Random images from my flickr stream...



Love के लिए साला कुछ भी करेगा !!! (Anything for love, or to make some :P )

जो बीवी से करे प्यार,
वो कैसे करे रेड लाइट पार

और जो पति से करे प्यार
वो भी कभी न करने दे रेड लाइट पार

I was at this red light near my house, and a young couple, recently married by the looks of it, stopped next to me... and the guy was in a hurry to cross the red light, even though there was heavier than light traffic moving around ! And the girl was just sitting behind, completely oblivious of the fact that the guy was risking both their lives just to save 30 odd seconds of stopping on the signal. The guy displayed some interesting driving skills and crossed !

I see this often !!! People who are riding pillion or sitting next to the drivers do not really object to defaults by the drivers!!!

Here is a proposed point based traffic default control system for young couples :) And see if you can take it seriously :)

You start with 10 points in your kitty...

- Every act of nice-ness and ethics on the road, adds 1 point to your total; and if you were over nice someday (Stopped for someone and let them walk/drive through before you, drove in the right lanes with safety first the entire day, etc) you get 2 points.

- Every minor default(overtaking from the left, unnecessary lane change, useless honking, driving in high beams, improper parking) subtracts 1 point from your total.

- Every major default (Not stopping on a red light, driving on the wrong side in a one way lane, parking in the no parking area, parking in front of someone else's gate, dangerous driving, unnecessary over speeding, driving under influence) would subtract 2 points from the total.

And then :
  • If at any time the points for a married driver goes below 5, NO SEX till he gets his total beyond 5 points
  • If a bachelor, has less than 5 points, no kisses and no other physical intimacy till he crosses 5 points again. No not even holding hands !
  • If a married lady driver is less than 5 points, take away her face wash and the perfume bottles till she gets back to more than 5 points
  • If an unmarried girl is less than 5 points, the above applies in addition to a shopping/outing ban for a week.
The ownership here lies with the people to ensure we have safer and better roads out there !!!

Oh, and the singles can enjoy :P


We the PEOPLE !

1. We follow instructions...

  • That is why once someone reads "Horn Please" behind a truck or a tempo, we just do not stop following that instruction EVER !! We will "horn" please anytime every-time.
  • We wear helmets because the sign says Wear Helmets. And not because they would really save our heads !

2. Lane driving is Sane Driving,

  • And we prove our sanity in ways (read lanes) more than one... every now and then we want to drive in a different lane to ensure the sanity of that lane as well.
  • There are times, when we are proving our sanity in lanes more than one together !

3. We are good followers and have amazing leaders...

  • Nothing else can explain what happened in Rajasthan when Gurjars were down on the streets with the reservation issue. I doubt if most of the people really knew what they were agitating for.
  • The MNS people beating up people who came for the railways examinations in Maharashtra and many more such incidents

4. We are very loving parents

  • That's why we let our kids sit in front of us between the steering when we are driving a car... After all, the kid should also enjoy the entire experience like he wants...
  • And ditto for the kids standing on the small platform on scooters and sitting on the petrol tanks of the motor cycles

5. We feel ownership every thing for the public in the country...

  • That is why we can spit anywhere, or pee in any corner
  • That is why we park any (possible) where on the road
  • That is why we are more than comfortable in damaging or destroying anything that is meant for the public

6. We know how to get things done

  • We can burn railway coaches, and stop all traffic...
  • We can break glasses and throw stones at everyone around to prove a point...
  • If people in a state beat my state people up, I would go ahead and burn everything that I can in my state too... Fantastic solution providers too... simple eh!

7. We are aware of everything latest happening around thanks to our media...

  • One incident and the TV news would point a question mark at the entire city, at the entire departments... I used to like India TV when it started, but now I have started hating it to the core... I think they are doing a fantastic job of scaring the shit out of people who watch it !!! Way to go !! Its surprising how they can make scary news out of Absolutely EVERYTHING !!!

8. We can let go of things...

  • That's why we forget if Arushi's murder is even worth thinking about now?
  • That's why we do not remember that people die in road accidents and that when we drive like crazy we are putting someone else's life at stake in addition to ours, exactly how a driver somewhere else would put our family's life at stake only because his car/jeep/truck can move faster and faster!
  • That's why no one really talks about the effort that most of the people other than Gandhi did for the independence of the country, except on their birthdays and death anniversaries... I wish to see a Rs. 10 note with the photo of Chandrashekhar Azar or Bhagat Singh or Subhash Chandra Bose or someone else one day !!!

9. We are sensitive people...

  • Does not matter who gets killed, till its one of my own I would not really understand! And it its someone I know or close to me, my anger would know no limits !!!
  • We are too sensitive to our religion, and would be more than quick to point a finger at someone else.

10. We believe in saving fuel...
  • That is why we do not like to stop at traffic lights, idling would waste fuel... so we just move on... that also helps us build our driving capabilities bigg time !!
We the people !!!

This is me, you, and a lot of people around us! and if this post offends you in some way, please do try to make a change someway or the other !!

Stop your brother, sister, relative, father, son, friend from doing something that is not right! Make a genuine attempt to give something back to the country, by at-least following some simple rules and basic manners!

I hope things would change, but I am scared too!


India's First

I have been thinking about writing something titled "We the people" on how a lot of people in India behave... it is supposed to be a not so good post, but I guess I would defer it for a day or two and enjoy the success of the first phase of Chandrayaan ( the moon vehicle)

Here is the good news :

"Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden moon spacecraft, was put into Transfer Orbit around the earth by the Polar Launch Vehicle PSLV-C11 after it blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre." (from NDTV.com)

Read more about it here.


more on the mission on ISRO's website here.

I am very glad, because I have always believed that India has the true potential to be one of the best countries in the world ( I am sure it is in certain aspects) but while some people make it what it is, for good, there is no dearth of people who are only and only responsible for making it worse !


Satellite Radio facing the Music !

Worldspace today filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, under which they would either sell the company or do some re-org !

The satellite radio service never really picked up in India anyway! We are not really game for paying a monthly subscription for music, specially when there is so much available for free !

Having said that, some of the channels over Worldspace are too unbelievably fantastic, the Hindi classics, the rock, the dance music ! But there is a whole lot of junk as well in the 40 channels they were offering. I hope with time, we can pick and choose and play the channels and pay only for the usage instead of paying a fixed subsription. And not to forget mobile satellite reception for music, instead of the bigger fixed boxes !

I am waiting !


Why, Let there be light?

I have recently noticed (ok, not too recently) but I have noticed a unique design by Maruti Suzuki in their recent cars !

A small red light, at the lower end of the rear bumper in the center. It does not come on with the rear or the brake lights, but apparently has a separate switch to operate!

Now I am wondering what thought might have gone into putting a light there, just about 10 inches above the ground !!! The light at the rear top makes sense as it increases visibility from a distance, plus gives indication of applied brakes to vehicles which are relatively higher and following you at a very close distance and is a backup light just in case one of your bulbs for the brake lights is not working !

But this light in question, is only increasing costs, but making the bumper more customized, added light (prone to damage more often, while parking, backing up etc), extra wiring and above all, a stupid look...

Can someone help me make sense of that light please !

Having said that, I still love to drive my first Maruti 800, Tushar's old Zen and Aro's really old esteem ! What brilliant engines they are! For some, Maruti might have come a long way, but from where I see it, it produces much worse cars then it used to in terms of finish, durability, and build quality ! Swift, though really strange design ( strange fattish look, and extra small windows), is a car that I like because of the work inside the car, below the hood (a bit of my liking for swift is because of the FIAT diesel engine that it uses :P) Do read about the interesting design story for the SWIFT here, and check out the two door and convertible Swifts ! they look brilliant ! I just hope they improve the paint job on the Swift ! The red one looks like years old even after a few months !

Oh, and have a great week ahead ! the next week is just a few days away !


जय बद्री विशाल (Jai Badri Vishaal)

Have been planning the Badrinath trip for a very long time now... more than 6 months, but just could not go for some reason or the other!

Before the US trip, my travel plans were getting changed every week and I just could not go! When I was in the US, mom dad for some reason did not go either! So we decided that we could go as soon as I am back!

We did!

I reached Noida on Saturday and left for Badrinath on Monday afternoon. We took a long break in Meerut where I met Naani after a while. She is not doing well at all these days. Not even able to speak :( I hope she recovers soon! The improvement in her voice and movement was seen after we were back from our trip, so that makes me feel good and better!

The drive was very long and mostly uneventful except the extremely bad roads at a lot of places, 4 pit stops and a forced break at Rishikesh. We had reached Rishikesh at 0300 hrs and there is a restriction on driving ahead on the hilly area between 2030 hrs and 0500 hrs, hence we had to wait before we could move ahead! This forced break was kind of good as it gave our cabbie, Kamal a couple of hours to catch his nap and prepare him for the long 12-14 hour drive ahead!

Pa never stops getting surprised at what all I keep clicking :P

Some flowers on the one of our pit stops

Just after his bath, praying !

I have always respected the hill drivers for their discipline and decent driving, but this time it was very different. All the local cabs seems to be in a rush to catch a train which they had already missed, and were almost breathing down our necks with continuous honking and idiotic over takes ! This was the first time that I have seen such reckless driving on the hills. And I could not help but notice the laaaarge number of cabs as well on the route... The last time when I went to Govindghat with Arobindo, we did not find many cabs on the way, but this time around there was one every five minutes!!!

Thankfully on the way there were no fresh landslides to stop the traffic and we kept moving slowly but with ease. The road condition really got worse after Chamoli, and after Joshimath till Badrinath, it was practically no roads for at least 80% of the 44 kms. This was the toughest part of the entire drive, for us and I am sure for Kamal as well, because even at on single lane paths, we had the assoholotic local cabbies making our lives tough with constant honking and overtaking. We had to stop for the gate system at Joshimath and then there was another forced stop at Pandukeshwar (another gate system for the same reasons as Joshimath)

The Gate time-table at Joshimath

This is from the Panasonic I mentioned in the last post about Badrinath. I like the amount of things in this picture, the boards, the punjabi, the hindi, the jeep, the walking man, the clothes !

One of the chat-wallas at Joshimath gate ! The yummy matar chaat ( very typical of UP)

Our second forced pit stop was at Joshimath, where you have to pass through a gate system. The traffic ahead of Joshimath usually travels one way, because of the narrow roads and the tough and dangerous terrain. We waited there for about 90 minutes before the last gate for the day open at 1630 hrs. This is when I finally took my camera out and made an effort to take a few pictures. Rest of the time I was more than happy just enjoying the views and breathing deep, with a few clicks here and there!

The Joshimath gate make a good sales opportunities for a lot of people there. This lady was selling sphatik malas, rudraksh malas and what not...

One of the old boards of the Mount View HOTel

It took us a good 2.5 hours before we reached the holy town of Shri Badrinath. It was freaking cold already, and I had to brave the chill in my shorts and a shawl (was just too lazy to take out my lowers). We checked into a cheap hotel with the bare minimum facilities. Changed and rushed to the temple for darshan before the doors were closed for the night. It had started drizzling, and it just made it colder! Brrrrr!!!

Papa was the last and lucky one to enter the main temple door after much requests to the priest, while the rest of us (ME, Mom, my two cousins) waiting outside in the compound. The priest then closed the main door of the temple giving Pa and Uncle God some decent time together! He came out after a few minutes and we rushed back to our hotel with wet and freezing feet. The next action item was to have dinner. Shops close early in the small town; however we did manage to eat well at a restaurant nearby. I was very tired and sleepy with the long day and almost slept on the dinner table itself: P I was not even sure of the menu the next morning!!! : P We rushed back to our rooms after dinner and it took me two quilts, my shawl, and 2 minutes to take off to my dreamland.

I was the first one to get up the next morning and this was around 0230 hrs, only to sleep again and wake up around 0500 hrs. I got up and went out of the hotel only to see one of the best views I had seen in my entire life! A majestic mountain with snow all around, overlooking the town in that dark blue morning sky!!! I just could not take my eyes off it. Went back in, took the camera out and just waited for the light to be good enough to take a few pictures. I roaming around in that freezing temperature loving the entire feel of the Indian cold, and the view of the majestic Mt. Neelkanth in front of me. The town was also getting up with people walking around the streets, the tea stalls warming up milk and preparing vegetables, the cabbies trying to start, jump start and fire start (See one of the pictures in the Badrinath set on Flickr) their vehicles.

The first view of the Mount Neelkanth ! It does not look half as good in the picture, as it was in real ! Grand, Majestic, Royal, Larger than Life !

Dew converted to frost and ice over car tops!

Mount Neelkanth after a while with the sun shining bright on it !

Bhagwan Singh, our hotel attendent. Very prompt and quick!

One of the many segregated dustbins for organic/ inorganic waste in the town !

We finally got ready to go to the temple around 0700 hrs. The skies were clear and the temperature was getting better every minute. Had a lovely walk around the temple with the sun shining all nice and bright. I took a few pictures and we were ready to head back home by 0900 hrs.

Way to the temple !

Shri Badrinath Temple

Uttarakhand Police on duty (They were not too keen on getting a picture clicked, but agreed when I told them that I was not from the media but just a photographer)

Another view of the temple!

Natural hot water springs (Tapt Kund) are another attractions of the town. While there must exist a perfect scientific explaination to it, most people are happy believing that its an act of God that hot boiling water comes from within the surface of earth at this high altitude ( over 3000 mtrs from sea level)

Pa again :)

Some another temple not too far away ! not sure about its name or relevance!

The usual daily life of any small town. Road side salons for that perfect hair-cut!

One of the many tea stalls; and the tea essentials, Ginger and Cardomom (Elaichi)

We left the town around 0930 hrs (There is a gate system for vehicles going back as well and we had missed the gate by some 30 minutes and the next gate was at 1130 hrs). We were still allowed to pass through I guess because the traffic from the other side would take sometime before they bump into us. The rest of the drive was pretty bumpy as expected till Chamoli and got slightly better post that.

Mt. Neelkanth once again with some clouds visiting for breakfast !

The beginning of the long road back home!

View of the National Highway 58 towards Badrinath from Joshimath. The driving distance between the point where picture was taken from and the road below is approx 6 kms. Its the Govindghat ( 22 kms) that is the first town on this road, from where you can trek to Ghangria and consequenty to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. Then Pandukeshwar and then Badrinath. The highway ends in the Mana Village which is the last village on this route and is the end of road for civilian traffic.

We visited another temple called the Dhara Devi Mandir just before RudraPrayag on our way back, and were at my Mama's place near Meerut around 0300 hrs after a long drive of approximately 18 hours. Kudos to our driver Kamal who managed to drive for this long, and saved us at least two night halts which I had earlier planned. All in all a wonderful trip.

Bells at the Dhara Devi Mandir

Time for some objective information:

Route : New Delhi - Meerut - Haridwar - Rishikesh(No traffic allowed before 0500 hrs or after 2030 hrs) - DevPrayag (Another check post for night traffic) - Srinagar - RudraPrayag - KarnaPrayag - Chamoli - Nand Prayag - Joshimath(Gate System; Last Gate 1603 hrs) - (Govindghat/Vishnu Prayag/Pandukeshwar) - Badrinath
Distance to Badrinath from Haridwar: Approx 350 kms
Time: Minimum 12 hrs ex. Haridwar (Add buffer for landslides and pit stops and the total off-road experience after Joshimath)
Transport: Many buses from Haridwar around 0400 hrs/ Local taxies run at 11.50-12.50 Rs/Km (plains/hills)
Food on the way: Carry your own biscuits and snacks and water. Decent road side stalls and small restaurants at all major towns enroute
Route very prone to Landslides to plan your journey in non-rainy times

Link to : Badrinath Set on Flickr

Hope you enjoyed ! Please excuse any grammer or other silly english mistakes. The small blogger editing window takes a lot more patience than I have to ensure everything is good in the post ! Relook at a picture you like, when you find an english mistake and let me know of it too, so that I can correct it :P

Tea Time Cousins !

Met them at a Chai Ki Dukaan ( Tea Stall) in Badrinath Puri.

No trip is complete, rather starts for me if there is no TEA... a good tea to start the day and things look much brighter :)

These kettles are very common all across north India for keeping the tea warm (tea is kept in them and then on the stove) and serving. The nice steaming tea coming out of the nicely curved nose of the kettle falling into a cup or a kulhad is such a delight to watch !!! (Like the picture on the top right corner of this page)

and Pouring tea using these kettles is an art too, the angle of inclination, the time, the distance from the cup, all play a role together for one to have a delightful Cha(ie)xperience :)

(Not posting this one on the Chaya Chitralaya Blog)


a bLaSt a BuRsT and GiFTs !

Radha completed her 4 years with me in the last week of September and I wished her a belated happy birthday with the following gifts :)

- A set of 185/65 R14 Yokohama Avid H4s Tires
- A pair of 300W/100 RMS 3-way DS Series Rear Speakers from Kicker
- A Roots Wind tone horn !!!

She is moving much better, sounds like a dream ( though my previous Pioneer 2-way speakers were and are fantastic, but just some loose connections and worn out cables and magnet were distorting the sound too much) and the horn sounds much better... the previous windtone horn had one of the two components bad !!!

I also plan to replace the current Air-filter in my car with a K&N Air filter soonest ! Its a stock filter so I just have to buy it and replace the current filter with this one and its expected to increase the power of the car in addition to the fuel economy. Also whats interesting about these filters is that they can be reused after washing ! so you do not have to replace your air filter EVER !

Last night when I was coming back from a friend's place, the rear Tyre just burst into pieces and I do not really know why... and there is still some 30-40% tread left on it. All I know is that it could have been dangerous, but I was lucky not to get involved in an accident !

and if you did not know it yet, every tyre has 6 small triangles on the outer side facing towards the tread... just next to these triangles there is some extra rubber between the grooves and the sign to change the Tyre is when your Tyre is used enough that the grooves match the rubber next to these triangles !!! A normal Tyre usually would stay with you for some 40,000 kms in India if you are doing regular city driving and occasional off roads !!! rest depends on usage ! my tyres lasted me for about 55000 kms and looked good enough for another 2-3K but I decided to get all replaced together and used one of the better ones for the spare !!!

and a nice news (Thanks Amandeep and Priyanka) to end the weekend :

One of my pictures was printed in the latest edition of Tehelka. (Thank you Nithin Manayath and Tehelka; using a picture and giving the photographer the credit for it is an excellent practice which some of the leading newspapers do not follow these days; you guys have just earned a lot of respect from me for this activity). The picture is in reference to the Delhi Photographers on Facebook with a few words from Dinesh Khanna who is a fantastic photographer and the administrator of the group.


Back !!!!

I am back :)


3 days
40 hours of drive
Maximum altitude of 10276 ft.

Enjoy the pictures preview below, while I recover from fatigue and gain some strength to write a long post tomorrow !!!

I also tested a new PnS camera, the Panasonic Lumix TZ 5 (thanks Subbu and Deepu, for the help and discussions during the research time) and am very happy with it !!! The auto modes are excellent (though the print quality is not that great) and I am hoping MaPa would like to use it more often than not too ! The three pictures above, are from that camera!