Random images from my flickr stream...



Discount = Free Free Free!

That is what comes to my mind every time I see the crowds outside a store which is offering discounts... and mind it, these stores have to be stores where women's clothing is being sold!

A lot of other apparel stores do give discounts, but none of them seem to be as popular as the ones who have sarees and other dress material on sale... Today evening I happened to be in a line of people waiting to get inside Meena Bazaar, Noida which was offering a flat 50% off on sarees and suits and some other readymade stuff for women!

It was a nifty fifty discount, but the line outside and the crowd inside made me feel that you could just pick up any saree and walk out without paying a dime! But as it turned out, I had to pay something for those sarees. Now Ma had to get some because of a few functions in our family and at her colleagues places, but most who bought sarees as if they were going to retail them at their respective houses, did not really look like they needed them! but maybe they did!

Does not matter how many clothes she has, the first thought that comes to a woman's mind when she opens her closet the first thing in the morning is, "Oh I don't have anything to wear today!!!" Pun definitely intended!

Thank you Kuldeep!

You were instrumental in a lesson well learnt!

Lesson - Identifying your own mistake and making an effort to apologize and try not to repeat it again makes a relationship stronger!


Earth Time!

There is something called an Earth Hour tonight!!! We all are supposed to switch off the lights between 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm!

I am wondering, with summers coming there would be a lot of unwanted earth hours and even earth days making summers the earth season in a lot of Indian homes, thanks to the electricity department!

Also this earth hour, I feel makes more sense where there is no switching off of the lights 24 hours a day! When I was in UK and US, most malls had all their lights on 24X7 irrespective of the day of the year! I think they should switch the lights off more often than just one hour an year anyway!

Do I still need to switch off my lights? I guess I will if there is no good movie on the TV!!!

From now on, I would call every power cut "Earth Time"


I am getting to realize that I do not want to be labelled as a photographer!

I like it!



I was in Meerut last night, and the expression and body language that my Nani had, when I told her that I am ok with getting married and would try to get married soon, was priceless!

Just one of the moments, which will make my marriage worth it I guess!


Tuotes (T-Quotes)

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world

- T'ein Yiheng,
eighteenth-century Chinese Sage


The heart and home gets a BEAT!

So finally after a wait of about 50 days, we got our third car!

First White, then Red and now a Blue... my family tends to stick with the primary colors only :)

Radha and Meera outside the house :)

Let's talk about the good in this car as I observed in the first 5 kilometers of my drive

1. The front of the car is very bold, and aggressive. Makes it stand out well!
2. The lights are smartly designed, though I would have liked a different set of headlights. GM has toned down some styling to cater to the cost conscious Indian market.
3. The rear door handle is cleverly concealed next to the window, and does not show up on the door, giving it a two door feel in the first quick look. The original (which was first seen in Transformers 2 is a two door)
4. The interiors are futuristic... Brilliantly designed dashboard, gives it a sports car feel, and the matte chrome three spoke steering wheel is just adequately sized.
5. The rear lights are big and would be helpful in Delhi fog
6. The head room is great
7. 14" wheels are standard and that gives the car a better fuller look, plus helps a bit of stability
8. The LT version that I got has an integrated music system which makes for a good looking interior and plays my iPOD
9. The seats hold the back very nicely and have a decent lumbar support too
10. The speaker system is decent if you do not want to spend more on thump and sound volumes
11. The paint job is nice and clean and the build quality of the vehicle is good. This is anyway expected from GM
12. The car is extremely silent
13. There are intelligent spaces in the car to keep things

A few things that are not so good about the car
1. The boot space is bad and so is the glove box. Its very small too.
2. The tires are thin... 155/70R4 is something screams for an upgrade to atleast 170/65R14... It would take away a few previous kilometers from the mileage though...
3. There is no left foot rest!!!! What was GM thinking? That will make long drives difficult!!!

And now because I have been driving a FIAT... let's talk about how BEAT feels when compared to a PALIO
1. It feels light.. very light... has both advantages and disadvantages..
2. Palio feels very rich in terms of its interiors as compared to the Beat...
3. The tyre upgrade that I did for Palio makes it feel more stable... I am already waiting for my first tyre upgrade
4. The doors of a Palio close with a THUD... and the Beat closes with a slightly subtle thud... makes me feel strange!
5. Palio has door stoppers which stop the door from swinging open when you get out of it.. you always have to make an effort to open the door... That simple functionality has helped me a lot in the last 5 years of owning the car!

Its great to have two good cars now.. One which is very slick, modern and smart, and the other which feels safe, strong and is still going very strong after 5.5 years of a trouble free ownership. And both bold, aggressive, and very stylish in their own worlds!!!!


Winners all along!

Went through the pictures of the winter Paralympics! and I feel so small!!!

Jaw dropping
and simple plain inspirational!!!

Everything that I crib about, feels so lame!!!!

Click here to see what I am talking about.


The Great Indian Wedding

Cliche'd Title... rightly so.. there is so much so cliche'd about the Indian Wedding that one would not even know where to start from. I intend to write about my observations about an Indian wedding, or maybe a "how it's done for people from UP" wedding as I walk through the course myself (in due course of time) and how I see things happening around!

What you read below is something that I had written about a month ago at a small gathering at my cousin's place!

I am sitting at my cousin's place attending a small function where his future in-laws have come to formalize the marriage and start formally calling him the son-in-law or Damaad. My cousin is a very soft spoken family guy and has been agreeing to most of the things a very typical arranged marriage system offers and demands from a groom-to-be, right from meeting the girl for not more than 10 minutes, and that too after the marriage was fixed, not talking too much with the girl till marriage, to adjusting with the marriage of two families.

Yes, in India its families that are married and not just bride and the groom. I am sitting amongst auntijies and taijis, and mausijis and chachijies and what not, who remember me by my nick name and find it very awkward associating a 30 year old man with a name like that! This cousin in question is younger than me and a part of all initial conversations, and no points for guessing, is when am I getting married? or why am I not yet married? Mom over years have perfected a response to this question, which is, Baat Chal Rahi hai, Dekho kya hota hai! i.e. there are talks going on, let's see when things take shape! It does stop any further questions, however not before an elaborate mention of some distant relatives daughter who is very pretty, slim, tall, well educated and comes from a family like none other!

Me not being married is a big concern also because most men of my age in their opinion have atleast two kids, one of which is already going to a school! My dear friend Prashant, the clock is ticking! tick tock tick tock!

Now that the fact that I am not yet married and would soon be getting married, is established in the conversation, I now get treated like any other kid around. Everyone suddenly has this uncontrollable urge to stuffing me with food, and the keen observation that I have reduced weight and I look weaker than before comes alive! The fact that no one around has seen me for years, and have no clue of what I used to look like even an year ago has very little or no statistical impact on this observation!

Whatever said and done, this overwhelming affection that you get in Indian homes from people you know and people you don't, makes India a better country to be in from the rest of the world!

A couple of hours later, after the girl's family has completed the "Ladka Hamara Hua" (the boy is ours) formalities, the environment is suddenly a lot louder and happier. Pleasantries have been exchanged, sweets distributed, and envelops with 10 and 50 rupee notes have been given by the bride's father to my mausiji for distribution in the family... These envelops equal the number of people in the family, first cousins of my cousin, brothers and kids of my mausaji's and their family, and who and what nots... This is some sort of a ritual that is important, and is called Milai, something that you give when you formally meet the boy's family, only in this case they have met just a handful of people they got envelops for!

There are some kids roaming around the house and according to the auntijis mine should have been a part of that gang, but that is beside the point! There is this li'il girl about 5 years old who is looking at her reflection in the glass door of a showcase and calling it a ghost! Cute! and that makes her the centre of attention now. I am writing this and am trying to read "Chai Chai" ( I need to write my thoughts about that book too soon)

The ladies in the room are also talking about the various connections between various people and how they are related to each other through some distant chacha or mama or mausi aur dewar or bhabhi and so on... During all this relationship networking, what stands out is the fact that all the women in this room still refer to themselves along with the village they belong to! and there is a certain amount of pride which is associated in this reference! interesting!

Infact, for a long time I used to refer to Kariyari (my mother's village) as mine, which irked my grandfather (Father's father) like nothing else... That's is another story that I would write sometime later!

For now, the people have started dispersing and its time for me to get back home!


Life is Good!

  • A full bus with waiting, but still getting a seat!
  • Getting out of the bus stand without mugged by the guys hard-selling hotels in the city!
  • Having a car to drive and a post midnight snack in an open air restaurant on the 8th floor of a hotel in the not so crowded area!
  • Pyaz Kachodi before sunrise
  • Tea @ the tea shop of Brij Bihari Yadavji at sunrise
  • Walking around a fort early morning
  • Sleeping through most of the day
  • Walking around busy markets in the evening
  • 1:00 a.m. coffee after driving 125 kms
  • Though stimulating conversations throughout the night, and reaching home at 4 in the morning!!

Life is great! I think I said good before, but no! its GREAT! :)


2009 in Pictures - July

After a gap of almost 2 months I am getting back to posting the rest of 2009 In Pictures now... This time around lets see how July was in 2009... It was full of loads of excitement, summers had arrived, festivals were on the charts, flowers were blooming, and traveling to new places was planned...

Let's go to July 2009 then!!!! Enjoy! (pssst...this post has a lot of photographs... be patient while scrolling down! I would not like it if you miss some pictures!)

July started with a flight to Atlanta! Aditya was there from India on a project and I felt this was just the right opportunity to fly down south and enjoy some mountains. I was really excited because this was the first time I was going to see mountains in the US... Did I say I love mountains? I do!!!

Smokies! here I come!

Reached Atlanta late in the evening and the Sun Gods were still waiting to welcome me at the airport!

Adi was driving a Pontiac G6! and I had another reason to celebrate because of this fact! I had been trying to rent out a G6 for a long time now, and it happened when I was least expecting :) lovely!

The GPS I was carrying was giving a lot of trouble, it used to get lost, or take us to places where we not really were going to! but we still managed to drive all the way to Smokies with some help from the road signs! Figured that if you keep your eyes, open you might not need a GPS afterall!

The first pit stop was creekside after we crossed the small town of Cherokee in the state of North Carolina! Amazing beautiful road, covered with greenest of green trees, with a small creek flowing next to the road! Perfect mood for an amazing drive!

And needless to say there were a whole lot of bikers enjoying the warm weather on their Harleys on that road!

Below is the east side view from Chingman's dome, the highest point in the Smokies... Its an artificially built cement view point to give visitors a 360 degree view of the Smokies. I can only imagine how crowded it would get if it was India, more because of the smalltime shopkeepers, of which all I missed was a Chai-Wala... Sigh!

The western view has the state boundary of NC and Tennessee, like you see in the picture below...

The access to Clingman's Dome below!

And finally the beautiful Smokies!!!! Pictures can capture only a part of how beautiful these were... but to be honest, nothing in this world is as beautiful as the Himalayas!!! Call be prejudiced! but that's how it is! simple!

It was the 4th of July when I was in Atlanta and all towns, big or small on our way had fireworks going on... We drove past two, but decided to stop at the third one and enjoy the show...
And did not do much the other two days I was in Atlanta... the most eventful thing being, that I saw Transformers2 on IMAX (huge is an understatement for that screen) and ICE Age 3 back to back!

Back in Milwaukee, it was time for Festivals and Fairs...

Bestille Days and Great Circus Parade were scheduled over the next few weeks... This is when staying in the heart of downtown, and next to the lake was making more sense than anything else :)

Bastille days is a 4 day french festival which is celebrated every year in Milwaukee downtown at the Cathedral Square lawns! Perfect time to enjoy some exotic wine and food... Me being a vegetarian and a non-wine drinker, made myself happy with elaborate helpings of Egyptian Rice, Greek salads and fresh lemonade while walking around and enjoying some brilliant music performances in the evenings!

The photographs below are a mix of Great Circus Parade and Bastille Days!

Beautiful father son combo :) Saw many dads wearing the same stuff as their boys! sweet!

Family planning is something that has not been introduced to some in the US I guess...

And I am sure this horse's mom had an affair with some Dalmatian!

Fairs and festivals are one place where I see some family values being displayed in the US... most of my time otherwise was spent noticing the teenagers and youth, which did not seem to be moving in any direction but everywhere! It was a very nice refreshing change to see families together at these festivals... but it was mostly kids and parents, or old people.. the young guns were not many in number around these... Considered boring I guess, by them!

There was an actual circus happening too! and it was really interesting to see how kids in the US react to Camels and Elephants :P

India still means something very different when it comes to Circus.. check out the face and India... I would love to look for someone who looks like this in India now :)

Another good thing about social gathering's in the US is that people of all age (minus the ones I mentioned) fully enjoy themselves!!! They drink, they dance, they laugh!!! it was fun to observe!!

My favorite couple in the US... Deepali and Gaurav...

My parking lot and collectibles I acquired over time...

Bindiya had handed over Ganeshji to me when I went to UK for the first time in 2007... they have been with me since! I am sure he is enjoying the mid-western weather in summers!

And the month ended with an absolutely brilliant and mind boggling sky show at Lake Front...

The adrenaline rush when a jet flies just about 100 ft above your head is indescribable... How kids cry after that is a different story altogether!

So that's how July of 2009 was... Did you read anything or just saw the pictures?


Did you know?

That the railway tracks are checked by gangmen, every 2 kilometers about 10 minutes before a Rajdhani or a Shatabdi is to cross.

Watch out for more about Indian Railways on Chai ki Dukaan!!!!


Important Announcements!!!

I am happy to launch two important websites today!!!!

1. www.sopaan.org : This is the website that is dedicated to my social responsibility initiative and is supported by a group of friends who are as serious about doing some for the society as I am... Initially this would be focussed at raising funds for grass-root level initiatives, and sharing information about various NGOs that are in existence and have a similar mindset. A lot on Sopaan is still under construction or review, and I would keep working on it while its open to everyone to view. Please do feel free to leave comments, share ideas and thoughts, or give me some feedback.

2. www.AndPictures.net :Photography for me has never been about a picture only, infact its the places, the people, and the moment which is of primary importance for me "and pictures" come later... This website would serve as my online portfolio and is a step towards professional photography.

I have been able to do this because of the amazing support that has been extended to me from everyone around. I do not dream to make it big, but I do dream to make an impact in whatever capacity I can with time!!!!

In addition to that, let me also invite you all to a group exhibition that I am a part of.. The exhibition opens on 4th of March in India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. Please do make it convenient to attend.