Monday, 31 December 2012

Travel Photos - GOA (My fav. destination)

Beach huts @ Agonda Beach


On way to Agonda Beach
Evening on Colva beach

A beautiful stretch between Colva and Benaulim


Palolem Beach
View from the left end of Palolem Beach
The king of good times




One of the rivers on way to Dudhsagar falls


An evening @ Palolem Beach



At the foot of Dudhsagar falls

The 2 Portuguese tunnels on way to Dudhsagar falls
Dudhsagar railway station lashed with heavy rains
The beautiful Dudhsagar water falls
A passenger train passing 
The bottom part of Dudhsagar falls
That's ME




Farm workers sowing paddy crop on way to Kulem Station

Vaishnodevi - Jai Mata Di (My first chopper ride)

2nd Dec. to 7th Dec. was booked almost 2 months in advance for my trip to Vaishnodevi and Ludhiana.  One of the company's whom I represent in Gujarat had sponsored this entire trip for all the distributors and few dealers who had completed the sale targets.  And but of course I had to go with all of them, no choice given... ;)  We were in total 54 people including the sales team and all the clients.  To visit Vaishnodevi was an unanimous choice with everyone and along with it the factory visit at Ludhiana was arranged.  

The schedule was a pretty tight one with a 32 hrs. train right from Ahmedabad to Jammu and another 22 hrs. train right from Ludhiana to Ahmedabad.  In between there were 2 bus rides too.  One was of 2 hrs. from Jammu to Katra and 2nd one was of 6 hrs from Katra to Ludhiana.

Everyone coming  from different corners of Gujarat assembled on platform # 2 @ Kalupur Railway Station and after greeting each other we all boarded the train and left at 11:15 am by Jammu Tavi Express.  The next few hours went in allotting the seat nos. to everyone and due to some last moment cancellations and some tickets in waiting list it was ultimately revealed that we were 2 berths short.  So finally we had to resort to the same old very Indian thing called #JUGAAD... ;)  

@ Ferozpur Cantt. railway station
The very thought of clients from all corners of Gujarat meeting and traveling together for the next 5 days together was very exciting to me.  Men of different ages, speaking different dialects and with different mentality, all together was surely exciting for me.  I kept moving in and between 2 coaches and kept on conversing with different groups.  Few had already started playing cards and few others did the same but with bets.  While some were discussing their business and some were just relaxing some were introducing themselves as they were meeting the others for the first time. Recently in the last few years this has been kind of a sales trend followed by many companies to take distributors and dealers on travel trips on successful completion of sales targets.

Our train stopped as someone had died on the track.
The journey went on without any problems and the high point of it was when I tempted a group of my generally shy distributors to share their views on relationships (marriage) between a guy and a girl and also the ways of upbringing a male and female child and why this country has so many social problems since long.  And but of course everyone had their own opinions on the coming elections too.  The discussion became so intense that many others left their place to join us and to express their views also.  The discussion went on for few hours with some telling their own situations at home and few others jokingly describing how scared they are of their wives.... ;)  Of course it comes out of respect but still its funny many Indian husbands fear or just find it too hot to handle their wives sarcasm.

View of the hill at night.
Anyways next day evening we reached Jammu station and 2 buses were waiting along with the company team to take us to Katra.  A bus drive of about 2 hours and we reached our hotel. It had a perfect location from where the view of the Vaishno devi hill was majestic.  After allocating the rooms to all, we gathered for dinner and discussed the next days climb along with the tour organizers.

A group of around 15, had decided to climb the hill at 23:00 hrs. so as to return by next day noon and rest for the whole evening.  While most of the others wanted to sleep and after having breakfast the next day were going to climb. We had some elders above 50 and some with weight problems and hence in the morning it was decided to hire some ponies.  While rest went on foot.  The walk to the Vaishno devi bhawan is 12 kms which includes a steep walk for the first 6 kms which is the most hard part and the rest 6 kms is a mixture of some walk and climb.  I had decided to stay back as I was not sure how my weak back would respond to the climb.  I'm as such for the time being advised by the doctor not to walk for long distances.  

Chopper ferrying pilgrims To & Fro
from Katra to Sanjichat

By noon my uncle arrived and the company had arranged one chopper ride for two persons.  So we decided to take it and come back on foot.  This chopper rides are always packed and get booked many weeks before but again after some JUGAAD the company had managed it for us.  So first after taking the token and paying the price of Rs. 699/- per person for one way, we finally checked in. There are 2 companies operating, Pawan Hans and Global Vectra.  Before boarding one has to check in just as we do it for flights.  There was a waiting for about 15 min. and then our turn came.  The capacity of the chopper is 5 - 6 people excluding the pilot and the people are selected as per the weight.  Once on the helipad one guy explains all where to sit and which direction to walk towards the chopper and after the chopper lands.

Luckily I was told to sit in the front next to the pilot and instructed not to touch the two control pedals in front and to walk from the front of the chopper after getting out.  The chopper finally arrived and 6 of us boarded within 30 secs. and in less than 45 secs. the chopper was up.  The initial lift send tickles in my tummy and I could see the ground from the transparent floor.  Slowly the chopper went up and up and the view around was simply majestic.  Snow clad mountain ranges could be seen at far distance and Katra town was looking beautiful.  The ride lasted for around 7 min. and finally we landed on the helipad which was like 3 kms away from the bhawan.  The walk to the bhawan was pretty easy as there was no climbing or steep slope.

What I found surprising was that entire place was absolutely clean with proper garbage handling arrangements.  Food stalls and drink stalls were in abundance and the quality and price was good.  There were enough places to stay overnight also.  While entering the bhawan, no one is allowed to carry anything except a coconut and a piece of red cloth (Mata ki chunni) which are to be offered.  Not even a pen is allowed inside.  And one more thing, no leather shoes or belt or wallet is even allowed inside.  After getting checked and frisked at 3 points finally I was in the queue to enter the tunnel leading to the actual place of worship.  Luckily the queue was not very long and in 10 - 15 min. I was seeking blessings from the Goddess.  This queue normally is very very long and sometimes it can take 2 - 3 hours before one can actually enter the bhawan.  You are allowed to just stand there for few seconds and the security than immediately tells you to move ahead for others to come and pray.

So then begins the descend. All the way up just for few seconds ? Yes that's how it is.  We grabbed our stuff kept in the locker and started walking back.  It was around 16:00 or 16:30 and the sun was shining enough to keep us warm. We just kept on walking and walking covering km by km.  There were lots of people who were climbing and I thought they would reach by night.  Many were climbing with luggage which indicated that they would stay in some guest house and go for the prayers early in the morning.

View from the hotel of Himalayas.
Well after walking few kms I was really thirsty and stopped for few min. for some water.  I didn't had a 5 rupee change and so the guy gave me a chocolate.  I was holding it in one hand and suddenly from somewhere a kid came up to me and poked me.  I was like hey what do you want.  He again poked me and asked for the chocolate.  I was so surprised that I didn't know what to do and I just handed over the chocolate to him.  Well the chocolate I guess had his name written on it ;) .  The sun had now started to go down.  We had just covered the flat part of 6 kms and the steep slope was about to start.  I could still see the valley from the top which was by now entirely covered by a thick layer of mist.  I cursed myself that why did I leave my camera in the hotel.  The view was just breath taking and I could have clicked hundreds of pics.  We kept on walking and enjoying the beautiful sunset and after a few kms walk when I looked the sun was now perfectly orange and its golden rays had turned the white mist into light yellow.  I was just stunned on seeing this scene.

By now the pathways were looking dark and soon the lights came on.  The number of people who were walking up had increased and also now we were walking pass the steep slope.  The walkway was now divided into two.  One part was for people who were walking and the other part was for the ponies carrying people on them.  I could people of all different ages.  Kids from the age of 5 - 6 years to elders who were barely able to walk with the support of a stick.  There was one guy who was climbing in sleeping position.  Now that was shocking.  I had even heard that there are thousands of followers who climb right up there in different ways.  Some climb bare foot.  Some climb by touching there nose till the top.  Some carry their infants in their hands all the way up.  Just make me wonder, how strong their belief is in this particular place of pilgrimage.

By now we had covered almost 9 kms and the last few kms were left.  My back had given up and it was paining.  My calf muscles were indicating me to take some rest.  My feet were paining.  But I knew if I sat even for few min. I'll be done and I won't be able to walk continuously.  Even my uncle was of the same opinion.  So we kept on walking and to reach down quickly we took the short path of around 500 - 600 steps which were broad and quite high.  Those steps made us more tired and the walk after the steps were over became more difficult, but say around 21:00 hrs finally we reached the foot of the hill and took a rickshaw back to the hotel.  OMG what a way down it was.  My back, my feet, my calf muscles, my shoulders all were in pain and the first thing came to my mind was a hot shower.

It was a memorable trip.  Somehow I still feel the spiritual power as the people say made me visit the top and come back.  A trip which I was not willing to do got over and was truly wonderful with some new experience.

JAI MATA DI------

Thursday, 15 November 2012

One evening at IGI - T3 terminal

So I landed in Delhi on 9th evening of November and I was staying at my CouchSurfing friend Ranjana's place.  It was the 2nd time at her place for me and this time it was at her newly constructed house.  Just one night but we had some interested conversations bout each other's life and stuff.  After lunch I left for the market and after a quick visit to Chandni Chowk to have the delicious Samosa and Kachori with Alu Subzi I headed to the IGI -T3 terminal to receive my friend Dorota who was arriving from Nepal along with a group of tourists from Poland.  

Her flight was delayed by 2 hours.  But still since I had nothing to do, I left the market at around 18:30 on a Pedal Rickshaw and decided to take the metro from Ram Krishna Ashram metro station.  The pedal rickshaw drive started to become like an ever lasting one since there was a huge traffic jam at the Sardar Bazaar cross roads.  Pedal rickshaws bumping into each other, hand lorries everywhere and pedestrian's finding just about any spaces to walk past.  Finally after managing the traffic, the streets filled with garbage and pot holes, I reached the metro station after 45 min. and soon boarded the metro for Dwarka sector 10.  Luckily the metro was not very crowded and I even got a seat to sit.  

I got down at Dwarka sector 10 in about 30 - 35 min. and asked the Pedal rickshaw guy to take me to a place from where I can get an auto rickshaw for T3 terminal.  And he readily agreed for Rs. 20/-.  So we headed for the main road and unfortunately there were no rickshaw's there as since last few days Delhi roads were filled with traffic jams.  So I thought why not call for a radio cab.  I called one Quick Cab and explained them my location that I'm at the cross road between sector 9 and sector 10, but the representative asked me to give an exact location.  Alright so now I went to one building and told that guy my location.  The rep. goes on for 5 min. explaining the rules and then asks me to wait for one confirmation SMS.  Fuckers.  The moment I go back to the main road I spotted one rickshaw, stopped it and luckily it was empty.  He agreed to take me to T3 but asked for 200 Rs.  Everyone in this country is opportunistic, I said to myself.  Even the pedal rickshaw guy said it was too much.  After a bargain the guy agreed for Rs. 130/-.  

So now my 3rd journey to the T3 terminal began.  The pedal rickshaw guy had explained the auto rickshaw guy some way through a small village where he believed there won't be any traffic jams.  So after another 30 min. drive the rickshaw dropped me at the T3 shuttle service where I just saw the shuttle bus leave.  So now a wait of another 20 min.  Finally boarded the shuttle bus at 21:00 and reached the arrival terminal of T3.  Its quiet a huge terminal from outside and very impressive too.  But it definitely lacks some facilities and also the glamour factor.  There are just couple of coffee outlets and Lays stands.  Nothing else if you are hungry.  So till the flight arrives I had around almost an hour to wait.

I grabbed one seat on those steel arrangements with a cup of cappuccino and 2 samosa's.  So here's the first impression.

  • Seating arrangement  :  Not comfortable.
  • Food outlets              :  Not enough outlets and variety
  • Taxi arrangement       :  Excellent 
  • Spacious                   :  Very much   

I was having my delicious samosa's with not that good cappuccino and there were passengers arriving with sets of Samsung and Sony LED and LCD televisions.  Not a single one below 32 inches which suggested flights from Bangkok have arrived.  Its very common this days to come back from Bangkok with big LED televisions which are at least 40 % cheaper than in India.  A family somewhere from the African continent had landed for some treatment with Apollo hospitals.  The representative from Apollo was wandering why just one family landed when he had information for two.

Cabin crews from Indigo, Thai Airways, Jet Airways, Air India, Emirates were coming out.  Never understood the fact that why Air India recruits cabin crews that are above 40 years old when all over the world the cabin crews are of much much less age.  They definitely need some lessons on glamour.   Many passengers were in such a hurry to catch a cab that instead of taking the ramp to get on to the road, they were just pushing their baggage trolleys down and there went down all bags.  It was not just one passenger, but many did the same thing.  Some while talking on their mobiles tried to get the trolley down with one hand and the result was the same.  One lady seemed to be talking with her family member, asking for the transport tried it and all her 3 bags went down along with her phone.  One of the taxi driver helped her to put the luggage back on the trolley, while surprisingly she still was trying to put her phone together,  not even bothering to say THANKS to the guy who helped her.

Two passengers while waiting for the cab, one of them asks the other - you've got some cigarettes ? The other one asks, is it allowed to smoke here ?

Finally I got tired of sitting and took a stroll on the terminal and came back to take my position right at the front of the arrival gate no. 6.  One family was standing there waiting for someone to come to receive them.  Parents and 2 daughters.  The younger one was playing around and enjoying.  The elder one was way busy throwing tantrums at her parents.  One of them was, Mommmmmyyyy when will get my iphone ? And both mom and dad looked at each other pretty much shocked.  Shocked or surprised.  Well only they know it better... ;)  The next the girl shouts at her mom, what sort of clothes you have made me wear ?  Its so hot.

Suddenly a foreign girl waiting to receive someone jumps the bars and decide's to wait right next to the exit.  Guess she was tired behind the bars ? ;)  Well if an Indian would have done that the security would have send him back immediately.  So why this discrimination ?  Is the Indian security intimidated or overwhelmed by foreigners ?

And finally my wait got over as my friend came out waving and it was great to see her again after almost a year... :)

Friday, 26 October 2012

CS Ahmedabad's NAVRATRI event 2012

After the grand success of organizing the UTTARAYAN festival in January 2012, CS Ahmedabad and the CS'ers who organized it, decided to organize a CouchSurfing event for the world's longest night folk dancing festival :) .  Its called NAVRATRI means nine nights.  This year the festival commenced on 16th Oct. and ends on 23rd Oct. with 24th Oct. being celebrated as Dusshera (the day when Lord Rama killed the demon Ravana).  The dates for this festival falls as per Hindu Calendar.  This year the 3rd and 4th day of the festival got merged and hence it will be held for 8 days only.

There is a very famous legend of Navratri that relates it to the Hindu epic Ramayana.  It goes that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in nine aspects, for nine days in order to gather strength and power to kill the demon Ravana in the final battle to release his wife Sita from the clutches of the demon king Ravana, who had abducted her.  Those nine nights became to be known as Navratri and the 10th day, on which Lord Rama killed Ravana, came to be called Dusshera or Vijayadashmi, signigying Rama's (good) triumph over Ravana (evil).

In entire India, Navratri festival is best celebrated in Ahmedabad with full enthusiasm and tradition.  The folk dance that's played during this nine nights of dance is called Raas & Garba.  While Garba is more popular this days, Raas is limited to a very few places.  Garba dance has evolved over the decades and the steps are mixed and modified every year to give it a new flavor.  While Raas is played with two sticks and with a partner.  Men, women and kids all dress up in traditional wear which are extremely diverse and beautiful.

The organizers of our CS event Rahul, Piyush, Amit and myself after brainstorming for few days on facebook group chat decided to make it a 2 day event for Sunday 21st and Monday 22nd.   Since last few years the Gandhinagar Cultural Forum has been organizing one of the best and Piyush being in its organizing committee, Gandhinagar - the capital of Gujarat was decided as the venue to play Raas-Garba.  Also for all those CS'ers coming for the event we kept a one day city tour of Ahmedabad outskirts, instead of the old city (which is nominated for
UNESCO's world heritage city).  


We decided to take the CS'ers for a visit to Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, Step well of Adalaj and Sarkhej Roza (tomb & mosque of Ahmad Khattu, a sufi saint).  For the evening the plan was to take them to the Navratri traditional dress market and end up with traditional Gujarati dinner.  Gujarat being very famous all over India for its variety and delicious vegetarian food. So each and every festival or celebration is never completed without including the different delicacies.  If you meet up any traveler who has traveled to Gujarat, ask them and you shall every time get just one answer, be it the street food or the authentic Gujarati dish, the food is just awesome over here... ;)


Finally on the evening of Monday all CS’ers gathered on S.G. Highway at 19:00 and started for Gandhinagar with Gandhinagar Cultural Forum Garba being the venue for the night.  Everyone came wearing traditional gujarati dress which many had purchased at the last moment and were all excited and geared up to play garba.  Whether they knew how to play or not, but everyone was willing to give it a shot.  The CS’ers from Germany, Greenland & Hungary bought the traditional dress just for this event and I’m sure they might never wear them again back in their country.  But they were looking absolutely amazing in the gujarati traditional wear.  
We entered the playing ground at GCF after buying the tickets.  Every day the rounds of garba commences after a prayer and offering to the Goddess Durga.  The orchestra started off with melodious & slow garba songs and soon the people dancing, were matching the steps with the rhythm.   The venue had more than 2000 people dancing in the centre with more than 5000 people watching them from the outside.  People were dancing with different steps and styles and they kept on changing.  More and more people kept pouring in the venue.  Our CouchSurfing group was joined by others and everyone was having a ball of a time dancing to the garba songs.  We were all drenched in sweat, some had blisters under their toe but the mood was so high and the energy levels not coming down the dancing went on for couple of hours.  Every face was smiling and people from different nationalities who had come at the venue all were mixing with the local people and danced their hearts out.  Our CouchSurfing group was even photographed by the local media and few of the traveler’s photos got printed even in the local newspaper.  
Must watch video of the Maha-aarti with 15000 oil lamps


After the garba got over over it was time for the Maha-Aarti (Grand prayer) which is a major attraction of this venue.  All the approx. 2000 people inside the playing arena were given candles, lights of the entire venue was switched off and the maha-aarti was offered to the Goddess Durga after lighting the candles.  It was a mesmerizing experience.  A formation was made of an oil lamp and with the singers singing the prayer and getting support from the crowd, made the whole atmosphere extremely spiritual.  The garba finally got over with the end of the maha-aarti.  We all gathered once again for some pictures and to say goodbye to everyone.  We the organizers were extremely content to get the appreciation from the guests and were more than happy to see that everyone had a great time and an unique experience.  This is what CouchSurfing does with CS travelers and the local CS’ers.  Many friendships may have formed in all such events which actually spread’s the spirit of CouchSurfing.  

It was good to have help from Ahmedabad CS'ers but personally I cherished a lot those moments when Rahul, Amit, Piyush, Palak, Virag and myself were online on FB group chat everyday to discuss the arrangements for hosting so many guests, their transportation and also what to show them in Ahmedabad that they would like in this non-touristic city.  But the appreciation showed by the guests and the smiles and joy on their faces while they were dancing showed that our event was a success.  



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2nd October...The Mahatma's Birthday

Its 2nd October again.  Since childhood I've been knowing that this day is celebrated as the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, many times referred as the 'Father of nation' of the great land called India.  In school, kids are being made aware about how this skinny man lead India to freedom from the British rule in 1947.  Kids are taught about the various ways and the various struggles he lead to finally kick British out of India.  The whole country will remain immensely indebted to this man for the gift of freedom that has been bestowed on us.  

Along with freedom Mahatma Gandhi also gave the world some very very important ways to live life.  The principle's of life that he preached were not only followed by him in his own life but he strongly believed in them too. Principle's of Non-violence, Non-cooperation, Tolerance, Equality, Truth, Honesty are some that he immensely believed in and strongly followed in his own life.  While fighting for the freedom of India, he also fought against the social evils that had penetrated in the Indian society.  

Unfortunately, many of those social evils are still not eradicated from our society even after more than 60 years of independence.  And it seems the principle's that this great man taught us are all getting evaporated from our lives.  Gandhian Philosophy's existence seems to be getting extinct except in the school text books. We Indians just don't care about this treasure that is there with us.  A treasure which if incorporated in our daily life's can take us to the new heights of peace, prosperity and humanity.  

Every 2nd Oct. we observe a holiday, we observe it as a dry day across the country, politicians pay homage to the Mahatma, but than what ?  The very next day he is forgotten and so is the Gandhian Philosophy.  I still remember talking to a young guy in his early twenties and telling him that dude the changes that you want to see in this country will come only after you incorporate those in yourself, like Mahatma Gandhi has said once, 'Be the change you want to see in the world'.  And the response I got was, that this is not a Gandhi Era.  Mahatma's principle's no longer work in today's world.  So first let the world change and then I'll follow.  What a shame ? Mahatma Gandhi today is just limited to the currency notes that run this country.  

When people talk about preserving the ancient heritage and culture of India, why do they forget that preserving and following the Gandhian Philosophy is our responsibility too.  And its no bull-shit.  Its a tried and tested way of living which gave us our freedom.  And if we still are not able to value it and preserve and follow it, do we deserve the freedom that the Mahatma gave us ? Do we really deserve to live a free live ?  Better live under the rule of a dictator who knows how to keep more than a billion people in strict discipline.  

Gujarat Vidyapeeth which is the only university that provides courses on Gandhian Philosophy since last few years have not got a single Indian student who has enrolled to learn it and on the other side students from all over the world are increasingly enrolling themselves in this course.  Even they learn the Gujarati language to understand Gandhian Philosophy in a much better way.  Even the current President of America, Barrack Obama has the photo of Mahatma in his office to remind himself of the Mahatma's principle's.  

And look at us, we have almost all cities of India with a Mahatma Gandhi road, we have him on our currency notes, we teach the kids how he lead India to freedom, we make films on his ideology and give that film national awards but we laugh on the one who wants to follow the Gandhian Philosophy.  Have we become so sick, coward and shameless to follow those principles which gave us our freedom ?  


Monday, 3 September 2012

What a weekend with my CS guests ...

Well today is the 3rd day of my Couch Surfing guests at my place.  Its a couple. The guy, Alfonso is from Spain and is staying in Poland since last 10 years and is teaching Spanish.  His girl friend Agata, is Polish and works in an Architect firm in Warsaw.  They arrived early morning on Saturday from Jaisalmer.  The bus dropped them at I don't know some place which they thought was the railway station.  After having some rest and breakfast with me, they finally decided to come with me to the old city which is one of the main attraction for tourists to see in Ahmedabad.  

Well yes Ahmedabad is not a touristic place.  I thought they were heading South from Ahmedabad and came here for the transit.  But no, I was wrong. For Alfonso its his 3rd trip to India.  This time he wanted Agata to see this country which is completely so different from Europe.  As she rightly said, she found it so unorganized and chaotic from her routine life back home.  Chaotic ???? Of course, I would say its "Organized Chaos".... ;)

Before reaching Ahmedabad, both had been to a hospital in Rajasthan as Alfonso had got a small cut in the train which got infected and Agata had fainted coz of dehydration.  But as while one is traveling you don't want to miss to see the place that you are visiting, they agreed to come with me to the old city.  I dropped them at the parking and showed them the direction that they could walk and see the places.  For the evening we had decided to visit a friend's painting exhibition and then go for Shamiana short films with my friends.  

I reached home, in the evening and they got ready to come with me.  At around 18:30 hours we were there at the exhibition.  A pretty nice one with some really nice paintings by Jignesh.  We stayed there for a hour or so and I met few friends after a long time, which was pretty nice.  And finally decided to head for Shamiana. Meanwhile Alfonso got little sick and wanted to head back home.  He had actually had a lot for lunch in the old city and now his stomach was upset.  Well a pretty common problem with foreigners traveling in India and that too particularly in monsoon.  So I dropped them home and headed to Shamiana.  It was a nice evening watching some nice short films with friends and then dinner at Natrani cafe and then Chai at one of my favorite Kitli (Chai stall) 'Kukado'.  Can you believe you can actually check in at Kukado on facebook and foursquare.  Pretty famous... ;)  Finally came back home.

Sunday after a lazy morning as my guests woke up, we had a small chat and I decided to help them with their onward itinerary and they offered to help me with some photography tips as they both are photographers. While I was cooking Uppma for them, I came to know Alfonso's Macbook had been broken. One of his camera stopped working before.  The shampoo bottle in his back pack got spilled inside his back pack.  Both of them were not in their very best of health.  And my internet stopped working... ;).  Well I didn't know what to tell him.  Just wished inside that things get better for both of them and they have a wonderful trip and take back happy memories.    

And then after some confusing session of itinerary making, they narrowed down their next destinations in Gujarat and India.  Finally after lunch it was nice to get some basic tips about using a DSLR.  Even while explaining me about the camera, Alfonso was so like 'I am not going to touch your camera'. Poor guy was really going through a rough patch.  And then after a short nap, my friends called and we decided to meet up at 'Zen Cafe'.  And so, we all headed there at around 18:30 hours.  As usual it was fun.  Pulling Anup's leg is now becoming kind of a ritual... ;)  

A nice dinner at Radhanand and then while hanging out at C.G. Road, Agata started to feel weak and we had to come back.  48 hours of so much happenings.  I just hope they don't have much problems hence onward and finish their trip without anymore troubles.  

All the best - Alfonso and Agata... :)


Monday, 27 August 2012

First week of French class ;)

BON JOUR...Yes, after many months of deciding whether to go for Spanish or French, I finally got enrolled with Alliance Francais for level A1 of French language.  Tried to learn Spanish online, but I guess learning online didn't motivate me enough to keep learning it regularly.  This is where money worked... ;)  How ?  Well I think its all in the mind.  Just the thought that you have paid for something and you don't want your money to be wasted, you somehow manage to motivate yourself and keep doing things regularly.  At least this works for me... ;)

It was just so spontaneous decision that I even had to skip the first french class.  Paid the fees on the day the batch started.  Started my class from the 2nd day actually.  By the end of the week the class grew and the number of students reached approx. 25.  Till now its not that tough as I had thought, but I would surely say it was interesting.  The professor, a young lady I must say explains things really in a very nice manner.  I knew before that @ Alliance Francais they don't speak English or Hindi while teaching.  So I was a bit skeptical of how shall I understand, but hasn't been much of a problem.

Back to learning and I'm really enjoying it.  Learned how to introduce myself in French, numbers and sounds of alphabets. Names of few objects and some other small but important things.  Its been all and all fun.  But morning class of 8 - 10 means that I had to now find some other time for doing my fitness training.  Feels like I've become a lazy pig... ;)  

This week its a vacation at french class, but I'll have to revise what I've learned or else I'll forget things.. ;)  And next week I'll be missing 3 sessions as I'll be traveling for work which I don't want, but no choice :(  The students in my class are an interesting mix from 19 years to 35 years.  But typically like it is in school, its divided in 2 parts.  One side the girls and the other side the boys and the back bencher's are all boys.  Some how somethings never change.  For an instance I had this weird thought of breaking this monotonous situation, but reaching early and finding a place right in the middle of where the girls sit and then see how the seating arrangement changes... ;)  

Au revoir... :)


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

' INDIA ' --- Either LOVE her or HATE her

INDIA....The most diverse land in the entire world.  The second most populous land in the world.  One out of every 6 people in the world lives in India.  A land even mysterious to its own people.  A land rich in culture and traditions. A land rich in spirituality and ancient medical science.  A totally different world for most of the people visiting it.  Its extremely interesting to know the perceptions of travelers visiting India and also of those who while sitting back in their homes in another countries, either dream of making a trip to India or speak about the lack of courage that many have to visit a world so very different from theirs.

In the last few years, especially after joining couchsurfing I've been fortunate enough to meet people from all continents of the world.  Some I met while I was on travels in India, some when traveling out of India, some while hosting or surfing, some I met on social networks or on social gaming networks.  And its a great experience to have known how people perceive about this mysterious yet magical land.

I still remember few years back, while playing FB games I started chatting with this lady how she used to think of India as a land which she would never ever want to visit.  And how we used to argue on her perceptions about India. I guess I was the first Indian from India with whom she must have talked and argued... ;)  Agreed the people here are very conservative compared to the western world, but still as I've always believed there is always something good and bad about everything.  Its just what you want to see and how you want to see.  And surprisingly today she's dying to visit India and meet some of the friends she has made right up from north to south.

The right way to drink CHAI ... ;)
And then how can I ever forget my wonderful friends from all over the world whom I met in Ahmedabad.  Right from South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Ah and yes a friend from Australia too.... ;)  Well now that all of them are back in their respective countries, but still I remember how they used to hate the dishonesty of people, especially the rickshaw drivers.

Ask them what they noticed the first thing they noticed and all had the same answer, 'the streets are so dirty'.  Well yeah something that we Indians seem to have never learned.  We keep our houses extremely clean, but not the public places, streets and whatever else that is meant for public use.  How almost all of them loved to sip 'Chai' anytime of the day.  And of course the variety of Indian cuisines.  Indian bread, paneer dishes, mangoes, food from the street side eateries and tandoori chicken... ;)

Also I'm fortunate enough to have hosted so many people from all over the world and most of them loved how this land surprised them everyday.  I would say most of them are lovingly surprised but there are many who are shockingly surprised.  The cultural shock travelers get when they arrive and travel in India is something many want to experience in their life at least for once.  While I've known some who are just too scared to come out of their comforts and experience the shocks of moving from one place to another in India.  Its just so different.  Yes this country is simply and totally different from the rest of the world.

But when one sits around and starts to ponder over the cultural shock that this beautiful and colorful country gives to its travelers, one needs to look and understand the people of this country.  A great country, a great civilization with a great and inspiring history.  But are we citizens of India today worthy of the greatness of this country ?  I have doubts.  Its not one simple thing that has raised such doubts in me.

Ancient caste system some of which still
continues in some rural parts
I can start with illogical and useless religious rituals, stupid and rigid customs, gender inequality, big time hypocrisy, lack of importance given to education and hygiene, extremely careless attitude towards cleanliness, dishonesty, extremely corrupt political system and to a certain extent corrupt private enterprises too, lack of respect and tolerance towards fellow citizens, relentless greed for money and power leading to unequal distribution of wealth, ugly religion and caste system and highly male dominant society. 

Its not that the entire population is like this.  But majority is.  How can than someone love being among such a population.  Its so difficult.  But still its going on and attracting more and more people.  Attracting people to come again and again and again.  And its not just people who travel across this wonderland, but people from all over the world are studying here, working here, traveling, felling in love with people and many are visiting time and again.  And not surprisingly there are some who land here and in few days are on a flight back home... ;)  For them India is just not the land to stay even for few days... ;)

Indian states Vs. World countries in terms of GDP
If one sees this country from economic point of view, than what ?  Its very easy to understand that when a person is living and managing to earn bare enough to just sustain himself, every economic opportunity might lure him to do something which is wrong in the economically rich world.  A country in which nearly 30 % of the people are poor and whose per capita income makes it one of the poorest country what to expect from this big percentage of poor and lower middle class.  What they only dream of is a better life which in today's world can be achieved with some money.  Some money ?  Well some more money ... ;)  As I view even this can be one of the major point if changed, can change the scenario of this country drastically.

Well we are changing, but slowly I guess ?  Just hope that with the new generation we change more fast and better.  Well what else to say, I love my country but I doubt if I would say the same for the population.... :(

But still I'm proud of the grand history that this country holds.  The festive celebrations that add so much zeal in the day to day life of people.  The colors of Holi, the lights of Diwali and Christmas, the flights of kites in Uttarayan, New Year celebrations of respective religions, fasting ways in the months of Shravan and Ramzaan make this country so lovable and enjoyable.

I still believe in spite of these few problems that people face while traveling in this country, its just because of the greatness of this land and its rich true customs and celebrations that keep attracting more and more people from all over the world and most of them returning back with pleasant and everlasting memories.  To some the impact is so beautiful and deep that they keep coming again and again.  And I'm fortunate enough to have known them and talked with few of them.... :)




Thursday, 9 August 2012

Americans can find nothing, but just problems in India....

Well I just hope this do not offend anyone.  This is what I feel.  I might be right also and might be wrong also.  But I'm just putting down my opinions.  In the last few years I've come across many Americans.  Some are kind of friends too.  But somehow I feel I don't get along with majority of Americans.  Of course there are exceptions and they are really good ones.  They too are Americans but still very different.  

Well yeah the most powerful nation in the world so seems like that power has got to the citizens too.  I've been noticing this when I've met and talked with them.  Yes I'm talking bout Americans.  Most of them I've met have been mostly living in India for a while and few of them are the ones who are traveling in India.  Just couple of them I've met while I was traveling out of India.  So the discussions happened mostly with those who were living in India.  And most of them when they talk about things happening in India, the disgust they show or the negativity they show just doesn't go well with me.  

Yes I know many of the things are true and wrong also, but so what.  In which country no wrong happens.  Every country has their own problems which might vary in nature, but instead of dealing with them, why look at them with such disgust and give such a huge disapproval to them as if its a big crime... ? 

For example the other day I had a discussion on bollywood movies.  And an American lady says, 'Oh bollywood movies are so sexist'.  The way they portray a woman's character or her part is never equal to the men's character. Now how to tell this lady that what sort of different movies are made in bollywood and just by seeing or knowing the stories of few films she made up her opinion.  Well I agree many movies are like that and in reality also we still are much behind giving equality to women.  But its not that its not changing. They still think as if the whole of India is still living in villages.  

Why can't they never find such a problem in their own country.  Take for example the U.S. army.  They have admitted so many women soldiers and officers but when it comes to give justice to the rape victims in U.S. army they can't do that.  Why can't Americans see that ?  Isn't that called being sexist ? I can go on with lots of such problems American land has with statistical proofs. If someone wants to know can write in to me... ;)

We have our problems and we are dealing with them, but please first look at your own country, solve your problems first and then comment on the wrong things in India.  We are here to take care of our own land.  As a country we have problems which are different from yours, but problems are problems. You can't just keep pointing to them wherever you go.  If you want to understand them, there are better ways to know about them.  

Sorry if I sounded to offensive, but that's what I've felt.  I know there are some wonderful people among such critics and I've met few of them.  But I just feel too strongly agitated and hurt, when such people come to India, travel around or live for few months or years and the only thing they come to know are the problems.  They would just be able to see the slums, the litter on the streets, animals pooping on the streets, take pictures of poor people and make a collection of it and share it with their friends and family.  Well how ignorant and stereotypical.  I could go on and on with this, but I'll stop here. The following video shows what the other India is to the British.  But I just feel lot of people ignorant about the other side of India might want to increase their knowledge.  Jai Hind... :)


Happy Friendship Day....:)

5th Aug. 2012, another friendship day.  Over the years friendship day celebrations are getting bigger and bigger, and why not.  Its one thing for many people in this world means a lot to them.  Its like a second family.  And I've been fortunate enough to have a great second family.  Since my last years in school the people that have come in my life as friends, are still in my life and with every passing year the bond of friendship is growing stronger and stronger.

I still remember those school and college days, which I've lived virtually with friends.  And last year after almost 15 years it was great to reconnect with my school buddies of high school.  Thanks to facebook.... ;)  Meeting so many of them after one and half decade is just awesome.

Last few years since I've joined couchsurfing, life has again given me that chance to meet new people.  Something which over the years I've been missing after I graduated.  And I'm fortunate enough that through couchsurfing I've met people who in a just few years have been awesome friends with me.  Many times just by talking to them and knowing how much this friendship of ours is cherished just overwhelms me.

I still remember those hard times in my life when I had my friends standing next to me and even their silence told me how much I have them by my side.  When I think of each one of them and the memories I have with them is one of the biggest treasure that I have gathered over the years.

As Mother Teresa has said "if you judge people, you have no time to love them."  Today I'm extremely happy to have never judged this awesome people, or yes I would have lost them way back.  The happiness of just being with them and having them in my life is so supreme that I never had the time to judge them and why should I ?  And probably its the same thing they did with me and accepted me with all my ebbs.

And as someone has said which I truly believe today that FRIENDS ARE BORN, NOT MADE.  I guess I was destined to have this good people in my life whom I could have for my life.  And on this special day which is gonna come every year special thanks to you - Stuti, Shelin, Darshan, Chirag....Thanks for being with me always.... :)

Happy Friendship Day....:)


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dudhsagar Waterfalls - A long wish fulfilled.....

When one hears about GOA, the only thing that comes to mind are the beautiful long stretch of beaches, shacks, parties and more parties... ;) Well most of the people going to Goa might just be soaking up in the winter sun, bathing in the warm sea waters, cooling themselves with chilled beers and partying up till late nights.  Most of the people visit Goa from October to March when its most happening.  

On my first trip to Goa some 10 years back, while talking to one local guy in the bus I came to know that Goa is at its scenic best in monsoon.  This year it just happened that I got the chance to visit Goa in the peak of the rainy season.  I think I should thank Madeleine for this.... ;)  So after 2 days of couchsurfing in Mumbai and visiting Gateway of India, Marine drive, Haji Ali, Colaba and the Borivali National Park we were in Colva, Goa on the 21st morning.  

Colva has been the place for me each time I've visited Goa, but every time its been in winter.  This time I was shocked to see it empty.  No beach shacks and almost no tourists, apart from some locals or people from nearby places who came there for the weekend.  So next day we decided to head to Palolem beach in South Goa.  The most important thing that I wanted to do on this trip to Goa was to go to Dudhsagar Waterfalls.  The reviews on trip advisor and other forums helped me to figure out how to go for it.  While going to Palolem in a taxi, I even asked the driver if the falls were open in monsoon and to my great joy he confirmed it.  Only thing the jeep's are closed and one has to go there either walking or on bike taxi's.  

Finally on the morning of 25th July, @ around 8:00 hrs after having a nice breakfast, we hired a bike and set off to Kulem. Kulem is one of the major railway station of South Goa.  The bike owner explained me the route but some how I didn't get it at all.  So I decided to use google maps on my Blackberry. Palolem to Kulem.  

So our route was fixed.  We drove from Palolem on N.H. # 17 to Cuncolim. Right turn from Cuncolim cross roads and then a left from a ' T ' towards Quepem. At Quepem took a right to cross the main circle and then left and again right to cross a bridge over the railway track and head towards Sanvordem via Tilamola.  The roads are very good except for some places where they are little bit broken.  

Once you cross Quepem, you will come across lots of trucks carrying iron ore from the nearby quarries.  Don't forget to wear a helmet with a front glass or a helmet and glasses to cover your eyes.  In monsoon the work at this quarries is not that much, so you find just few trucks on the roads, but in winter or summer I'm sure you shall come across a lot of them and an occasional traffic jam too.  

After crossing Sanvordem, keep an eye on the google map as at many junctions there are no signboards showing the way towards Kulem.  And if they are, their location is such that you might just skip them.  Twice I took the wrong way and then Madeleine would shout from behind, stop stop there is something wrong.  And so luckily we got back on our right way.  The entire road has paddy fields along both sides.  One can feel the fresh air while driving.  Finally after a drive of about 70 - 80 min. driving at an average speed of about 60 kmph, we reached Kulem.

Soon the guy from the bike taxi association approached us and offered for the drive to Dudhsagar falls.  In monsoon only the bikes are operative.  I tried to negotiate and ask the way towards the falls, but the guy told us that the way is through the forest and you might get lost.  Since we were there for the first time we had no option but to accept his offer.  The whole track was of 14 kms. We had a quick chai and 2 bikes were ready to take us to the foot of the falls. Luckily till now the rains had stayed away.  The bike riders keep spare rain jackets for the pillion rider.  They charge Rs. 500/- for the ride and Rs. 65/- as the entry fee that one has to pay as you enter the forest route. 

To our surprise or rather shock in few min. we were driving just next to the railway track on a 6" to 12" way made by the association of this bike taxi drivers.  Its a pretty dangerous track where at times if the bike slips you just go down and might injure yourself.  At times one has to go even on the gravels lined next to the track as there is no way to drive.  And this guys drive at the speed of 20 - 30 kmph. which sometimes can make you feel scared.  After driving for about  3 - 4 kms next to the track, they dropped us to cross the track and reach the forest entry point.  They drove the bike through a river passing from below the railway track and reached the entry point.  Again our drive started, but this time it was on an extremely bumpy way through the dense forest.  This way is laid with stones and red soil.  Its actually even worst than a dirt track.  Those with a weak back or with a heavy body should surely not try this track.  Its around 10 kms long and one has to cross some 5 small streams and 2 rivers.  

The water level is not very high in the rivers but the flow is quiet strong.  In one of the stream our bike went like half into the water. I said to myself thank god I decided not to wear my shoes. Whole day with wet shoes ? No way.... ;) Finally after a 45 min. drive we reached the last river to be crossed.  The water level was quiet high for the bikes to go through it. So we kept the bikes over there and crossed the river on foot and had to walk another like 20 min. to reach the foot of the falls.

On our way while walking we came across a baby snake jumping here and there.  I showed it to Madeleine and she was like, why did you showed it to me.  Now all the way I'll have to keep a watch as to not stamp over another snake... ;)  I just had got the weak link to scare her... ;)  All the way one could hear the sounds of birds chirping, frogs croaking and some strange sounds of insects.  Finally we were there.

Now here there is a small trap.  If you want to go right up to the waterfalls where the railway track is, one has to trek another 15 - 20 min. uphill to reach there right through the forest and for this the guide will charge you another Rs. 300/-.  While talking to one of the bike riders, he told us that out of the 500 bucks they charge, they have to give some to the railways, some to the forest officers and the rest goes to their own association which will finally divide it equally among all the members.  This 300 bucks that they charge to take you up to the falls goes directly to them.

In between the 2 Portuguese built tunnels.
The falls looked great from down below and so we decided to go right up there.  After climbing through the forest for some 15 min. and passing through the two Portuguese tunnels through which the railway track passes, we reached right up to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.  It was an aww moment.... :) The falls were mesmerizing.  310 mts. in height, the railway track is built right in the middle of the falls.  i.e. after 150 mts. and the rest falls and flows below the railway track.  And we also got company from some monkeys... ;)



One sight on the opposite side of the falls, and you can see clouds covering the green mountains of the western ghats. It was just beautiful. Soon heavy rains lashed the region and fog was everywhere around us.  There is a small shop and a platform built there which normally remains closed during monsoon except on weekends. It serves chai during weekends, winter and in summer months.  The rains were pretty heavy.  But still managed to click some pictures.  Soon we heard the sound of a train coming.

A Karnataka bound passenger train with 2 engines was coming our way.  This was the moment that I was waiting for.  A train passing as if almost through the waterfall and water running down behind.  I was fortunate enough to click that picture which I had seen in some reviews.  Loved it.


After talking with our guides for some time and understanding the geography of the region some what, I would want to visit this place once again.  This time I want to walk all along the railway track from Kulem station, covering a distance of 14 kms and back.  They said it takes around 3 - 4 hours to walk all along the railway line.  But they also mentioned that many times people reach here walking as the curiosity to reach here is immense but while going back they are mentally so drained that they ask this guides to take them back.  But I don't care I want to do it.  So I guess another monsoon trip to Goa has to be done... ;)

The entire trip that we took cost us around Rs. 1250/- per person on twin sharing.  This includes Rs. 350/- for bike hire, Rs. 200/- for fuel, Rs. 1000/- for 2 bike taxi's, Rs. 600/- for reaching the waterfalls with the guides for 2 people, Rs. 130/- entry fee for 2 persons and Rs. 220/- for food, water and chai.  I thought its certainly a good deal for first time.  If one treks all along the railway line, one can easily save Rs. 800/- per person.

Finally at around 15:00 hrs. we decided to return back.  The rains came heavily again and we had to take shelter at a bus stop for like 30 min.  But before that we got totally wet and the cold wind made me shiver a bit.  I looked to see if I could get some chai, but till Quepem I didn't come across any chai stalls. Finally at Quepem, we found a restaurant and a hot cup of chai brought the much needed warmth.  While coming back instead of going to Cuncolim, the road from Quepem straight goes to Baali cross roads which is much closer to Palolem and saves atleast 15 - 20 min.  By 19:00 hrs. we were back in Palolem. 


I would surely recommend this day trip to all those going to Goa.  Its worth visiting especially during monsoons.




Sunday, 29 July 2012

Laziness is good sometimes... ;)

Its my first Sunday after a great holiday in Goa.  Last night after coming home after the Couchsurfing meeting, I just didn't wanted to sleep.  Was feeling sleepy, but didn't wanted to sleep.  I guess it'll take few days to come back to the routine of Ahmedabad from the routine of Goa that I got into while holidaying... ;)  

Finally managed to wake up on a lazy Sunday morning, read the newspaper, took my shower and was off to an inauguration invite to one of Ahmedabad's best photography and videography studio.  Lazy to cook, went to Subway for lunch and back home.  My whole afternoon and evening went in front of the TV.  Watched some movies and olympics.  The most interesting thing was on crime patrol.  How an Indian who strays into Pakistan and gets caught.  And how he is than released after spending many years in prison.  Heart moving but true also...

And then out of boredom felt like I had to eat something... ;)  And to my surprise had a wonderful chat with Weronika on FB.  Been a while that we had talked.  So it was really good.  Suddenly I thought of making paneer.  When I was at my host's place in Mumbai, I read a book on cooking wrote by some European girl who was volunteering @ Iskon temple.  The book was all about vegetarian food along with some statistics that why one should quit eating meat.  So finally after 30 min. paneer was ready to be set into a block.  Just waiting for tomorrow morning to know how it tastes.... ;)  

So overall a pretty lazy day.  My friends asked me to go with them to Mother Teressa's missionaries of charity for a small event, but I was just too lazy and still I am.  Watching women's archery at the Lord's right now.  Might be trying to sleep early today to get back into my routine.


Monday, 16 July 2012

'Gangs of Wasseypur'

Last week I finally managed to watch 'Gangs of Wasseypur' - the much hyped film in the recent times.  Made by Anurag Kashyap, it is one more film based on a part of earlier Bihar, but now falls in Jharkhand.  I had just came back from the trip to Surat, tired but was full of energy to see this movie.  Took a shower and rushed to Wide Angle.  Before seeing this movie, my perception about it was that it will just be another movie with gangs of bandits or something like that.  Also never ever before had heard of this place called Wasseypur.  In short my idea about how the movie will be was totally vague. And the hype kind of forced me to see it before it got down from the theaters.

The star cast was very much new but most of them got into their roles pretty well.  The plot of the movie was pretty confusing.  At the end it leaves you struggling to link the different scenes and periods.  In two and half hours the movie shows three generations.  Pretty fast paced, but what it tries to portray in the early half - the mission of the lead hero Manoj Bajpayee (Sardar Khan) to destroy the local minister (Ramadhir Singh), goes completely off track.  The end however tells you that the sequel is not too far. ;)  The movie pretty well portrays the irregularities of running the coal mines in Dhanbad.  How the british founded the black gold, how they used to run and how after independence the local mafia's have ruled the poor miners and how they have exploited the entire region.  

The life of the miners and the owners of coal mines portrayed in the movie reminded me of the book 'The White Tiger'... :)  It just shows why Bihar till few years back (when Dhanbad was a part of Bihar) was one of the most under developed state with inhuman living conditions in most of the villages.  

What really makes this movie worth watchable is the timing of the abusive words used freely.  Right from the starting till the end.  The hindi punches in bihari way were just hilarious.  The timing and the way these cuss words are used, just make it extremely hilarious.  Loved it.  Somehow most of the movies made on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar uses abusive words pretty freely.  Not that there aren't other regions which don't use it in their day to day life.  But for long censor board never allowed movies with abusive words to get released.    Its been ages since the trend setter for such language in the movie, 'The Bandit Queen' was released.

How in the movie, the wife of Sardar Khan, Najma and her anger is portrayed is commendable.  Manoj Bajpayee is seen at his best after his act of 'Bhiku Matre' in Satya.  Reema Sen (Durga), after a failed bollywood career plays the role of being the second wife of Sardar Khan is made to look pretty sexy.. ;) Looks like another bollywood actress taking this route to revive her bollywood career... ?  Well who knows... ? ;)  

Anurag Kashyap seems have mastered the art of making movies that are so very different.  His vision on the topic he chooses is just too good.  Also what is admirable is his courage to showcase the many factions of relationships that exist in a double standard conservative society of rural India, but are very rarely accepted by the society.  Blood, rivalries, gun battles, sex, political crime, coal mafia's and some extremely comic hindi punches make this movie worth watching one time.  The fact that in the recent times the blowing off of the coal mine controversy in India, this movie gives a very vague and small highlight of how such a huge controversy might have taken place in a corrupted and politically controversial country of ours.



Friday, 13 July 2012

Rains are back again this week.... :)

Last Sunday was so much fun.  Going to Sun Temple - Modhera and Ran Ki Vav (Step well) - Patan was just perfect to try out my new gun, Canon 550D. Huich, Nishit, Palak, Anup and myself had a great time posing for the camera and trying first hand at my new DSLR... After looking desperately for some rains to come, we were just left with few minutes of rain drops...:(  But a it was total fun on a humid day.  Reached home at around 18:30 hours, took a shower and lied down for some time but it actually became a 12 hours sleep... ;)  

But come Monday and the rains were back after a long spell.  Its so surprising that where most of the states in India are right now facing shortage of rains, Assam is under floods.  East India is facing floods while West is having scanty rainfall.  Its kind of funny but serious too.  How in the last few years the climate in the entire world has changed and that too drastically.  Anyways I had a good time enjoying the rains.  It was the first time that I got drenched in the rains this season.  Some how most of the times it rains either when you are leaving for work or you are coming back from work.  And its most of the time a heavy downpour.  Never have I been able to understood this particular timing of rains... ;)  

Again when my primary school friends decided to meet up for coffee at Crossword on Wednesday afternoon, it began to rain just like an hour before.  I was like no way, why the rains wanna spoil our meet up.  But luckily just at the right time rains stopped and the sun was peeping out from the clouds with still some drops coming down.  I call it the naked rain... ;)  Yes rains coming down when the sun is shining is called NAKED RAIN.  Other than that I love rains... Particularly on a Sunday or a holiday watching the rain from the balcony, sipping hot tea on the swing and going for a walk when it drizzles is like heaven... :)

A quick one day trip to Surat on Thursday and a sudden plan to watch the movie Gangs of Wasseypur, turned out extremely good... ;)  After a very long time a movie that was totally different.  Can't say whether it had a kind of story or not, but the flow was good and pretty fast too.  Reality of Dhanbaad and how the coal mines over there are operated is shown in a pretty good way. Made me recollect some parts of the book 'The White Tiger'...  But more interesting and funny was the Bihari dialect of Hindi used in the movie... ;) Simply loved it.

And today finally I found a host in Mumbai.  After sending requests to more than 15 couchsurfers in Mumbai and it being declined by almost 6 - 7 of them, I found my host.  She'll be my 3rd Indian host... Looking forward to it.  And right now watching the movie Border I guess for the 10th time... ?

Good night .... :)