When U visit hometown at 28!

28 is not a nice age to visit hometown if you are still single. But you have to, not to see possible matches that have been talked about by your parents before your visit, but to attend one of your best friend’s wedding (baraat) and to spend some time with your family. But thanks to the constant reminders from your parents, and now that you’re  eligible, you tend to see newly wed couples everywhere. 3 years back, it was just single ladies in front of your eyes that have now been replaced by young “just married” couples.

I really do not know what this syndrome is, that I end up seeing them – at the airport, in the flight, in the malls, at the theatres,  ugh! Everywhere! Ab sab chhod chhad ke Facebook pe baitho….to wahaan bi Wedding Albums ke alava kuch hai hi nai!! The then FarmVille updates have now been replaced by marriage pics. Oh yes, there’s a LIKE button. Hit like – the best thing you could do to bless the couple, ONLINE. You see even Mark Zuckerberg is married now!! And hence the status follows:

Currently, it’s Wedding Season on Facebook —
As per Census: For every 1000 men in India, there r only 778 women. So, 778 couples are busy updating relationship statuses & uploading albums. The rest 222 men (including me) are busy hitting Like button.

Kya karein, jisne humein chaha, naa uska bhala ho paya…Aur jise humne chaha, naa humara bhala ho paya. Par chaahat mein hum ek bewakoof insaan jaroor ban gaye the. Spiderman bhi bana hoga. Thanks to Female Foeticides, finding even “a little close to the right match” is like spotting a tiger in India – Only 1411 left!  So the final straw – Arranged Marriage. But that’s like going on a wild goose chase – Caste, Color, Height, Horoscope, Family status, Age, Package…are to name some of the criteria of this concept. More than 50% of matrimony profiles out there are of BROKEN HEARTS that need some healing before they’re actually ready to accept you. Whew!!!  Hum to kaafi kuch compromise karke bas 3 essential/basic cheezon pe atke hain but uspe bhi not a single proposal that you will “feel good” about. Humein to yaar dowry bi nai chahiye. Totally against it. The ones your parents feel, you don’t; the ones you feel, your parents don’t; the ones both feel, caste/kundalis don’t!  Although I agree to some extent with the concept of risk/uncertainty based on Kundali matches since predictions are based on the science of Astrology but I fail to understand the relevance of caste system in today’s self-made progressive world. [ An elaborate post on Caste system and broken hearts in the offing]

You being the only child, your parents are deeply disappointed, you are upset because your parents are and feeling immense pressure but you keep citing some examples to console their much delicate hearts. (Ab ‘Haan kaise kehdein, humari bi koi preference hai ki nai? Poora life kisika banna hai. Moreover, I don’t like seeing girls and refusing. More girls have refused me just seeing my matrimony profile rather!! )

Ab Pyar koi chai ke dukaan pe to nai mil raha, ki ek mangaa lein…time chahiye, jo shayad hai nai. Aur humein koi stranger ko chahne ke liye jab tak woh feel aaye, tab humare kundali mismatch ho jaate hain. Aur ladkiyon ke kahaan kam nakhre hain aaj kal. When they are getting interests from any Tom, Dick and Harry on Matrimonial sites with counts that match their FB ‘unknown’ friend requests, bhao to badhna hi hai. Aur us race mein shayad hum kahin chip jaate honge. Jab nazar aate hain, tab race is over! Unko kya chahiye ab rabb jaane. Perhaps they want Greek Gods who can give dowry to them instead. Or guys with altitude but size of brain immaterial!

I would rather not elaborate else this post would turn into a work of fiction!  Dil nai kar raha aur likhne ko, but one day I’ll pen down all my experiences. Now Men don’t have a choice. They really don’t. Perhaps the wise ones could wait for that “One day of Autumn” after 500 days of harrowing Summer is over. It’s all about time. 🙂

Here’s a small video from one of my fave movies – 500 Days of Summer , that speaks all about the above line:

I may be aging as the days pass by, my hairs might be greying (but there’s always Schwarzkopf professional to your aid, nuh?) but barely my parents know that I still feel, act and think young, just like the way I was at 21. And at 41, I’ll still be the same. Love (when it fails) may make you weak, timid, numb and dumb but never lose hope in finding love, again. Just have to keep your eyes wide open. Hope you found a suitable match – that would be your love. 🙂


Why should Aamir Khan apologize? – Satyamev Jayate!

These days if you call a thug, “A thug”, he wants you to apologize for saying so!

So are *some* doctors now asking Aamir Khan to do so, after he aired the 4th Episode of Satyamev Jayate that focussed on the unethical practices, commercialization of health services, malpractices in the medical profession and various woes that a common man faces in Healthcare each day! It’s like unscrupulous politicians in the Parl asking apology from Team Anna for calling them thieves. Just because our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is NOT corrupt doesn’t mean all Politicians are doodh ka dhula hua! In a similar fashion, if those doctors who want an apology, think they are right at their place, why are they making a fuss about it? Just because their colleagues kept doing something for years together and now that the cat is out of the bag, they are feeling ashamed? Instead they should try cleaning the shit that has accumulated in the medical system. They say, Guilty mind is always suspicious. 

There were eminent doctors too at the show who were no less than Role Models of Medical Profession. For instance, Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayan Hrudayalaya. If you are doing “a service” then please continue to. No one is pointing a finger at you but to those, who have made Medical Profession more like a lucrative business; who admit their children into some private hospitals with a fat donation so that they could run their clinics and hence the business. Do these clinics pay taxes at all?

You are asked to do an X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan… blah blah blah…even before meeting an Orthopedist! What for? Because they say it’s the process! (Oh yea, process of overcoming the cost on the new instruments bought, & making successive profits post that!) I am subject to a demo of various medical equipments just because the screws in them might get rusted. And in the process I am charged an arm and a leg!  In Bangalore, if you visit a doctor, the 1st question they ask you is “Are you in IT industry?”, even though it has nothing to do with your profession, say you went for Flu or loose motion! They know you’ll be reimbursed as most IT companies “cover” your medical expenses.

You are seriously critical. You will be admitted in a hospital for days together (until the Hospital thinks they have got enough margins) and then you will be asked to undergo a surgery. In a worst case, you will be sent to ICU. Then you die! By then, your family would have sold themselves after almost selling the entire property with a hope that a private hospital will pay heed to your kith and kin and a life will be saved (we all know how caring Govt. hospitals are, agree some of them are too good, but time is more important to save a life than patience to wait for your turn in a queue). But you die! So, tell me do these doctors or Hospitals REIMBURSE or return a portion of the money spent by you, back to you?? You really don’t want that anymore. Because you lost someone priceless, despite putting all the money at stake. Ask me the trauma! I have lost my brother, and my beloved aunt.

In India, we don’t have any rule to do so, nor the licenses of doctors who indulge in malpractices and Gynaecs who indulge in illegal practice of Female Foeticide are cancelled. They have a UNION. They will go on a strike. Only IT Industry doesn’t. (Don’t tell me about NASSCOM, they don’t pay your treatment fees for neck pain or back pain for constant long hours at work in stress, nor do they donate sperms for your receding sperm counts)

Much has been said and done in the show. So, I wouldn’t elaborate here. Today, iff someone in your family is a Surgeon, you can breathe a sigh of relief.  I am glad that Aamir got this issue out to the public that has been plaguing Healthcare and adding up to the common man woes each day, which mainstream MEDIA never highlighted. Just because Satyamev Jayate has notched up record TRPs, so media has to do something to bring back the TRPs back to them. And in the process, relay all the NEGATIVE aspects than going to “common man” and interviewing them of their sufferings.

Thanks to the changing times, today you don’t save money for dowry, but you have to do the same for the doctor and the hospital where you might be admitted tomorrow for an unknown disease and unnecessary surgery, God forbid.

Last but not the least, an excerpt from the show,

“The practice of medicine has long been seen as a noble one. The doctor is looked upon as healer, guardian of our well-being, and someone we trust with our lives. Literally. But, does Healthcare need Healing?”

Yes, it does. If you’re good, you will COMMAND respect and be worshipped. You NEED NOT DEMAND RESPECT!  And Aamir Khan WILL NOT apologize!

Satyamev Jayate!

Finally, the episode in case you missed or aren’t sure what I am talking about.

Real Beauty is felt, seldom seen.

Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever ~ Johann Wolfgang

Real beauty to me is a sensation felt with sheer delight. As the old adage goes, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. Real beauty is precious, is prevalent among all of us but the irony is we so less often are able to identify it and for some it’s very much relative. Real Beauty commands respect, never demands.

As of today, commodification of humans have changed our perception of Beauty. When we say he/she is beautiful, it has definitely to do with someone’s physical appearance. The boom in showbiz and glamour has given a great setback to our pride of possessing melanin. A fair skin is considered beautiful by the so-called fairness creams and ads that simply boast to beat what nature has bestowed upon the not-so-fair you.

But 1st let me elucidate a few beautiful instances/people who most of us can’t deny of their real beauty.

  • Beauty is not in that hot skimpy nurse walking down to Charlie Sheen for a room service (Two and a Half Men types) but in a lady who had devoted her entire life in the service of the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying! I consider Mother Teresa beautiful.
  • Beauty is not in featuring in the Top 10 Forbes list of World’s Most Powerful People, heading a leading Political Party just to eyewash the poor and stash away billions of black money in Swiss Banks but in braving alone to fight for her people to ensure calm and peace amid an Empire’s unrest! I consider Rani Lakshmi Bai beautiful.
  • Beauty is not in being a glamorous star-daughter and heading to the red carpet with an ultra-expensive designer attire, posing for the cameras (None many even recognize them there) but in winning a billion hearts through their simplicity and mellifluous voice! I consider Lata Mangeskar beautiful.
  • Real Beauty is in every mother who is always by the side of her son/daughter, fasts for his/her well-being even if they’re the most notorious types. Is any child on earth ‘ugly’ for his/her mother? Motherhood is real beauty!
  • Real Beauty is Sunitha Krishnan who has never breathed easy as she grew up but fighting for so many helpless, trafficked women/girls to breathe easy and survive in this ruthless world. Please find some time out to watch and listen to this video (my blog may not be that important right now).

Those wannabe models, gaudy women, drowned in sheer opulence and covered by Page 3 are seldom beautiful, as others perceive with their eyes but not brains.

Some definitely are pretty. But would you call a lady out of this elite league (who would seem to have spent a fortune on her get up for one single night) to be beautiful who litters the restrooms? Who falls flat in that disco tipsy – out-of-order with liquor spilled all around? Who throws a cigar bud on the floor right in front of an astray in a public place? Or who throws a Cola can or Bisleri bottle on the road or somebody else’s yard while driving the Mercedes??

Real Beauty is never confined to a race, sex or age. It is seamless; it doesn’t have boundaries. It is perpetual. It is to be felt and rejoiced; just like the beautiful verses of Kalidasa.

Beauty is in innocence; that helping hand; that shoulder to rest upon when you are in tears; a simple smile that heals; this precious life we live each moment & the entire creation of mankind. Everything is beautiful. Life is beautiful.

A snap of the jubilant schoolgoer kids I took as I trekked down Triund to Dharamkot (Himalayas)

Beauty is relative. Real Beauty should be apparently clear. To behold real beauty, all you need is a beautiful mind.

P.S. My post is biased towards women since the Yahoo Specials on Real Beauty is powered by Dove, where as Men prefer Cinthol or Durex. 😉

(This blog-post is a part of the Indiblogger Real Beauty contest)

10 reasons why I love Football, FIFA vs Cricket


FIFA – Football Is Freakin’ Awesome!

So, we’re in FIFA season now. A time I await for 4 long years. For most Indians, it’s cricket that takes priority, better say – the most popular sport in the country. But a large mass has been following FIFA too as evident from their posts and updates on Social Networks.

As far as Social Media universe is concerned, Copa Mundial 2010 will be the 1st to be played out in the Facebook/Twitter era!

So, here are top 10 reasons why I am fond of Football than Cricket.

  • Game Duration: Each football game lasts for 90 mins (max to 4 mins extra on certain cases) as against 4 hours of a 20/20  or 8 hours of an ODI Cricket match. Even in a single 20/20 match duration, 2.5 FIFA matches would have been over!
  • NO Adverts/Commercials: The best thing about this game is you get seamless viewership and unlike cricket where the feeling is like seeing the Match within the Ads & not the other way round. You see them to the extent that lest you missed a wicket fall, you have to catch the replay- only after the ad!! Worse, you may even miss the 1st ball of bowler’s forthcoming over. But in case of football, even during the breaks, you get to hear from John Dykes & see Mayanti Langer & not the fashion-faux-pas hit Mandira Bedi!!
  • Players don’t laze around: Now, this is a game where not a single player, out of 11, gets bored like the fielders at the boundaries/gullies and at times the ball never reaches them even after a couple of overs. Every single player, right from the Defender, Mid-fielder, Striker keep running from pillar to post. Even the goalie keeps jumping as to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep. (Like Portugal’s goalie in FIFA World Cup 2010 where #POR pumped 7:0 vs #PRK)
  • Referee/Umpire: Have you ever seen a big-bellied referee in a football match who’s emotionally challenged due to his obesity? Forget referee, even the linesman needs fitness more than the players.
  • Commentators: Just one commentator. And simply gives you an adrenaline rush. Unlike cricket where you have multiple commentators (now Field Umpires/Players too :O) who at times go to chat about their housewives or the cricketer’s latest crush (let’s keep Harsha Bhogle out of this)
  • Crowd/Fans: If you have seen a FIFA or any football match per se, it would be needless to explain the 300+ million fan following across the entire globe. And my my, the fanciful face-paintings, the craze, the beauty, the mass singing/dancing/jumping/tub-thumping, roars (be it the deafening Vuvuzela =====<() )…even after so much to be offered from the game, we still stick to the game! Not to mention the footballers who don’t leave themselves behind when it comes to fashion with all the fanciful tattoos and hairdo.
  • Conduct: Cricket is relatively a game with gentlemanly conduct until we see more of Sreesanth(s), on & off the field. But football does have frequent spats, verbal hurls, faking fouls against the opponents et al. Not to forget the perfect Zidane head-butt and the recent Kaka Red card vs Ivory Coast.
  • Nations Count: Out of 400 football playing nations, around 208 nations are FIFA national soccer teams. Out of these, only 32 make it to the World Cup! Whereas, you have only 10 major cricket playing nations (alongside Holland/Afghanistan/Kenya) out of which 4 are already playing FIFA WC 2010!
  • Ease of game: I can even make my mum understand it without much worrying about explaining her the intricate Duck-worth Lewis methods & other cricketing jargons from the bowler’s/fielder’s/batsman’s and umpire’s end! However, the irony is she says, she understands cricket but fails to understand football. So, all I told her that two teams run with the ball to put in the opponent’s post! That’s it. Done. 🙂
  • Match seldom stops: The tenth and one of my best reason is that a football match never stops even if it rains! Nobody runs with a huge thick polymer sheet to cover the turf! Rather the soccer players look all the more wildly sexy with their wet look and muscles flexed visible through the drenched jerseys (No, thanks I am straight). The match still goes on and on until the ball floats.

I do not like FIFA World Cup. I simply love it. 🙂

N.B. My personal opinion, agreements (from Soccer fans) n disagreements (from hard-core Cricket fans) are most welcome! 😀

5-Minute-Motivation Videos

With FIFA kick-starting in a couple of days, I couldn’t help myself writing a blog post dedicated to the spirit of sportsmanship, to a game. A beautiful game. My support will as always be rooted for good ol’ Argentina.

Here, I give you four kick-ass videos that have indeed kicked my butt big time with the sort of inspiration and vigor they offer, infusing in you, the spirit of that Sportsman who could go to any extent…any…to get that GLORY for his NATION, his TEAM, n his INDIVIDUALISM! I get all the more charged up listening to the speeches (below with the videos). I am filled with vivacity & life watching them. Simply makes me have a burning faith-  ‘Impossible is Nothing’.

Being an athlete of yesteryear, I crash and burn with these. And I will continue to.

VERSUS 2009 Full Trailer

This is the Original VERSUS ad in 2009 which was remade by Nike later and released in 2010.

The speech is quite a fire-up one. Here it goes:

Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting: The Theory of Evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive”. Maybe so, maybe so. But the Theory of Competition says “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked”. That’s right. See, what every long shot come from behind underdog will tell you is this: The other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds may be turned against you.

Fair enough… But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows and the clock starts ticking, just remember: out here, the results don’t always add up.

No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “Uncle”. And then suddenly, as the old saying goes, “We got ourselves a game

Any Given Sunday – Peace by Inches – Al Pacino

Below’s the speech from ‘The Godfather’ star:

I don’t know what to say really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives. It all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play-by-play, till we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.

Now I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces, and I think… I mean I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me, and lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small.

I mean… one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING! Between LIVING and DYING!

I’ll tell you this – in any fight, it’s the guy whose willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m going to have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what living is! The 6 inches in front of your face…

Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You’re gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it, you’re gonna do the same for him.

That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die, as individuals. That’s FOOTBALL, guys. That’s all it is. Now, what you gonna do?

Derek Redmond: (1992 Barcelona Olympics)

I saw it once, twice, thrice. I got goose bumps. I got my heart heavy & I couldn’t stop the whimper breaking out of me. For an athlete knows the pangs of another. So truly heroic…HATS OFF – Derek Raymond, Take a bow!

Kerri Strug: (1996 Atlanta Olympics)

Yet another, I am not giving up, come-what-may video.

The list would go on…grab some and let me know. Just do it!

10 reasons why I hate Facebook!

I am addicted!!! And I hate it. And have been hating it since a year almost!

My friends who never chat or call me, ping me on Fb chat asking if I was at office or home/which office?/if am working for Fb/if I was a Social Media & Communities guy?? Now I think this post would be good enough to have answers to all their questions.

So, here are the top 10 reasons why I hate Facebook aka FB the most:

1. My relationship/friendship(s) is/are on rocks!  I am accused for giving more time to Fb than my crushes or my crusher  😐

2. My productivity has hit all time low. Now my boss and HR are on talks to get this site banned from my system IP.  😦

3. My reading habit, be it newspapers/magazines/fiction has been badly screwed up. For I rely on Fb’s live/news feeds for everything!!!

4. I have stopped watching/downloading educational porn. Cuz U see the red icon popping up to notify me steals my attention more than the former flicks  😐

5.  I sleep less, rather insomniac thinking about the posts/links/notes/issues & await the sunrise to see what people have opined!!!

6. Colleagues mock me that I am working on a Facebook project rather than CRM platform’s.

7. My higher studies notions look very distant. If only I could get my eyes away from the laptop screen. 😦

8. I am way too distracted thinking what would be my life after marriage, that if, my wife might just file a divorce against me with this kinda addiction to Fb.

9. My kids would brand me as a bad father for not taking them to the roller-coaster rides rather asking them to go through the live updates and give their views on my posts!! :O

10. Enjoying my job but still thinking if I could be recruited for Facebook and be a part of the development team ( now that I have already done some good R & D on it & written blog-posts/tips) but scared about my social involvement to reduce to none at the same time??

Last but not the least. It’s April 1st. And I would confess that whatever it is, I LOVE FACEBOOK and come what may will stick to it and continue to have a Relationship status changed from Single to In an Open Relationship with FB. 🙂

Addicted to Facebook.

UPDATE – 07/07/2011

Now I really hate it. And more reasons in the below video

The Himalayan Sojourn.

26th Sep, 2009

“The good shine from afar
Like the snowy Himalayas.
The bad don’t appear
Even when near,
Like arrows shot into the night.” — Buddha

It was the winters of 1998. The D-day, the Finals at the Annual Sports Day of KV 1, Bhubaneswar, and I was competing with the National level stalwarts of Eastern zone, in my school at the 100m sprints. I was in 9th std. and my rivals were seniors from 10th through 12th, all steady on their mark. There blows the whistle and I shoot myself out from the mark. I could only see the winning thread at the end, ahead of me but none of my rivals. 11.1 seconds and I am the little champion leaving them all behind. That was an achievement, a true sense of accomplishment for me!

11 years down the line, I could never feel the same level of accomplishment until I saw the Himalayas, until I saw them too close; I breathed the mist on them, touched the snow on their peaks….

Ever since I landed in Bangalore, time and again I used to hear those frenzied trekking stories from my colleagues who make it to the Western Ghats. Deep within, had always wished to go for a trek, but had been apprehensive about lifting weights while climbing hills, thanks to my shoulder dislocation in my graduation final year.

The Prelude:

When the world was reeling in the pain of economic downturn, I was fortunate enough to get a fabulous New Year gift: a better paying job, in a leading CRM product-based company. But then more responsibilities, strangulating deadlines, long working hours, skipped lunches and cervical pains. “For heaven’s sake, I need a break now!”, I said to myself. It already had been a couple of years since I met my ex-colleague Ram Mahajan, who was working in Delhi. Finally, made up my mind to meet this big time trekker, a worshiper of the Himalayas, a native of Himachal and who’s also a staunch devotee of Vaishno Mata. So, planned my leaves, booked my tickets and off I vanished from this IT hub to New Delhi, in the wee hours of Saturday morning (5th Sep).

Meeting a goodwill friend after 2 complete years has always been gleeful.

Visit to Vaishno Mata:

Boarded a train to Jammu the same night and reached Katra next morning at about 11am. We, however, decided to commence our pilgrimage at 5pm. Until then winded up in a rented lodge. It took 5 hours to reach “Bhawan” which is 10 km uphill. Since, it was Ram’s birthday on 7th, so the darshan at midnight would be a good idea. It was cold at the mountain top and we were in sorts. The ice-cold water shower (water right from the mountains) at 11:30pm in the night before Mata’s darshan was an entirely amazing experience. It was 1:00am now and after darshan, we went 2 km uphill again to Bhairo Baba. Legend has it that your pilgrimage would not be ‘complete’ if you don’t make it up to Bhairo Baba. Finally, landed up  on the ground i.e. walked downhill all night and reached Katra early morning at 6am. Our legs were not willing to carry our load anymore. Went flat on bed for 3 hours but then we had got miles to go. Booked tickets to Pathankot. The ride was too exhaustive, the bus rickety since AC buses came to no avail. On reaching, again boarded a bus, this time to Gagal (Himachal Pradesh) in Kangra district since the last Dharamshala bus had left by then. From Gagal to Dharamkot, the latter being our basecamp, we made it there though a cab. Finally there, at the hill station, in Dharamshala. This place records the second highest rainfall in India. As per localites, it has broken the records of Cherrapunji now.

The Great Himalayan Trek:

Great things are done when men and mountains meet. — William Blake

A fresh Tuesday morning, the sun’s rays dilated over the green mountains and a breath-taking view from the king-size windows of the guest house…. what a start to the morning!!

As usual, Ram got up early and asked me to make haste. “Trust me man, will get ready in no time, but please let me sleep for some more ”, I pleaded him. Now this ruthless guy wouldn’t listen to me and asked me to get ready immediately for we need to shop for our groceries, food and everything that is essential for survival in a place where you don’t find any vegetation or habitation. The next door had a German guy who was staying with his girl friend since a couple of months already, and who claims to have sold all his businesses, shut down all his book stores and come down to India for a vacation. Incredible!!

Now my friend Ram cannot just resist from talking to foreigners and he went on and on an on. I, meanwhile, was done with my morning chores and it was his turn to take a break from the “firangi-chat” now.

Holy shit!! It started pouring now. And here comes the pretty Israeli lady Isabelle, who stays two rooms away from ours, at the guest house.

Oh man!!  Ram’s going to go nowhere now (I wondered, seeing the lady). A short intro with her and she left thankfully. Just when we clicked few pictures of the landscapes around the vicinity and got ready to make a move, Isabel came over again, this time with Aon (her Israeli friend) who wished to talk to us.

However, the chat came to an end and we made a move to the town, Mcleodganj. This town has mostly Tibetan inhabitants who have taken refuge and have finally settled down. The “Spiritual Las Vegas” as my friend Ram aptly christened it, for it’s crowded with Israelis. I, myself, was stunned to see more Israelis and firangs than Indians. We roamed through the town and explored the Tibetan handicrafts. Now, when you are in the land of Tibetans, “Momos” cannot go unsavory. And for a big time foodie like me, I gorged on them like a hungry beast. Seriously succulent and deliberately delicious!!!  “Kya yeah saaf hai” (Is this food hygienic), a voice came from a man who was beside me.

With shock and awe, I surmised “Sorry???” He reiterated, in Hindi!!! Yes, he was speaking Hindi. He was a French guy, who had such fabulous accent neutralization that I was simply taken aback with his pronunciation. Never heard such fab hindi for any “firangi” till now. A French guy taking Hindi lessons in JNU, with a Sri Lankan girl friend in Holland, meeting two Indian guys in Mcleodganj, one who’s from Delhi and the other from Bangalore. Wow, a genuine instance of Globalization!!  Asked if long distance sucks, he soulfully utters, “Pyar hai to sab kuch hai”. Simply astounding!!

It was nightfall already, our guide, Kuldeep (alias Kulu), arrived with a pretty long list of groceries and food to be bought from the local store. Kulu was supposed to take us to the mystic Naag Dal lake, as we did not know the route. The shopping was over with a Royal Stag and Old Monk added to the list. The whiskey could not last more than a couple of hours thereafter but we saved the Old Monk for the night stays at hilltops. Save the best for last. 😉

A brand new day, a brand new Wednesday morning! We are fully equipped, with our back packs and rucksacks loaded with sleeping bags, mattresses, groceries, medicines, toiletries, et al stuffed to the hilt. The trek kick started to Triund which was 7 km uphill.

We started off at 9 am in the morning, clicked photographs on the way, took a couple of breaks in between to rest our jaded souls, paused a while for the rain to subside, and pushed ourselves again. Our friends on the way were fellow foreigners trekking back from Triund, mules that were employed to carry loads to sundry cafes on the ridge and flocks of sheep/goat and few villagers.

So, the mission for the day was accomplished. We reached Triund, a beautiful ridge laden with mist with the Dhauladhar ranges faintly visible since the weather was too cloudy.

Albeit we were exhausted by then, but none of us had it on our faces. And the very reason being the scenic sight of the Himalayas our eyes were experiencing. We were at an elevation of 2843m/9358ft from the sea level.

At the mountains, when it is way too cold and the night is ferociously dark, none other than Old Monk can give you a better kick and warmth. At the moment, it’s the best friend of all. We would call it a day now and retire to our beds at the guest houses in here.

Dawn breaks for Thursday morning, and like a cock, my friend Ram would be the first one to get up and wake me up but this time to catch the clear sight of the Dhauladhars, free of mist. Indeed, the sight was just inexplicable. I have never seen the Himalayas as closely as I was seeing right now.

For a moment, when Ram said, “Bro, do you see that peak? That is where we are heading”. Immediately, I got a chill down my spine. I thought to myself, “that mountain is so naked, so rocky, shiny, no green grass even, so steep and this guy is talking about climbing that mammoth one!!! God save our souls.” I just wish there were no hailstone showers when we land up in there for at such heights the size of hailstones are big enough not to fit your palm. And nothing just comes to your rescue when you get them hailing from the top, right on your heads.

But then there was the staunch faith of Mata Di’s pilgrimage, and her blessings are definitely with us, I sighed. So, we would definitely make it to Naag Dal lake on the other side of the Indrahar Pass. Soon, we had our porridge and Maggi for breakfast and got going.

The next stay was at Lahesh caves through Laka Got. From Lahesh, we would be heading to Indrahar Pass and thereafter to Naag Dal lake. After 2 hours of trekking, now we reached the last café in the area, ‘The Snow Line Café’. We met a dutch lady Mariette, who came all alone from Mcllo heading for Naag Dal but couldn’t find the way so came back. She had spent the night in the café and would be heading back to Triund today. After clicking a few photographs, we headed for Lahesh through one of the most pristine scenic beauty that would leave you astounded with shock and awe. We were at the foothills of Himalayas, of “The Majestic Dhauladhars”.

We met Gaddi Shepherds on our way up, who are the known for their courage and acclimatization in the Himalayas.

They scale through the toughest routes and put marks for other fellow travelers to identify the ways. For no wonder many have come and gone and few never returned back. As Ruskin Bond rightly says, “Mountains chooses its own climbers”, one has to follow the norms and be very pure in his heart and soul when he is climbing the Himalayas. In these places, Nature is King, and misplaced bravado might lead you to your final breath in here. The shepherds warned us that the way is too treacherous to Naag Dal and it’s pretty inaccessible that side. Taking those suggestions into consideration, we kept going. The final 900mtrs were way too tortuous and exhaustive. They were damn steep, completely rocky terrain and pretty inaccessible. One had to be utmost careful and had to concentrate on the footsteps. With a 16 kg rucksack climbing uphill, is definitely an “uphill task”. My breaks started to be frequent but as my friend aptly said, we are subjecting ourselves to the odds of nature.

In Muhammad Ali’s words, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe”.

And honestly, the moment we reached Lahesh Caves, the ecstasy was evident on our faces. Soon it was nightfall, and if twilight was a phenomenon then it should be experienced here on top of Lahesh Caves. We were now at an elevation of 3560m.

At this moment, I felt I am on Seventh Heaven. And when you are in 7th heaven, you do not really have to search for Cloud No. 9.

It was cold Friday morning 4 a.m. The temperature outside was in negative degrees. The weather looked really bad. It was certain to rain with the black clouds hovering. I wasn’t feeling all that good because of a pain that had crept on my lower abdomen (had a surgery last year). I, unfortunately, had to pull back and stayed on the caves as the path above was even steeper. Ram and Kulu headed for Naag Dal. Me and John (porter) after a couple of hours walked down to Triund. It was raining consistently but we never stopped. We walked down continuously for 4 hours in the rain. Ram and Kulu also reached Triund in the evening as they couldn’t make it to Naag Dal Lake for the path was covered with fresh snow and it was damn slippery. Ram was pretty disappointed since he had already been to Indrahar pass before and couldn’t make it to the lake. The evening was delightfully colorful. The sky had to offer us a kaleidoscope of hues at Triund.

Finally, we trekked down to our base camps on Saturday. Bidding adieu to the Himalayas and Mcleodganj, we boarded a bus for Pathankot where we caught a train at 2200hrs to New Delhi.

At 9am Sunday, we were at New Delhi. I couldn’t thank Ram anymore than saying, “It was never possible without you my friend. Thanks for the time”. My cousins were waiting to pick me up for one day out with them in Delhi. We went for a long drive and guzzled 2 bottles of beer each.

Time was running out and my final destinations were minutes away. We quickly got momos packed and had it on our way to the airport. Parting from my cousins with a hug, I was soon seated in the Airbus 360. Finally at Bangalore, the IT hub, the pub city, the garden city at 0030 hrs, my long mesmerizing journey came to an end.

I do not know how to give a final touch to this piece but all I can say if I die tomorrow my soul would always be glad to have had a visit to the Incredible Himalayas!

“Whatever is the Truth cannot be said.
Whatever can be said is not the Truth.”    — Tao

Last but not the least, here’s a naïve film shot by me on Triund showcasing the Dhauladhar (Himalayan) ranges.