took, the attraction that the event garnered, the publicity – all of it will be a major boom for Red Bull and Felix Baumgartner. Not that they needed it, but future human rides in space will be consulted with Red Bull and the man himself.

Sad That Baumgartner Didn’t Jump? Cheer Up With These 7 Completely Insane Aerial Stunts | Popular Science


Sad That Baumgartner Didn’t Jump? Cheer Up With These 7 Completely Insane Aerial Stunts | Popular Science.

Mind blowing!

India’s Kingfisher halts flights for another week


BBC News – India’s Kingfisher halts flights for another week.

Is Vijay Mallya’s reign as the airline king in India coming to an end? I doubt so. A man of his means and sources who could build an airline empire from scratch will certainly still have trump cards hidden up his sleeves. Whatever happens, we will all surely miss some of the best air hostesses on those planes… 😉


Dhanolti – A glimpse of heaven on Earth!

Last few months had been quite hectic. I had been through a lot and we (me and my wife) were looking for a perfect weekend getaway spot. Went through a lot of names for a cool, calm and hilly destination which would give peace – Lansdowne, Manali, Dharamsala, Mussourie, Mcleodganj and some others. After a lot of thought on what would suit us and our budget (which was not much to be described anyway), we decided to go to Mussourie even though that place was not new to both of us. I had already been to Mussourie around 12 years ago and wifey had been lived in Dehradun (which acts as a step to climb to Mussourie) for 3-4 years and we thought we would be able to manage our finances well at a place which we had seen before.

So, in came the D-day and we decided to board a bus from the travel agent namely Kings Travels for our journey tagging along my brother-in-law (I’ll refer to him as BIL for the rest of this article) as any other mode of travel would have cost us a fortune and a lot of time. We decided that time was money and money will bring us more time so it made perfect sense to leave on Friday night and reach Dehradun early Saturday morning. Below are us just about to leave from Delhi:
Prince, Wifey and Me!

The onward journey was to be divided into 3 phases as we had classified it and each of these little parts had its own little moments:
1. Part 1 would cover us leaving our home, reaching the boarding point and leaving Delhi to reach a Dhaba (Restaurant) midway. 
2. Part 2 would cover us leaving the Dhaba, reaching Dehradun early morning.
3. Part 3 would cover us catching hold of cab and reach Mussourie by 9 am in the morning.

We had decided to leave our home by 8 pm to reach the boarding point by 9:15 pm. The twist here came when auto-rickshaws refused to leave Chhatarpur. What the hell! Now what? It was time to push the panic button and we surely did. We decided to board a metro at Chhatarpur Metro Station and got an auto-rickshaw to drop us there. But as luck would have it, another auto-rickshaw at the station agreed to drop us to our boarding destination and we could reach the place on time all stuffed up in one auto-rickshaw huffing and puffing during the way!

So we boarded the bus and started moving towards Anand Vihar which would be the final boarding point from Delhi and then straight to Dhaba. All of this went smooth. On my way, when I saw the Firozeshah Kotla Stadium, I suddenly remembered that I am missing the IPL match between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians going on in Delhi and the stadium was easily visible all lit up perfectly and it was passing us by. Score tally summarized via GPRS on my phone – MI struggling.

We reached the Dhaba at around 1:20 am, all sleepy ofcourse with no hunger. But having not tasted an authentic dhaba food since a long long time, I was lured into trying something and had quite a normal quick food in roti, dal and one paneer veg. It was time we boarded the bus again and now was the time we started feeling the pain of small bus and the pain it provides to your knees in the way of pathetic seating positions. It was impossible to sit or lie down but we decided to keep sitting as there was no way to relax the knees. The roads from Delhi to Dehradun are not too friendly if the buses are not comfortable and we bore the entire brunt of it having gotten a seat at the back of the bus. Kept jumping throughout the journey and every pause during the journey was our only chance to catch a nap even if it only lasted for a few minutes. Waking – Sleeping was the pattern as there was nothing but darkness outside amidst all the turbulence. But at the back our of our heads was the peace of a holiday in the making. We were absolutely unperturbed by the tame discomfort or jerks. One look outside would tell us how the still the night was (even though we were not). No complaints though.

By the morning we were completely exhausted. Sunlight woke us up from our paradises in our sleeps and what we saw outside was absolute calm, orange of the sun mixed with the green from the nature and a dense forest covering our bus from both the sides – a sight we hadn’t seen in ages it seems. This was nothing new to us – but certainly awakening and beautiful. May be a knock on our luck for a nice and a comfortable holiday. We reached Dehradun at 6:30 am with sunshine making its presence felt strongly and cool breeze in the air. Not bad at all. Caught a “Tempo – Bhatsuar” and made our way to the bus stand to catch a cab. 

Then the surprise of our trip came calling from my wife who had somehow changed her mind during our bus journey – “Lets go to Dhanolti and not Mussourie. I have not seen that place and looking at Dehradun now doesn’t make me feel the same way I felt about it 10 years ago. I think same would happen to me when we reach Mussourie and I don’t want to waste my holiday”. The taxi driver pitched in – “Yes saab. Dhanolti is a better place if you looking to stay there for a day or two – not more than that. It’s beautiful and very peaceful”. This sudden change of mind jolted me but made me aware that these are the situations you can or may always face on a holiday. To decide between what to do and what not to do could mean a lot and I’m glad I made the right decision. “Ok. Lets go to Dhanolti.” – I said.

The taxi fare doubled and we would reach Dhanolti at about 10:30 am. It was a fare deal given we would get ample time to make up for our lost sleep from the bus – which in my opinion I was the most incorrect I had been throughout the journey. Stop no. 1 from Dehradun to Mussourie came when the hunger pangs started talking. Breakfast had bread – butter and omelet in order and we moved on with gust in our head and fresh air in our lungs. God, the air had not felt so fresh in ages and it obviously took our sleep away. Lots of recording from inside the car followed and we could now feel the difference between the city life and what it would be if we lived in the mountains. The twists and turns brought about obvious churns in our tummies but they would not bother us now. We were all geared up for a 3 hour hike in our “Ambassador” car. The car in itself never posed a question throughout the journey and we enjoyed the ride with our driver. Stop no. 2 would be to have photography session few of which along with ones from the car are below:





Lovely scenes them. I think what made us love the entire road trip more than anything was the excitement to see what would be in store for us at Dhanolti when all of this mediocre stuff (I mean it) was getting us so ecstatic. All of it felt so so similar like we are yet to forget our trips from earlier but more was to come. We nearly reached Mussourie when the driver took a right turn for the road to Dhanolti. The air was absolutely clear and fresh, the soil still smelt like heaven from yesterdays rains and all the flowers and trees left their essence in the air like they were about to burst with happiness. The best part I think about the road from Mussourie to Dhanolti is without doubt the clean and smooth roads with absolutely perfect curbs and slants. It goes up and down and left and right and never gives you a chance to sit straight – you are either jumping with excitement or falling over due to left and right cuts. We just couldn’t stop laughing at our plight. It was hilarious. These are the pictures from the turn we started for Dhanolti:

And then we started on. The quietness that engulfed us except the revving Ambassador engine was quite riveting. The road started stretching its legs and faster we tried to move, the slower it seemed. The mountain view and the pine trees were not doing too bad in keeping us distracted from the harsh twists and turns and the fear of mortality arising from the gaping dive to death. Quite frankly, we just weren’t having enough of the scenery. Every next view would surpass the previous one in beauty and serenity. Sometimes the wall side of the road would be on left and sometimes on right and very rightly keeping us engaged to keep a look out for anything that we might miss because of the twists on the road. And I will again mention the quietness in all of this. This is one property that enthralled us throughout our stay and the journey towards Dhanolti and back. Some more pictures from the way:

The next stop on the way was very interesting. First we saw a sign board that said we were only 260 km from Gangotri on the same route. And the next we were told that the mountain side had apples growing on them. Fresh and green. Also we saw an absolutely belligerent scene. How proximate we were to Himalayas could be linked to two facts: the air was absolutely clear from the rains last night and the Himalayas were only a few ranges away and were clearly visible. We just couldn’t believe our eyes but yes that was not clouds hanging in the air but Himalayas at the helm. Gorgeous view. The Himalayas though, could not be captured by our mere 5x optical zoom Sony cameras.

At this point we were only 6 kms from Dhanolti. Our worries grew if we would be able to find an affordable place to spend our night here. We entered Dhanolti never actually knowing that we had entered it. A small hut, then a maggi palace and then something that turned out to be a cure for our sore eyes – A Hotel. The price inquiry in the area led us to a very small affordable hotel – Pine Hotel. A room cost us a mere Rs. 800 and an extra bed cost another Rs. 100. And as we were to find out after entering the room, the water was extremely cold. So cold that the 2 men in the group decided to give bath a nice little goodbye. After freshening up we decided to hop on to any restaurant to catch a bite as hunger pangs had started dictating their terms yet again. So there we were right in front of a restaurant (a brand new restaurant which had 4 tables inside and a view table outside). We decided to skip the indoors and gave outdoor table a try. All of it – absolutely heavenly. The peace, the gusting wind and sounds from the monkeys and peacocks around completely made us forget that we were at a restaurant and not in the forests themselves. Then came the best part from the restaurant – the food itself. Absolutely similar to home cooked food, the food was prepared to not give the tourists any troubled tummy and it was flawless. Simple Rotis, Dal, a veg and fried rice. Nothing extravagant but the quantity could easily satiate even the biggest slurpers of the world. We started out and went out roaming after our lunch. A visit to the park that greeted us at the entry of Dhanolti was due and we made our way on foot roaming senselessly around and clicking pictures that wouldn’t have made any sense then but now they mean a lot.

We then reached the eco-park, paid a nominal fee of Rs. 10 per person and entered with burnt corns in our hand. The view – amazing. The feel – simple. The aura – peaceful. The park clearly states a message to conserve forests and plants and the messages were scattered all over the park. We climbed, clicked and made merry. Here are some pictures from the first park we visited:

All of this was such a clear view and our color thirsty and smoke damaged eyes were savoring every minute of the natural colors up there. It seemed that this is what earth is about and not all the development that it makes possible and the ease it provides to the mankind. Although I agree that I wouldn’t have shared this article if we wouldn’t have exploited earth’s resources but still I think we should keep a certain sanctity to how nature performs its daily tasks and keeps life running. All of what we were doing apart from clicking pictures were – thinking. Then we returned in broad day light to our room to catch a nap after deciding that the rest of the sight-seeing will be done after a doze off. During our sleep we noticed that the weather had suddenly gone dark and there were loud sounds of thrashing on our roof and the windows. But we were just too tired to take a heed of those and kept sleeping through what could have been an exhilarating spectacle for us to watch. 

We woke up after 4 hours of absolute mayhem of a sleep and then decided to take a stroll through the street that was “Dhanolti”. We opened the door of our room that faced the hill directly and were greeted by near freezing winds entering our room blowing our heads off and sending shivers down our spines. I had never witnessed such sharp fall in temperatures and this was definitely a “First” of my life. With our teeth tattering and after covering ourselves up with almost anything that we could find in our room, we straight away headed to the shop that sold scarves and woolen items only to find out that there had been a huge hail storm in the afternoon that had wrecked this havoc. After covering ourselves up properly and to satisfaction, it was time for us to head to a Maggi palace to have a shot at one of the various versions of Maggi they sold along with hot tea. This is where we realized that life could be this simple as well. Small inviting shops, simple people, small eateries, 1 clinic and 1 beer & wine shop. That was all that was there in that street along with 2-3 restaurants. Here are some pics from the evening:
We kept roaming the street all through the evening that day and felt the cold wind telling us the meaning of peace and the essence of spending time on the hill-side. It was cold and people had taken the shelter of either their homes or the small cozy shops they run day in and day out to make a living. The pic above with the street view is the densest part in Dhanolti. This is it. Yes you read it right – this is it. This is all of Dhanolti’s population base. Although we didn’t get a chance to roam around in a lot of light but we accumulated enough material and places to roam about even in the dark. All the mixture of dark blue and grey in the sky along with the occasional orange peeping through the sky were all too breath-taking to be described in words. Personally I would love to live here. Or atleast have a summer home here. 

As we were engulfed in our thoughts, we realized that it was already dark and the skies were darkening to be unforgiving again through the night and as we would later find out, we made a brilliant decision to have an early dinner at one of the restaurants even though we weren’t very hungry. But the locals had told us that it was going be a hail storm like the evening again and it was going to get extremely cold and the signs were again becoming very ominous. So we had our dinner and had normal food which in entirety cost us only Rs. 240 for rotis, dal, 1 veg and rice again. 

Now it was time to run though our mobiles and this is something I have forgotten to mention. Only two networks were working there – BSNL and Vodafone. No Airtel and since all of us three belong to the Airtel family, none of us had network and were not being allowed to switch to any other operator  as well – so we were out of touch with the entire world for sometime. So, we tried calling our families and as we would find out, the place has only one STD booth and that too had its lines turned off at night due to palpitating weather and the operator told us that the lines will be on in the morning when the skies are clear. In the end we had to ask a local to give us his mobile and he helped us gladly and told us that this was a common issue at Dhanolti. We paid him duly even on his insistence for not doing so.

Now that we were all hunky dory with our families, we decided to give ourselves sometime in the room and tried watching some local channels. But as fate would have it, we lost electricity for about 4 hours and some till we were awake. After that, it was pitch black with no motion and people had slept outside on the streets at 9 pm sharp. We were the only galactical birds flocking at Dhanolti then and we used our license to stay awake on till very late and enjoyed ourselves, joking and making merry! Life couldn’t have been better!

We woke up in the morning at about 8 am with no electricity and decided that it was time for us to hit the second park at Dhanolti as there would be nothing much to do at home. The bigger eco-park, one that Dhanolti is supposedly known for. My wifey had read somewhere on a pamphlet that we were allowed to plant trees in this park and this had turned into her wish since then and so we decided to abide by it. A wife’s wish is husbands command, remember – all you wife loving husbands will totally agree with me I know – say yes… come on come on – say yes. Ok I see you nodding your head. That’s enough for affirmation to me. So there we were at the eco-park at 11 am after we had had our breakfast which included heavy-duty aloo ka paranthas with butter and tea. And as I said, life just couldn’t have been better!

Again the nominal fees of Rs. 10 would let us have a free willed stroll through the park and we gladly paid for it. This is where the twist in our day would start. As soon as I paid for the park, it started drizzling. It rained at first but slowly the cold winds started picking up. And the rain turned into a slow hail fall. All of this was lovely, we decided to stay out and not get bound by this weather. We also paid Rs. 350 for the tree we wanted to plant and decided that it had to be Cedar Deodar tree. They are simply beautiful and the most abundantly available plant in the area. One more wouldn’t have made a slight bit difference and as it is, that plant was the only one available that day at the park to be planted. So we went ahead with the weather worsening. Started to stroll slow at first but then picked up our speed up the hill so we could reach our spot early which had been marked by the local keeper at the park. He helped us with the tools and water and stuff and by the time we made our way to spot, the slow hail fall had turned into the big hail storm with winds gusting into our faces and throwing us off the already wet track that we were following. We were careful and hence no casualty occurred. My wife apparently was on a completely different plane of resolution that day and totally ignored our calls to stay inside a shelter for sometime. So while we mortals decided to catch a shade, she went ahead with the keeper to plant the tree. So while we were watching from a distance, me being below a mid high plant and BIL below a shade, she was planting the tree. It was awesome for us to say the least because the last time I was eating salty ice from my collar was way back in my childhood and it was absolutely phenomenal to bear it for sometime. As this video would show:

Once we were through with this, we decided to do some photo shooting around the park in whatever time we were left with. Here are the pics:



It was then time for us to leave Dhanolti and we decided to have a short stay of around an hour at Mussourie just to have a feel of what commercialization had done to that place. The place is full and not very enjoyable if you have ever been there before when it was not so crowded. We wished we had more time to spend at Dhanolti though because the locals who knew the weather there told us that there might be snow if it continued to be bombarded with hail storms at this rate and how disappointed we were to hear that. We really wished we should have seen that spectacle too but not to be this time and we saved this for later. The colors, the peace, the feel, the aura, the forests, the rain, the smell of the fresh soil, the hail storms, the cold, the winds, and teas. We had an absolutely wonderful time there. It just couldn’t have been better. The place makes you feel like you belong there. And for people like me, it felt like I should own everything or atleast some part of the land there. And the best of all, it was pocket friendly. Along with the taxi which we were very very lucky about, the entire trip cost us a mere Rs. 10000 for 3 people who also included the bus fare to and fro between Delhi and Dehradun that stood at Rs. 3000 and the taxi cost us Rs. 3200 to and fro between Dehradun and Dhanolti. 

The return journey was as painful and hard and bumpy as the onward journey and there was just no letting go of the pain in our knees. The suspensions in the bus were pathetic and we suffered thoroughly. You see, fate has its own ways of making sure that not every thing remains hunky dory throughout a journey.

All in all, Dhanolti is a place worth visiting once in your life time and the best time to be there should be around the end of January as per the locals. Board a taxi and not a bus for the sake of comfort. Everything else will remain a happy dot in your otherwise boring lifetime. I feel blessed to have been a part of this experience. Hope you have yours too.