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Friday, December 18, 2009

Mumbai to Paris

Month back I boarded the flight to Paris. The route was not direct, but with one halt at Dubai.

I had this curiosity about Dubai airport. Heard a lot from people about it being one of the best airports in the world. But truly speaking, I did not find it amazing from any direction.
Since on this route you only cross a sea, it leaves nothing to show or mention regarding the route. But of course you can spot well known and heard places like Musqat and Abu Dhabi on the TV screen in front of you while landing at Dubai. The flight was a quick one and hardly took ~ 3.15 hrs. to land at Dubai.

The Dubai airport seems quite simple one, but with bit confusing routes to reach the next departure gate. I could not find any signs to get the direction. So, I what I did, followed the people moving in front of me. I guess, was fortunate that they were also moving to catch their next flight and not moving out.
Next flight from Dubai to Paris was a bit long ( compared to first one). I had decided to locate all the spots the plane crosses enroute. But being tired because of sleepless night waiting for the flight, I don't remember when I lost my consciousness. It was only after 3.00 – 3.30 hrs I guess, when the airhostess awoke me up and asked if I wanted some thing to eat, drink? I do not remember well,but I told her something, she offered me something. I took it, finished it and was back into sleep with in no minutes. I think I had Orange juice! I was so under the influence of sleep, that I noticed only while landing that there was very beautiful girl ( imagine a little short Steffi Graf ) sitting next to me!
Although I lost all the track, but I recollect few spots I noticed on the way. Based on that I tried to track the way I reached Paris. So here is the probable way I followed.

My flight passed over Istanbul which means I crossed countries IRAQ! Syria, Turkey and Ankara.

After Istanbul, I was again lost and faintly remember reading Zagrab, Muchen and Zurich. I remember of Zagreb because I have read about Zagreb indices in QSAR (Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship) method. I remember able to see some land covered white even at that distance. I just thought I have seen the tip of the Alps. And very soon I spotted Zurich on one side and Munchen written on my screen. No reason why I remember reading Munchen but Zurich is definitely known word to those who are familiar with the beauty of Switzerland. This indirectly suggests the track through countries Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Harzegovina, Croatia, part of Italy, Austria, border of Germany and Switzerland!

Well that is a big list of countries I crossed. The list must be a bit more long but these are the prominent names everybody knows for some or the other reason.
By the time we crossed Zurich, Paris was close by and it was time for all the passengers to get back to their sense and get ready for the landing. Once we were inside the borders of France, with surprising speed we crossed France and soon reached the other part of France.
The flight landed safely at the Charles de Gaulle Airport and I put my first feet on European soil.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

After a break!!

Well I am writing this post after a break. Its almost 2 months since my last post. And the result of staying away from the blog can be seen from my present Indiblogger ranking that has dropped down from 63 I guess to 35.
That is a huge drop just like the big drop in share market we witnessed few months. And I know it takes time to recover from such a set back and getting the conditions back to normal.
Well let me see how long it takes me to reach my original position and do I manage to cross over my earlier position.
Time will answer all the questions.
Now, there must be reason why I could not write any post in last 2 months. The reason is big and in fact great one.
I have moved into this beautiful place which people very well know as Paris.
I am going to stay here for some and I guess that will fetch some nice stories to put on this blog.
I was wondering for time being should I change the name of my blog to " The France Diary" or should I keep it same!
What do you suggest!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sinhagadh Expedition!!!!

Taking advantage of 3 days holiday, we made a plan to climb Sinhagadh fort located very near to Pune. 3 out 5 were the first timers for trekking, so it was decided that we climb on first day and then rest and repair ourselves in next 2 days.
We started from home at 6 o'clock except for one who joined us later midway climbing Sinhagadh.
After an hours journey on bike, we reached the base of Sinhagadh.
Being early morning and an amazing atmosphere, we first decided to warm us up with Poha and Tea.
The members included all belong to different states and so having Poha and Chai in this atmosphere was a memorable event for most.
Among all the forts in Maharashtra, I guess Sinhagadh is the fort that has been developed inview to facilitate the trekkers. Initial roads are broad ones made by putting stones. This ofcourse later on becomes normal and more close to nature, but still show signs on some work done on roads.
In between there are small huts where that provide refreshing NimbuPani and Taak ( butter milk).
Although Sinhgadh is otherwise an easy task for trekkers, our journey uphill was rather slow. First time trekkers and halts at regular intervals to click photographs of nature and not to forget our own in different poses made it very slow.
We took almost 1.15 hrs to complete 60% of uphill journey, when our late running member met us.
All overjoyed member decided to take a break and wished to refresh with Nimbu Paani.
After 2 hrs 15 minutes we finally reached the gates of Sinhagadh.
Normally the trekkers like to take a break when they reach the gates of any fort. We could not enjoy that because of very small shadow present there.
So, after a brief halt, we decided to take a round around the fort. Starting with Wind point, Tanaji's Samadhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak's Bunglow and alsothe Dev Take, the water source.
Inspite of so much hard work done, all the members were because of variety of food available on the top. Every body enjoyed the famous Kanda Bhaji and Zunka-Bhakar to the maximum.
After some rest, the downhill journey started. This journey was relatively simple and we managed to get back to base with in one hour.
Over all the the first experience of trekking was good was for the all the members.
And I was saved from their wrath for taking them to a hard working expedition.
Some snaps of our Sinhagadh expedition:

Right: Are you sure, we have to climb this hill?
Middle: Confused, as always, I guess so. Anyway, I will do what everybody do!!!
Left: Oh God, Why did I come here. God help me!!!

You can find Nature and Science living together here.

Some closer look at nature.

Curtain of water dripping naturally

Team Sinhagadh that finally made it to the top.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Permanent Driving License!!!!

Finally yesterday I put an end to a long awaited task of getting license. Yes a license to drive.
I already have two wheeler license and recently I was trying for four wheelers license.
This getting license task has always been a big headache.
I very well remember how was troubled for learners license for two wheeler. Must have visited RTO atleast 5 times then. Relatively getting permanent license is easy. Only one visit and license in hand.
Keeping that experience in mind, few months back I once again dared to visit RTO, this time for learner's license for LMV.

From there started my journey that seemed endless for while. I was told that in this new RTO, no questions are asked while giving the license. I went to RTO with all the documents, filled the form. But before going to the officer, a thought came to my mind. Its ne
ver easy for me to get Learning license (LL). I took a brake, went to nearby baord all the rules and signs we need to mug up for a short period. Once felt perpared I went to the officer. The journey begins now.
If you do not mind may I ask you the rule 128?
Do you remember? I am sure you do not, but still you are driving and that too LMV. Out of all the bunch only I was asked a question and that too rule 128. Obviously I could not answer and so rejected. I was wondering why only I was asked question? Because my face was odd one out or they had my suspicion about my driving skills and knowledge or because only I was only one appearing independently and through only motor driving school?

Interestingly when I returned to the board and checked for rule 128, I found out that it is related to 2 wheeler vehicles where the driver can not carry more than one passenger behind and that they should be sitted such that it doesn't trouble the driver.
In second attempt I wasn't asked any question but still rejected because my Passport xerox wasn't enough as my address proof, instead they insisted on MSEB bill!!!
In the mean time, all rules changed and now there is a test you need to appear for answering 10 odd objective questions. If 6 questions answered correct you are through. This time I was sure I will get the license. To be on safer side I attcached all possible and available documents to prove my identity and my address proof.
Prepared very well for the exam.
Format of exam is such that a question is asked with 3 options is given. You have to select one option in 10 seconds and after 10 seconds they tell you which is the right answer. Sounds cool.
Attempted all 10 questions and concluded that 9 out of 10 answers were correct.
Believe it or not I got 1 mark out of 10. Wondering if that 1 mark was given for wrong answer, I tried enquiring about my failure. As expected they had no answer, but from the answers they gave to other failed candiates, i guessed they might have failed me for copying!!
What had happened was while entering the exam room, a lady sitting next asked me for help to answer. I refused to do so. But must have happened that she tried copying me. As a result both were failed. I had lost all the hopes to get a LL. For the first time in life I was given a document saying
This was a big jolt and so decided to give last possible attempt on the date for rewritting the paper.
In the last attempt I was cautious enough not to speak to a single person and attempted all the questions. This time I scored 9 of 10 and finally got the LL. But while leaving the room, I checked the score for seat number 12 where I was in previous attempt. Even this time the candidate sitting had failed with a score of 1 of 10!!! So was it the technical failure that failure that failed me?

I joined a motor driving school and tried learning the car in most possible best way. Ofcourse some funny incidences did happened while learning, not exactly siimilar to showed here but happening ones.

I feel now I can drive car properly. Even if not smooth yet, but definitely not troublesome for others although few techniques unwritten in books are yet remaining to learn.

Yesterday, after heavy practise I went for permanent license. From my earlier experince I deduced/predicted that I will manage to get the license.
The driving test I gave was one most of the funniest incidence I have ever experinced. Not funny about my driving skills but for the way tests are conducted. I will try to portray the picture here. Please try to imagine the situation yourself. Our driving school had brought one car for the test and there were 10 candidates from the school. Now the way it works is funny. Initially the RTO officer along with our instructor and 3 candiates sit in car. About others!!!, they are supposed to either run behind the car or carry a two wheeler to catch the car. Person after giving the test moves out of the car and some body other running behind the car till then takes his seat.
Biggest surprise is that this test is being conducted on a ground where there are not obstacles inway. Even if you try going for accident, its not possible
The officer asks the candidate to perform few things which are then common to all.
For us the task was to start the car, put in 1st gear, drive, put second gear, drive, Stop. Put it in reverse gear, drive, stop. Thats it!!!!
Depending on your skills you cover the distance. For me it was hardly 20 meters front and 2 meters reverse.
I decided not to run behind the car and so captured the back seat.
First person did well, second person just couldn't managed to raise the car in 1st car and so failed.

Suddenly the officer realized a lady is running behind the car, so he invited her to give the test.
The said lady struggled for seconds to put the 1st gear forget driving.All this was making me more more tensed. But some how she managed to get going and then it was my chance. Fortunately every thing went smoothly and I cleared the test.
Later on we were told that except one all others have cleared the test. It was joyous moment for our class teacher as last time half of the class had failed.
Now we have been told to collect the license in coming 8-10 days.
I am still keeping my fingers crossed and waiting to finally get the license in hands.

P.S. The cartoon artwork has been taken from http://www.cartoonstock.com/ available on net.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Creature called Snake!!!

Well its an old story now.
But I happen to come across this photo today, so putting a note on it.
Few days back, one early morning, yes, I do see rising sun, I was in our parking and one uncle in our society brought my attention to one of the corners.
I could not understand what he is pointing at.
I had to go very close to the spot when I realized something is moving in there.
I spotted a snake lying there.
It was idle.
Its size was very small.
Doubt it was a grown one.
But since I was moving out somewhere urgently, I could not get much of the details.
Days past then and the story was forgotten.
One fine morning, I spotted the same creature lying at the same place in same position as left earlier. This time I was relatively and so decided to spend some time for it.
I went upstairs quickly and brought my camera.
Clicked some snaps.
Unfortunately his position was very awkward from a photographers point of view.
Tried telling please take a better pose so that I can click you properly.
But it was in no mood to listen.
Reason you can figure out form its figure.
A swollen belly explained all the story.
Soon few others joined me and we tried discussing its background.
With no expert around wondered if it is a poisonous one.
Also thought to call some snake friend group, since this is its second appearence in our vicinity.
But then, nothing happened and was again forgotten till date when it reappeared and this time directly on my desktop!!!!
This time I am taking a strong action and directly its picture on net.
If anybody knows this personally or carry any information, kindly let me know.
Although it is missing at the moment but nowonder if reappears again on the earth!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Well this came as a surprise to me. You can say by mistake, yes, by mistake I opened my another email account which is dedicated to this blog. Therein I found a mail from Indibloggers team.
The mail informed me that my blog stands 49th in total 100.
Now on one side this is a great news. It tells you that your blog is better than other 51 blogs.
But at the same time few questions rise in mind.
I am not clear who all are these 100 blogs.
I am sure that Indibloggers doesn't have only 100 members. The total number is much bigger than that.
Then who all appear in these 100.
Are these the newly added 100 blogs to the list or they are the best 100 in the whole lot or any thing else?
I am searching for these questions.
May be the answer is somewhere hidden in the mail or in their page.
Will get back if I get the answer.
Otherwise its still not a bad feeling to stand 49th in any random 100 blogs.

Checked the Indibloggers page. They say higher the score better tha ranking. score is given between 1 to 100.
Now I wonder whether rank 1 is the best or rank 100?
Also many many blogs might be having rank 49.(since all blogs are ranked between 1 to 100)
So it really isn't the rank of my blog.
You may call it something like percentile!!!!)
In case rank 100 is the best then please substitute 48 in place of 51 in one of the lines written above. Because in the end ranking might change but feeling remains the same!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ashadhi Ekadashi

Its Ashadi Ekadashi today. People from Pune atleast are aware of it because the procession (Palki) begins from 2 villages Dehu and Alandi, both closer to Pune.
Till date it used to be just another occassion for holiday or treat of dishes at home specific for fasting.
But this year I came across it in a bit different manner.
I guess on June 17, the Palki started from Dehu and Alandi. They follow a path via Puna-Mumbai highway. Now this obstructs people's route to office who need to take or even cross this road. My present office location also makes me cross the road. But since the road was closed that day I had to take compulsary leave.
So it remained in my mind and today when I was told at home that its Mahaekadashi and we are fasting, I started thinking why out of all Ekadashis this one is significant.
Answers I found on the net.
Two reasons:
This is the day when Lord Vishnu went to sleep and woke up only after 4 months. And those are the 4 months we follow as Chaturmaas.
Reason associated with the procession: Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram started from their respective villages Alandi and Dehu 15 days to Ekadashi and had reached the temple of Lord Vitthal and Rukmini in Pandharpur on this day.

This was long time ago in the 13th century. Since then this has been followed by people till date. I guess that is a long time. It has never been missed any year. I think this makes it really significant and worth following. Do not know if I would ever be a part of this procession but atleast now I know the reason behind it and respect it.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Recently I saw Delhi-6.
Yes I know its too late to speak about this movie.
After the early reviews by newspaper as well as by people around, I gave up the plan to spend money on this movie.
But at the same time I was curious and wanted to see the movie.
My wish is fulfilled. Recently from somewhere the movie itself reached my door steps.
So one day I planned to devote (spend !, waste!!) some time for it.

Without going into much details on the story of the movie, a general impression I made out of the movie.
Well I didn't enjoyed the movie. I just managed to be through whole of the movie.
First of all I feel you don't become an NRI by just changing your accent or by saying “Cool” or some similar prototype word every now and then. I guess Shahrukh was more closer to word NRI in Swades than the Abhishek in Delhi-6.
Second and the worst part is it does not give any sound reason for a person to leave his leisurely life in New York and come and stay in India and that too Delhi-6!!
Of course it showed that India has different facilities like Serving Paan at the arrival on air port, arranging for few people around whole making pickles and dancing at the top of the house.
Yes may be there were many people around the old lady Vahida when she suddenly went unconscious, but wasn't that just because she had recently arrived after a long absence? What would have happened if she was admitted to the hospital for long say 6 months or more? Would you have find all those faces with same feeling about her even after 6 months?
Definetely not!!! that does not happen in India too!!!.
here we forget yesterdays tragedies like bom blast, floods etc and go our way immediately the next day under the name of fight against terrorism etc. The real fact is we are equally selfish and just go to office just because you have (must) follow few dead lines at office or you might get fired or might not get good increments.
Anyways, One more thing that I realized was, the characters get lost in the story. Their presence was not continuous. Rishi Kapoor first appeared serving Pan to Old lady and then after few takes totally disappeared. Same was the case with Sonam Kapoor. After that Masakali song I guess, I totally forgot that she was a part of the movie. Similar were the cases with other characters but less significant.
I wondered what must have made Abhishek to stay back in India? Was it Sonam Kappor that made him stick to this place? Not a single of her qualities were revealed which would make her look so affectionate that some body would leave his luxurious life and live in the mess of Delhi-6.
Was there any other reason you could find to keep the handsome in Delhi-6? Kindly let me know.
I was surprised on one of Sonam's dialogue towards the end where she wondered if he would express his love towards her. Infact she should have been surprised that any NRI would fell for her irrespective how not great her personality is?
One big surprise is how Abhishek managed to arrange for the Kala Bander's dress in place where is no space for privacy?
The list might go too long, but I guess these many reasons are enough to suggest anybody, do not waste your time on this time.
Just to say something positive about the movie, would just appreciate the way they showed how even a small reason could be used to convert into a communal riot. Just out of nothing when the baba declares that there was a temple at the place of a mosque few years back, story takes a different route and whole atmosphere changes there. That was good.
So all NRIs, if you are looking for a Pan at the airport, or if wish to make pickles on the terrace with neighbours while singling and dancing and do some similar funny things, you are welcome to Delhi-6!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Return Journey

Evening before our return journey we planned to visit a famous hotel in I guess Sector 22.
The place is known more because of this hotel that belongs to a famous cricketer Kapil Dev.
Its called as "Elevens".

The interior is fantastic with all the walls depicting the history associated with this great legend. Also their is this place where few big cricketers who visited this place leave their a comments behind.

Next day morning we started from Chandigarh to Delhi. We reached Delhi early morning and had some time before we could catch our return train.
So we decided to make use of this opportunity to visit a near by place. The nearest place was India Gate.Although I had previously visited this place, but some how felt visiting the same again.
Early morning we reached at India Gate when people were playing cricket and doing exercise in the lawns near India Gate.
Since it was not crowded, we got chance to take some good snaps.
On the walls of India Gate you can find the names of all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in different wars against enemies.
At India Gate you will also find "Amar Jawan Jyoti" that represents all the sacrificed soldiers.
The guard which you see in the photo was standing as a statue and did not moved even a bit for all the time we were there.

Since we had some more time and it was getting too hot, we decided to stay in India Gate's vicinity rather than moving to any other place. Another reason was that no other place was open in such early morning.
resting in shades near India gate, few birds and animals wished to meet us.
A squirrel moving around invited me to take some of its snaps. The best one is below.

A dog sitting in another corner also came attracted towards us. Seeing camera in my hand, he wanted me to shoot his portfolio. I couldn't deny his request and clocked him in different poses. Some of them posted here. If any director liked these photos, then he is invited to see complete portfolio and then may be we can talk about his role in a movie.

Soon it was time to catch the train.
Early morning next day I was again ready with my camera to click the rising sun.
This was taken some where near Surat and let me tell you this is one of the most wonderful sun rises I have witnessed.
I have seen such a su rise with a layer of fog on ground but this was the first I clicked such a moment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sukhna lake

We had a chance for a quick visit to Sukhna lake in Chandigarh.
Its a huge lake in one corner of the city.
The name itself suggests that the lake never dries (Sukh Na).
I guess it is one of the best lakes to visit since it has been beautiful developed.
You can easily spend an hour or two in evening.
Just at the entry gate their are different snacks stalls. Must is a mention about the cleanliness around these stalls which definitely motivates you to try some new dish here. The road at the entry gate has lots of trees with crowded with different flowers of varying shades.
A few snaps says the story better.

As I said, the evenings here are very beautiful and you can read different moods of nature. One such mood I managed to click.

The lake has many stair cases to sit and to approach the water and different birds welcoming you. Most sighted ones are the ducks who definitely make you wait for a minute or two.

The lake in itself is a wonderful site to watch. But few other deeds like a huge tree at the bank, water sports, a long stretch of path for walk and some old kind of structure adds to this beauty.

I also managed to catch a glimpse of proud Sikh culture in close contact with the nature. This is one of my favorites in the whole set.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hotel Taj @ Chandigarh

We visited Hotel Taj in Chandigarh.
At the reception we were welcomed by this tall, handsome Mr. Darban who motivated me to start clicking fotos from there itself. Although I was bit disapponted with the picture since this tall handsome turned to be a bit shy and couldn't give a great pose as I was expecting. This is best I could click.

The interior of Taj was as expected beautiful. Right through Ikebana to different wooden (I guess) art work and the light arrangements, every things was fantastic. I apologize for a bit blurred photos. My camera has picked up this bad habit to discourage me from taking photos in dim light. Trying to work out some solution.

One attractive feature in Taj was this heavy statue of horse kept at the center. Every body took one of their photo along with this horse. But I guess only the horse looks fantastic, so we don't appear in here.

Some more of interior worth noticing.

Another interesting feature was this innocent face, which I tried to catch many times, but failed every time. The kid was too quick to be trapped. Even his mother will agree to this.