Monday, December 6, 2010

Dharmashala in Pics !

" Picture speaks a thousand words " -Here are few from my recent visit to Dharamashala !

A writing on the wall !(Picture taken while returning from Tushita)

A writing on the door of an exhibition of an Anti-China and Free Tibet memorabilia !

Narrow Lanes in Mcleodganj !

World's youngest Political Prisoner !

An enchanting Panchen Monastery !

All place in covention centre booked a day prior to Dalai Lama's preachings

Full Length photographs of Tribal Tibetans when they arrive in India from china

Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan art !

World as seen from the window of my Hotel !

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rishikesh-Haridwar Odyssey !

So the time finally came for my himalayan Odyssey to begin.My parents accompanied me for the tour to Rishikesh-Haridwar for their annual pilgrimage.This was going to be my 2nd visit to Uttarakhand.First time I visited Uttarakhand was with my grandmother when I was a kid some 20 year ago.We boarded the train from Howrah at night and started for Haridwar.It was really after a long time I was about to travel in Train for such a long journey and was looking forward to it.I woke up after having a good night sleep when train reached Varanasi.A newspaper hawker came to the compartment t Varanasi.I asked for an english daily as I didn't had change so I gave him Rs 100.He told he will return the change never to have come back.This was kind a welcome call for me for the things I need to be carefull for days to come.

Har-Ki-Pauri as seen at dawn.

We reached Haridwar Railway station in the morning.We got a hotel near Har-ki-Pauri,the main ghat in Haridwar.Propitiously located at the point where the Ganges emerges from Himalayas,Haridwar is India's one of the most Holy Place.The sheer number of pilgrims in Haridwar who come for Holy bath in morning at Har-ki-Pauri Ghat will simply blow you apart.One of the most famous ghat,Har-Ki-Pauri is where Vishnu is said to have dropped some heveanly nectar and left behind some footprints.Every evening hundreds of people gather for Ganga Arati which I truly an enlightening experiance.People burns a flower basket with light and put it on the river to drift away downstream.

Ganga Arati at Har-ki-Pauri at Dusk!

After spending 2 days in Haridwar we travelled to Rishikesh for a day visit.There is nothing much to catch in Rishikesh city except those two iconic Jhulas situated around 4 Km from the city.We spend a day visiting all Ashrams located at Ghats near two Jhulas.I will be writing more about Rishikesh having stayed 7 days in and around this area as my initial plan for mountainering course in NIM crashed in heavy waterfall in upper Uttrakhand.

I standing with Mom at iconic Lakshman Jhula at the background.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Himalaya Calling !!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.So throw off the bowlines.Sail away from the safe harbour.Catch the trade winds in your sails.Explore.Dream.Discover." -Mark Twain

Since last few years I have been thinking of taking a long break for 1-2 months so that I can spend the time exploring and just be myself travelling and satiating my irepressible wanderlust. All the travelling and expeditions I have been part of since last few years have been for 1-2 weeks and I always end up asking for more once they are finished.Nevertheless,I didn't get a chance to have a long break as I just got busy in the dungeons of life.It seems life became a race where we just cling ourselves from one milestone to another till we run out of gas.By the time I came from Saudi I was pretty sure of moving to a new organisation if they ask me to go to Saudi again.Meanqhile, I started getting offers from various organizations and decided to move.I thought this transition phase to be a right time for taking a long break after joining an organisation,it will be difficult taking a leave for 1-2 months at strech.I pushed my joining in all the organisations I got offers by 2 months.

Now as the agenda was set, all important planning phase started.I got myself busy with Internet exploring options and costs. Initially I thought of 20 days backpacking trip to Europe and then navigated to Thailand/Malaysia and then to 2-3 weeks trekking tour in Bhutan/Nepal.I enquired about them and somehow things were not conducive as dates and availability didn't matched.Later I read about very famous pro-mountaineering course through lonely planet in Nehru institute of mountaineering,Uttarkashi and Himalaya institute of mountaineering,Darzeeling and seriously got interested in these courses. I mailed them asking for dates and availability and thankfully NIM basic mountaineering course dates matched.

I told my parents about my trip plans.They initially were quite apprehensive but after much cajoling agreed.I told them to accompany me for the tour to Haridwar and Rishikesh for initial few days as they themselves wanted to go there for a long time.We all booked for the journey from Kolkata.My great Himalaya sojourn began as I packed as along with usual stuffs I packed both Lonely planet's INDIA and Rough Guide's HIMALAYAS.

Saudi Sojourn !!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Takeaway from this world cup !

I have been thinking to write a post-World Cup article for quite sometime now and
its not surprising enough that I have finally started jotting it down around one month after the event is long gone. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was undoubtedly the most-followed event in the history and these astounding numbers tell the whole story. Its is estimated that around 23 billion people followed it via broadcasting and around 3million lucky people witnessed it live on stadium.

Though I was not lucky enough to stay back in SA when world cup started, I do visited Soccer city where inauguration and final was played. Believe me seeing soccer city from outside was itself an experience. In this I am going to jot down some of the takeaways from this once in a lifetime African extravaganza.

Paul the Oracle : It was only after its third prediction, Paul the so called soothsayer Octopus was in craze and remained so till the end of the cup. I distinctly remember a 'breaking news' flashing on TV, while I was standing in a queue at airtel office saying, 'Paul again picked Germany'. I silently giggled thinking how on earth young Germans are going to tame all mighty argentines. Rest as they say is history. The brutality with which Germans butchered Argentina will be covered mostly in Maradona section. Paul went on a complete rampage there after and predicted all the results correctly. No wonder that Madrid zoo has bid for Paul to bring him to Spain.

Vuvuzela: The weird hum during the games in South Africa was a 2010 staple. Whether you found them annoying or affable, I didn’t expect them to be a part of Brazil 2014. If anything, the horns would remind the proud soccer power of its early exit in 2010.Incidently some days back, I heard the same noise while catching up a ManU –Chelsea Sheffield shield cup in a non-alcoholic pub at Riyadh. As Mexican Wave has been part of sports folklore since 1986, Mexico world cup, Vuvuzela could be part of soccer folklore from now onwards. In spite of a probable FIFA ban for vuvuzela during matches, I am pretty much sure vuvuzela is here to say for long time.

Spain: Spain has been one of the unluckiest team so far in world cup history. A country which hosts two of the powerhouses of football at club level had a very dismal show at world cup stage. Before this world cup they have managed to qualify for semi final only once and that too half a century ago. But this time story was about to change. The team looked quite fresh playing best players at each and every position. They had 7 regular playing for Barcelona and style with which they played very much resembled Barca. Its ironical that Barcelona, who have been trying hard to have their own existence in the form of Catalonia, had players playing for Spain out of their most coveted symbol Barcelona FC. Spain, whose economy was in doldrums since recession, has undoubtedly got the best boost possible for revival.

Maradona : Without doubt Maradona is perhaps the best player ever to have played this game. Such was his intensity he managed to uplift the feeble argentine team single handedly to world cup glory in 1986.Perhaps no other player, including Pele and Cryuff ,has so much impact on team performance as Maradona had on argentine team in 1986.But history was not to be repeated this time. The game’s bad boy committed some of the blunders which resulted in all-mighty Argentina’s sad demise from World cup. Not selecting Cambiasso and Zanetti , both Champions League winner, hit Argentina very bad. I somehow have a feeling 1st goal free-kick against Germany would not have taken place had Zenneti played the game in place of Otamandi in right back. The planning loopholes in the midfield were easily visible once Germany took one goal lead. Incidentally Maradona wrote a tweet in the morning of Arg-Ger game ,’Today is Maradona day’ which was being retweeted for many more days after Germany dusted Argentina 4-0.No wonder Maradona was dropped from argentina’s coach after world cup .Also it has to be said on records that , Maradona looked amazingly funny in Suit.

Young Germans: Germany was the real surprise in this WC. Not many thought Germany could reach semis in world cup initially. An untimely injury of Micheal Ballack before the WC start led everybody to expect an early German return from SA.No wonder Germans stuck gold with the likes of Ozil,Khadira(Both joining Real Madrid eventually),Lahm and Muller.With the current crop of players so talented,german football surely looks very much in safe hands.

Yet another Hand of God : Suarez will always remain a villan in Africa for generations to come.Had Asamoah Gyan scored that last minute goal against Uruguay,Ghana would have become the first African country to have been qualified form world cup semifinals.Inspite of some of these setbacks,the spirit of africa soared amazingly high in this once in a lifetime WC.

Running Naked Craze : Paraguayan model, Larissa Riquelme surely become the face of the world cup with her off the field exploits at stadiums.With her running naked craze after world cup win,paraguay World cup team surely increased its fan counts in notime.By the time Paraguay and Arentina both routed out in quaterfinals,someone said it very aptly that,'with this quaterfinal thrashing we dont have to witness the ignominy of seeing Maradona and grandeur of Larissma running naked '.

Netherlands :Netherlands,perhaps the unluckiest team in the world cup history, has proved out to be unlucky in this world cup again.But the combined performance as a team they have shown was truly something.Sjneider continued his club performance form in this world cup and scored when its team demanded the most.With Arjen Robben at front he formed a lethel pair capable of cutting through the most tighest of defence.They were very unlucky in not converting some of the vital chances they got in the final against spain.Personally I was gunning for Netherlands in this world cup after argentina crashed out and I do believe it will not be long till netherland will be kept away from world cup glory that has been eluded from them for long.

Mayanti Langar :Perhaps a big reason for popularity in india for this world cup owns to this suave and stylish anchor for the world cup called Mayanti Langar.She has been a part of NFL for long and perhaps no other anchor would have done the job so well.

This was truly a memorable world cup that happened in African Soil for the first time.When I was in Joberg only few weekes before WC was about to start,there were lot of concerns about crime rate which could jeopardise the whole world cup.The grandeur with which they conducted this WC was truly magnificiant and will be itched in people's memory for a long time.It was truly once in a lifetime World Cup.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Aazaadiyan Pairon Ki Bediyan !!

Amitabh Bhattacharya and Amit Trivedi rocked bigtime as lyricist and music director for this amaging single from movie Udaan...Simply Superb !!

Lyrics ::

Pairon ki bediyan khwabon ko baandhe nahi re, kabhi nahi re
Mitti ki parton ko nanne se ankur bhi cheenay, dheere dheere
Iraade hare hare, jinke seeno mein ghar kare
Woh dil ki sune kare na darre, na darre

Subah ki kirno ko rokein jo salaakhein hai kahan
Jo khayalon pe pehre daale woh aankhein hai kahan
Par khulne ki deri hai parinde udh ke jhoomenge
Aasman aasman aasman
Subah ki kirno ko rokein jo salaakhein hai kahan
Jo khayalon pe pehre daale woh aankhein hai kahan
Par khulne ki deri hai parinde udh ke jhoomenge
Aasman aasman aasman

Aazaadiyan, aazaadiyan
Aagey na kabhi, mile mile mile
Aazaadiyan, aazaadiyan
Jo cheenay wahi, jee le jee le jee le

Subah ki kirno ko rokein jo salaakhein hai kahan
Jo khayalon pe pehre daale woh aankhein hai kahan
Par khulne ki deri hai parinde udh ke jhoomenge
Aasman aasman aasman

Kahani khatam hai ya shuruwaat hone ke hai (hone ke hai)
Subha nayi hai yeh ya phir raat hone ko hai (hone ke hai)
Kahani khatam hai ya shuruwaat hone ke hai (hone ke hai)
Subha nayi hai yeh ya phir raat hone ko hai (hone ke hai)

Aane wala waqt dega panha hai
Ya phir se milenge do raahein
Khabar kya, kya pataa

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hypo-theatronomics -I

"Its hypothetical situation which can happen to anybody in a day to day ramblings that seems rather normal but can be viewed from a different perspective,more inclined towards a humorous one !"

Chanced encounter of a different kind!

Subordinate went to Restroom to wash his face. He has trying to fight back sleep for last 1 hour after coming from Lunch. After spending 2 years in IT he has become averse to movement of any kind.He thought of utilising his visit to rest room by taking a leak though their is no serious urge of any kind.

In walked 'Senior Manager'(in mid 30s,severly fighting mid life crisis) trying to give a stern look desperately trying to hide the emotion trauma he went through while getting serious flak from director.

He tried to follow urinal protocal but there was drainage problem in rightmost one out of 4 and reluctently decided to stand in the chamber next to subordinate.

Senior Manager : Sup...Dude?? (Manager tring to act cool and showing he can still manage to stand on lower side of hill number 30 )

Subordinate looked up from his deep slumber concentration and looked towards Manager. Both understood after looking at each other eyes how productive last 1 hour has been since lunch.

Subordinate : Its going gud !( Answered with a smile..wanted to add Man/Sir but could not utter. He is wondering what made senior manager speak to him for the first time in 2 years that too at this place).

S Manager : Howz work ?

Subordinate : Its going gud !!( Wondering what is the difference between first and second question)

S Manager : U from Delhi right?? (Thinking every north indian is from Delhi)

Subordinate : No..I am from Amritsar...Punjab (Thinking why is he asking so many questions that too at a place where both of them are holding their respective thing).

S Manager : So How u liking Bangalore ?? (Wondering why north Indians come to Bangalore to take away local jobs)

Subordinate : Its nice !!( thinking...should he tell about water problem he is facing in his rented accommodation since last 2 months).

S Manager : Hmmm... (Sadistically smiling and nodding his head after looking at the ceiling as if he just cracked Theory of Relativity).

Senior Manager leave the place after a brief shaking of his thing. He washed hands and spent some time checking his belly and turned sidewise to check whether there is any increment if any and felt disapointed.Subordinate joined him at hand wash concentrating more on his hand then any other part of his body.

Senior Manager left the place in hurry just remembering he has a con-call to attend in 5 minutes.


Next day morning Subordinate got a mail from senior manager congratulating him for his new promotion to become a manager as previous manager has resigned one week back !

Later same week he was summoned to Senior Manager Cabin where senior manager asked him to maintain same level of proficiency and honesty towards work that he has been showing for last 2 years.

Subordinate was flummoxed but still had to gave party to his friends that costed him half of his savings he had been doing since last 2 years.

Monday, May 31, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 (Once in a Lifetime) !

“It is not just a simple game, it is a weapon of the revolution.”
-'Ernesto Che Guevara' quoting on football

It was late one night of July 1994 my love affair with FIFA world cup and football in general started. I distinctly remember a suave little pony-tailed Italian, Roberto Baggio missing a crucial penalty to hand over Brazil its 4th world cup in the final. I was too young to understand the game and its format in general, but the passion and energy with which everybody followed it made me realize how big an event football world cup is. Ricky Martin’s theme song ‘Cup of Joy’ certainly played its part. More then the match it was the flak me and my Dad receive from my Mom later that night for watching the match till 4 am made the whole episode itched in my mind forever.

Over the years I remember witnessing Zidane’s 2 Goals against Brazil in 1998 to lift 1998 fifa world cup, and later Cafu and Cannavaro lifting world cup in subsequent tournaments in 2002 and 2006 respectively. What is it about football which radiates an emotion which remains unparallel in any other sports all across the globe. I remember Maradona saying in an interview, ‘Football is nothing but an innate natural game. If you give a small kid who has just started walking a ball, he would probably start kicking it and he can do it all day long’. Probably it is because of this reason, Football is adapted and played all across the globe including some of the poorest nations in the world. The emergence of African players and country amongst European and Latin stronghold is for everyone to see. Otherwise how will you explain, nations, distraught in civil wars and unthinkable poverty, producing some of the best Football players in the world?

I have been inching to write this post for last two months or so since I returned back from SA, but with only 10 days left for world cup to start, it has to be now or never. During my stay at SA, there was a super sports ad that comes in TV showing what this World cup means for African people across the continent. They tag named it as ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Cup and very rightly so. You just have to see newly constructed magnanimous 2.7 billion dollar ‘soccer city stadium’ to understand what I mean. It will indeed be special to witness World cup happening first time in Africa. I am sure India, specially Kolkata ,will be gearing up well for this world cup. When Maradona visited Kolkata last year for inauguration of a football academy, there were 15000 people standing at international airport to receive him at 2 O’clock night. When he further went for a felicitation ceremony at Saltlake stadium later that day, 1.2 Lakh people gathered in the stadium to catch a glimpse of their idol in scorching sun. I know a perspective says, people have no work so they indulge in these stuffs. But still fanaticism of such proportion is quite phenomenal specially when you consider football records as dismal as ours .It is somehow amidst this fanaticism and craziness you find true love and passion for the game. Their is certain honesty when you see young boys playing football on a rainy day in muddy Maidan wearing cheap T-shirt of their favorite football players. I remember witnessing Argentina – Germany 2006 quarterfinal clash at CCFC (Cricket Club and Football Club), Kolkata with around 500 gathered audience and believe me the experience is absolutely incredible though the result was not.

With the world cup starting in less than 10 days, the big question of, ‘Who’s gonna lift the cup??’ looms large more then ever before. Unlike cricket, where Australia in any format looks a definite contender by big margin, it’s difficult to predict any definite winner for football world cup. Spain looks very strong on paper and could be an overwhelming favorite. Their midfield combo of Xavi, Ineista, Fabregas and Silva looks very ominous. Argentina with Maradona as a coach undoubtedly has best forwards. Messi-Tevez-Aguero-Higuain-Milito can give any defense very tough time considering they get good support from midfield which looks a bit depleted. England on the other hand has strong Defense along with Brazil supporting very strong midfield. Then there is Netherlands, Portugal, and Germany who can give any team a hard beating on any given day.

Personally,I want Argentina and Netherlands to do well in this world cup. It will be amazing to see prodigy Messi playing under a legend Maradona. Also it will be enticing to see Argentina’s forward playing havoc in opposite number’s defense. Netherlands should do well because of their free and fearless playing style and amazing talent which they have in their bench. Over the years in cup history, they are the unluckiest team not to have won the world cup which should change considering the rich legacy carry forward by players such as Cryuff, Kluivert ,Bergkamp .At last all I can say is let the whistle blow and let the ball roll !

I would like to end this post with the theme song of world cup. Please have a doctor visit if your Adrenalin doesn’t pump after listening to this.

(0:45 in the video seems India)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TIA –This is Africa !

The title is picked from movie “The Blood Diamond”. This was said by actor, Leonardo De Caprio to gorgeous Jennifer Connely in the movie.

It’s been almost two months since I have been in Johannesburg, South Africa for an onsite assignment from my organization. I distinctly remember the day I left Bangalore for Joberg. As I was cruising through Mekhri circle in Bangalore for catching an early morning flight to airport, I saw a big hoarding of South African tourism with a picture of ‘Cheetah’ on top of a catching tagline which says - “Its possible!!”.I along with my 2 office colleagues boarded an Emirates flight for Joberg with a brief stop at Dubai.

We reached Johannesburg at night the same day after traveling for a gruesome 15 hours on flight. By the time we landed I was already down with 5 pint of Beers and 4-5 movies. It was there I catch hold of “Hurt Locker” which later went on to win Oscar for Best Picture. I still can’t believe a lady has directed (no offense btw) such a hard-hitting and raw war movie. I came out of the terminal to find Mercedes E-Class waiting for us to take us to our Lodge. By the time I left Airport any preconceived notion of Joberg or for that matter Africa, I had in my mind had vanished. Our accommodation and office was at Sandton - a suburb of Johannesburg which is called Africa’s Richest Mile.

It took me around few more days to realize how Joberg was different from any other place in India. I was already aware of warnings and precautions to be taken care while moving around Joberg. But somehow you don’t pay heed to those things unless you yourself are in that place. There is certainly no public transport over their and I find very less people moving around by walk. Coming from a country like India, where people do all kind of nuisance on Roads let alone walking, this was kind a difficult to digest. Inspite of this there is certainly some kind of mystery around Africa which is very captivating and difficult to ignore.

Sher k baju mein sher wali snap !!

Well..when it comes to africa..territory is well defined !

Fifa-2010..surely once in a lifetime !!

In Africa..people do bargain !!

By the time first month finished, I had already visited Sun City (An Amusement Theme Park), Pilanesberg National Park, Rhino and Lion Park, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City Mall and an amazing Casino cum theatre called Montecasino. Seeing Lions on roads just passing by our vehicle in National Park is something which I will remember for a very very long time. Apart from that, playing with lion cubs in Lion Park though was a bit scary but an amazing experience. What excited me the most was there were World Cup countdown timer placed across every nook and corner of the city telling how much time is left for the greatest extravaganza on earth. No wonder FIFA World Cup would easily be the single biggest event happening in South Africa (or for that matter Africa) after it got freedom in 1991.One amazing part of being in Africa is all the La Liga matches which doesn’t comes in India on TV ,do comes here and that too at a very respectable time. Watching Messi scored 4 goals against Arsenal in Champions League Semifinal while sitting in an Irish Pub amongst 100 odd people certainly bought back memory of CCFC, Kolkata. Being there made me realize ,this World Cup is much bigger of an event for Blacks as compared to white, who still considers Rugby as their main sport. One thing which I found very nice was, every Friday around 60-70 % of the people of all age group wore Bafana Bafana(name of South African Soccer Team) Jersey while coming to office. This tells a lot about the kind of love they have about the sports and how much this World Cup means to them. I somehow can’t see all this stuffs happening in India during Cricket World Cup let alone Football.

As the time pass by we visited another theme park called Gold Reef City which is built on top of a famous Gold Mine. Some of the rides on the park were just exhilarating and very scary. We first tried all the rides with Fear factor 9-10 and believe me there were some serious cracks at my posterior (It’s just a metaphor btw) after some of them. I went to Sun City again for water rides few weeks later which I had missed when I visited first time.

I know I have been quite optimistic in writing about my 2 month stay Africa in 2-3 pages and it’s just my apathetic indolence which has to be blamed. I was rather more vocal about my experiences in Micro-blogs (Twitter) which rather has cozy 140 characters as a limit. At last all I can say is this has been a memorable vacation cum business trip for me which I will surely remember for long time to come. Still there are many many places to explore in South Africa let alone Africa as a continent that I wish to cover in coming days.

P.S: This post was published after Abhishek returned to Bangalore few weeks later. He told it happened due to some serious procrastination issues that he is suffering since childhood. People who have met the author even once will affirm this completely.

Last I heard him telling, photos will be uploaded pretty soon...Believe me !!

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Post of New Year !

Happy New year fellas!!

I know I am late by only 1 month but its better late then never.This new year has indeed started with lot of hopes and aspirations and I am keeping my finger crossed till I take some of them to its right place.Since new year I am already down with an entralling trip to GOA and eagerly awaiting few more including a big one this year.

I am kind a running short of time to jot down all things that are happening in mah life, so as a shameless bugger I am attaching a video that I would like it to define my existance this year.

Amen !

So here goes Free Bird from 'Lynyrd Skynyrd'.