A Night to Remember!

It is not often that you get a chance to explore your city on a bicycle at 2’o clock in the night, especially when you are living with your family and assuming that you don’t lie to them regarding your whereabouts.

But yesterday, 3 of my friends along with me decided to do the unthinkable. The biggest impediment though was how to arrange for 4 bicycles at that point of time, considering that we all had given up the habit of possessing the same since our IIT days.

It is said when the going gets tough, the tough gets going and so did Birju who made every possible effort that he could to arrange for the bicycles, which seemed to have been the most luxurious of vehicles that all four of us would have loved to have that very moment. And at last he succeeded.

And there we were riding our bicycles on the famous streets of Lucknow which appeared much wider and broader than what they look like during the daytime because of the traffic that tend to demean the very character of the broad roads during daytime.

With no plans as such in our minds, we just rode our bicycles to every nook and corner of the city, some known to us and some totally unknown and unexplored, taking short breaks at times to fulfill our appetite with a kulhad of tea accompanied by a well baked band-makkhan and at times to pose for a photograph on the weirdest of locations. 

As if this was not enough and as if we wanted to relive the college days once more, we decided to bring some happiness to the faces of a couple of our batch mates who had by then already hit the bed and were sound asleep in their respective houses.

We rode all the way from Hazratganj to Gomtinagar, which is around 8-9 km in distance in order to bring some excitement into the life of a person who had been too busy for the past couple of days by any stretch of imagination.fun night 

One thing that we all can do and take great pride in doing is to take at least some amount of liberty when it comes to playing pranks with our batch mates and friends or when it comes to willingly or unwillingly include someone close to us in our ad hoc plans.

And the good thing is that our friends or batch mates never ever seem to play spoil sport, instead are more than happy to join the brigade, if not in reality but definitely on paper 😉 as if replicating the policy implementation measures taken by our government at times.

After having a wonderfully prepared tea with a couple of biscuits at a 24-hour tea stall, we all decided to play dumb charades with Naidu offering himself voluntarily to become the soft target for all of us when it came to giving Bollywood movies to a guy who, considering that he belongs to Hyderabad and expecting him to flounder on every occasion, did a wonderful job of making each one of us burst into laughter.

The time flew by and we could hear the birds chirping amidst the cold and foggy morning. It was already 7 a.m. and we all decided that it was time to head back to our respective nests , where we knew that we were in for a bombardment of questions from our respective family members.

As Saty drove on his scooter with me sitting on the backseat, the vivid scenes from the night that had just gone by, flashed in front of my eyes and I could see Birju dancing to the tunes of Rang De Basanti, I could see Naidu going nuts with his explanation for the movies and I could see Saty chipping in with his witty and hilarious remarks.

It is said that nothing lasts forever, but one thing that stays with you are the moments and the memories that you tend to cherish even when it’s long gone by and this night will find its place right up there amongst the wonderful nights that I have had the fortune of experiencing in my entire lifetime ;).

Source for Image: http://blametheblogger.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/a-fun-night-in/

Meri Waali Trip!

My fiance calls me crazy for this. My parents get really worried when I resort to such ways. My friends think that what I am doing can turn out to be a total disaster in case the God decides to undo the blessings and luck that He supposedly is showering upon me. In short, they all think that this is very uncalled for and I should stop doing this on an immediate basis.

Well, I am talking about the fascination that I have with traveling around the country in my car, be it alone or with a couple of friends. This time around, it happened to be a very dear friend who decided to give me company.

Like all the other trips that I have undertaken so far, this one too didn’t have a plan. When I left my place to pick up this friend of mine from his, Kanpur was the city that seemed to have caught my attention, courtesy the wonderful campus of the college in which I happened to have spent the precious few years of my life.national park

By the time I reached his house, the plans had taken a 180 degree turn and the pleasure associated with spending some time in the vicinity of lush green woods seemed to have taken me in its grip. So, we decided that we should go to Dudhwa National Park in the Lakhimpur Kheri district, which is also known as the sugar bowl of UP, and is around 240 kms from Lucknow, the city where I happen to be living at the moment.

And there we were driving on the Sitapur road, which by the way has developed into an excelllent highway and when I say excellent it means, one can average around 80-100 km/h on the same for a stretch of around 80 kms or so.

As we were about to reach a destination where we supposed to take a right turn for the national park, an idea of going to the hills struck me. I looked at my friend and gave him a smile. The excitement could very much be seen in my eyes. Having known me for the past couple of years, he knew what I was upto. Fearing the odacity of the plan that I could have had in my mind, he said, “Don’t even think about it. We are going to Dudhwa.”

Though I wanted to bring my idea into reality, yet I had no issues when it came to spending some time in the woods. After reaching the national park, we opted for a Safari, which in many ways turned out to be a pleasant experience with us driving amidst the woods in a Gypsee with trees towering upon us from both the sides. We were lucky enough to see a couple of wild animals, considering that we had reached the place in the evening.

After an hour and a half long Safari, we decided to munch upon some delicacies in a canteen which is located within the premises of the park. I could see the hills right in front of my eyes, while I sat there sipping on a cup of tea.

I looked at my friend again, who by the time had understood that I had made up my mind on something which is not going to go away so easily from my mind. “Ok! Where do you want to go now?”, he asked.

I was wondering whether we should go to Nainitaal. It is not very far. I guess it is around 350 kms or so. Right now, it is 7:30 p.m. I am sure we will reach there by 12:30 a.m. We will take the Pilibhit route which is quite decent when it comes to the condition of the roads. And we will bid good morning to each other in the beautiful Naini lake. What say? 😉 “ I finally revealed the deliberation which had been going on in my mind for the past couple of hours.mountain

Do I have an option?”, He smiled back.

And there we were, once again all set to hit the road with the back packs that we were carrying along. It took us around 6 hours to reach a place called Katgodaam (from where Nainitaal is just 35 kms away) much more than what he had expected, courtesy a very bad patch of road that we encountered in the path that we had decided to tread.

By then, we were completely exhausted. Good sense prevailed and we decided to find a place where we could sleep for at least couple of hours. As if, God had finally decided to ditch us. We were unable to find a room in the hotels, as all were full, as it was the weekend and not many people in the World travel in the same unplanned manner as we do.

Having no other option, we decided to sleep in the car itself. It was only after 2 hours that we realized that we were sleeping in our car which was parked on the road itself. It was already 4 a.m. We knew that if we wanted to see the first rays of the sun in Nainitaal, we better leave then.

The beautiful valley along with the curves associated with the path that leads to any of the hill stations seemed to have rejuvenated both of us and made our ascent to the top one of the most pleasurable and serene of experiences that I have ever had.

It took us another hour and a half to reach the hill station and there we were sipping again on a cup of tea along with a plate of band makkhan at the Naini lake looking at the sun showering all its energy and blessings on us.

After having our breakfast at the lake, we drove towards a hill top totally engulfed by the clouds which seemed to have traveled from the heavens just to meet the stretch of mountains.

It was getting colder and we had of course not carried along any woolens, for in the first place we had no plans of going to a hill station. Good sense prevailed once again and more than having a good time, an idea of consuming some alcohol came up which was nothing but a means of survival at that point of time.

We sat in a dhaba munching upon some snacks prepared by the gentleman who happened to own the place, along with our drinks, which truly acted as our saviour. After having had the couple of drinks and after feeling all charged up and warm having consumed the same, we decided to take a stroll down the mountains and do some casual trekking.

There were, by the way two reasons, why we wanted to do so. First, we wanted to experience the beauty on foot and second, we definitely wished to get back to our natural senses as we hadn’t realized that we had drank enough for both of us to have that feel good factor associated with the heavenly drink.

We took what can be called a self semi-Naini tour, borrowing the terminology used by most tourist operators in the area, the only difference was that we didn’t have a guide to give us company as it would have killed the self-exploration tendency that we all have.

It took us another 3 hours to regain our senses. By then it was already 3 in the afternoon and it was time to head back as we wanted to reach home before it got too late at night. We halted at a couple of dhabas en route. It was only around 10p.m. that we were able to enter our city.

Having dropped my friend to his place, as I drove back home, my mind seemed to have gone blank. With a couple of hours of sleep to my credit, my mind and body seemed to have stopped listening to me.car tour

I straight away threw myself on my bed on enterting my house. There was this big smile on my face as one would normally see on the face of a satisfied and content person. As I closed my eyes, I wondered, when it would be next when I will get to experience what I had just done. 🙂

Source for Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fundy_National_Park_of_Canada_9.jpg, http://brainz.org/16-most-incredible-north-american-national-parks/, http://blog.hippocampus.in/2010/09/29/upcoming-field-trips-in-october-hippocampus-koramangala/

Travel Woes!

Traveling in India can be a big problem at times, especially during the winter season, when the cloudy and foggy conditions tend to hamper the locomotion of the majority of our public transport.

For the aam aadmi, it becomes really hard to plan a trip or an outing in the near future, for the fear that trains might get late or flights might get cancelled. It becomes even more tough in case someone is planning a family trip using the services of the companies like make my trip etc. because one needs to pay the entire amount for the trip in order to confirm the same beforehand and in case the flights or the train gets delayed, the entire amount goes in the vain coupled with the disappointment that ensues amongst the family members.travel portal software

What should one do in such a situation? And before that why is it that India has not been able to modernize her public transport to deal with situations that arise every year with winters setting in? Is it due to lack of political will or are we out of options on this front? Is it because of the lack of funds which government cites as a reason more often than not for any and every problem they might be facing or is it because no one is really bothered about improving things on this front?

Mind you, the delay in the transportation results in a huge loss for not only the people of the country but also has a huge impact on the exchequer of the government. Then why the issue has not been taken on an urgency basis?

As if the problems with train reservation and the nexus of the agents was not enough, the above factor has also come to haunt both the people and the government. Coupled with the same are the issues related to the lack of competition in the aviation sector which is leading to airlines hiking air fares in the wake of lack of options for the people to choose from.

A good example of this is the US aviation market where there are numerous players and flying has become extremely cheap, even cheaper than train travel at times, giving the public a large leverage when it comes to opting for the airlines.

Of course, the same cannot be copied as a whole from US on an immediate basis, but still things can be made to improve by ensuring reduction in operation costs of the airlines as well as reduction in the cost of aviation turbine fuel. On the infrastructure front, a lot can be done to enhance the quality of our airports.

Allowing foregin players would also help in increasing competition which will in turn will lead to better services being offered to the consumers. What is required is the initiative on part of our government along with the DGCA which is responsible for regulating the same in our country.

The recent decision by the DGCA not to renew the license of Kingfisher airlines might lead to other airlines again hiking prices in the near future. DGCA should ensure that there be a limit on the hikes, for it is unimaginable as a traveler to be paying nearly double for the same ticket of the same class in case one tends not to book it, say 1 or 2 months prior to the travel date.plane

This is, in a way, killing the ad-hoc notion of travel, a concept that many people like myself are really fond of. Why the hell everything has to be planned! And that too, in case of travel, which is nothing but a personification of the natural desire of a human being to explore. It cannot and it should not be tamed by the whims and fancies of a couple of players in the aviation sector.

As far as I am concerned, because of some of the reasons cited above and because of me being a big proponent of ad-hoc travel, I prefer road over any other form of public transport. Sometimes, though, I too feel constrained by the factors which are not under my control.

With a hope that a day would come when the people will be able to experience the fun and pleasure attached to the ad-hoc nature of travel, and hoping that our government would leave no stone unturned in order to ensure the same, I would like to raise a toast to the curiosity which makes us all human beings. 🙂

Source for Image: http://www.zecatravel.com/, http://max3logic-it-solutions.blogspot.in/

Ad-Hoc Disaster!

I have been quite voiceferous about the ad-hoc decisions in life to the point of me becoming a die-hard fan of the same. But sometimes ad-hoc decisions can lead to consequences which you might have never thought about.

Indeed, it was Christmas eve and indeed me and a couple of friends were all too excited about the occassion. We had to do something on the day. With this uncertain thought in mind, we decided to do a bon-fire at a place which is not very far from my city.

The journey soon turned out to be a trip to IIT Kanpur, which, over time, has become our default destination whenever we are deprived of alternate places to go to. Following suit, we were on the highway driving at around 100kph and all too happy about the future that lied ahead. Somehow, God had other plans for us.

15kms from the campus, Sattu decided to explore the heater in the car, for it was becoming cold. Little did we know, that the heater in the car, which is supposed to provide us with some comfort would end up giving us nightmares.logo-ad-hoc

Soon after putting on the heater, we could smell something burning. Thinking that it might be coming from a dumpyard closeby, we decided to ignore the same and continued with our journey.

As soon as we entered the IIT campus, the car decided to stop on its own, as if it had been bestowed Artificial Intelligence by someone sitting up there. The more we tried to move it using the accelerator, the more it demonstrated its stubborn nature.

It was already 2 a.m. at night, and we decided to have some fun with the thought that we would be needing the services of a mechanic, who would only be available in the morning, leaving the car on its own.

What followed was a nite-out with a couple of friends in Kanpur and a campus tour which is supposed to be the sought-for thing that we do whenever we are in the campus. And yes, we managed to find some time out to play Badminton, which has been my favourite of sports since times immemorial.

The Christmas eve went really well, though we had doubts about what was going to happen just a couple of hours after we had decided to throw ourselves on the beds in the hostel room.

The morning brought with itself some bad news. The mechanic told us that the clutch-plate had been malfunctioning and that it needed to be replaced. The car would have to be towed to the service centre and it would take a whole day to repair the same.

With no alternatives, in sight, and due to unavailability of the loader that day, we decided that we would be taking our car to the service centre the day after. Pretending to forget as to what had happened we managed to have some more fun with one of the guys cooking and the rest enjoying some deliciously cooked food, which I would like to refer to as Nayak (the guy who cooked) special night.

The night was again one of those to remember for a life time. Getting up in the morning was a tedious affair with the loader waiting for us at the IIT gate, all set to tow us along with the car to the place where the car was supposed to find some salvation.adhockickstarterimage

The service centre staff was kind enough to recognize the fact that we were IITians and that the service was to be provided the very day itself. Soon, we saw our car being lifted by one of the pulley-systems installed in one of the workshops of the service centre at a place called Rumi.

It was only in the evening around 7p.m. that the car could be finally repaired with efforts from the laborious staff. 7:30p.m., we were found driving on the famous Lucknow-Kanpur highway after having bargained hard (due to lack of financial resources that we happen to possess) and after having completed all the formalities with respect to the car.

It was only around 10p.m. that I could finally reach home after dropping back Sattu. As I was having dinner, a couple of thoughts disturbed the peace of mind that I was trying to seek after a tedious and hectic day:

“Overall, not a bad trip! We were lucky enough to have reached the campus, where everything could be arranged. We could even bargain on the price and get the best deal, which otherwise would have gone into thousands. And over and above all this was the fact that it took us only a day to get out of the situation that we were in.”

It is amazing, how if we chose to think in a positive manner with a totally contrasting perspective, we can still laugh about what happened and still stay focused on the ad-hoc thinking that we are so proud of ;).

Of course, we would wish that such a thing doesn’t happen to us in the future, when we would be ready once again to hit the road wearing our traveling shoes and wanting to experience a new thing everytime we do the same. :).

Source for Image: http://perezdesign.com/2008/09/ad-hoc/, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ricleichtung/ad-hoc

The Trip!

The last time I was here telling you guys about my new trip, I was just about leaving that very moment and now having returned back to the cosy comforts of my habitation, here I am all set to share what I have just experienced.

When I left my place two days back, I had no clue where I would be heading to in the two days of my life which were about to follow that very day. Even though there wasn’t any destination in mind, yet, there was a sense of joy and excitement which was very much visible on my face.

With no one to talk to, I had an ipod and of course my own vehicle to accompany me on this trip. There were no time constraints and no deadlines that I was supposed to meet.

With lot of time in hand, the roads (if I can call them so because of the condition that they were in) didn’t seem to bother my state of consciousness and I drove in a carefree manner, at times taking a halt and having a cup of tea on the immensely famous dhabas in our country that happened to fall on the route.

A 74 km jounrey to Rudrapur which should normally take an hour, took me nearly 4 hours. A couple of factors were responsible for the same. First, I was in a really good mood and wasn’t in any kind of hurry what so ever and second, the condition of the roads didn’t allow me to drive at a speed higher than 40km/h or so.

On reaching Rudrapur, I was welcomed by a person whom I have admired throught the time period that I have known him. A very polite and sweet person you will ever come across and in true senses a gem of a person.

The time that I spent thereafter was in the company of this wonderful person. What’s amazing about this person is that the more I talk about him, the fonder I become

What followed was a treat that I would remember throughout my life. We literally went places ranging from Haldwani to Nainital. The mountains seemed to be welcoming us with open arms and the weather was ever so enticing and inviting.

When you are in such good company, you can’t help but discuss life. And that was exactly what we ended up doing, which led to one insight after another.

True to our nature, courtesy the same place we both used to inhabit once upon a time in our lives (our college), it was in true senses of the word a g-drive bulla session.

For those who are unable to discover the implicit meaning behind the explicit expression of a true emotion, it is very much my responsibility to tell you guys that g-drive bulla session is the most arbit of discussions you can ever have about things ranging from anything to everything.

What follows after that discussion is not any logical/rational inferences or judgements but a void which makes you want to discuss more and more about the same or different topics (for that matter what topic we are talking on doesn’t seem to matter).

After having had a wonderful night out on the streets of Nainitaal we decided to head back to the secure environment of our homes.

With lots to ponder over and lots to cherish, this trip was in more ways than one a very different trip. Without going into the details of why it was different, it was truly, what I would like to call a value-addition trip.

There was so much to learn, there was so much to experience, yet the trip, in no way, demeaned the very essence and significance of what a trip means to the many who love to travel.

All in all, it will always remain somehwere deep down in my memory lane as a trip which I had always craved for.

Source for Image: http//destination360.com

Dil Bagh Bagh :)

There are not many privileges that a common man gets in my city. But one privilege that one can avail of for sure, sheerly because of being a resident of the city is to be able to visit the World famous Mango baghs of Malihabad.

And yesterday was one such day for me. I had the opportunity of visiting one of the baghs, located just besides the Central Institute of Subtopical Horticulture (CISH). The path that leads to thebagh is in itself a fascinating ride amidst the trees on both sides and a view which in all senses of the word is nature personified.

After having treaded the path of nature, I got a rare opportunity to delve into the lives of the farmers who take very good care of their baghs. It was extremely heartening to see them talk of the mangoes with such excitement and possessiveness.

The kind of practical knowledge and awareness that they demonstrated was incredible. I guess it’s a pure consequence of having been born and brought up in such an environment and having purused their family tradition.

What was most noticeable though was to see the kind of friendly nature and hospitality that they demonstrated and that Lucknowites are so famous for all over the World. They made sure that that I have had experienced what all is associated and related to the king of fruits, before leaving.

All in all, a wondeful trip and a wonderful experience, which I will always cherish throughout my life 🙂 .

Source for Image: http://mynokiablog.com/2011/05/16/more-features-to-mango-wifi-hotspot-contact-groups-album-art-lockscreen-and-more/

Break Time!

Yesterday, thinking that it would indeed be a surprise for my dear friend Saty when he would listen to my latest revelation, I decided to call him up:

Hi buddy! Guess what! I am taking a week off.”–Me

“Ya, I knew it. In fact, I was wondering why you hadn’t given me the news earlier. A week has gone by and I was really worried whether you are alright for not having told me about your latest travel plans. Being a guy that you are, its always a break time for you. So What’s new in this? 😉 “–Saty

“Come on man! I don’t roam around so much. After all, everybody takes a break, right!”–Me

“Of course! Everyone do take a break but not so often and certainly not every week.”–Saty

“Well! I guess it’s a hereditary thing. I can’t help it. Its a generational thing and how I can disrespect my forefathers for breaking the tradition.”–Me

“Ya! Right! As far as I know and I certainly know this that no one in your family is as ghummakad as you are. So, stop blaming your genes for your ghummakad virus that has hit you since you left India.”–Saty

“Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! But haven’t you heard that life is a journey and is meant to be such.”–Me

“Ya, I have heard this before, of course from your Highness at least a hundred times before, for everytime you try to convince me as to why it is absolutely necessary for you to go for an outing, you use the same philosophical line from your very own dicitionary and throw at me as if it was a Cupid’s arrow.”–Saty

“And everytime it works, right! 😉 “–Me

“Well! Well! Well! “–Saty

I stopped Saty before he could carry on with his well’s for I didn’t want him to go on and on with blah blah blah anymore 😉 .

After having finished my conversation with Saty, I thought of pondering over my latest travel plans. But on second thoughts, who cares 😉 , for I am all set to take off for a week and would come back after a week’s time.

Till then keep rocking for there is and there will be no such thing as life. So believe in living it to the fullest 🙂 .

Source for Image: http://lookatmyhappyrainbow.blogspot.in/2011/04/break.html

The Journey

The last outing that I had described in my previous post was indeed a very inspiring one, the evidence for the same is very well reflected in the decision that Saty and me made last night.

Since the weather was getting more and more pleasant by the hour, the two vellas of Lucknownamely Saty and myself decided to go for a drive and have some delicacies for which my city is so famous for.

While we were very happily about to implement our culinary plan, the love for our karm bhoomi reignited once again instilling in us revolutionary thoughts of hitting the road once more in two consecutive days.

And there we were treading the path which would lead us to our destination. With a child like spirit, and with Saty jumping around in the car while the rain Gods showered us with their blessings, it was truly a rocking journey.

And guess what, to give us company from Unnao was my dear friend shikari, who by the way is all set to get married this very month 🙂 .

Soon after we were found on a dhaba located en route to Agra. The dhaba treat lasted for another couple of hours and at sharp 3 a.m. we started our journey towards restoration of normality in our lives and it was only around 5 a.m. the whole procedure of restoration could be completed.

I used to wonder that life is a journey but never did I think that it would turn into a collection of the trips and tours that I undertake every now and then. In any case, I love all my journeys and am sure that the best is yet to come 😉 .

Source for Image: http://www.yoga.am/2011/07/11/experience-the-journey-called-spirituality/