Sunday, November 13, 2016

माझी पुस्तक जुगलबंदी -- वंशवृक्ष (डॉ. एस. एल. भैरप्पा) आणि ONE INDIAN GIRL (Chetan Bhagat) !

मी तस खूप काही पुस्तकं वाचतो अस नाही.  पण बरेचदा कुणी मित्रान suggest केल किंवा एखाद्या आवडत्या विषयाच पुस्तक मिळाल तर जरूर वाचतो.  + ऑफिस ला बस नी जायला (आणि यायला) रोज एक - दीड तास लागतो, ह्या वेळेचा सदुपयोग म्हणून कधी फेबु तर कधी पेपर वाचन.  बरेचदा पुस्तक.  मराठी, इंग्रजी दोन्ही..

गणपती च्या वेळी डोंबिवली ला गेलो असतांन्नाआनंद मोरे ला भेटायचा योग आला.  आनंद माझा फेबु मित्र.  त्याच्या पोस्ट वाचून आणि फेबु वर चर्चा करून लगेच कळत की ह्याच प्रचंड वाचन आहे.  आनंद चांगलाच popular आहे आणि मस्तच लिहितो.  बहुदा ३० min बोललो असू आम्ही.  माझ संघाच सौख्य त्याला माहित होत.  आम्ही बोललो पण ह्याच विषयावर.  आनंद म्हणाला तुला डॉ. एस. एल. भैरप्पा आवडतील, जरूर वाच.  त्यानी मग मला काही पुस्तकांची नाव पण suggest केलीत.

-- पुढच्या पुणे ट्रीप मधे मी वंशवृक्ष, पर्व आणि आवरण ही पुस्तक घेतली.
-- त्याच दरम्यान चेतन भगत च नवीन पुस्तक ONE INDIAN GIRL आल.  Amazon आणि Flipkart रु १००/- च्या आस-पास घरपोच देत होते.  म्हटल "सत्यात मजा", घेऊ हे पण.  वाचून बघू नाही आवडल तर सोडून देऊ :-)

वंशवृक्ष वाचायला सुरुवात केली होती आणि दोन दिवसात ONE INDIAN GIRL पण मिळाल.  म्हटल हे पण थोड वाचून बघू.  आणि इथे माझ्या "पुस्तक जुगलबंदी" ला सुरुवात झाली.

वंशवृक्ष

ONE INDIAN GIRL

ONE INDINA GIRL deliver झाल तेव्हा उत्सुकता म्हणून जरा चाळल, इंटरेस्टिंग वाटल :-)

पुढचे १० - १५ दिवस दोन्ही पुस्तक आलटून-पालटून वाचत होतो.  प्रयोग मजेदार वाटला.  दोन्ही लेखक छान पैकी "story teller" आहेत.  दोन्ही पुस्तकान्नी मला बरच काही शिकवल.

वंशवृक्ष, १९६५ -- छानच आहे !  भैरप्पा खूप सुंदर गोष्ट सांगतात.  स्वातंत्रोत्तर काळच चित्रण असावं.  इंग्रजांचा उल्लेख नाही पण मैसूर च्या वाडियार राजांचा उल्लेख आहे.  श्रोत्री त्यांची सून (कात्यायनी), सदाशिवराव, त्यांचा भाऊ राज आणि इतर सगळी पत्र खूप छान रंगवली आहेत.  परत तत्वज्ञाय ही फार सोप्या भाषेत हाताळल आहे.  ग्यान किंवा डोस वाटत नाही, पात्रांच्या अनुभवातून उलगडत जात.  मला पुढील उतारे खूप मार्मिक वाटले आणि माझ्यासाठी ते ह्या पुस्तकाच सार किंवा गाभा असावेत...

कसली भारी प्रगल्भता (maturity) आहे बघा !

--- श्रोत्री: "सगळ आपल्या मनाप्रमाणे घडत तर मग संसार कशाला म्हणायचं ?"

--- श्रोत्री: "ज्याचा जेवढा ऋणानुबंध असेल तेव्हडे दिवस तो आपल्या बरोबर रहात असतो.  तो ऋणानुबंध संपला की दूर जाण अटळ असत.  काहीजण मृत्यूमुळे दूर जातात, तर काहीजण जिवंतपणीच दुरावतात. आपण त्याचा तसाच स्वीकार करायला हवा, नाही का ?"

--- श्रोत्री: "माझ्या मुलाचा ऋणानुबंध संपला आणि तो नदीत बुडून माझ्यापासून दुरावला.  माझी पत्नी आजाराच निमित्त होऊन माझ्यापासून दूर गेली.  त्यांचा मी कसा तिरस्कार करू ?  ते दोघ मृत्यूमुळे माझ्यापासून दूर गेले आणि ती (सून) जिवंत असताना दुरावली एव्हडाच माझ्या दृष्टीन फरक.  माझ्याबरोबरचा ऋणानुबंध संपला.  ती निघून गेली.  त्यात तिचा तरी काय दोष ?"

--- श्रोत्री: "पण स्वतःच्या उदरात नऊ महिने वाढवलेल्या मुलाला सोडून जाताना तिलाही दु:ख झाल असेलच ना ?  त्या दु:खावर मात करणारी नैसर्गिक शक्ती त्यावेळी प्रबळ ठरली !  यालाच आपण माया म्हणतो, नाही का ?  या जगात प्रकृति-सहज गुणधर्मांनी जगायचं ठरल की त्या प्रकृतीविरुद्ध उभ रहाण अतिशय कठीण असत.  ती ह्याला बळी पडली ह्यात काहीच आश्चर्य नाही.  या कारणासाठी तिचा तिरस्कार करण योग्यही नाही."

-- श्रोत्री: "जे घडून गेलय ते पुन्हा पुन्हा आठवून काय मिळणार ? ..... तरीही मी शक्यतो घडून गेलेल्या घटनांची उजळणी करत बसत नाही."

--- सदाशिवराव (स्वगत): "श्रोत्रींनी स्वतःच्या जीवनात मानसिक द्वंद्व निर्माण होण्यासारखं एकही कृत्य न केल्यान त्यांना अस जगण शक्य होत असावं !

आता विचार किती स्पष्ट आहेत ते बघा आणि विचार पद्धती किती समतोल (balanced) !

--- श्रोत्री: "तुमच्या जागी मी असतो तर असा वागलो असतो अस आज सांगण योग्य नव्हे, अस मला वाटत.  तुम्ही तुमच्या एका इतिहासाच्या तासाच्या वेळी वर्गात सांगितलेली गोष्ट परवा चिनी सांगत होता- एका साधून राजाला म्हटल, 'मी तुझ्यासारखा चक्रवर्ती असतो तर असा रक्तपात केला नसता.'  त्यावर तो राजा उत्तरला, 'मी तुझ्यासारखा साधू असतो तर युद्धाचा विचारच माझ्या मनात आला नसता.'

--- श्रोत्री: "ग्रंथनिर्मितीसाठी तुम्ही दुसरा विवाह केलात अस तुम्ही म्हणता.  ग्रंथनिर्मिती हा बुद्धीशी संबंधीत विषय आहे.  बुद्धीतत्व ही प्रकृतीची एक अवस्था आहे.  बुद्धीच कारण सांगून त्यासाठी दुसर लग्न करण हा ही प्रकृतीच्या आकर्षणाचाच एक भाग !  केवळ शारीरिक आकर्षणापोटी केलेल्या विवाहापेक्षा हे उत्तम असल तरी त्यात मुलभूत फरक नाही, अस मला वाटत.  खर ज्ञान ही बुद्धीच्या पलीकडची गोष्ट आहे.  त्यसाठी कुणाच्याही सहाय्याची गरज नाही हृदयाची सच्ची हाक तीव्र असली की पुरेस आहे."

--- श्रोत्री: "बदललेल्या सामाजिक चौकटीत विवाहाचा उद्देश बदलत असल्याच दिसत.  हे योग्य आहे की अयोग्य हा वेगळाच मुद्धा आहे.  आपल्याला कळत वा नकळत केलेला विवाह, त्या दुसऱ्या जिवाची काहीही चूक नसताना कसा कमी महत्वाचा ठरेल ?'  आपल वैवाहिक जीवन आठवण श्रोत्री पुढ म्हणाले, 'मलाही काही वेळा तुमच्या सारख वाटत होत.  मी सतत संस्कृत ग्रंथांच्या अध्ययनात बुडालेला आणि माझ्या बायकोला संस्कृतचा गंध ही नव्हता.  वेदांतावर चिंतन करत मी अनेक ग्रंथांची पारायण करत होतो आणि माझ्या बायकोला कन्नडमध्ये चार ओळीच पत्रही लिहिता येत नव्हत.  तरीही ती मोठ्या भक्तिभावान पतीची सेवा करत होती.  देवपूजेसाठी फुलं आणून देत होती.  गंध उगाळत होती.  तीन वंशवृक्षसाठी एक मूलही दिल.  बौद्धिक पातळीवर तिचा आणि माझा काहीही सम्बंध नसला तरी ती उत्तम धर्मपत्नी होती."

--- श्रोत्री: "तुमच्या जागी मी असतो तर असा विचार करण योग्य नव्हे, तसच त्याच्या विरुद्धही विचार करण फारस योग्य नव्हे.  प्रत्तेकाच्या जीवनदृष्टीवर ते अवलंबून असत.  कधी कधी एका मार्गान चालताना अपरिहार्यपणे द्वंद निर्माण होत.  पण त्या रस्त्यावर पुढे गेल्यावर माघारी वळण्याच ठरवल तर त्याहून वेगळ द्वंद्व जन्म घेईल."

--- सदाशिवराव: "द्वितीय पत्नी द्विपत्नित्वाच्या विरुद्ध आहे.  एका घरात एकाच वेळी दोन बायकांबरोबर एका पुरुषान पती म्हणून रहाण तिला तिरस्करणीय वाटत.  हेही एक आधुनिकतेच मुख म्हणा हव तर !"

--- श्रोत्री: "त्यांचे विचार सर्वस्वी चुकीचे आहेत अस नव्हे.  पण तुमची पहिली पत्नी हयात असताना त्या तुमच्याशी लग्न करायला ज्या विशिष्ट ध्येयासाठी तयार झाल्या, त्याच ध्येयसाधनेला संपूर्ण महत्व देऊन त्या मनातला तिरस्कार थोडा कमी करू शकल्या असत्या, नाही का ?  व्यक्ती किंवा समाजाच्या जीवनाच्या प्रत्तेक जीवनपद्धतीचा स्वतःचा असा विशेष उपयोग असतो.  आपण विशिष्ट संधर्भात त्या जीवनपद्धतीला किती महत्व द्यायचं याचा प्रत्तेकान विचार करायला हवा.  जिवनाच मूळ ध्येय स्पष्टपणे उमजलं असेल तर प्रत्तेक जीवनपद्धतीला नेमक किती महत्व द्यायचं ते आपोआपच उमजत."

वंशवृक्ष-१

वंशवृक्ष-२

वंशवृक्ष-३

वंशवृक्ष-४

वंशवृक्ष पुस्तकावर आधारित सिनेमा ही निघाला आहे आणि त्याला राष्ट्रीय पुरस्कार सुद्धा मिळाला आहे.

आता चेतन भगत च्या ONE INDIAN GIRL कडे बघू.  बर्याच लोकान्ना चेतन भगत आवडत नाही.  खूप लोकान्ना आवडतो ही.  त्याच्या पुस्तकांवर सिनेमा बनायला लागल्यापासून तो सिनेमा साठीच पुस्तक लिहितो अस मला ही वाटत.  त्याची Revolution 2020 आणि Half Girlfriend ही पुस्तक मला सिनेमाच्या गोष्टीच वाटल्या.  पण चेतन भगत सुद्धा खूप चांगला story teller आहे !

इथे सुद्धा एक भारी पैकी हुशार, actually खूप हुशार नाईका आहे.  खूप खूप अभ्यास केल्यामुळे तिला अमेरिकेत एका लय भारी कंपनीत नौकरी मिळते.  पुढे हिची नौकरी + खूप सारी मेहेनत + ऑफिस बाहेरच तीच आयुष्य लेखकांनी खूप छान रंगवल आहे.  एकेठिकाणी प्रेमासाठी रग्गड पैसा आणि समाधान देणारी आणि खूप आवडणारी नौकरी सोडायला सुद्धा ती तयार असते.

मग अमेरीका ते हॉन्ग कॉन्ग ते लंडन असा तिचा प्रवास.  मग तीच गोव्यात लग्न.  इथे "कहानी मे ट्वीस्ट".  आणि मग तिचे विचार किती स्पष्ट आहेत ते बघा !

There are fundamental things about both of you that won't change.

Radhika to Debu: Debu, you say you will be supportive, but the fact that you couldn't handle even a bit of my success means it's an intrinsic part of you.  You can't change that.  And I plan to be a lot more successful than what you saw.  So, sorry, no."

Radhika to Neel: And Neel, you are amazing, no doubt.  The chartered plane, tempting, of course.  Now with the divorce & everything I know you love me too.  But you know what, you love only half of me.  My other half is Kusum, the women you left.  You want a party girl.  Someone young, who allows you to cling on to your youth.  The same youth you work so hard in the gym for.  Well, I won't be this young girl forever.  I don't know what Neel Gupta will do with me then.  He likes Radhika, his young vice president, but will he like Radhika, the diaper-changing wife & mom ?

ONE INDIAN GIRL

Friday, October 14, 2016

रूपकुंड (Roopkund Lake) -- Day-2

This day was probably destined to be eventful for me.  We 3 were supposed to reach Railway station by 7 AM (max) to join rest of the team to start Kathgodam to Lohajung journey.  This ~275 KM journey takes about 10 hrs so the plan is always to start early...

We got up at 6 AM and stated preparing.  By 6:30 AM rest of the team had reached the Railway station and they started calling us to hurry up.  Every 5 - 7 min either the driver or somebody from the team would check on us.

We somehow managed to be ready to leave the KMVN Guest House by 7:30 AM and I noticed that my wallet is missing.  We searched everywhere in the room.  All my luggage as well a multiple times.  The room attendants also helped us but no success.  I had a lot of cash + all my cards + IDs in it.  I was not able to recall where did I keep it last.  After 15 min of search by 5 members and a few calls from the rest of the team asking us to hurry up, it was decided that I lost it and we better report this to the police.  If they get it, they may call me.  I was not at all sure if this will help.  I was like "shxx" not a good start at all :-(.

We ran to the railway station parking and joined rest of the team.  I dropped the idea of reporting to police.  I now started thinking of calling banks for various cards to be blocked and all related trouble.

Running towards Kathgodam Rly Station (Photographer: Chirag)

Kathgodam Rly Station (Photographer: Chirag)

We introduced ourselves to 7 others who were waiting for us and finally started the journey.  Took a 15 min break for b'fast and started towards Kausani.

Checking Kathgodam City from height (Photographer: Chirag)

One of the bridge on the way (Photographer: Chirag)

By noon, we had crossed Kausani and it was time to halt for lunch.  On way to Baijnath there is a tea factory.  There are 2 hotels here and a few shops.  There is also a shawl factory.



We had lunch here and surprise !  I got my wallet back :-).  My room-mate had pocketed it in the morning at the KMVN Guest House, of-course by mistake, assuming it is his.  Post lunch, he pulled it out to pay money and I saw a familiar item in his hand.  Now it was his turn to search for his wallet :-).  Luckily he found his wallet in his luggage.  What a relief !!!

Rest of the journey was through forests and never ending ghats, climbing one mountain, getting down the other side and climbing the next one.  The journey was: Kathgodam -- Bhimtal -- Sukha -- Dhuna -- Almora -- Someshwar -- Kausani -- Baijnath -- Gwaldham -- Dewal - Lohajung.  About 275 KM.

Around 4 PM, it started raining heavily.  We had just reached Dewal.  Another adventure was waiting for us.  We thought of taking a tea break.  But the rain made it difficult to come out of the tempo for a while.  Once out, we got to know that big trees have fallen due to rain and the road ahead is blocked at 2 places.  Our tempo driver was not sure when will the road get cleared.

Luckily, our transport coordinator was at Dewal.  He arranged for a BIG jeep and shifted us to it.  This was cramped compared to the space that we had in 14-seater tempo.  We still had about 1.5 hrs of journey left.


Our jeep could barely pass through this road block.  At 2nd location, the tree was cut into pieces and road was clear.

We reached Lohajung around 6:30.  This is the base-camp for Roopkund trek.  A small village with a few hotels and guest houses all over.  A few shops selling items like: woolen gloves, woolen caps, trekking pole, etc to trekkers.

It was dark all over.  We settled in one Govt Guest House.  More of a dormitory.  There was no power and we were told power is very erratic there.  Mr. Dev Singh is in-charge here.  He arranges all logistics for trekkers like: stay, food, local guide, supplies for next 5 days of trek.  Very jovial and energetic person.

We were introduced to his team and also had a briefing with Rhik who is from the trek organiser's office.  Rhik will also be with us during the entire trek.  Got to know a few do's and don't's.  Especially to watch ourselves for any signs of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).  Symptoms like: headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath, generally around 10,000 feet/3,048 meter.  If needed, take Diamox or any paracetamol tablet.  Best is to drink as much water as possible.

Next day, plan was to start around 9 AM, post B'fast.

Monday, October 10, 2016

रूपकुंड (Roopkund Lake) -- Day-1

Background:

This was definitely a "call of the mountains".

It started with "Valley of Flowers" trek in July-2015.  I felt mesmerised and intimidated by the sheer size of the mountains, the snow covered giant glaciers and the possibility to drive body (and mind) beyond it's limits.

**I did not know, there is a song by this name: "call of the mountains" in the album "Eluveitie".  Its lyrics fits the sentiments very well...

**There is a Marathi Natyageet with similar mood as well.  "साद देती हिमशिखरे शुभ्र पर्वताची", complete lyrics here.  But here, the hero is wishing to leave for Tapasya leaving the worldly pleasures behind :-)


Present:

Apr-16, started hunting for a Himalayan Treks that I should attempt this year.  After a few searches, finalised Roopkund.  The "lake-with-skeletons" attracted me in addition to a lot of fellow trekkers talking about it.  1 more team member of mine Yash agreed to join + 1 more friend of his from Pune as well.  Sometime in May-16, paid visit to Decathlon, the sports shop and spent ~6K :-(.  Started preparation by walking 4 - 5 KM each day, 5 days a week.  Like last year, this year also did a few rounds of Nandi Hill to test my stamina.


The unexpected:

4 days before the departure, on a WED morning, I was casually looking myself in the mirror and suddenly my lower back started paining, some kind of sprain.  I guess the me in mirror did not like the real me for some reason :-(.

I thought it will go away with more movements or bit of walking so continued with my routine and reached office, while the lower back was still paining.  After a few hrs at office, the pain did not show any sign of reducing.  Now, it was not allowing me to sit or stand either.  Something was seriously wrong :-(

Went to the Doctor's room, took a painkiller + used hot-water-bag.  No relief !  Luckily, later that day, an orthopedic was to visit our office.

He examined and told me -- this looks like some weak muscle has sprained -- or this can be "disk" related issue -- take medicine for a few days, if the pain does not go, you'll have to get an MRI done -- this is typical of "modern" Doctors -- they make it look like they are not hiding anything from you -- and they scare you royally...

Dr. gave me 5 days medicine and asked me to watch myself.  When I told him about my trek plans, he blasted me saying, do not do any adventures, just cancel the trek...

Came home and started taking the painkillers.  Luckily, in 2 days the pain reduced and 4th day, it was gone :-).  Meanwhile, parents were worried.  Kept calling me 2 times a day, asking me to check back with the doctor.

This sudden development had potential to derail my trek plans.  But I survived...

Itinerary:


Day From To Distance Mode Elevation Elevation
Day-1 BangaloreDelhi---Flight


Delhikathgodam---Train

Day-2 KathgodamLohajung240 kmBy Road2300 m7500 ft
Day-3 LohajungDidna10 kmTrek2450 m8000 ft
Day-4 DidnaBedni Bugyal12 kmTrek3600 m12000 ft
Day-5 Bedni BugyalPatar Nachuni5 kmTrek3750 m12300 ft
Day-6 Patar NachuniBagubasa5 kmTrek4300 m14000 ft
Day-7 BagubasaRoopkund4 kmTrek4850 m15900 ft

RoopkundBagubasa4 kmTrek------

Bagubasa Patar Nachuni 5 kmTrek------

Patar Nachuni Bedni Bugyal 5 kmTrek------
Day-8 Bedni BugyalWan17 kmTrek------

WanLohajung15 kmBy Road------
Day-9 LohajungKathgodam240 kmBy Road------
Day-10 KathgodamDelhi---Train------

DelhiBangalore---Flight------

Day-1:

Took an early morning BLR - DEL flight.  As usual it was pleasant and little cold morning at Bangaluru.  When we landed at Delhi, around 10:30 AM, the flight attendant told outside temp is 36 °C.  The moment I stepped out of the aircraft, it was evident that I was in Delhi.  It was hot !  Not like 36 °C of Bangaluru...

1st we had a little mix-up of terminal at Airport while we caught up with Chirag.  Then took Metro to reach Chandni Chauk.  Target was "prathewali gali".  Actually, last year I had been here and felt that this place has lost its charm and taste.  But still attempted it again this year.  Now, I'll not dare it again next time.  It is not worth the efforts anymore :-(

Post lunch, reached Old Delhi Rly Station to catch 4 PM train to Kathgodam.  Spent time in waiting room on 1st floor.  Age old ceiling fans from this age old building were completely useless.  Same in the train.  It was HOT all the way till 8 PM.

Finally reached Kathgodam by 11 PM.  We were not sure if we'll get food this late.  Two of our trek mates helped us with packed dinner.  They had reached Kathgodam earlier that day and would be joining us for the Trek next morning.

I had been to Kathgodam during Jun 2011 for Nainital - Kausani - Ranikhet trip.  That time, this Railway station felt real small.  We in fact spent that night at the station as taxi did not use to run between Kathgodam & Nainital during night.

This time, it was a complete change of scene.  The railway station has been renovated.  A new reservation counter, quiet many restaurants and shops that were open late night.  Taxi and buses to Nainital running late night as well.  The lighting at railway station looked impressive and this is the 1st photo that I took for this trip.

Kathgodam Railway Station

I had booked KMVN Guest House that is next to the railway station for night assuming it to be the safest option.  This is located next to a Masjid and we were sure of waking up at 5 AM :-).

Friday, August 07, 2015

फूलों की घाटी (Valley of Flowers) Trip -- Day: 2

19-July-2015

Today plan was to get up early & start towards Govindhat, via: Rishikesh - Devaprayag - Srinagar - Karnaprayag - Chamoli - Joshimath.

We were told to be ready by 6 AM & that the tempo will start with or without us at 6 AM from the hotel.  This transport was arranged by our tour operator.  Otherwise, one can take state-transport Haridwar - Joshimath bus as well.

We were also told that sometimes the road gets blocked due to landslide & it is better to start early.

The tempo came at 7 AM & our batch of 9 got into it.  Rest 7 were new faces.  Had no idea who they are & where are they from.  We loaded our luggage, took our seats & started.  Who would have said at this time that these 7 new members will become friends for life during next 7 days :-)...

As soon as we left Rishikesh, the drive was all "ghats" & nothing else.  Mountains, forest, green everywhere + the Ganga river on one side all the time.  Time to sit back & enjoy the drive.  Weather was also good.  Not very sunny & no rains.

video

On the way, passed Devaprayag.  This is where "Bhagirathi River" flowing form left joins "Alaknanda River" flowing form right and continues towards Rishikesh as "Ganga River".  Did not go down to the Sangam for want of time.  Had seen this confluence in many pictures.  It was nice to see the two rivers bringing in water that has distinct color.


Confluence of Bhagirathi & Alaknansa rivers to form Ganga

video

Here onward, Alaknanda River would be with us all the time.  Further up, Alaknanda River, is at Badrinath, then Mana village & if you check it on google earth, it is seen starting near "Bhagirath Kharak Glacier".

By 10:30 AM, we had crossed Srinagar village.  About 30 min later, near Kalyasaur village, the tempo driver found his friend who was driving other tempo form our group.  He stopped our tempo saying "lunch" break.  We had our b'fast at 8 AM & nobody was hungry for lunch.  After getting down, we got to know that 4 KM ahead, the road is blocked due to land-slide & police has stopped all the vehicles at Kalyasaur village.  People were telling that it may take 1 day to clear the road.  This was our 1st encounter with nature, at the beginning of the trip itself.

To kill time, myself & Dnyanesh, we decided to walk up to the land-slide spot & see it for ourselves.  It was bright & sunny so we took our umbrellas with us.  This is probably 1st time in life that I used umbrella for sun :-).


Border Road Organisation's (BRO) sign board.
"Shivalik" is name of the project that BRO took up for laying roads in this part of Uttarakhand.  For more check this link -- Shivalik

While we were walking casually towards the land-slide spot, one Sardarji crossed us on bicycle.  He should be 50+.  With 1 bag on his career & 1 hanging from handle.  As the road had a steep incline, he was pushing his bicycle.  When we asked him "where is he from?" & "where is he going?".  He told us that he is form Punjab & going to "Hemkund Saheb".  From the point where we met him, Hemkund Saheb is about 175 KM.  And he was going there on bicycle !  Amazing !!  During next few days we saw many more devote Sikhs going to Hemkund Saheb for the pilgrimage.  More about that later...

1 KM before the land-slide spot, suddenly we saw bikes coming form opposite direction & the riders were shouting that the road has been opened.  As expected, vehicles started coming form Kalyasaur village.  Everybody was in such a hurry that most of them started going ahead on wrong side & this resulted in traffic jam.  Vehicles coming from front had no way to move out & it became a chaos.  We called our tempo driver & asked him not to leave the hotel as there was traffic jam.  We then took a state transport bus back to our tempo.  We had lunch & then left to join the traffic jam :-)

Our tempo could hardly go 2 KM & we got stuck behind a big line.  Dnyanesh again decided to walk ahead & see if the traffic jam can be managed.  Meanwhile, it was 4 PM & all other members in the tempo were getting worried that the traffic jam will not clear & no way to find out how long will this take.  We then called the tour operator & asked him to check for hotel for us at Srinagar town back towards Haridwar + we decided to wait there for 1 hr more & if the traffic clears, then we had chance to move out & reach Govindghat.

Suddenly it rained heavily for about 15 - 20 min.  Once the rains stopped, I decided to walk towards the land-slide spot.  And the situation (नजारा) was horrible & scary...


Uttarakhand Police & PWD at work

Only a single vehicle can pass through this stretch of road

Landslide from both: above mountains & below the road
One one side, huge mountain + continuous rocks falling form there + such small road that only 1 vehicle can pass at a time + the road itself is in dangerous condition, rocks & soil caved out below the road itself + down, other side, the mighty Alaknanda River, god only knows how deep it is...

Police told us that this is a usual happening.  सब लोग आके गये, PWD, BRO.  IIT भी आया, लेकिन किसीको इसका उपाय नही मालूम.  There is a proposal for an alternative road up in the mountains, but its half done.

This situation was in NEWS as well -- Uttarakhand: Landslides and rainfall leave pilgrims on Char Dham Yatra stranded

I was lucky to spot a mountain goat here, up on the side from where the rocks were falling.



Dnyanesh crossed this stretch by walk.  He told us later that the road got clear for a while & vehicles had started moving.  But then all eager drivers created traffic jam.  State transport buses were ahead of all in creating the chaos.  These bus drivers are super expert.  They drive the buses on these dangerous roads as of driving a toy...

Again rocks started falling form top & the road got blocked.  Finally, around 6 PM, after the work by the earth movers + a lot of police intervention, the traffic started moving slowly.  We had to wait for 7 hrs at this spot before we crossed it.

As per plan, we should have reached Govindgath by 5 or 6 PM max.  It was still 150 KM away & with the ghat all the way, it was 4 - 5 hrs ride more.  We took a quick dinner break & started towards Chamoli.  The roads all along were dangerous, with small land slides at many places & only enough road left to drive a tempo or a jeep.

When we reached Chamoli, the police check-post there blocked us.  In this hilly area, it is not allowed to drive between 8 PM & 5 AM.  Now we were stuck at 9 PM with no way to go forward & back as well.  Luckily, we had 3 buses taking 3 diff teams to Govindgath.  All were stopped at this police check-post.  The drivers then called the tour operator & somehow convinced the police to allow us to go ahead.

We drove for 1 more & again one more police check-post stopped us for the same reason.  This time, they asked us to give in writing that all of us are going ahead late night on our own risk.  Finally, at 11:30 PM, we reached our hotel at Pipalkoti.  All along the roads were really dangerous.  God knows how the driver drove the tempo in pitch dark with mountain on right side & a deep valley on left side with the river flowing with full force...

फूलों की घाटी (Valley of Flowers) Trip -- Day: 1

18-July-2015


Background:

Had been to Nainital - Kausani - Ranikhet during Jun-2011.  Was mesmerized by the Himalayas, snow clad mountains & the greenery (forest) there.

Valley of Flowers trip was pending since 2013:
-- 2013, there was devastation (आपदा) in Uttarakhand, due to heavy rains.  We had our Bangalore - Delhi flight tickets booked but had to cancel it as there was no way to go beyond Delhi.

-- 2014, I again attempted but Valley was closed as one of bridge connecting Valley to Ghangria was not yet open.
---- We went up to Delhi but had to change our plan to: Dalhousie - Dharamshala - Manali
---- Manali to Rohtang-pass & the glaciers there was again an impressive stretch.

-- 2015, finally things were falling in like & I could make this trip & what a trip it was, simply "amazing".

-- Glad that Dnyanesh decided to join me for this Valley-of-Flowers Trek.  He is the best "company" that one can have.  Always smiling, always happy & biggest thing is always cracking "practical" jokes.

---- About 6 weeks early, we started preparation for the trek.
---- Dnyanesh made a nice check-list of items to carry, like: diff kind of clothing, back-pack, food, medicine.
---- He also did a lot of googling & studied feedback from earlier travelers + instructions provided by diff tour operators.
---- We were keeping a tab on the weather as well & praying that both Sun & Rain god blesses our trip.

---- To verify our stamina, we did a trek to Nandi Hill on one Saturday evening.  Nandi Hill is our own hill-station, for Bengalurians.  We went to the base, parked our car there & started climbing the hill on foot.  It took is 2+ hrs to cover 8 KM.  I actually did 3 such attempts on 3 subsequent week-ends.
***Honestly, this 8 KM distance + the elevation of about 550 meters, proved to be very amateur compared to what was in store for us. 

Itinerary:


DayFromToDistanceModeElevationElevation
MetersFeet
Day-1BangaloreDelhi2172 KMFlight216709
DelhiHaridwar220 KMTrain250819
Day-2HaridwarGovindghat295 KMBy Road1,8285,997
Day-3GovindghatGhangaria13 KM1st Trek3,04910,003
Day-4GhangariaValley of Flowers & back to Ghangaria6 KM2nd Trek3,352 to 3,65810,995 to 12,000
Day-5GhangariaValley of Flowers & back to Ghangaria12 KM3rd Trek3,352 to 3,65810,995 to 12,000
Day-6GhangariaHemkund Saheb & back to Ghangaria12 KM4th Trek4,633.0015,200
Day-7GhangariaGovindghat & to Badrinath & back to Govindghat13 KM + 74 KM5th Trek + By Road1,8285,997
Day-8GovindghatHaridwar + evening at Haridwar295 KMBy Road250819
Day-9HaridwarFull day at Haridwar--------
Day-10HaridwarDelhi220 KMTrain216709
DelhiBangalore2172 KMFlight9203020

Uttarakhand Govt Map for "Char-Dham-Yatra"

Day-1:

Airline rescheduled my Bangalore - Delhi flight & made it leave 45 min early.  Had to start 4 AM from home.  The road was clear.  Taxi took 15 min to reach Hebbal (11 KM) & 25 form Hebbal to Airport (31 KM).

As soon as I got out of the Airplane at Delhi, even though the temp was told to be 29 C, I started sweating.  It was very humid outside.

Was surprised to see the Airport Metro service operational.  There is a shuttle bus form Terminal 1 of Delhi Airport to the nearest Airport Metro Station.  Its an AC bus it they charge रु 30/-.  Every 10 - 15 min there is a bus.

Our Train to Haridwar was at 3:30 PM.  We took the Airport Metro up to New Delhi Railway Station & kept our luggage at the Cloak Room.  Spent 3 hrs roaming at Connaught Place (CP) & came back to Railway Station.  We had one more group with trek back-packs in our train compartment.  Upon inquiring got to know that they were from Thane & were also heading for Valley-of-Flowers like us.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jan Lokpal & Team Anna are still very much relevant !

We in Karnataka have seen the effectiveness of Lokayuakta

- BSY, as we refer to Karnataka x-CM, cannot be compared with Bal Thakre & Narendra Modi. He is a different individual.
-- He has build BJP in Karnataka over last several years & is worth a CM. People respect him for that.
-- Both BJP & RSS, at one time, had no choice but to use Reddy brothers for their power & money they have.
-- Indirectly, Sushma Swaraj’s power struggle at center also played a role.
-- Finally, BSY made a few bad decisions by allowing his sons a free hand & got involved into relatively small issue compared to some BIG goonda we have in Karnataka politics like the Deve Gowda family.
-- But he had to resign !!!


- Lokayuata police conduct raids on many babus & unearth a lot of black money.
-- These babus do not get punished due to their political bosses is a diff thing.
-- But these raids were also not possible 4 – 5 yes back. The system evolves over a period of time & there is no silver bullet.


- Santosh Hedge has a HUGE respect in Karnataka.
-- And he is also a part of the Anna Team & was also member who drafter “Jan Lokpal”.
-- His credentials are simply unquestionable.


- Then there are 2 BIG time lawyers in Team Anna, Bhushan father & son. They are definitely not joke.


- Nobody from Team Anna ever claimed that “Jan Lokpal” is THE solution for corruption in India, this is one of the tools.


- We need more ppl like Kiran Bedi & Kajriwal, who are the “executers” for this movement.
-- Anna is the face, Santosh Hegde & Bhushans are the brains & these 2 are “executers”.
-- Same like Project Managers (PjMs) in any organisation. PjMs are not the best technical minds, but they know how to get work done.


I’m convinced that movements like this are needed to take future India in the correct direction & I strongly support these & will continue to support. Not because of Anna, but because of the CAUSE.


- Otherwise, the central govt, irrespective of any party, would have not brought even this version of Lokpal to parliement.
-- It got done only because of the efforts of Team Anna over last 1 year.
-- Still long way to go & Dear Anna, we are with you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Imam Bukhari did you take money from Congress ???

I had anticipated this but was surprised that this view was not expressed for last 2 - 3 days. Actually I felt happy that Muslims have started identifying with the anti-curruption movement without bothering about these "small" issues. But I guess the happyness was short-lived :-(. Or Congress succeeded is BUYING Imam saheb.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Bukhari-calls-stir-anti-Islam-tells-Muslims-to-stay-away/articleshow/9690525.cms

This is just WRONG. This is Mr. Bukhari's interpretation of Islamic text. How can any religion, for that matter anybody "condone" or not-allow worship of the "mother" ?

I would love to believe that all my Muslim friends say -- "enough Mr. Bukhari", we do not want to follow "your" interpretation of Islam because it is subjective based on who gave you money...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

STOP "meal vouchers" like Ticket Restaurent, Sodexo, etc

Consider the cycle:

  • Employer has to buy these Meal Voucher from companies like Sodexo, by paying a commission.
  • Employee has to use it for food purchase. Many employees bring food from home. So these Meal Vouchers are being used to buy things from Malls / Shops.
  • By law these Meal Vouchers should be used only to buy food items but many Malls / Shops accept for buying soap, perfume, brooms, etc. I mean for almost everything.
  • Now the shop guy has to collect these Meal Vouchers & return it to the company like Sodexo to get his money back. Sodexo charges him commission.

Now think again ? Who benifited the above transaction ? Employer ? Employee ? Shop / Mall owner ?

  • No, only companies like Sodexo. They got comission for circulating the Meal Vouchers from end-to-end.

I was in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand last week. No IT company there. But I was shocked to see a few shops with the sticker that they accept Meal Voucher !

LIC has started a policy. Every employee who come to office before 10:30 AM gets a Meal Voucher of Rs. 150/- for that day. If an employee comes late, he / she looses the mean Voucher for that day.

  • Athey crazy ? There are some 3000+ branches of LIC all-over-india.
  • Is this a plan for companies like Sodexo to spread their business to all small towns ?

Mind it ! This has become a BIG BIG economy in all metro cities like: Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, etc.

  • Neighborhood "kirana" shops have started charging 6% comission if you have to use the Meal Voucher.
  • Or you have to go to the neareast Big Bazaar by spending Rs. 50/- for Auto to use the Meal Voucher.
  • Now Big Bazaar knows that you will be using Meal Voucher & has increased the price of the items to adjust for the comission that Big Bazaar has to pay to Sodexo.
  • You & me, we end up paying extra so that Sodexo makes money.

But the entire issue has a simple solution:

Income Tax India rule shoudl be amended saying Rs. 50/- per meal is tax exempted & thus every employee should get additional tax exemption of Rs. 3000/- per month or Rs. 36000/- per year.

  • Is this very difficult to calculate while we calculate our yearly tax ?
  • Same way, the employer also gets its 5% tax exemption in the yearly calculations.

THINK ! How much of paper will this country save ? How much of "waste" of money will we save ?

SUPPORT this & help me to spread the same. Pass this to ALL your friends.

Next -- an on-line petition to Finance Minister asking him to review this policy. If this does not work a PIL in Supreme Court of India.

Lets FIGHT & STOP this "waste" !!!