Random images from my flickr stream...



Chai walon ki Jai

Chai Ki Dukaan recently crossed 75000 hits !!! Congratulations and thank you !!!!

Am out on a longish drive this weekend, and drove a almost brand new Ford Fusion yesterday for about 5 hours straight... I am surprised with the smoothness of the car, never expected Ford to be this smooth... will write more when I am back !


I ain't Sugar !

I ain't sugar, don't think I am sweet

I ain't the sun, don't think I got too much heat

I ain't the moon, to keep your nights lit

I ain't the air, to let you breathe

I ain't fire, to burn your heart

I ain't water, to cool you down

I ain't a joker, to keep you away from the frown

I ain't a river, to let you flow

But I am me...

a bit of fire

a bit of water

a bit of earth

a bit of sky

a bit of mountain

a bit of air

a bit of sun

a bit of time

a bit of sadness

a bit of fun

a bit of sparkle

a bit of glare

a bit of heart

a bit of dirt

a bit of strength

a bit of weakness

a bit of distance

a bit of caress

a bit of space

a bit of nothing

a bit of everything


I ain't sugar, don't think I am sweet

I ain't the sun, don't think I got too much heat


Feels like a son !

Picked up Ma Pa from today... their maiden flight from India to Chicago !!!

Milwaukee suddenly looks like home !!!

My second biiiiiig gift after the success of 30on30 :) Life is great !


गीतमाला भाग २ (Geetmala Part -2)

"बीत गए दिन प्यार के पलछिन
सपना बनी ये रातें
भूल गए वो तू भी भुला दे
प्यार की ये मुलाकातें

आज के सवाल....
१ गाने का मुखड़ा बताएं
२ संगीतकार का नाम बताएं
३ इसी संगीतकार के दो और गानों के बारे मे कुछ बताएं

And like the last time, no peeking into comments to find the answer... do you own research and come up with the answers :)


MAX(imum) CARE(lessness)

I have always believed that Doctors have a profession that is noble, and selfless. I still believe it, however there are incidents that shake that belief.

And one such incident is what you see below in the presentation... Please do take out time to read through...


Aarambh hai Prachand

Some songs have the capability to make you shut up and listen.... this I feel is one of those songs...

आरम्भ है प्रचंड बोलें मस्तकों के झुंड
आज ज़ंग की घड़ी की तुम गुहार दो

आन बान शान या के जान का हो दान
आज एक धनुष के बाण पे उतार दो

I have always liked Piyush Mishra as an actor... his screen presence, his dialogue delivery and most importantly his voice... There is something about it that I notice and I like !

Gulal has a few songs that Piyush Mishra has brilliantly sung, and he has done such a wonderful job with his lyrics, and music... One of the strongest lyrics and music of recent times... Hats off to him... Most of these NSD guys have brought so much to the Indian Cinema, but they are so under rated... anyway !!!

Another song that I "listen" to is "Raat ke Musafir" by Rahul Ram... I have always loved his voice, and way this song has been rendered with minimum music... just the acoustic guitar and Rahul's incredible voice... sheer Brilliance !!!

मुकाम खोज ले तू
मकान खोज ले तू
इंसान के शहर में इंसान खोज ले तू

देख तेरी ठोकर से
रास्ते का वो पत्थर
माथे पे तेरे लग जाये न उचल के

ओ रात के मुसाफिर
तू भागना संभल के !

Here are the two songs which I have mentioned above, in case you have not heard them yet!

This song is set up in an environment of College Elections and brought back memories of the DU elections... There used to be so much at stake in this youth elections and being a part of them was an amazing experience! All is fair in love and war and "elections" was the motto I guess !

And here is Raat Ke Musafir:

And While you are at it, why not see/hear some more of Piyush Mishra... This reminds me so much of the Street Play times. I wonder where would I be if I had continued with my love of theater.


And the winner is....

For those you do not know what this post is about, read this and then this.
Justify Full
So I made chits with all the 15 names as you see below :)

Folded them properly, and made sure there I did not have a clue of which chit had what name....

Decided that there should be more than 1 winner, so picked up 3 instead... and here are the results !!!!

Congratulations Teekhi Mirchi, Subbu and Geet...

So now the three of you can choose a picture each from the Holland post, and write to me at prashantbhardwaj[at]gmail[dot]com with the picture details, and the address you'd like me to ship the photograph to !!!

Thanks people for participating :) and apologies to those whose names did not come up in the draw this time! come up with ideas to have your names in the winner's list and we will do something similar in June :)


The Draw of Tulips

So this is the list of people who commented on the Holland travelogue and their names are going in the draw tonight..

1. Rhapsody
2. Joy
3. Geet
4. WishesGalore
5. Jas
6. Iya
7. Reeta
8. Deeps
9. Aarbee
10. Sam
11. Reema
12. Vaishali
13. Rahi
14. Teekhi Mirchi
15. Subbu

The name which is picked up gets to choose a photo from my previous post, and I will send a print to his/her place. There might be slight changes in how the print looks as I would manually edit it this time, instead of using Piknik.

Tell me a way to make this draw more interesting...


The Dutch Village, a few Indians went to, in America

Here are a few important pointers before you go ahead and scroll down, happily reading this post..

1. This is a very very very long post (45+ photographs, loads of text) so have a good amount of time on hand when you start reading it

2. This is dedicated to two very important parts of my life... Bindiya and Tushar who started new chapters in their lives in April and May respectively

3. This trip was a celebration of the "sincerely hoped for, unexpected" success of 30on30 initiative... and to share the joy, I would do a random draw of lots of all the people who comment on this post and will send them a print (which they can select from this post) if they are in India or US. If the comments are too less for a decent lot, I would randomly add some random comments from friends and include them !

Now that the conditions are laid out well, lets start....

I had started planning for a trip months back, even without knowing where I was going... All I knew was that I am going to rent a car and just get out of Milwaukee... the winters and the cold had enough of me and I had enough of them in the last 4-5 months !!! Plans were made and shelved, places identified and rejected before a colleague told me about the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan (yes, I did go to Holland, but I drove and it is the Holland in Michigan)

So it was finalized that I am going to Holland to see the Tulips... Gaurav agreed, Deepali agreed, Pritam, Lakhan, Golu, Sapna agreed, and Jyoti agreed ( she was visiting me that week on her way from the West Coast of the Amreeka to the East Coast of Amreeka)

By the time 1st May came, things had changed... Gaurav and Deepali could not go along as his Mausaji was coming over, Sapna and Lakhan opted out as Sapna was to shift apartments and Lakhan decided to stay back and help her out.... Pritam and Deepak dropped and came back on and dropped and back on a couple of times before they finally decided to come along and bring Sunil with them !!!

They left from Minneapolis early evening and I left Milwaukee around 1830 hrs... it was a long drive ahead and I was so looking forward to it... a fantastic car good music system and a nice weather was all that I could ask for... and I had some Samosa's and Kachauri's with me for the drive too :) what fun !!!!

As expected driving was a breeze through without any issues at all...Reached the Super 8 Motel around midnight and Pritam and the gang reached soon after ! We did not spend much time talking then, and called it a day with a promise to leave the motel by 0930 hrs the next morning !

We were on time for our estimated time of departure from the Motel for a long day ahead... managed to get ready in quick time and have breakfast, which had muffins (multiple helpings :P), some cereal, milk (like a good boy I had my cereal and milk there too).

Pritam was driving a JEEP and there was no way I would have let anyone else drive that now that I was around... He knew that, and asked Sunil to handover the keys to me before I created any fuss ! He like a gentleman took the navigator seat and Pritam, Jyoti and Golu happily acquired the passenger seats !!! Just about 20 minutes away was our first destination of the day...

The Veldheer's Tulip Garden....

I would be lying if I tell you that I was very excited to see what I saw... My bad! I was expecting miles of tulips of various colors and variety, but this turned out to be a relatively smaller than what I had painted in my head... It was not entirely my mistake actually, it was the advertising that got the better of me here ! But nevertheless it was a sight to see... I had never seen so many tulips together, so in a way this was a happy moment !

Enjoy the pictures below for a while, before getting back to reading more :)

Did I mention that for most of the time I was confused if I was in Holland or America or India? The proportion of Indians vs Foreigners was as good as India Gate in Delhi or some tourist spot near Pondicherry or Madras or Bangalore... This was the largest number of Indian public I have seen together outside India so far !!!

Just before getting out of the Tulips Garden, we decided to take a few pictures of each other :)

We then went to a small shop selling memorabilia (no points for guessing that)... This was a very nice place to roam around in... Beautiful small artifacts and at very very reasonable prices... what added to the charm of this shop was that the artists were also working in the shop only... unfortunately they were having their lunch when we went so I could not take a picture of them working, however did manage to click on the paint-desks (see below)... Really liked the wide array of paint brushes and colors on the desk...

Another very interesting thing about the Dutch is the Wooden Shoes... NO they are not just fancy looking show pieces... you can wear them like regular shoes, walk, run, attend a costume party, look cool and so on and so forth :)

There was a small factory inside the shop itself where the shoes were being made(below)...

We left the Tulip's garden and then moved towards downtown Holland (this is the place where there was a board with Holland written, and I posted in my previous post). We decided to skip the dutch village tour as no one was too keen on getting disappointed again, so we moved towards another tourist attraction called the Windmill Island Gardens.

When we reached there, we realized that it was something very similar to what we had already seen and decided to not waste any time or money on it... I guess by this time, though we had not done much, we guys were not too keen doing any more touristy stuff ! or maybe just some more ! In one of the handouts, which disappeared mysteriously from the car, we had read about this sand-dune safari in the Saugatuck Dunes State Park...

None of us remembered the name Saugatuck, and we were very keen to see how sand dunes look next to a lake, and what could be the Sand Dunes Safari, so we decided to find out more... Me and Sunil went to a shop nearby and asked if they had the hand-out or the brochure for the "attractions" in Holland... the lady at the counter did not have any, but she knew exactly what we were talking about and gave us directions to the Dunes Safari place...

No one had eaten anything after the breakfast, infact none of us had a decent dinner the last night either... and were very hungry.... so we decided to first find a place to eat before going anywhere... after a few discussions while driving towards our next pit-stop we ended up having lunch at Papa Romano's... This was a very good decision as the Pizza's were really really good there!

It was a fun filled drive that we had on the Sand Dunes Safari... a 1970 oversized Dodge Truck, speeds more than 40 mph on sand, sudden turns and sharp curves, highs and lows, sand dunes, small lake, the huge Lake Michigan, funny driver guide, forest, trees, sand, and our spirit made that 35 minute drive worth it !

Seen below is the 1970 Dodge truck we went around for a drive in....

We were tired by now, and wanted to just rest the rest of the day off and decided to go to the beach and spend the day there... It was already around 4ish but because the days are much longer, it was another 4 hours before the sun was to set... We now went to the "Big Red" which is actually a "small" red light house located at the channel that connects the Lake Macatawa with the Lake Michican... We spent the rest of the day near the Big Red, partially south of the channel and the rest on the north of the channel... No we did not just walk up north, but drove all the way back to downtown Holland, crossed the nearest bridge and drive back to the beach :)

I really wanted to see the sun set, and really wanted to see it... so we waited... it was not the most comfortable evening as it was pretty chilly, but my dear friends decided to hang around till sunset and then move back....

Now was time to go back to the Motel and call it a day... Jyoti had left something at Papa Romano's in the afternoon so we decided to go back and see we could find it there... We could not and the guys decided to get themselves the infamous Smirnoff Vodka Mojito (will write about why its infamous separately) While Pritam, Golu and Jyoti were inside the Wine Shop, me and Sunil discussed the dinner options and realized that Indian Food was the best option... now at 2130 hrs, it was not going to be an easy task to first find an Indian Restaurant and that too an open one !!! but we tried... the GPS ( called Billo Rani by Pritam) helped and after about 5 unsuccessful attempts we found an Indian Restaurant called Bombay Cuisine in Grand Rapids about 20 miles away...

We had close to about 30 minutes left before the restaurant was closing for the day, so we decided to order over phone and let them know that we were about 20 miles away and counting... Reached the restaurant with about 10 minutes to spare and picked up our order for food... Indian Dinner !!! Wow !!! Though it was surprising that this restaurant did not have Dal Fry or Dal Makhni in their menu.. they had something called Dal Subzi which was essentially Dal Makhni with vegetables in it... It was still good, and the Gobi was lovely, and the brown naans were tasty too... The non-veggies also liked their Chicken something...

So after this loooooooooooooong touristy day and a heavy Indian dinner, we called it a day around midnight !!!!

The next day was now planned to be relaxing as we were in no mood to do any touristy stuff... Infact the only place on the agenda was a Winery on our way back home... We decided to go via the downtown and walked around in a small crafts fair before we said bye bye to Holland and drove towards the Winery... Enjoy the pictures from the fair....

About 30 minutes after leaving Holland, we reached the America that I love to see... Calm, and warm, with open skies, green trees, and with the voice of birds or a distant vehicle occasionally breaking the otherwise very comfortable silence...

It was a nice place to just sit and chat as well... I did not care much for the wines, and came out to just sit in the field and take pictures, while Pritam, Golu, and Jyoti were enjoying the wine tasting experience....

Sunil also decided to come out and relax for a while before he started the long drive back to Minneapolis...

We enjoyed some nice chit-chat with a bottle of wine at the Winery before we started the second but final leg of our journey.... The next pit-stop and the last one for this trip was to be taken at a eatery somewhere in between the Winery and Chicago...

The pit-stop was at Fenneville somewhere between somewhere, where we enjoyed some Pizzas at a Pizza hut before saying the final good byes to each other, promising to meet again soon !!! Post that, Sunil drove a bit faster towards their destination and I enjoyed the music and the amazingly smooth Nissan Altima to Milwaukee....

All in all, this trip ended up with me having a nice big smile on my face, exactly like the road-map between Milwaukee and Holland :)

I am already looking forward to my next trip !!! Are you?

Oh and congratulations for reaching the end of this post :P