Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trip to holy pilgrimage: Shikharji

24th July
This post was written when i was travelling in Delhi Mumbai Rajdhani but due to non availability of internet in train, i am posting it today.

It is my consecutively 4th day in train. The journey had taken place in 4 trains along with other vehicles and I have covered more than 5000 kilometers.  Indian railways really become my friend and source of inspiration. I like the way they move forward in a strong and steady way passing through numerous villages, endless sight scenes, lakes and rivers, crashing like some very powerful object. I too feel powerful while travelling in railways.

This time we had made a plan of Shikharji, a holy pilgrimage of Jains. The program was well planned this time. We were 6 friends. The journey started on 21st when we boarded the Purshottam express destined for Puri in Orissa but our destination was Parasnath station in Jharkand and it was about 17 hour journey. I was travelling in this train with other 3 and the rest 2 had boarded the Delhi Howrah Rajdhani just 5 hours before. We reached around 6 pm on 22nd  at Parasnath. The view was very beautiful after Gaya and we have passed our time at doors of train. From here, we hired a taxi to Madhuban. After meeting the other two, we visited the few local temples according to the availability of time.

Taken somewhere between Gaya and Parasnath
Comparing it with Vaishnodevi, a hindu pilgrimage, Parasnath is like jammu (Nearest Railway Station), madhuban is like kathara from where the journey begins on foot on a hill.  We slept early that night as we planned to start our yatra or Vandana(Journey) at 3 am next day. It was total 31 kilometers and full of steep slope. Before sleeping, other friends also discussed lot of anecdotes of  Robin jain and Shikharji. He had already celebrated his silver jubilee of yatra and was now targeting for half century. He is quite a religious and philosophical  person. Four people have visited Shikharji many times before and the two including me were new comers.

Lto R.Me, Lale, Shubham, Prateek, Robin,  Just Before commencing Shikharji Yatra in our room

The time came, we started our journey. It was completely dark and as there were no lights we were using our torch except Robin who disdained torch. The area was so silent that it numbed my ears which were not used to this deep silence. In just 10 minutes, we all were perspiring and breathing hard except our Guru called robin. It was raining and we all were wet. I was shivering and it was really a tuff to ascend in wet clothes but there is something pure mysterious sacred in the air and the wind was blowing so fast and make our sweat and stress away every time. Now, I get why robin asked to wear the cotton kurta pajama because it soaked the water and sweat well.

Lale, Prateek, Me and Robin. Somewhere near Gandharva nala
First we reached Gautam Swami Tonk by foots. Here there were 3 routes, one is going to other 4 tonks which were quite tuff  including Chandrah Prabhu, other was going to Jal temple for those who want to skip some part of journey and the last one was going to Pasrshavnathtemple. We followed the right route documented for an ideal worshipper and seeker. From gautam Buddha tonk,  we went to chandraprabhu tonk route and came back here from the route that was going towards jal temple. Then we followed the Parshanath temple route. The route to Chandrah Prabhu was really arduous and the slope was very steep. In very short distance, we have to ascend significant height. But as the visibility was poor, so we were not able to look at the temple from below and as a result, I found the ascent like all others. May be the mental strength matters more. Poor visibility helps us to maintained our mental courage.

One of the many Landscapes while trekking
Although incomparable , still I find this place more scenic and blessed as compared to most of the other hill stations, I have visited in my life. I think the reason in these days most of the hill stations are commercialized and we never get a feel of living and travelling in hills. We just go there and visit some of the scenic points like love point, suicide point, mall road that can be found in most of the hill stations. The best thing about this place is that it is not commercialized at all. 

This place reminds me of the quote by Lao tzu “Nature doe not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Robin was the 1st person to reach everywhere and me and Prateek were the last two. As soon as we enter in the temple, Robin started a bhajan or mantra. At one of the temple, prateek asked robin to let him breathe for a moment after entering into the temple and before reciting a mantra. Hahaha. We all were laughing including robin except prateek jain who was struggling hard for a breath. But robin is one of those who never listen  to anybody. He again started doing the same. But I must say he has added the life into the yatra, He was the ‘jaan’(Life) of our group, biggest motivator. Prateek jain was making me sure that I will complete it without any problem and was adjusting his pace based on my pace. Shubham was struggling with himself. We all travelled in group. Not many people were there on the hill that day as­­­ the weather was not ladies and children friendly. Some said that there were not more than 50 persons on the hill.

 I contemplated about the life in cities and in these places. Nature is such a wonderful thing. Robin and me like old times shared some of the beautiful philosophies. I am so much satisfied and happy to be a part of this journey. Mountains also have a hidden message, Going up is not easy while going down just takes a moments and is easy. And yes, while going down you should be extra careful if you want to survive. Which means we should accept failures as a part of life. I am sure there would be infinite hidden messages in hills which we decipher according to our talent and knowledge. 

After visiting the last temple of Parshavnath, we had refreshments. Food never tasted so good and tiredness never seemed so sweet, we feel ourselves connected to divine. Believe me, there is some hidden energy or power transfer takes place between us and divine which gives us the energy and courage. It is believed about this place that out of  24,20 of the Tirthankaras (teachers of the Jains) attained Moksha (Nirvana) from this place.

Stairway to god
While coming down, the route was very tough and walking naked foots is quite arduous but that hidden energy transfer made it possible. During the last 5,6 kilometers, we were so tired that we are not able to walk straight. If you walk like these in cities you will easily get admission under physically handicapped Quota without producing any certificate. If any of us stand still for a photograph, legs start shivering as they were not used to so much work. Robin and Prateek kept repeating that only 1 km. is left for long time to motivate all others. This made me frustrate many times, every time I asked them they replied only 1 kilometer is left now. 

At around 3, we completed Yatra. We were so happy and contented. Like it happens in exam time, irrespective of the sleepless nights before exams, we always celebrate the day our exam finishes because the happiness eats up our tiredness and diverts our mind.

This was taken when our Shikharji Yatra was just about to complete.
At Madhuban, we had sattvik food.The area was Naxali effected and we have not spotted a single policamen in whole area. When I asked one of tea stall where are all the policemen. He replied to me, here everybody is policemen so there is no need of police here. This is hidden statement and if comprehended can bring the many secrets between the connection between local people and Naxalities. Local population was whole heartedly supporting the naxalities. I am not saying it whether they are right or wrong. They are doing what they like based on their pursuits, pleasures and convictions. From Madhuban, this time we preferred Bus and reached Parasnath at around 6pm. At platform, we spend some quality time on a platform. Platform was nicely built and was decorated with the posters and paintings of Temples. It was very clean. Finally at 9, we boarded our Delhi Howrah Rajdhani and with this our journey came to an end.

Thank you god for inviting me and to all my friends, the messengers.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Change is the other name of life

This post is written for the BLOGESHWAR and Campusghanta.

Samrat had just passed his school and entered in an engineering college. He had never lived away from his parents. It was the first time, he was staying in hostel in MNIT, Allahabad which is far away from his hometown. It was the first time, he had tasted the food of his mess in last 2days. Not only because the food was pathetic but the mess timings were really strict and one cannot get food in nonworking hours. Every time, he missed a meal, he recalls the time when his mother woke him, made the best of the food and fed him properly. He  really find it hard to adjust. Big room at home was replaced by twin sharing hostel room, mother’s call was replaced b y an alarm clock, no more food in odd hours, restrooms are shared by everybody in the hostels. He becomes very homesick and does not like to mix with people. Every fortnight, whether he got a chance or not, he went to home. Time passed, and after spending 1 semester like this, he begun to enjoy the hostel life. He made the friends, watched  late night shows at the theatre, eat outside as much as he wants, sleep till noon without anyone disturbing him. Whenever his college got closed and he went to home, he felt college sick. No late night sleeps, no more night shows, internet was replaced by the tv soaps, junk food was replaced by roti and dal. Time passed like this. He made a lot of friends, got a campus from his college, enjoyed the life as much as he can in all these 4 years, there is hardly an class in final year he attended and hardly any night he had slept in final year. His gang used to sleep during the day time.

Finally, time passed and he joined Capegemini in Mumbai. Life this time was very different. He used to travel 2 hours every day from his flat to his working place. His life become like that. At 6, he woke up, got ready and after changing local 2 times, managed to reach an office at 9. He worked till 6 and finally reaches home at around 8. After having dinner, hardly any energy left to do anything and most of the time, he catches sleep at couch only. Corporate life was very different from his expectations. Time and sleep had now become a priceless luxury. Weekends were also wasted in office work. Alarm clock was now replaced by the constant buzzing of boss’ voice in his ears. Expenses were more than earnings. Pizza in evenings and Vaadapav in the morning was almost become his life. After 6,7 months, when he began to adjust and started enjoying life, his parents started asking him about the marriage. For 2 years, he was successful in making excuses but at the end give up. His parents successfully convinced him. He also thought , how long will he survive on double burst pizza. 

Soon, his status changed from single to married on facebook. After his honeymoon period  is over that lasted for around 1 year, he soon began to think marriage as another shock. He become a football now. Not because of cheese burst pizza but because of regular kicks by his manager and wife. His wife wants him to do shopping on weekends, his boss wants him to work without anybody realizing what he wants. His liberty to stare madly at sexy girls was no more. Movies, these days become very hard to concentrate on. Boss buzzing was now replaced by the early morning scream of her newly born daughter demanding for the milk. 

He was transferred from Mumbai to Delhi and next week, he planned to leave the Mumbai. He was lying amidst the tension of going to new city, transfer of his child in new school, new house and so on. He went deep into the introspection of his life. He thought that such transitions are indispensable part of everybody’s  life and how hard  one can try, he will not escape from them. After all, it is life. Everybody among us face this cultural shocks in day to day life. Some in form of marriages, some in form of job switch, some while transiting from school to college, some while passing through from college to job , some while moving from their hometowns and so on. He thought that change is the only thing constant in our life. So, we should welcome changes and face them as challenges. Without them, life will become too drudgery and monotonous. He spare no excuse to motivate himself. 

He was watching the sky lying on the couch in the balcony. His wife was trying to entertain their daughter. Perhaps, he had fallen into sleep although his eyes were open or just woke up. 

Courtesy: Google Images/http://writteninc.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trip to Matheran-Day 2

Day 2 - Lunch at Lonavala

We Woke up at 8 am. Prateek woke early and begun to wake everybody else. I had put an alarm at 6 in the hope of going to mooring walk at such serene and green place and to inhale my share of fresh air which we hardly get in the cities like Mumbai. But, without any doubt, I failed. Alarm did not woke me but disturbed all others. Someone is shouting, whose alarm, whose alarm. Without giving any attention and response, I switched off the alarm and went back again to that ‘once in a while’ kind of quality sleep.

Prateek was very excited about the Khandala. Me and Shubham were not much excited as it is only the last weekend, we had visited that place. After wasting a lot of time in watching TV, packing, nature call and all that stuff which, if done seriously, wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, we managed to check out at 10. The day started with a feeling of hang over but that was very short lived and killed by the fresh air. Lonavala was now finalized.

It was Sunday and we saw a lot of tourists coming there. Crowd was more on Sunday as compared to last day, at least I felt so. We begun our trekking and at around 11, reached at Naka toll. There, we took a taxi and reached Neral at 12. After, we had our breakfast, we take a Local to Kajrat, from where we planned to get a train to Lonavala. It was 3 when we reached at Lonavala. Distance was very less, however, the journey was quite discontinuous and we had to wait for half an hour 2 times at railway stations.

The first thing on our Agenda was Lunch when we reached Lonavala. We went to same restaurant, we went 1 week before. It was 4 when we finished everything and the sightseeing was the only thing left on our agenda. We tried to hire an Auto but none was ready to go to Mulshi Dam or Tiger’s leap. I thought we were late. We planned to do cycling till Bhushi dam as it was not very far. But, the person at the cycle shop told us that Bhushi dam is closed for visitors after 5 everyday. We realized, in that case there is no pint in going. Prateek had a train from Mumbai at 12 and we had to leave the city at 7 at all cost.  We were quite confused what to do. There was a waterpark nearby and the people were dancing in the swimming pool. The view was partially visible. We agreed to that but half heartedly. Somebody suggested a beer. That was a good Idea but still not acceptable by all. Sipu suggested to had a Tea and had fun for the 1 hour and then we will went back. But that was also like a vague arrow in the air. He had repeated the word ‘fun’ million times in last 2 days. There is some hidden naughtiness in his version of ‘fun’. 
Finally, we decided to leave the city. Most of the day was spent at the railway station or in the journey. But the talks, conversations or Bakar was ultimate and it had to be good, after all, college friends met after a long time. We were laughing continuously. Famous Prateek jokes are challenging the Tv soap ‘Laughter challenge’ but today Prateek was in Low spirits. Perhaps, the 2nd day of the trip was not that fruitful and thus it was renamed as ‘lunch at Lonavala’. Hope, now, everybody will able to appreciate the title. 
But I had enjoyed to the fullest. The Best part is yet to come. 
We reached at railway station of Lonavala. Sipu and Rohit take a local to Pune. We 3 take an express to Mumbai. This part of journey was simply terrific. Me and prateek rested ourselves at the door with our legs hanging outside the train. The train was express and we enjoying the beautiful sightseeing. Waterfalls, hills, mountains, were simply mesmerizing. We discussed all the stuff that mattered to us at the door. That was really a good time of the day. We discussed a lot about our upcoming trip. 
We reached at 7 at Kalyan, another local station in Mumbai, caught a train to Kanjurmarg, reached Nitie at 8 pm. After having dinner, we see off Prateek. That was really a touching moment. 
Thank God for giving me such wonderful friendly frank friends. Hope the journey never ends.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trip to Matheran-Day 1

Close to nature
9th July

It is really one of the most awaited weekend. We planned to spend this weekend at ‘Matheran’, which means forest at the top of the mountain. It is a small hill station on western ghats known for its greenery and adventures sports. It has a very dense forest cover and one always feel himself in the forest in the Matheran. For this trip, 3 of our friends Prateek, Sandeep generally called Sipu, Rohit also joined us, me and Shubham. 

As planned, me and Shubham woke at around 5.30, take an Auto to the Kanjurmarg, a local Mumbai station. Prateek, who was coming from Baroda, emerging industrial city in Gujarat, met us at the station after a long journey of 8 hours. After greetings and bit gossiping, we take a local train from there and to our amazement, that local was going directly to Neral, the nearest railway station near Matheran. The weather was very cold and comparatively less humid and the train was almost empty. We really enjoyed the journey and the spectacular views. I never know the  Mumbai has so good and green places nearby. We gossiped a lot, discussed all the stuff irrespective of the fact whether it  mattered or not. It is really good to escape from the place which is always amidst the cacophony of  traffic, honking, life. It was like if we were moving from the cacophony towards the silence of life.
We reached Neral at exactly 8, had our breakfast and then enquire the status about the other two.Toy train was not operational in this season due to heavy rainfall and landslides. Sandeep and Rohit were coming from Pune and  we all planned to meet at Neral at around 8. Sipu was about to reach there but Rohit was unable to catch a train. We all four started the journey and thought Rohit will join us at the top of the forest. 

We hired a Maruti van till Dasturi Naka Toll. This toll was around 10 km. but the road was very steep and narrow. We gained a significant amount of height in just 4o minutes. Driver was driving very rash and played a music from the movie Raja Hindustani at the very high volume. It seemed to us that he is enjoying more than us. There is hardly any car that he didn’t overtook that day. One of the car was trying to overtook us and in the meantime, I jokingly said to my friends, “yeh to iska bhi baap lagta hai”(The coming driver seems to be the father of our driver in art of rash driving). Our driver overheard us and then began to drive like a mad man. We told him to drive slow but very casually. We were also enjoying the journey, the music, the waterfalls along the track, empty railway lines used for the Toy train track. This season is the best one to visit this place. Everything is operational except Toy train, the best part is waterfalls become activated. There were thousands of small waterfalls and it seems to me that it is like there is a private waterfall for everybody. At each of the waterfall, I spotted people taking a bath. Also, there was more than 1 bathing area that each waterfall had to offer depending upon the heights. The good thing was that if you are with your family or want personnel space to take a bath, you can easily locate a one. Thanks to the nature for blessing this place with unlimited waterfalls.

L to R. Shubham, Sipu, Prateek at Dasturi Naka toll
We reached Dasturi Naka and purchased our entry ticket to Matheran. Yes, there were entry tickets for entering into this hill station unlike others. Beyond this point, no vehicles is permitted and you need to track down the rest of journey by foot. Horses were also available. However, as a young blood and skeptical about the horses, we took a toy train track. 

Lto R. Prateek, me and Sipu at the Toy train track
While trekking, Sipu and prateek had brought their raincoats while me and Shubham had purchased a temporary raincoat from there only. But still, our lower half was wet. It was raining heavily and continuously.  As I observed the crowd nearby, I found most of the people were enjoying getting wet in rains and we were the one, you can say most protective. After initial hesitation, we also become open and begun to enjoy rain like anything. Now, we were jumping on the roads where the water was collected and shouting. The ambience of the place was really magnificent. The best thing was Matheran is an Eco sensitive join and no vehicles are permitted after a particular point. As a result, air was very fresh. It was all so green. My love for green color really increased that day. 

At our way to Matheran. One can watch numerous waterfalls from this place amidst clouds. Beyond inamgination

Our track from Naka Toll to Matheran
Me in my temporary Raincoat at our 'close to nature' Hotel
When we reached the city, we expedited our search for the good hotel at reasonable prices and within an hour, after having a look at more than dozen of Hotels, we finalized one. As said by Sipu, Hotel is really close to nature and amidst the gardens and away from the bustles of the city, we finalized one. Close to nature, then becomes our favorite dialogue and we repeated it hundreds of times in our conversation. After changing our outfits, we went to city market again, received Rohit, came back to room and then start the real part, our sightseeing in Matheran. 

First thing on the list was Charlotte lake. It was around 2 km. from our stay. All the roads were quite marshy at Matheran due to which they were quite slippery but that was the beauty of it. Charlotte lake is a most picturesque place at the Matheran and it was written over there, if you have not visited this place, your journey to Matheran is despicable. We felt Lucky. There was one sport called ‘Valley crossing’ was also going on there. None was ready accept Prateek. He motivated everybody. We all encouraged Sipu and said it is nothing for people like Sipu. Sipu agreed in order to maintain his bold image among us.
 Valley crossing at Charlotte Lake, Tension was quite visible
Actually, I also wanted to try that sport but was not confident. I want everybody should try it and then I will also try it. After Prateek and Sipu, I also tried it. This was something very novel in my life. I never had any such experience. Honestly speaking, when I was half way hanging at the rope, I was quite scary and begun to turn my face back to know how far is the destination. It was a spine chilling experience. Rest 2 didn’t tried that sport.

Many people were taking bath at the lake and the view was quite spectacular. Shubham went into the lake and began to pose. I was busy in clicking him and he was busy in giving me the pose. So busy, that one of his footwear begun to drown in the lake. He showed it to us but didn’t take any action. That was fun. We run behind his footwear on the road adjacent to Lake knowingly that we can’t do anything. Now, long way is to go but the route was not allowing to walk with naked feets. 

Valley Crossing site near Charlotte Lake

Sipu, Shubham, Me, Rohit, Prateek at Lord point
On our way to Lord point, we fortunately  get 1 extra footwear lying abandoned on the stairs. Shubham took them. The surprise was that it was of the same feet which was naked. Now, Shubham enjoyed his journey in two different foot wears. Quite funny!! We enjoyed different sightseeing points after that which were located at the most horrible places and not many people are generally interested them. We took the route that nobody was taking in the hope of getting more close to nature.  

At playground of Matheran, one of the best place in Matheran
Rambaugh point was another good picturesque. On further moving, there was graveyard and we began to talk about the spirits and all.  We were among the clouds and the visibility was highly reduced and all this makes it a bit scary. Still, we traverse more. Finally, we found a Play ground of Matheran. Some local people know it by the name of race course. It was really a very beautiful place. Nobody was there. We unpacked us, I remove my t-shirt and shoes and begun to relax there. We spend nearly half an hour there. We were almost lost among the hills. No other visitor was there. Finally, we found 1 local person there who told us about the 2 routes from there but he advised us to retrace our route back due to spirits, unknown mysteries happened at that place, unbelievable incidents. He make us more scary but at the same time increase our curiosity. We take the another route but after 5 minutes, we decided to retrace our path back. I didn’t know which route we have taken. 
We had not encountered any tourist from last 1 hour at the place which is a famous tourist spot and was packed. After 1 hour, we came again at Charlotte lake. Now, we enquired clearly about the other points. We visited Honeymoon point, a place where love making was made official by the parsis, as told by some local person. We visited many points thereafter but we were very tired. 

Lat point, we visited was called Echo point. Echo point and Race course were the two most beautiful spots in the Matheran after the track. The most beautiful thing was the road where trees were forming the canopy, clouds surrounds you and you will hear the sound of rain but still not getting wet.  It was simply Awesome. At Echo point, another sport was going on. It was bit expensive so we dropped the idea to experience to it. Also, We were not quite comfortable doing that as we were very tired.

We reached the city at around 6.30. It was very true that time passes very slowly at hill stations. We were expecting 7 or 8 but it was still 6.30. Life starts early in the morning and also ended early in the night. We were feeling extremely hungry but all the restaurants were closed in the city. We had to pass the time in Bar. After that we took our Lunch at dinner time. Then we purchased alcohol and begun to move back to our room. 

Our Room
 Now, it was the time to relax. We open the bottles, lighted our cigarettes, played the music and began relaxing. It was really hard to drink that day. We were already tired. Prateek retired early without completing his share of alcohol but that left over by his part was like a boon to us. When everything was completes, me and Sipu moved out, spend some moments together. It was very dark and silent outside. We enjoyed the rain and silence and after alcohol discussions. All the others were asleep by now. Sipu is a man from whom i always seek inspiration and motivation and that day was not an exception. Finally, at around 2, we went to our bed without any definite plans for next day.

At peace with myself

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Comfortably Numb

Signs  of the Life

SOME CALL them Gods, some call poets, some call them dreamers, some call them passions, some call them music, some call them from another world, few call them musicians. Yes, i am talking about the Pink FLoyd

From so long, I am planning to write a post on pink Floyd. It is the most influential  band in my life.
The songs like High hopes, coming back to life are incomparable. Sometimes, I felt that the lyrics are more like poems. 
Courtesy: Google images
I never fail to listen this band after I got drunk. When I listen these songs, it is like that whole life of me came in front of me. The lyrics of the song ‘Time’ are so true. ‘Coming back to life ’ reminds me of some of my best friends that I have made in my life. Video of ‘High hopes’ gives me the feeling that everything is a worldly affair. Nothing lasts forever.
I remember the time when I was in high school and my brother was doing his engineering in IT-Bhu, he used to bring the cassettes of pink Floyd in vacations and I used to hear them like anything. In those days, I never appreciated the lyrics as neither there was internet to look for the lyrics nor I was able to understand this awesome accent. Please note that I have used the word ‘Awesome’ first time in my blogs because I am high. Actually, I am suffering from awesome phobia. I really hate this word. But today, I am in memory of the person from whom I heard this word first time and whom I love very much. I only love the music. My love of Pink Floyd increased manifolds when I read about the history of the band and begun to understand the lyrics.

Courtesy: Google images

Syd barret, a maniac, continuous war between Roger Water and David Gilmour interests me like anything. Sometimes, I feel that I am not able to appreciate all the videos and every time I discussed about them with another maniac, I discover something new about them which I didn’t know. I love this so much.
‘Learning to fly’ always gave me confidence and reminds me of my resolutions and determination.
‘Sorrow’ is a song that I want to dedicate to the girls of my life but I will not because the lyrics does not match with the circumstances. However, they meant the same but not everybody can comprehend  the appropriate things from them. People will comprehend what they want to comprehend as said by our beloved Shakespeare ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder.’
‘Amused to death’ by Roger water is another magnum opus of its time.
Please note that my definition of Pink Floyd include Roger waters too. I never able to filter Roger waters from the image of pink Floyd that is created in my mind.
Hats off to you all Roger waters and Syd barret first and then David Gilmour to carry the courtesy. 

This post is tribute to Syd Barrett, the singer-songwriter-guitarist who co-founded Pink Floyd, died five years ago today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

Chanakya or Gangasagar--For whom the world is a Chessboard.

THE USP of the novel is that it can be read in 2 ways. One is a normal way like all others and the other is you read alternate chapters. The novel alternates between 2 stories  : one set in 2300years ago at the times of Chankaya and the other one is about the modern day politics. Both are compared nicely and it is proved once again history repeats itself. To really cherish the novel and appreciate the similarities, the best way is to read sequentially like normal way of reading any other novel.
Please watch the video of the launch. It says everything.


The novel is a good one and quite predictable at few places but once started, you feel like getting glued to it and the credit lies with the uncanny ability of the author. It is a good and easy read that you can carry in trains, buses, flights but I would not say a must read. It depends on your taste.  Author has done a wonderful research in producing this work  and included some famous political, scams in India. One get to know how closely related and inseparable  are business and politics. 

It is all about how the  immoral, corrupt practices play a role in politics and  has everything from corruption, humor, witty thoughts, lust, sad, moments of joy, hypocrisy, double standards . But one good thing shown is that in spite of corrupt practices used for making govt, the new govt do some good work for society. It is like  a society where taking bribe is no longer wrong but taking bribe and still not doing favors is a crime.

It is a pleasurable read and provides value for money. It costs only 195 at bookstores and 127 bucks at Flipkart.

Let me gear up for my next read, A house for Mr. Biswas by VS Naipaul.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Khandala and Lonavala trip

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.                                                                          – Marcel proust

It was an ultimate experience. Before going over there, I have read certain blogs and thanks to all those bloggers and to one in particular that mentioned about the cycling.

Last night, we manage to sleep at 2.30 am (2 july), our plan of going over there was not yet final. At around 4, Anil Ingle, my friend in adjacent room, woke us. We had a informal talk last night, however nothing was finalized  and he told that he would go Pune next day and all the trains from Mumbai to Pune are through Khandala. We were also too much uncertain about this plan after gaining a lot of experience from the cancellation of trips in past couple of years, last moment mood change and all such excuses.
He knocked my room hard at 4 and start shouting. I was very angry, however I got up and asked Shubham to get ready. Narcoleptic and insomnia are two shades of my sleeping habits. From the time I remember about my life, I had been always suffering from either of these 2. Sometimes, its insomnia, sometimes, its narcolepsy. This time it is narcolepsy and a strong desire for sleep.

Shubham told me that he will take only 2 minutes. Finally, I decided to take a bath. In the meantime, I came to know that Anil ingle had again fallen into sleep. I went to wake him up Finally, we left the college at 5.15am ( 2nd July). My eyes were swollen and bloodshot. Around 6.30, we reached Mumbai CST after travelling 1 hour in local. Locals railways had never been look so beautiful and big. I spend the time at the door of the local.

At 6.45, we luckily able to catch a Intercity express. It was quite packed,however we managed to get 2 seats. One person need to stand thus we were changing seats after every 15 minutes. Its stoppage is Lonavala and not Khandala. The views were really beautiful and I felt very irritated on account of not capturing them because of the heavy load, this train was carrying.  In the meantime, Mr. Ingle had also decided to stay time with us in Lonavala and decided to delay his program to Pune by few hours. We reached at 9 and after getting the feel of the air, views, ambiance of Lonavala, we started enquiring, how to roam here and at what charges. I already had the list of places that we want to see. We booked an Indica for the next 5 hours. 

Romancing with nature
The first place was tiger’s leap. Driver told us that it is also popular as shooting point owing to shooting of lots of bollywood songs. Inspired from the actors, lovers were also making love here. One such couple was in full romantic mood and somehow, they capture my attention for a while. I decided to capture them at 8x zoom. I don't do this thing normally. Check how decent the shot was.

Tiger's leap

The beauty of this place can be pen down in words only by great writers like Salman Rushdie. Amateurs bloggers like me have to use photographs to create the picture in reader's mind.

46 had slipped from here and died. Are you 47th ?

L to R. Anil, Shubham, me at Bhushi Dam

The next place was Bhushi Dam. It was very crowded. People were sitting on the stairs from which the water was flowing in full flow from the Dam and continuously splashing water on each other, making it hard for those who don’t want to get wet. After saving myself for an hour, I surrendered myself at the end and began enjoying in water after changing my outfits.

The next one was some lake. We skipped it as it was not that much blessed with beauty as the last 2 places.After that, it was Ryewood park. I heard a lot about it. It was very peaceful place with ample greenery like Khandala and Lonavala. After unwinding ourselves in the lap of the nature, we left.
Next we went to khandala. Khandala was a small place but was equally blessed in beauty as Lonavala. We halt at one place and from this place, all the scenic points can be covered by foot. The first one was Rajamachi park. Deep valley on one side, high rise mountains on the other side, waterfall flowing and the highway in the midst of all this looked mesmerizing.
NH-4 India captured from Rajamachi park
L to R. Shubham, me at sunset point/Duke's nose
Next we went to Temple nearby. Next one was Sunrise point. Although it was 1pm, still we went there to get the view, it was beyond our imaginations. Duke’s nose can also be seen from there. NH-4 reminds me of the rat race.
Aati kya Khandala
Finally, We went back and had lunch. Now, we only one thing left on our agenda i.e. cycling. We enquired from localities’ and finally got a cycle. We roam around in the city. Cycling after 7,8 years was really refreshing and nostalgic too. Due to poor stamina and continuous up and downs road, we felt tired quickly. We went again to Ryewood park again. Taking permission from the local authorities, We took  our cycle inside the park. Fortunately 1 bench was empty, we parked our cycle  there and take a rest on the bench. We felt asleep for an hour. It was around 4.30 when we woke up. The sleep was really a tonic and again we felt very good. We decided to catch the bus now and return the bicycle. We caught a bus at 5.30 and felt asleep in the bus again. When we woke up next, it was the conductor’s call to alert people that Mumbai had came. When I came back to college, I didn’t know whether the journey had just came to an end or just began. 

PS - I would really like to thanks a weather for cooperating with us most of the time. One thing more, there are several few good trekking places. Those are also must watch, however we miss them due to scarcity of time and also our body start complaining now for the rest and the eyes were not willing to remain open. 

At peace with myself

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