Infosys Bus System

Credit for image – http://biswajit-svmchaser.blogspot.in/2016_04_01_archive.html

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.

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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!

cwg-metro

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’!

Hue Of Silence

Hue Of Silence
Hue Of Silence

Silence eh! It has made its presence felt in my life in many very different ways. Let me take you through some of them and why it is so special to me.

When I was growing up, when my parents took all the decisions in my life, I remember my brother and I once getting enrolled for a christian camp in St. Theresa School. I was in 8th standard, too young to understand what was going on inside and outside my head. We had no friends there and we were all we had. If I remember correctly it was a 3 days camp. I don’t remember the routine too. I just remember few moments very clearly in my head. We were all sleeping by our ages in different classes and I happened to wake up very early on the first morning. Now I’m not talking about a city with a lot of hustle and bustle but a very coy town of Bhopal in 1997. It was so quiet, so so quiet that I could feel my heart beating. I looked outside the window into the deep green forest behind the school and went outside to the balcony and nothing but leaves had gathered enough energy to move. It was the start of the winter for us and temperature was starting to dip. That silence and I saw my brother sleep. I felt love, lots of it. He needed me so much. I still feel that depth inside. I’ve been ever since trying to emulate that feeling but have failed, although I have come close to it. But that was one morning I’ll never forget. There was another in an evening right at the twilight. As I stood in the balcony and looked left from above the market into the horizon, a strange calmness prevailed inside me. I still remember the other boys making a total ruckus inside the classroom behind my back but it couldn’t bother me then. I was lost. I was new.

I was lost when I was travelling alone for the first time to my college in a train. I still remember the Walkman and a few of the songs and their albums. I have travelled so much during and after my engineering years that I’ve lost track of the exact time and the song but yes I definitely remember if it was raining during some of them. Since, it wasn’t exactly the digital age that we revel in now, I had to carry a lot of cassettes in my bag pack and some of those albums were trance. If anyone remembers it, there was a series of trance collection remixed and redone by Sony Music that went by the name – A Trip Of Trance. They came out in volumes 1 to 6 till I followed and I lost count of them after that. In volume 2, was a song Toca’s Miracle by Fragma. It’s still fresh in my head like it happened yesterday. The rain seeping from under the train window and how I just absolutely had to open the window, drench my face in the rain water so I could let some of my tears out and not look unstable to my fellow passengers. I really needed a miracle to pull myself through it all. I was very alone and I couldn’t show it to anyone. I couldn’t look weak. I was anxious.

I remember the hushed silence beneath that tree-lane when my dad and I went to meet his friend in the CSEB colony in Bhilai for we had to look for a room for me to live in. It was a new place, a new phase of life and somehow I felt my weakness pouring out through my sweat and tears. While he sat in the office with his friend, I felt so alone I had to get out and walk. I still had my walkman and the album this time was Significant Other by Limp Bizkit. The song playing was Don’t Go Off Wandering. I was wandering, wandering in that heat on a lonely road, 200 meters back and forth when my dad fetched me. I still remember looking out through the window on the day dad was supposed to leave while I was in college. He looked at me and all I could do was hug him and plead to not go for another day and well I cried too. I dreaded loneliness.

I’ve also tried to manufacture silence. Satyam Computers were in for campus recruitments. By the time, the interviewers announced our results, it was already 11:30 pm. The results were right as we’d expected – they selected me. There was no end to our joy. The smile got glued to my face. But the way I am, I had already started wondering about my future while me and my friend were on my bike headed home. We kept shouting and singing throughout the way for there was no end to our happiness. I was trying to create silence in my head. I was trying to kill all my thoughts with the shouts and abominable singing. I somehow had a feeling that this wasn’t going to last long. I was confused.

Songs have forever been my way of creating silence. I either sing or listen to them but that’s the only time I feel silence. As I write this post, I’m listening to Game Master by Paul Oakenfold. Another song that I’d patronized for the start of every exam. It just gave me the strength and enough violence in my head to do something unthinkable, write something better to someone elses satisfaction. Not many people exist in this world who don’t know my love for songs but what they don’t know is how songs influence me and my head. It’s my cure. It fills me. It calms me. It silences me.

Then came my wife and a new way I felt silence. We’d been having a rather tumultuous time with some situations in our life when we went on a trip to Goa sponsored totally by my brother. Only the two of us can tell, how much we needed that trip, her more so. It was our second day there when we went to Vagator beach. We knew there was something really special about that beach just by the road that led us to it. No rush, no traffic, trees all around and we could smell the sea and hear waves as we approached it only to get beholden by its sight. While I laid down our bags and got down to my bare essentials, she had already made her way into the sea. She kept walking and walked quite far when she sat down in the sand. I got my camera and was quite excited by the view when I saw her crying. She kept crying and I knew what it was. That silence only interrupted by the sea waves and shrieks from some far away kids was what she sought from this trip. Love and responsibility have never been her cup of tea but I could see now how hard she had tried all of her time with me. All negative energy seemed to abandon her and after about 5 minutes she looked at me and smiled. This was my silence. She finally had what she wanted.

Lets check out what others have got for this challenge

  1. WWC: The Sound of Silence | The Crucial Kiwi
  2. The Sound of Silence | The Joy of Health Nutrition and Beauty
  3. A Silent Hunt. | The Shady Tree
  4. Silence Speaks Louder Than Words | Creative Mysteries
  5. Silence of the Cat | The Adventures of Cat Madigan
  6. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence #writing | Of Glass & Paper
  7. The sound of … | How to write a memo
  8. Behind the Facade of the Narcissist’s Silent Treatment | An Upturned Soul
  9. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence – Breaking the Barrier | humanTriumphant
  10. The Painting On The Wall | Midnight Butterfly
  11. Weekly Writing Challenge: Silent Screams | NOWHERE TO RUN
  12. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | MARGARET ROSE STRINGER
  13. The Sound of Silence | 101 Challenges in 1001 Days
  14. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | To Breathe is to Write
  15. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  16. Hush me again, I can’t stand it. | May van Reenen
  17. it’s haircut day | Musings of a Random Mind
  18. My Quest for the Sound of Silence | Schizo Incognito
  19. No Curse | scottishmomus
  20. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | The Wandering Poet
  21. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  22. Weekly Writing Challenge : The sound of silence | Loin de zanzibar
  23. Silence between us | Scent of Rina
  24. The Mountain and the Apology | Keep It Real Sister
  25. Children Say It Like It Is | Not the Family Business!
  26. Excruciating Silence | Life Sans God
  27. A Vow of Silence? | living my life
  28. Silence is the greatest enabler of abuse. | My thoughts on a page.
  29. The Sound of Silence | Cafe Reading
  30. Weekly Writing Challenge – Silence | Niki’s Thoughts
  31. I Answer My Mom | angieinspired
  32. The sound of silence | Boulevard Bellerive
  33. Hear no evil | Jenna Dee
  34. The unbearable sound of silence | Outmanned
  35. The Sound of Your Daughter’s Silence | smallandbrown
  36. The Grab Bag Empire: The “Silent” Challenge | britzersleigh
  37. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Mirth and Motivation
  38. Thought Processing Centre | I’m Drew Llew, how do you do?
  39. Keeping Score is the Worst Kind of Habit | Rewriting Your Heartlines
  40. My silent battle with Harold | Dianne Gray author
  41. a one-sided conversation | memoirs of an unremarkable man
  42. Silence is Louder. | TNT
  43. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence « the barren page
  44. the silent heartbeat | lifeinthedport
  45. Salt Eater | field of thorns
  46. Clamorous Silence, What A View | Wandering Gypsy Spirit
  47. Born into Silence | Running Brook Reflections
  48. Silence: Bus Minutiae | WWC | i dont even know what im doing here
  49. TURBULENCE: Prelude | mesardonicmesarcastic
  50. Weekly Writing Challenge – The Sound of Silence: Where are the Christians of Christ? | The Latest Word
  51. The Sound of Silence | The Nameless One
  52. The Sound of Silence | Living in the Moment
  53. Write, instead of think/talk.. | davidriswanto
  54. Stop and Be Still | davidriswanto
  55. My Relationship With Silence | misserinterese
  56. Silence of the Night | tuckedintoacorner
  57. Practicing Silence – The Key to Finding Inner Peace | Vida Manejo
  58. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | my random writing zone
  59. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Morrighan’s Muse
  60. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | becoming a family
  61. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence/ The cost of silence in Ukraine | veryukrainian
  62. The Sound Of Silence | farmerfarthing
  63. Silence – Another way to show your love ! | Out of reflection
  64. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | I Hope You’re Taking Notes
  65. Silence And It’s Lessons | the TEMENOS JOURNAL
  66. Silence And It’s Lessons | the TEMENOS JOURNAL
  67. DP Challenge Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound Of Silence | Sabethville
  68. On Silence | Chasing Yellow
  69. The Blog Farm | Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence
  70. litter | yi-ching lin photography
  71. Break the Silence | Living Dead Girl
  72. Anatomy of a Difficult Summer | I’m Supposed to be Doing Something Else Right Now
  73. Silencing My Mind | Sentiments of a Working Mom
  74. You forgot to say your new job was ‘Back Stabber’ | Blogizing
  75. The Sound of Silence | Venti Mocha Moments
  76. Coerced into Silence…..(wp weekly prompt) | Daily Observations
  77. The 31st of March 1994 – Minneapolis, Minnesota | Forgotten Correspondance
  78. BREAKING SILENCE – A Pet Peeve Comes to Light | Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner
  79. Listen to Silence | Human Nature Coaching and Development
  80. Unceasing Silence | undefined by design
  81. Grass, what are you telling me? | The Seeker
  82. The Sound of Silence: Twelve Hours Without Media | suzie81’s Blog
  83. Weekly Writing Challenge: When Dreams Die Do They Make a Noise? | The Day After
  84. There Is Wind [Weekly Writing Challenge] | Thoughts from Elysium
  85. Hurtful Silence | Me – Who am I?
  86. Scarcity of Silence | Artfully Aspiring
  87. DP Challenge Rachel Carlson – Author of ‘Silent Spring’ | Midwestern Plants
  88. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence (Tell Me If You Ever Hear A Sound) | THE BLACK SPAGHETTI CHRONICLES
  89. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence (I hate total silence, some one should break the ice.) | THE BLACK SPAGHETTI CHRONICLES
  90. A Post About Nothing. | Sandalwood
  91. From the Once Loud House – Evelyne Holingue
  92. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Other People’s Silences | Pop-Culture-Referenced
  93. Enjoy the Silence | Life’s Unfiltered Ramblings
  94. NaNoPoMo and the Way into Life | Rose Red Stories
  95. The intimacy of silence | SomeThing Different
  96. The Sound of Silence | Starting write now
  97. Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge | rachelcurry95
  98. THE SOUND OF SILENCE … | Reflectingpool …
  99. War’s Profound Silence | Lewis Cave
  100. Shh…It’s Krantz Cake. | The Novice Gardener

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 –

DSC_0117
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 –

Ducks
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
  47. A PERFECT DAY | SERENDIPITY
  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
  80. Have A Break | THE MARRIED MAN WHO LOVES HIS X
  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. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/daily-prompt-good-time/ | 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
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How Wrong Was I?

Dhanolti - A glimpse of heaven on Earth!

Innocence in flesh and bones – that’s what kids are. They know no trivialities, no problems and the world around them more often than not turns perfect if they are born in a family of more than mediocre means. They are well provided, loved and taught.

On my journey back to Delhi, I met two such kids. Lovely and energetic duo. Would have loved to give their names but after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to keep them anonymous. They were students from 5th grade, on their way to Agra for their annual school trip. They took the window seats beside me and the train started chugging. I pulled out my headphones, grabbed my novel and started reading – The Associate by John Grisham.

At first they pretended to be shy and didn’t talk much, but then the tea arrived and with it came our first conversation while I was preparing my tea from a tea-bag, dried milk and hot water –

“Bhaiya (elder brother), would you mind if I watch you?” he said pointing at the tea.

“No, not at all!”.

And then I taught him how to prepare tea while his all-knowing buddy kept instructing him from behind. They had very sweet voices and I may sound soft for such a hard spoken man but I have no better words to explain how their manners combined with their voices, won my heart completely. They kept asking me questions about myself – if I was married, if it was a love marriage and we kept holding the conversations. I liked answering them even when they never cared to let me read my novel. There was something very satisfying to go with their flow. They kept asking me to leave some space to let them use the loo and I obliged. On other days or with other kids, I may have even kicked their teeth in after the third or the fourth time but not them. With every passing quarter-hour, they kept spreading the word about a “Super Cool”, “Super Awesome” Bhaiya who would let them listen to the amazing songs on his phone. They even learnt the password for my phone the very first time they saw me drawing it.

One by one each of their mates came and shook hands and told me – “You are truly awesome Bhaiya!” full of reverence. I could only smile.

They kept arguing about my age, if I am 18 or 40. Some told me that I look very fearsome sometimes and some said I looked sweet and cute. Some were confused whether they should call me Uncle or Bhaiya. For them, Uncles are married and Bhaiyas aren’t. The two beside me had a strategy and I’m gonna lay it out flat in front of the world – “Their Secret” – both of them were very adept at impressing their teachers and used their impression to get extra marks.

At some point there was a cut throat race between the students to impress their teachers with food. Our lad here, who had a pizza in his bag, held all the aces though. When the rummaging was going on, he, with a bang, pulled out his box and offered the entire thing to his teacher. He looked all around and with this move stopped all the scuffing for food.  He was proud and it showed on his face. It wasn’t going to last long though. When he landed back on his seat, he wanted his pizza back. He now wanted to share it with his best buddies and not her but couldn’t ask the box back. He kept cribbing for next 20 minutes about it when the box landed in his lap and the teacher, who wasn’t too interested in the pizza, asked him to offer it to other teachers. The boy though had other ideas. He quietly slipped it back in his bag and pretended he hadn’t heard what the teacher had told him. I was laughing my ass off!

They kept offering me eatables though (including the pizza) but I stuck to my philosophy to not eat from any strangers when travelling.

They even made me give their parents missed calls, so that they could call back. I was the main subject in those calls too.

But what happened at the end of their journey struck me the most. One of those two kids, came running back from the door and touched my feet as mark of respect to the elders. I just touched his face and said – “Now go. You are late!”

When they left, I could only think about my mortal nausea at seeing so many kids together at the platform and dreading my journey from there on. How wrong was I?

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.

To Home and Back – 4 days full of bliss

Sometimes we just need vacations. To run away from our mundane life and the same fucked up people we meet everyday to meet new ones. I needed this vacation. I was sick and tired of the sickening fucked up home and such life. After all that my wife and I bore together in the past few months, both of us desperately needed a vacation or at bare minimum, a change of location. I had tried applying for vacations twice but one got turned down and the other wasn’t even given a heed in my office. But my last attempt got cleared and 2 days and a weekend was what we had to reboot our heads.

It’d been a long time since my brothers marriage and we hadn’t seen our parents and somewhere deep within our hearts, we owed them a visit. So,we decided to rather see them and save our money than run away to some hill station and spend all that we had saved.

It turned out to be a fantastic decision at the end.

The first day was normal stay at home and we just slept through it. A simple foray into a market and we got my mother her most favorite Pineapple cake. Soft and sumptuous as it was, we just couldn’t resist digging our fingers into it but wait was what was in store for us. We also had to go see my in-laws and once we were late to return from there, my parents had already slept. So tired as we were, a simple hug and a birthday wish was all we could offer her that night before we all slept again.

The next day was packed for activities which included a visit to my parents favorite temple – Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain (M.P.). We woke up and got ready in a haste to reach the temple as early as possible so we don’t get to face the extreme heat. But this was my mum’s birthday and the cake cutting was in order. The cake was duly cut and dug in and she absolutely loved it. We then boarded a taxi and started for our journey. Quite frankly, as you will all see from our faces, we are a family of die-hard foodies. And one particular restaurant “Pappu Da Dhaba” holds special fondness among us. It serves hot breakfast with tea and just totally makes our day with it’s taste. The best part is, it’s located exactly at the half way point between Bhopal and Indore and completely satiates any hunger for the rest of the day. Here is one picture of the route I took with my phone’s camera –

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It was a glorious day, bathed in sunshine, with mild heat emanating from the ground, making it so much more comfortable. I hadn’t had a field day in months and I was absorbing all that nature had to offer. We reached Ujjain in around 3.5 hours and headed straight to the temple.

To learn more about Ujjain, please click the link below –

http://ujjaintourism.in/

The temple hosts Lord Shiva in his most glorious of forms. As taking pictures inside the temple isn’t allowed, I couldn’t get any but they certainly are available all over the net. Try and search it out for yourself or visit this site –

http://dic.mp.nic.in/ujjain/mahakal/default.aspx

On normal days, the temple is absolutely packed full of pilgrims at all times but for some strange reason, we were quite early there that day even at 12:30 pm and the temple to our collective sighing souls was fully available for view at our discretion. Here are some pictures we took at the pavement –

This is my family (from the left) – wife, dad and mom!

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Indian rituals wherein we tie threads to trees for every prayer or wish we want to come true –

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We then went from temple to temple, all of whom held historical significance and here are some pictures from them –

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By the time we were done with the 4th temple, moms feet had given away and we decided to direct our journey back for home. It got very cloudy and then rainy by the time we re-crossed the same “Pappu Da Dhaba” but that didn’t deter us from taking a tea break there. Here are some pictures from the way I think are worth noting –

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I was surprised to see something that mom and wife had bought right outside the main temple – a Rudraksh that contained nearly all the elements that pertain to Lord Shiva. I think it’s fantastic. I have tried washing them and nothing but some paint has come off it for I just couldn’t believe that something of this sort could exist, so apparently it may be real too –

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Coming home, late that evening, I couldn’t help but realize how nature tries and holds it’s course while all that humans do gets dissolved in it. We pollute it and then we preserve it but how it has stayed pure at its roots is something what should teach us – to hold on to our firm pure roots.

The third day was my moms kitty party and oh man – how do us guys then realize that we aren’t even welcome home for those 4 hours. They despise us, hate us and then it’s left up to our better judgement to find a place where we can spend those 4 hours loafering around the city. It was that afternoon that I tasted peppermint right from it’s leaves in a nursery. It was heavenly.

The next evening after a lunch at my in-laws, we left back for Delhi.

I loved the journey and couldn’t help but share it with you guys.

Thanks for reading.

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.

Cues:-

Summer vacations.

Trains.

Food.

Stations.

Forests.

Rails.

Rivers.

Toy cars.

A huge house.

Lots of people.

The compulsory siesta.

Playful evenings.

Watering.

Food.

Kulfi (Sweet Indian summer delicacy).

Rains.

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!

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.