We already said adieu to winters and now, since the weather is pretty pleasant, it’s raining ‘marriages’ in my part of the country. As I always say, ‘Marriage’ here doesn’t mean just the union of two people but a lot of razzmatazz, ranging from tons of shopping, recurring visits to beauty salons and boutiques, bookings of Palaces, arrangements of delicious food, fancy decorations, pricey gifts, hip and happening DJ, and what not. ‘It’s a once-in-life-time event’ and people don’t leave any penny unspent (Yes I am talking about middle class people). Oh and did I forget to mention the alcohol! The major chunk of budget goes here, and why not, after-all this is what will remains the ‘talk-of-the-town’ for quite some time, probably until the next extravaganza ;).
This is the common way to express happiness here; ‘if you have it, you got to show it!’
Recently, I attended one such big fat Indian wedding. The entire setting was quite royal (nothing middle class). Everything was immense; the number of food stalls was such that you forgot the counting after a while; your tongue could get tired of tasting but the variety of snacks and sweets won’t exhaust. Most of the North Indian weddings follow suit. It’s actually a race to be the best displayer.
This trend, it keeps upgrading from time to time and people find different innovative ways of displaying their mirth and worth. Such weddings leave you enthralled for many days and the euphoria only goes after some reality check.
The parents who spend so much money for this ‘one day charm’, do they have any idea what the future would bring? Everyone hopes for good which is nice, and I too believe in that ‘living happily ever after’ thing. But sometimes we meet people who force us to change our mindset.
Today I met a girl of hardly 25 years, with a badly bruised face, swollen eyes and totally blank emotions. She is done with her marriage. Reason, her husband…he terribly abuses her, physically as well as mentally. The pain she was in made even a stranger like me, ache for her.
When you meet such people, you ought to question the exhibition of pseudo-joys that are displayed around; you actually face the ugly side of humanity; the cheapness that still resides in society; the low standards of people; the absurd thinking that wives are the puppets in the hands of husbands; the mentality that once married, a girl becomes the property of the husband; the evil of expecting (actually demanding) favours from girl’s family; a greed that is impossible to quench. And what does it take to make you believe this ugly side of life…A girl who has lost faith in human and humanity itself. And surely there are more like her.
The worst part is, not many parents in the middle class families here show the heart to call their suffering daughters back. First they spoil her life by marrying her early because they can’t let a ‘good proposal’ slip from hands, and when the decision turns out to be erroneous, they find it difficult to admit. And even if they do so, there’s always a tendency of making unjust settlements. “What the society will say”…is the most fearsome question ahead them!
Wedding a daughter is considered a big responsibility for parents here, but do they know what the bigger one is?
Deep down they know. Then why just prevent to be blind. Trusting their decision, a daughter nods to hold the hand of a stranger. Somebody tell them, not to be in so hurry. Give her some time. Atleast make her strong enough to support herself without depending on anyone. And when she is ready…
help her find a suitable ‘partner’ not an ‘owner’.
Wed Her Well.
Picture Credits: Google
If you stay near or around Chandigarh, and have an urge to get a break from the monotony of city life, just raise your gaze, cause there is an incredibly quiet place just up the hills. I am talking about the ‘Morni Hills’.
First thing that comes to mind while thinking about this place is that it might have Pea-pheasants in plenty, and who knows; the region is so blessed with diverse flora; I am sure there’s a hidden faunal treasure too, glimpses of which you get en-route.
The ride uphill was a gradual one. First we moved along the almost dry Ghaghar river beds witnessing the curvaceous carvings on the soft land that makes turn heads once or twice. For a moment, I felt like, it’s a different world altogether. The road is such a relief; you never realise that you are heading the countryside. The vista on the sides of roads is eye-catching. The rifts and valleys try their best to give some awe moments. The slope takes you to the lush green pine covered hillside; the needles swaying with a typical sound in the hilly breeze. We saw many unseen birds and heard many sweet songs of the vivid birds. Its spring season, everything is emerging slowly from the winter sleep.
Morni hills is famous for its two lakes separated by a hillock. Though I was expecting more, what I got was not that bad. The water was little muddy but nothing compared to beauty of nature combined with some human innovation. The Lakes offer scenic view and a place for the love-birds to have some quiet moments. Haryana tourism offers very delicious, hygienic and cheap food choices. According to me, it’s a good option for weekend camping. And if you desire, you can paddle into the lake water at your ease.
The lakeside also has an adventure park however sadly it is not being maintained. But we had great time with a naughty kid along and clicked some memories too.
There’s also a fort at the hilltop which was closed for renovation purpose.
The forest seemed calling us in, to savor its real beauty but due to lack of time and no paraphernalia, we the wanderers headed back home with a promise to come back in the monsoons when I am sure the beauty will be in multiples.
The sparkling lake was happy to have us, I guess. 🙂
I woke up this morning,
To the arrival of my fair lady;
A guest so cherished,
A reason for much celebration.
So white, so light like feather,
Having the purity of an angel;
Inspiring me to charge up,
And see the hidden motivation.
To do my duty silently,
Without any flashes or roars;
No desire to show it off,
Without disturbing any imagination.
To work towards a magical world overnight,
Which clearly needed a renovation.
If we go by words, ‘Rishikesh’ would mean the ‘Locks of Sage’ but I am not sure if it is relevant or not but what I know is that this city has definitely something to do with sages…🙂
Drive some 25 km upstream from Haridwar and you find yourself amid variety of people: Learners, Adventurers, Relaxers, Seekers and Wanderers. Yes, this is what ‘Rishikesh’ is known for. Located on both sides of emerald river Ganga, Rishikesh has succeeded in maintaining its spell on the natives as well as foreigners, equally; I too went there as a wanderer or probably was yet to discover my purpose.
Initially there were attempts from my side to book some hotels but as the destiny had it, due to New Year Celebrations, the ‘sold out’ board is all I got! Still we, ‘the family of wanderers’ endeavoured the venture, and this came as a surprise when we pulled the breaks exactly in front of the hotel which denied accommodation on phone for the sake of renovation in the first place but now they were more than willing to take us. Wow! I won’t say the stay was fabulous but adaptability is what defines us! Blame the still ongoing work or what, I would not really recommend that hotel. Hello! Putting an affordable cost for the rooms is not enough; you got to provide some basic facilities, forget everything else!
However the best part is that the Hotel was on-road, located near ‘Laxman-Jhula’ and many spa centres. The local sight-seeing was feasible but a bit demanding for us due to kids along as there are hardly any points to cross the river except for two distantly located Ram and Laxman Jhulas (Suspension Bridges) and not to mention the bothersome two wheeler traffic on a narrow strip cum bridges. You can hardly stand and enjoy the gigantic water body underneath. You can still witness some symbols of past tragedy when the calmest river got furious.
In the afternoon, it was time to discover the jungle which is a part of Rajaji National Park. Many picturesque points were waiting to be admired. An uphill ride to ‘Neelkanth’ was exhilarating too.
On the way, ‘Neer Waterfall’ was a treat to watch and we happily indulged in some soaking. It is a three-step fall aptly hidden from the populace.
We spent the evening by roaming in the locality, and witnessing another moment of the ‘River worship’ at the thirteen-storied ‘Tryambakeshwar Temple’– an awesome structure.
The very famous ‘Jumping heights’ asked for lots of guts as well as bucks, so it was kept on less priority than Camping for the next day.
With this, we called it night. 🙂
Its Monday folks! The worst day of the week you bet, where I am always running late in the morning for everything. The Fun day (Sunday) makes me so sluggish that it has become a habit to forget one or a few things at home and repent later.
But this Monday, I am in no hurry as you can see; I am writing! 🙂
Thanks to Pt Nehru, our first Prime minister; it’s his birthday today and our country celebrates it as ‘Children’s Day’ which is really cool. Why?
Come on, we all have our days, don’t we?
So first of all, here’s me wishing every kid over there, a happy ‘Children’s Day’, and as far as parents are concerned, I guess their every day is a children day 😉 which is sometime happy, and sometime the crazy one! But what to do, that’s the part of the deal ;).
Somehow I remembered and wished my girl first thing in the morning. She reverted the sentence as such after adding ‘let me sleep mamma!’
‘Fine’. When children themselves are not excited, why should I? Instead I picked my lappy and resumed my writing which I have been neglecting for a while.
Pleased by the gesture of my students on Teacher’s day, I promised to return the favour on this very day, forgetting it would be a holiday! But I didn’t know this day would coincide with the birth Anniversary of ‘Guru Nanak Ji’, the first Guru of Sikh religion (actually he is to be thanked for this holiday). This community celebrates the day with all pomp and show, I have heard, and am planning to visit a ‘Gurudwara’ nearby, may be in the evening. Many ‘happy returns of the day’, to all my Sikh brother and sisters.
The air in our country was ‘still’ for a few days; the currency change came as an agitator. You can see confused faces all around. Tell you the truth, just before the moment, this decision was made public, my daughter made me spend the last 500 note in my wallet. So I was happy as a clam.
Not for long you know, neither I nor Mr Coolhead had change or the smaller notes! Still we did great, leaving apart a few outing plans which needed to cancelled due to the never-ending queues in front of banks and ATM where we stood no chance! We didn’t even have the old currency in hand! So the weekend was spent at home, doing some important house chores like giving sun bath to the woollens as the winter is gradually approaching. I still have the job to empty the closets of summer clothing, and make them disappear as if they never existed, not at-least till April next year. Funny, seasons change but the jobs never ;).
In all, we were fine being cashless. Sensing our ease, the mighty employer decided to pay for our services before time and in cash! I mean why? What’s the hurry? But as they say, beggars don’t have choice (that doesn’t make me a beggar though, I don’t beg, I earn, remember), and so right now, we have the hard-earned, priceless, good-for-nothing-notes lying helplessly in my cupboard unless of-course they make their entry to the bank itself to become pricey once again 😉 . But seeing the never-ending lines, I better wait; there’s enough time. 🙂
No wonder, the people who have references, have changed their notes to new ones the very next day. But commoners without links again have to wait for the right time. Well, anything for a cleaner Country! 🙂
So how’s it going with you guys? Have you got rid of the old notes? Do check the places where you normally hide the treasure to be surprised to find it later or you are sure to surprised one day ;)!
Ciao and have a great week with much change in your ‘pocket’ and a huge change in the ‘country’. 🙂
(Rhyme it with Sun)
Sometimes people tell things, you have no idea of! And then suddenly information start coming from every possible source as if some supernatural power wants you to know all about it or may be I am just imagining it! 😉
Once I was in a conversation with a colleague…about the life of hill people which obviously for them seems ‘impossibly hard’. I am done explaining to people that it’s actually the opposite provided you are making good money, there’s no better place to live than hills! (By hills, I don’t mean hills, they do have houses 😉 )
It no more surprises me when they ask silly questions like, “How do they even live there? How is it possible to make a house on a mountain? Don’t people fall down from their balconies when it’s dark…?”
I don’t know why but most of contemporaries from the plains not only think but firmly believe that it’s just impossible to live there. They further add, “Do they get vegetables and fruits to eat there?”
I can’t believe. They live in mountains not on some hanging pole! And as far as I remember, the hills have many fruits which are not even seen in plains! If given choice, I would love to spend my whole life there but…
Forget it…that’s not my point. What I am saying is, one day one of my colleagues said, “We have heard there’s a village in Himachal where the Aryans have still managed to maintain the purity of their race. They are tall, fair and blue eyed people. They marry amongst themselves, and speak a very different language!”
This wasn’t totally something new. Most of the people there are fair, many well heighted, and very few also have blue eyes. I never heard about these ‘pure lines’ ever, but knowing the fact that I am just a human, and there’s limit to my knowledge, I just responded with a ‘may be’ at that moment.
But the curious history-loving brain kept bothering me, “Is it true? Who knows! When News Channels can show the way to Heaven (with steps) right through Himalayas, how did they miss it, or was it me who was deaf and blind!”
Slowly I got busy with other stuff of life, only to hear a similar thing about the height, beauty, and the exclusiveness of a human race in the interiors of ‘my state’ from a visitor. He was talking about Kasol. I thought …hmmm, interesting!
And the very next day an article came in the news paper… “The Residents Of Malana Claims Themselves To Be The Descendants Of Alexander The Great.”
Okay… that’s the thing. The Jumble got solved. So this is Malana people who were being talked about above. Well, I have never been there, so I am yet to see the ‘exclusiveness’ but Malana has surely once again succeeded in making it to the headlines :).
(For those who don’t know…Malana is a remote village in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Supposedly, the oldest democracy in world. They have a peculiar judicial system; the word of their village deity is final and no one dares to go against it. No one! If you want to know more…Go Google it. And remember I am not exaggerating; it’s a major hit among foreigners travelling north ;))
Last month, I put my feet on this marvellous land mentioned in ancient scriptures for its unknownness, and in current books for its difficult life conditions. I entered the gateway to the cold desert of India and celebrated some of its amazing and unique hues. Lately, it was a dream and now fulfilled, though partially. I still yearn to explore the valleys on foot, may be some day!
Our first halt was ‘Reckong Peo’- the town, surprisingly with every amenity necessary for a comfortable life. Earlier, I had the opinion of its being backward and tough (the result of its such portrayal by criers). The location is wonderful and sunny, and the climate, all pleasant. It is also known as ‘Land of Gods’. The visuals here, certainly make it ONE!
‘Kalpa’ is another beautiful hamlet near ‘Reckong Peo’.
The ambience is miraculous. The canopy of glistening pine and apple trees catch your gaze, the crawling ice-cold water streams freshen your senses, and the picturesque snow laden Himalayas in front, leave you spellbound. The walk through the village sends you back in time, far from the hustle and bustle of modern era.
Once there, the desire to come back to the animated life, vanishes…
(until of course you realise that the clock it ticking and you are running out of ‘leaves’ 😉 ).
(It is summer. For more mind-blowing winter pictures, go google it. The above photos are taken by ME except for the ones with date. Their credit goes to a friend, Umesh Chandel, MD.)
Taranda Rocks on the way to Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, India.
People say ‘Rajpoots’ have their roots in Rajasthan, Being one, I always had an intense desire to touch the land of our ancestors and taste the royalty of bygone eras. I managed to steal a few days and chose ‘Jodhpur’ and ‘Jaipur’ for a trip.
Over to Blue city ‘Jodhpur’:
‘Jodhpur’ is a Beautiful city in the western ‘Rajasthan’.
Founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajpoot chief of Rathore Clan.
Also known as Sun City, Jodhpur experiences bright and sunny weather throughout year. So the best time to travel this city is between October and March.
Before this visit, I knew Jodhpur for two reasons- for the shooting of ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ and the very infamous ‘black buck shooting’ by the film stars. But after putting my first step out of the Railway station as I raised my gaze to look around, I knew it for sure that it is going to be a visit worth.
We took an ‘Auto-Riksha’ and moved through multifaceted street reticulum to Hotel Haveli. As the name suggests, it is no short of a Haveli with many tiny hidden rooms decorated appropriately with carved doors. There’s a staired well in-front and its terrace offers an enchanting view of the city and distinct monuments.
The Hotel has a semi personal restaurant in every balcony; they call it ‘Jharokha Restaurant’. Food here is delicious and affordable. And best part is that many significant points of attraction are at walking distance from here.
The main Attractions of the City are:
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Clock Tower and Sardar Market
I will be talking about them separately in my upcoming posts. 🙂
Few days back I happen to come across a blog regarding INDIA, The foreign writer shared many good and bad experiences while his stay here. Though I might be upset for many things but at the same time, I have more reasons to love my country and definitely felt offended at certain points and thought, “How could someone be so judgemental?”
I mean, “Not every street of this second most populous country in the world is dung-stained! And not all Indians, sleep anywhere they find a space to fit in (we do have descent homes!).You may have a privilege to live a life which many Indians or many humans, for that matter, might envy but how can you ‘tag’ every countryman with strange adjectives? Well, my dear friend, let me tell you, I am very liberal and I know it’s just an opinion that you aired based on what you experienced while your brief stay here and trust me, opinions do change!”
Even WE get irritated by umpteen things in our country and it’s a human problem to irritate and get irritated then how does it apply to people of any special nationality.
His words pierced like thorns but at the same time I couldn’t ignore the REALITY, evident in them. People write FOUL only because we give them such an impression. What’s happening in our country is contributing to our GLOBAL IMAGE. It’s high time we mind our actions and clean this tainted image of our COUNTRY to make it a BETTER if not PERFECT place to live. By the way, which place on earth is just perfect?
One statement of this article which I found most interesting is that Indians are ‘LOUD’ and if I understand it correctly he meant INDIANS are NOISY. Here I somewhat comply with him; one can easily spot us loud while expressing our emotions whether it’s a birth, death, marriage or any religious act; it’s going to be loud!
I am kind of tolerant to this TEMPORARY LOUD EXPRESSION of emotion! But it also gets on my nerves when this loudness crosses a THRESHOLD. Tell you something, “My life is on a constant ‘LOUDER’ side for the last one week.”
“No, I am not insane!”
There’s park outside my house and some sort of religious act is on, for past 6-7 days. Initially it was okay with me (I am tolerant, remember!) but imagine a situation when you find yourself shouting your throat out, still couldn’t convey the message to your co-inhabitant. You CAN’T TALK, READ, SLEEP or for that matter, LIVE ‘normally’. The EXTREMELY religious people make it a point not to spare any LESS religious person and let each and every word be HEARD. What are you supposed to do if not go with the flow? Messing with someone’s religious sentiments might cost you huge!
Hence, I started dancing to their tunes and doing SUCH domestic tasks which require NO communication; NO relaxation. ‘There’s a hope that it is going to end by 7.00 pm, every evening’. But this LOUDNESS kept getting louder and louder one evening, not taking the name to pause. I came out to enquire whether the person in-charge, just forgot to switch-off the loudspeaker or what?
New revelation- The neighbours in-front, are celebrating their son’s birthday hence are into some religious deed. Good for them and God bless the young man but what is the need to do it so loudly. Why can’t they keep their LOUD HAPPINESS to themselves, at least now, when we are already going through much!
But No one can help it; it has to be borne (downside of being TOLERANT?)
Thus for two more days, our neighbourhood was VIBRATING, BUZZING and LOUD, so to say and our life WORDLESS, RESTLESS and CLUELESS!
But today when I reached home, a heavenly SILENCE was widespread; Yay! We have been given our PEACE back and now we can be ourselves?
This incidence has got me thinking what life could become without external peace (forget internal). Let us be little LESS LOUD!
My advice to the tolerant breed: it’s good to be flexible and tolerant but don’t let anyone take advantage of it.
My request to every fellow human:
LET PEACE BE THERE!
Use some common-sense and understand that others do have a life. GIVE them their share of space. Temporary loudness is bearable but its extension is not ‘PLEASING’ at all.
REMEMBER: If it’s was your turn to be HAPPY and LOUD, today; tomorrow it will be theirs. Nobody’s defying your right to be HAPPY…BE!
BUT just go easy on SHOWING IT OFF! 🙂