Sunday, August 21, 2011

Change begins with each of us!

1. I don't follow traffic rules, I break the signals, I don't have all the documents in place. When caught by police, I paid a bribe.

2. I don't have the time to stand in Queue to get things done. I paid the agent who in turn paid the officials, so indirectly I paid a bribe.

3. I bought property for Rs 3000/Sq.Ft. but registered it for Rs 300/Sq.Ft. to reduce property tax. To cover this, I paid a bribe.

4. I fake medical bills, fuel bills etc to save income tax. I conceal taxable income and dodge tax.

5. I don't exercise my voting rights but crib about the government.

6. I do so many things which are not right but I still say "Government is corrupt, Government has to change".

I end by saying Change begins with each and every one of us...

Note: I don't support the government, but it pains me when I see caustic comments on facebook/twitter like "Manmohan Singh ek Kaam karo, Chudi pehen ke Dance karo". Let's support the Anna Hazare movement but let's not demean our politicians.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Auli Trip, Day 3

Day 3, 2 Feb 2011:

I couldn’t sleep the whole night, thanks to a blocked nose due to excessive playing in snow. I was waiting for my alarm to ring so that I can get up and get ready to go.

5:30 AM: Alarm rings! I was up in a flash. It wasn’t as cold as yesterday or may be my body now got adjusted to the climate. I got ready and woke up my friends.

7:00 AM: One thing which impressed me on this trip was our perfect time sense. We absolutely followed the time we set for everything and so as planned, we were on our way to Ghaziabad.

8:00 AM: We were enjoying the picture perfect scenery outside when we heard a sound TAK! TAK! TAK! and the car comes to a standstill right on the middle of the road. Driver said he was unable to change gears and thinks some stone hit the car. We got out of the car and pushed it to a side. It was so very cold that morning and we were wearing bathroom slippers as our shoes became wet playing in the snow yesterday. My legs became totally numb and I couldn’t even feel my toes! I was helping the driver with fixing the jack, when I see Harshed, our creative photographer, gleefully clicking pictures of the place, unmindful of the car trouble. :P

9:00 AM: Nothing was happening no matter what the driver did. All we know is that the gear box is stuck on 3rd/4th gear! We asked few locals if there was any mechanic shop around and found out there was one 10 kms ahead and we decided to drive on that gear till the garage. With a load of 5 people, driving the car in single gear on ghat roads, somehow we reached the place and found a car workshop. While the car was getting repaired, we had our breakfast.

11.00 AM: Mechanic was still working on the car and finally he gave up! He said the only option was to change the gear rod, spare part for which was available nearest in Rishikesh which is 200Kms far! The gear rod was stuck in 3rd gear (luckily if you may call that). Any other gear, it would have been difficult to drive the vehicle. The driver decided to drive the vehicle till Rishikesh/ till whichever place the car can go! The only problem was with the ghat roads. On the way down driving the car was easy but if there is an upward slope, all of us had to get down the car and walk till the point the slope ends and get in the car again. We did this 6-7 times, sometimes even walking for a km. :(

2.30 PM: We travelled around 100 kms this way and finally decided enough is enough! We couldn’t walk any longer. We called the travels guy and told him we have had enough with the car and decided to settle the account then and there. So we got down at Rudra Prayag, settled the account and were on our own. We then got into a private jeep which was going till Rishikesh. On the way we had two delays of 30 mins each, once because of land slide which blocked the road and second time because of some rock blasting.

7.30 PM: We were at Rishikesh finally. All of us were damn hungry as we didn’t eat anything since breakfast. We had dinner and then went to the bus stop and sat in the Delhi bound bus. The bus started only at 8.30. We were all relieved that finally we are heading home but the torture isn’t over yet ..

12.00 AM: I wake up to see the bus in the midst of a really really looong traffic jam (5Kms long) somewhere near Roorkee! Nothing was happening. All the vehicles were switched off, no one’s moving, I guess hoping for a miracle to happen and the road gets cleared automatically :P

1.30 AM: The traffic gets cleared slowly and we were moving once again. Phew!

3.00 AM: The bus reaches Ghaziabad and luckily we got an auto immediately.

4:00 AM: Finally! Finally! We reached the campus. It was one heck of a roller coaster ride. We were thanking our stars for having reached safely after everything we went through. I didn’t even have the energy to take bath, just crashed on the bed.

10.00 AM: Alarm rings! Time to go to the class .. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Auli Trip, Day 2

Day 2, 1 Feb 2011:

The plan was to spend the entire day at Auli, which is a 14 km drive from Joshimath. We were advised to start after 10 AM, as the road will be covered with ice and it will be very difficult to drive the vehicle.

8.00 AM: It was chilly outside, none of us in a mood to come out of the warmth of the quilt. But somehow we got up one by one and were all set and ready to explore Auli. We had a heavy breakfast and were good to go.

10.00 AM: We were on the way to the top. The first 8 kms was very easy. Then slowly we started sighting snow here and there. 2 more kms ahead, the road was filled with snow and it was getting more and more difficult to maneuver the car. There was a kind of track on the road that was free of snow, due to friction created by many vehicles plying on the same place. Turn a little left or right from that track and the car skids, such was the road. At one point, the car almost lost control and started turning when it stopped. My heart was in my mouth for a second. The road was just wide enough for a car to pass. I wonder what would have happened if a vehicle comes in the opposite direction. Somehow we reached the top!

11.00 AM: We were greeted by few ski instructors who gave us a brief background about the place and the surrounding mountain ranges. Then we got down to the business of bargaining for renting the ski equipments. They started at 300Rs and finally settled for 100Rs/person, thanks to advice from my college friends who had already been there before. First they put on the Ski boots which gave me the feeling of being clamped to the surface. They were so tight and heavy. Then the actual Ski was attached to the boots and then finally I was handed the Ski sticks and asked to slide/walk on the ice. One step forward and I was sliding few steps back thanks to the slippery ice. The instructor then taught me how to stop using the sticks. Slowly but steadily I was walking on the ice. Now the instructor asks me to ski down the small ramp. I did promptly, half way through I realized I didn’t know how to stop after I reach the end of the ramp! Ahead of me I see muddy water and was sure and prepared to fall into it. But luckily I was able to balance and the ski just stopped as I bumped into the muddy water. All my friends fell on the first attempt and they were amazed when they saw me still standing. I went back and repeated the exercise and again and again. I fell a few times, and could not get up on my own, without removing the skis. So I had to shout “Bhaiya, Utha do! Bhaiya, Utha do!” and someone would come and help me stand up. Once I did a matrix stunt, when I lost balance in the muddy water and was on four legs but I made sure I dint fall and dirty my clothes. :D

12.30 PM: We were asked to return the equipments and that’s the end of my adventure with skiing. Then there was a cable car for advanced skiers that takes them to a place from where they can ski down to the initial point. We went up the car to explore the place. The ski ramp looked so scary from the top, don’t know how people ski from that point!

We got to see some great views from the top, 360 degrees view of the place. The place was full of snow, we were randomly clicking pictures, playing with the snow, making snowmen, writing our names on the snow and what not.

3.30 PM: Fully tired and with a heavy heart, we started the descent to our hotel lest it get dark. The descent wasn’t as bad as the ascent as most of the snow had melted. We freshened up, had a quick meal and were ready to visit the nearby temples. We visited the Narsing Temple and then Kalpavriksha which is supposedly 2500 years old, where Adi Shankaracharya used to meditate and attained salvation. This place was actually called Jyothirmath for the same reason but somehow the name is now Joshimath. The Shankaracharya rest place was on top of a mountain from where we had a clear view of the entire town and we spent some time there, enjoying the scenery, the calmness of the place and the cool breeze.

6.30 PM: Getting colder by the minute, we started back to our room with great memories to savor in our minds and satisfaction in our hearts. Dinner at 8 and we hit the bed by 9.30 PM, planning to leave the place by 7 AM in the morning.

This is where the actual fun starts .. Stay tuned!!

Day 3 Here

Auli Trip, Day 1

Before I start with the trip experience, let me get down to the facts..

Ghaziabad to Auli: 500 Kms

Route: Ghaziabad-Meerut-Roorkee-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Gauchar-Chamoli-Joshimath-Auli

Plan to start by around 1 or 2 AM early morning so that you can reach Rishikesh (250Kms) by dawn. The next 250 kms are treacherous ghat roads which will take atleast 10-12 hrs of travel. So if you start from Rishikesh by 6-7AM, you can reach Joshimath by dusk. Travelling at night on the ghat roads is a strict no-no as the road is prone to landslides and rock falls. It’s better to go in an SUV or any car with good ground clearance. We made a mistake by going in an indica (hatchback) which failed on the way back to Ghaziabad, thanks to the road or the lack of it. :P

Best time to visit: Jan-Mar if you want to see snow and ski; Apr-Jun if you like to trek. If you plan to go in winter, plz carry lots of winter clothing as temperature can go as low as 0 degrees in Joshimath, as we experienced

Food & Stay: We stayed at a hotel Bramh Kamal, which was pretty cheap at 150Rs/day for a 3-bed single room. There was no geyser in the room, but hot water is available for 20Rs/bucket. Rooms with geyser start at 600Rs/day. Regarding food, there’s a marwadi hotel which locals suggested but I dint like it one bit. It was way too spicy (even for me who eats lots of spicy food!) and the items are ridiculously costly for its standard. The hotel which is exactly opposite to it is much better in my opinion. Parathas & Rotis are the staple food available there. Please don’t experiment with Chinese dishes like soup, chowmein etc (like I did) :(

Ok, now coming to the actual trip..

Day 1, 31 Jan 2011:

12.30 AM: We started for Joshimath. After a short tea break at Roorkee, we reached Rishikesh by 6 AM. Since our driver was tired and it was still dark, we let him sleep for 1 hour meanwhile we were out clicking pictures in the freezing cold.

7.30 AM: We started our journey to our next pit stop Rudra Prayag Sangam. This is the place where two rivers, Alaknanda and Mandakini meet. This place is venerated as one of the five sacred confluences or the 'Panch Prayag' (the others being Vishnu Prayag, Nand Prayag, Karn Prayag & Dev Prayag, all on the way to Badrinath). On the way, we had our breakfast in Dev Prayag. By afternoon, we reached Rudra Prayag, but we didn’t stop there. The entire stretch from Rishikesh to Joshimath was absolutely stunning. We could see the river flowing below us while we were climbing mountain after mountain. On the way we were passing through a place called Gauchar, when I saw this weird board that said “Welcome to Gauchar – The place of four seasons in a single day” (Sunny, Cold, Rainy, Spring). I was amused when I read that board. At that time it was sunny and after 5 mins of driving, it suddenly became very cold and then I realized why that board was put up.

2.30 PM: We stopped for lunch at Chamoli, another beautiful place. I noticed the guy who served us lunch was wearing a ‘Save Tibet’ headband. This district is largely inhabited by a Tibetan ethnic group. Incidentally, Chamoli also shares its north boundary with Tibet.

4.30 PM: We reach Joshimath finally, after a tiring journey. The place was very cold in the evening, around 2-5 degrees. We found a decent accommodation, the hotel was on the edge of a cliff and we were like 3000 meters above sea level. From the window, we could see snow capped mountains all around. We were all set for an exciting day tomorrow. With these thoughts in mind, we freshened up and had early dinner and crashed on the bed by 8 PM.

To be continued ..

Day 2 Here

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who is A.R.Rahman to me?

My first post ... had to be about A.R.Rahman :-)

I would like to share some of my experiences with ARR's music...

Really guys ... Who is ARR 2 me? Y am I so amazed about him? I keep asking these questions but the more I analyze the more I am fascinated by this man.To tell u the truth I was not a great listener of music till ARR came my way.

Even when Roja happened I wasn't really fascinated by the new kind of sound he generated maybe bcoz I was too young then. He began his conquest of my mind rather gradually. I still remember those days when I used to listen to Roja, Bombay, special mention to "chikubaku raile" from Gentleman, Indian n loads of his songs but I never realized that I was a fan of his music.

I still remember his album "One 2 ka 4"... dunno how many of u heard of this movie but it was this album which helped me relieve all the stress in my intermediate days ... After college I go to my house n listen to the songs first to recharge myself and then used to sit and study ... hard to believe but true!!! It was around the release of an album "Kannathil Muthamittal" aka "Amrutha" in telugu when I realized tat I am an ARR fan. That's when I started collecting all his albums and listening to his each and every song.

One thing with Rahman is that there are always different layers to his music, in the sense, everytime you listen to his song, if you observe closely, you will always find a new hidden sound. He has a song to suit to every mood.

Today he is more than my soul. I have always enjoyed his music. His music has helped me overcome many challenges. I don't care what others have to say about his music but I know for sure tat his music is going to play a very significant role in my success.

When I look back I realize how lucky I am to be born in this era. ARR if u r reading this, I have got only 1 thing to tell u


Here are some of his less heard songs that I would recommend everyone to listen to ..

Anbe Aaruyire - Ah Aah

Azhage Sugama - Paarthale Paravasam

Innisai - Varalaru

Kaiyil Midhakkum - Ratchagan

Kural - Connections

Margazhi Thingal - Sangamam

Meherbaan - Ada

So Gaye Hain - Zubeidaa

Uyirum Neeye - Pavithra

Yeh Jo Zindagi Hai - 1947 Earth