Random images from my flickr stream...



Purani Chai ki Dukaan

All links broken, but the blog stays...

In case you'd really like to visit Chai ki Dukaan and are missing it...  Hop on to


Its still there, and getting better each day!


Move to a different Platform

Chai ki Dukaan is undergoing testing to move to a different platform... It could be intermittently unavailable over the next few days!

Please adjust maadi!


Single hand drive

My car is a single hand drive and literally so!

Its rare that I use both my hands for steering.. One of them is usually on the gear stick!


Do Not Disturb me PLEASE!

"The Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2010" comes into play today! and looks like it that some processes are better defined that the last time it was enforced!

What it also does is that some important communication, e.g. from your online shopping vendors, the Delhi Traffic Police, etc would not be sent out to you. However, there is an option of partially blocking the unwanted communication (SMS and Telecalls).

Here is what you need to do to stop all unsolicited calls...

To stop all commercial calls/SMS, write START 0 and send it to 1909

To start some calls and SMS, these are the codes :

Health - 1
Education - 2
Tourism and Leisure - 3
Banking/Insurance/Financial Products - 4
Consumer Goods and automobiles - 5
Real Estate - 6
Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT - 7

To start any of these, write START followed by the category code and send it to 1909, e.g. if you want to get SMS/Calls related to Health Services, the SMS that you need to send to 1909 is START 1

If you want to deregister from the DND registry, send STOP 0 to 1909

In case you'd like to check the status of your requests you can click here.

I personally feel that its not completely thought through from a SMS perspective, and here is why :

  • Logically, if I want to stop the unwanted calls/SMS I should send a STOP message and a START message otherwise. The current process wants me to send a START if I want to STOP all unsolicited communication

  • Also the categories should have atleast 1 State related SMS category, e.g. the Delhi Traffic Police SMS. I do not understand what category it falls under right now!

It is a good start though. I am hoping that the number of SMS that I get reduces to a minimum (I get atleast 30 messages and 5 calls per day)

This information is written with reference from all major Telecom Services Providers and the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Portal of TRAI.


Raindrops bring so much from within the soul that its hard for words to capture... Here are a few photographs from a rainy day, taken in my balcony...


You could visit my photography website And Pictures by clicking here or the Facebook page by clicking here.


Infographic - The Genealogy of US Airlines

Lovely infographic on History Shots showing how airlines in the US have been launched/merged/operated from 1920s to 2000s.

Absolutely must!!!

Please click here to learn and enjoy!

You could also buy this as a poster by clicking here.


सिस्टम की कहानी (System ki Kahani)

मेरा होश सँभालते ही, मासूमियत के समझदारी में बदलते ही
एक दुश्मन से मुलाकात हुई
क्या नाम दूं उसे ये समझ पाने की मुशक्कत में
रात से दिन और दिन से रात हुई

फिर एक दिन शाम को आवारागर्दी करते हुए
एक दोस्त से एक शिकायत सुनी
भाई बोला - यार गलती मेरी नहीं है| ये साले सिस्टम की है||

अगस्त में पढ़ाओ, फिर दश्हेरा, दिवाली, क्रिसमस की छुट्टी दो,
अप्रैल में परीक्षा लो, और पास नहीं हुए तो गाली दो|
अब मैंने थोड़े ही कहा है एक साल का इंतज़ार करो
पढ़ाओ, और पूछ लो
ना बता पाएं तो पीट लो
पर नहीं, सिस्टम ही ऐसा है के साल भर पढ़ कर ही फेल हो सकते हो पहले नहीं
ये साला सिस्टम ही ख़राब है

तब समझ में आया, के स्कूल एक सिस्टम है
सिस्टम का जो दिल करे जब दिल करे,
कर सकता है और करवा सकता है
पूरी बाल्टी पानी की खाली करके, फिर भरवा सकता है

ये समझ में भी आया के सिस्टम ज़्यादातर ख़राब ही होता है
न किसी की सुनता न समझता है
सिर्फ अपने कायदे और अपने कानून से ही चलता है

सोचने समझने में शाम से रात हो गई
सिस्टम और उसकी तानाशाही आई गई बात हो गई||


चायबाज़ श्वेता (Chaibaaz Shweta)

Unbelievable! The last chaibaaz post on this blog was way back in April 2011! Not acceptable!

However to break this long break, is a beautiful photograph from an equally lovely photographer Shweta Verma, based out of Switzerland! I love going through her work, and I am sure you would do! Please do go through The Creative Lens and make sure to book a slot in the Autumn Promo she is currently running!

Green Tea

Thank you! Shweta for letting me use this photograph for Chaibaaz series, and welcome to the Chaibaaz family :)

Oh and if you are still reading this post (I wonder why though :) You should be on TCL already), do check out the rest of Chaibaaz posts by clicking here.


Nissan Sunny missing from the official vehicle list

The internet world is abuzz with news of Nissan launching Sunny at an ex-showroom price of about 5.67 lakhs!

As an internet user, its normal for me to go to Nissan India's website and check out the details of the car.... and what do I see? Nothing! The car does not appear the list of vehicles showcased on the website yet!

I do not know what went wrong, however it feels that during the launch project planning, someone failed to mention website update and comprehensive testing as a critical checklist item! Even though there is a dedicated website built for the new car, and a link on the homepage, vehicle list and other related areas are not updated! A test plan failure maybe?

nissan-vehicle list

To make things worse, the contact page "OK" button does not work either, and obviously Sunny is not in the list of models on contact form either!!!



7 Years young today!

Its Chai ki Dukaan's Birthday today!!!

7 years and still going strong! Could not have happened without all the people who have made Chai Ki Dukaan a part of their lives in some way or the other!!!

A big THANK YOU!!!!!

CKD History


of today!

सुना था के एक वाकया काफी है ज़िन्दगी बदलने के लिए |

इस मुल्क में न वाकयों की कमी है न जिंदगियों की ||


मुझ पर एक एहसान करना, bodyguard ज़रूर देखना|

Salman Khan does it again! No! no! let me correct myself right there!

His shirt does it again! The connection of his shirt with elements is the USP of Sallu Bhai's latest, Bodyguard!

In Dabangg, it was the element Air which connected well with his shirt and took it away!

This time around, it was water!

I am sure in the next one, its going to be Fire!

  • Bodyguard is a pain to watch! It was a sheer waste of time and money, and I am glad that I took with myself DIY cotton earplugs, or else I might have come out deaf thanks to the super surround sound at the Big Cinemas, GIP Noida
  • Bodyguard is senseless! it was beyond my level of understanding!
  • Bodyguard is slow! it made time stop!
  • Dobyguard, I mean Bodyguard is edited by idiots! Scene transition from one to the other does not make sense a lot of times!

However ignore all of that if you are not a big fan of cinema that is not just about passing time! Let's talk about why Bodyguard is a hit!

  • It lets you disconnect with the outside world for a while, while you are either enjoying the senselessness or trying to figure out how it took the heroine's father a few minutes to cover a distance worth about 9 hours! (not my mistake, 9 hours was quoted in one of the previous scenes)
  • It also lets you laugh, at yourself and people in the theatre who are wasting their money alongside you, and also eating the super expensive pop-corn and cold drink combos! Ok, there are times when you can laugh because of what happened in the movie
  • It makes you feel proud that Bollywood is going to have competition for Rajnikant! What Sallu bhai does in a few scenes is almost as comical and awe-inspiring as Rajni true-to-life work! e.g. how Sallu bhai, the bodyguard, jumps out of a Mumbai local, sways around on the ropes or wires or something, jumps to the train going in the opposite direction, and then defies gravity to get off the train to a bridge! WOW!
  • It also inspires you! Irrespective of how you look, and to be specific if you are fat without any comic timing, and have the right connections, and can speak hindi and broken Punjabi, you can be a side-kick to a hero! and I forgot to mention that you have to wear t-shirts with funny slogans! that is what would compensate for your horrible comic timing! If you are lucky, your writer would give you a name like Tsunami as well along with an opportunity to share what it means sometime in the movie!
  • It lets you oogle at Kareena! No! honest! She is looking nice in Manish Malhotra designs! and for Salman Khan fans, its a treat too! 
  • It makes you humm a few songs as well! Aaaya re aaya bodyguard is one of my favorites these days! and guess what! Its Himesss Bhai's music! :) It has that typical beat which you can observe in a lot of South Indian masala songs; something that caught my attention in Dhinka Chika Dhinka Chika (Ready)
  • It lets you enjoy the masala which has been well associated with Bollywood! Like they say, स्टोरी में ड्रामा है, एक्शन है, रोमांस है, म्यूजिक है, थ्रिल है! और क्या चाहिए!!! The story has drama, action, romance, music, thrill! what else do you need?
  • It also gives you a very interesting (and this is the first time this movie caught my attention) twist to the story
  • It will let you bond well with your friends, if you are going in  a large group! For some reason I also feel that such movies are great to enjoy with a group of friends!

However the fact of the matter is, that you should watch movies if you like to, and not because someone else like it or not! So my suggestion, go watch it!

And enjoy my favorite song from the movie :)


An old calender

I have this old calender on my office desk! I recently shifted desks, and got this calender as a part of the package! Though its a 2010 calender, it has a few things which are worth reading over and over again, and my guess is that this content is the reason why I still see it on the desk... Read more to know what this calender is about...

"You gotta fight for every breath and tell death to go to hell" : The Motorcycle Diaries

"It ain't over 'til it's over" : Rocky

"show me the Money" : Jerry Maguire

"This is your life and its ending one minute at a time" :Fight Club

"To make something special you just have to believe it's special" : Kung Fu Panda

"If you don't run, you can't win" : Chariots of Fire

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get" : Forrest Gump

"Get busy living or get busy dying" : The Shawshank Redemption

"There is magic in fighting battles beyond endurance" : Million Dollar Baby

"You should never take more than what you can give" : The Lion King

"Never tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon" : One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

"If you want something',go get it. Period" : The Pursuit of Happyness

Don't think I need to share why this calender is still on my desk, and why this post is on Chai Ki Dukaan!


Nine and Zeroes

Its been a long journey and a bond that has only strengthened over time. Radha completed 90,000 kms recently and is still going strong!


With some minor denting/painting done last week, she is shining like new, and gives a lot of new hatchbacks a run for their money!

Thank you FIAT for making such a brilliant car! Hope you keep doing the same for years to come!


I'm Free - Picture it!

Freedom I believe is perception,
Freedom I believe is understanding of rights, and acceptance of responsibilities
Freedom I believe is to express
Freedom I believe is to grow independently
Freedom I believe is to know, and share!!!

The Global Times, a biweekly newspaper of the Amity Group of Institutions, gave Amity students an opportunity to express what freedom means to them through one of my favorite mediums! Photography!

This competition saw some real good moments through the camera of students of all ages, and what you see below are winners of this competition!

Freedom to smile, freedom to be with someone who makes you laugh, freedom of expression, and freedom to be is what I see in this delightful photograph by Harshit Walia...
Harshit Walia ASCO

Freedom of space, the freedom to enjoy, freedom to do without controls! That is what gully cricket has been for me always! Shashank, who is in Xth standard has been able to capture the mood just right in this photograph!
The secret of happiness is freedom Shashank Aggarwal X AIS Gur 43

Dance like no one is watching! Bhuvan Ravindran, in his photograph, has been able to capture this expression of freedom so well!
Bhuvan Ravindran XI B  AIS Noida

Birds and Free are two words that go together! While it always hurts to see birds in a cage, I can spend hours watching birds enjoying their grains in many corners of the city, and flying around! Manas, in his photograph, has captured this free flight of birds!

Freedom Manas Aggarwal

These were the winners of this competition! and trust me there was no dearth of absolutely amazing photography in this edition of The Global Times! Do enjoy some more photographs on their website : www.theglobaltimes.in

Lane Driving is inSane Driving!

There is a 90km roadtrip that I do every day for work, and pass by a bottleneck which was initially supposed to be a flyover to ease traffic movement! Please welcome the RTR Flyover, or Rao Tula Ram Flyover!

Delhi has its fair share of flyovers, and they have really helped the traffic movement! The number of vehicles increasing is what causes the jams! not these flyovers! This one however has a history!

When RTR was inaugurated, traffic was allowed to move from Subroto Park/Gurgaon/Airports towards RK Puram! Someone in the Delhi Traffic Police realised that it was causing way too many jams, and reversed the traffic flow... So now this 3 lane flyover was for people moving from RK Puram/Vasant Vihar/Munirka towards Subroto Park/Gurgaon/Airports, and started causing the jam on the other side!

Some more brainstorming made it a time bound flyover... mornings one side, and evenings the other side! So jams now moved from one side to the other!

And finally, they have now allowed traffic from both sides to use the flyover, the middle lane is used as a the imaginary median, and there is enough space kept at the entry for a single lane traffic on both sides!

All of these approaches had their followers and critics both, but what boggles me at times is that why could they not build a wider flyover like the 1000s others in Delhi!

But this post is not about what you have just read! this post is about what you are going to read, if you have reached this far!

There is a trick to get onto the RTR... I have labelled the approaching traffic lanes as

1. Sharafat Lane (This is the right most lane)
2. Badmash Lane (Second to the right most)
3. Badtameez Lane (Third/Fourth to the right most)
4. Pencho Lane (Any other lane)

Now as the names suggest, the Sharafat lane is the slowest of them all... If you are stuck here, you are probably going to enter the flyover after 3 vehicles from Pencho Lane, 2-3 from Badtameez Lane, and 2 from Badtameez Lane have zoomed past... Let's see how this looks like from the top usually!


More from the phone!!

I am starting to like Android (but not as much as I loved the iPhone)...

A few good apps on the App store such as Evernote, Google Gesture Search, and Dropbox have made today interesting as well...

What you see below are two pictures that I took using the phone and then edited+uploaded using an app called littlephoto...

Circle in a square...

Sitting not allowed


Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

There is such a significant change in the movies from about 5 years ago to now! I get to notice it and appreciate it a lot partly because I take pictures!!!

Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag was a flop, a ridiculous movie, however it was a movie with one of the best photography examples! Take any shot from the movie, and it could be used as a reference to how pictures should be taken! I loved it from that perspective... Could have watched it without sound too!

A lot of firang movies are extremely good examples of well managed lights, nice subtle colors or loads of them when you need'em, brilliant depths of field and what not!

Zindagi Na Milegi dobara scores a lot of points from me on the photography front! I am sure there is a name to it in cinema language (Cinematography to be exact), but I would call it photography for it to register well in my mind!

Absolutely delightful light, brilliantly shot under the sun, happily exposed scenes (both indoor and outdoor) and not to forget lovely editing!

Add to this

1. a nice light combination of multiple stories running in parallel
2. interesting dose of humor and right proportions of emotion
3. SPAIN and a filmy version of what to do when in Spain documentry
4. moments that you would have wanted to live and would have lived too! I have had the doordarshan scene in my life a few times already
5. affection and love and honesty and trust and lack of it stiched almost perfectly well
6. sequences that would make you ask yourself about when you are going to do them (because most of it is definitely doable)
7. a nicely fast paced, still slowing down movie which would make you breathe in the moments you would want to... the deep sea diving or the long drive in a vintage, or the breathtaking skydive...
8. comedy where it should be, and beautiful poetry where it should be. I thought it was Farhan Akhtar who had written the poetry in addition to the movie, however it turns out that it was Javed Akhtar who did! not surprised!
9. an honest real to life friendship and moments

And what you get it is a movie that you should watch again... because Zindagi mile na mile dobara, is movie ka show dubara ho sakta hai :)

What I did not really like about the movie though..

1. it missed a bit of name calling.. there are moments where good ol' friends do not resist the macho pencho language... this movie was too clean to be true
2. part of the skydive was clearly fabricated... though it did seem that these guys had jumped, I would have loved to see the first tandem jump or atleast a mention of it before they make a solo jump... It is IMPOSSIBLE to have your first jump as a SOLO jump! that kind of was messy!
3. Hritik Roshan gets to kiss Kat! not fair! :P

A lot of us could compare the roles of the three, and say Farhan got a better role than Hritik or Abhay did a better job than Farhan or similar things... I however feel that the three were so good in what they were supposed to do that I would not really want a change if given a choice!

Here is a little about the two festivals that you can see in the movie too..

1. Tomatina Festival : An annual festival (last wednesday of August) held in Valencian Town of Bunyol! Approximately 40000 kilograms of Tomatoes sees the end of day on that last wednesday. The great Spanish tomato fight starts around midday for an hour or so in Valencian... The small town with a population of about 9000 is a host to over 30000 people during the annual Tomatina festival, so its best to stay in nearby towns and take a train to the festival!

2. Pamplone Bull Run : Again annual in nature, this is held every year mid-July in the city of Pamplone, Spain. It is a part of the San Fermin festival, held in honor of Saint Fermin. The bull run starts every day at 0800 hrs and continues from 7th of July through the 14th of July. Participants have to be 18+ years of age and can run a total of 826 meters from start to finish, unless they are finished early by the raging bulls! :)

Back to the movie! Myself and Pooja really enjoyed it! and I would love to watch it Dobara!

Oh, and did I mention that Farhan Akhtar, more often than not, sounds like he is about to cry!


Who are you gonna be?

One of my online friend's recently asked a question on FB about what people remember of their childhood dreams, what did they want to be when they grew up!!

Some pretty interesting answers could be read as responses, and what I see if that after a certain time in your life, money stops playing a role and becomes a necessary accomodity, and satisfaction and peace starts moving towards the top of the "wanted" list! Does it happen because people have earned enough, or know that they have enough capability to earn for their current and future needs, or anything else, and it could be answered in many ways! What is for sure in all of these answers is that with time we tend to set our priorities right, and have enough clarity or atleast we feel that we have enough clarity to move in the direction we "want" to move in, and not what the society or peer pressure or competition "makes" us move in!

And I believe its never too late to be what you wanted to be! or to realise what you really were, what you have become and what needs to be done to be what you've always been or wanted to become!

That's all that I have to say about that!

With that line from Forrest Gump, here is another quote from it!

Jenny Curran: Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you're gonna be?
Forrest Gump: Who I'm gonna be?
Jenny Curran: Yeah.
Forrest Gump: Aren't-aren't I going to be me?


Long break!

This has been the longest that I have stayed away from Chai ki Dukaan... Unbelievable actually... there is so much that I want to get out of my system, but am not really finding the time or energy to do it that it has started killing me inside!

But that would continue happening, there would be something or the other that is going to be an issue, something that would be a challenge, something that would not go the way I want, or something that I would not be able to resolve or even think of a resolution! that happens! will happen!

What is important, and extremely, is that I continue to remind myself that are better days ahead! There is something nicer about everything that is happening! there is!

I need to repeat this to myself a number of times these days!

On a brighter note...

Saw a few good movies in the last few weeks!

Delhi Belly! How come I did not know that it was partly an english movie dubbed in Hindi? I ended up being confused for the first few 10 minutes of Delhi Belly trying to understand why the lips were not in sync with what was being said!

Also there is a certain music and flow in in how Delhi junta swears, and it was totally lacking in this movies irrespective this movie being capable of killing someone with an OD of onscreen swearing! Vijay Raaz is the only guy who is delivering the hindi Pencho Maacho words the way they sound like more often than not! Infact he did that brilliantly in "Pran Jaye per Shaan na Jaye". If you have not seen that one yet, you should!

Delhi Belly made everyone laugh! and hard! Mostly the situational comedy part, and at times the swearing part! but it did make everyone laugh! It was a through and through fun movie to watch, almost at the same pace right from start to finish! and post this movie, we were wondering as to where did the time go!

A plot that has been repeated a number of times in one way or the other, and still was as entertaining as it could be!

I also saw X-men First class! For people who have not seen the first 4, this might not make a lot of sense, however it was a movie which is full of action, and is not loud at all either! Very fine crafted action is what I like about all the X-men series and this one was no different! Needless to say, a must watch if you are following the series so far!

Also saw a total waste of time, Double Dhamaal, and its not really worth talking about here!

More later....


Paper or Digital?

With almost every good magazine having archives available online (FOC- Free of Cost) its a tough call to subscribe for a paper print! Nothing beats the good old romance of a paper print, but is it worth it?

Some magazines that I am referring to here :

  • Outlook Traveler
  • The Economist
  • Business Today

Not to forget that a most magazines are available in online editions for reading on laptops/tablets/e-readers and other handhelds!

Still a paper print? May be! or maybe not!


a lot has been going on

Crank Highvoltage Sharepoint Exchange Lotus Notes Lotus Live Office 365 Status update Deadline Traffic 1.25 hours Chickpeas Green Tea Flat Tyre Coffee with one sugar Swipe in Monitor Torrents Palio RED Toll Plaza Southie Bade Achhe Lagte hain Morning Playlist Lenovo Thinkpad L420 Phone call Birthday Party MBlaze Notes Cold Coffee Caller Ring Back Tone Printout Fridge Magnet Boss Dubai Busy 24 Dell Formals Rain Drive Orccha Blackberry Painting Windows Reinstall Photography Macbook Pro Talking Tom Sudoku 90% Mustang Nonsense Commitment Ring Loneliness Tourist Birds Palmolive Transformers Bose Kungfu Panda

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India


Panipat to Jalandhar (NH1)

If you are planning to take a roadtrip which involves NH1, and the stretch after Panipat, plan it with some buffer time on your hands... 6 laning of the highway between Panipat and Jalandhar is on full swing, and the good news is that once its complete you would be crossing over a 100 flyovers on this stretch with state of the art roads gently massaging your cars tires throughout!

The bad news, however, is that most of the time you would be driving in service lanes (which are at times 2 lanes wide, but mostly just about 1.5) along with the local traffic and highway traffic! The situation is bad while going towards Jalandhar though, its a little better while coming back!

I drove to Kurukshetra this weekend, and what takes just about 1.25 hours from Panipat, took me well over 2 hours! And the worst part being that I missed a beautiful sunflower field on the way for some reason! I really would have loved to take a few pictures there!


New Delhi And Pictures (Lodhi Garden, T3 Terminal)

Some stills from New Delhi...

From the mosque next to Bada Gumbad, Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi...

Lodhi Garden

Lodhi Garden-2

Lodhi Garden-3

Trollies stacked together at the T3 Terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi
T3 Terminal, New Delhi India



My ICICI debit card went kaput, and I had to request for a new one! There are two ways to do it...

1. You could walk into a branch and take a duplicate card, which is generic and does not have your name on it... its just a start-up kit(I assume)and they associate the card to your bank account.

2. You request for a new card either online or through the branch. In this case you get a card within 7 days after 4 days of you placing the request! and you get the pin in a separate mailer!

In both cases you are charged a fee!

Everything is great so far!

What caught my attention is that the new card that I got is valid till 2021... 10 years from now! There is no way this card can be used for the next 10 years if one is an active debit card user, and thus ICICI is all set to earn a fee from cards which become unusable after a few years!


On the other hand, my credit card, which is from Citibank comes with a 3 year validity. (I am sure there is a logic and business reasoning behind the validity of these cards, which I am not aware of and would love to know and understand) I am not a debit card user, and at most I use it for an ATM transaction once or twice (tops) in a month. My maximum use of the debit card is for online transfers, and I might actually keep this card active, alive, and intact!

Do you know if other banks also play the same game? What is the default validity of their debit cards?


Places - London

Two girls walk past a municipal building next to London's famous Tower Bridge (more popularly known as the London Bridge)

The last passenger @ London Tube's Bow Road Station

See more photographs on my FACEBOOK Page or AndPictures

A few stories untold

A few stories untold

Please do visit www.andpictures.net


One of the most tiring, both physically and mentally, weeks is finally coming to an end! a good one at that!!!

Thank you uncle God!


Drinking guidelines!

"Don't drink to feel better, drink to feel even better!"

How do you know, 2010

Have you checked AndPictures yet? Here is the link : www.andpictures.net


Chaibaaz Dithi (चायबाज़ दिथी )

My mailbox conked off, and I could not check this email from Dithi for a while, and when I finally managed to access it today, I felt so super nice reading her thoughts about Tea..

Dithi is an amazing artist based out of Geneva, and I do not have words to express how beautiful her work is! Please do visit the links at the end of this post to explore Dithi's world of mind blowing paintings!

- Why Tea?
....‘coz it makes you feel like you are home, you are warm and everything is going to be fine when you take that first morning sip. Almost 4 years in Europe (read: being surrounded by café lovers & Espresso fanatics) couldn’t take the chai lover out of me, if anything, I hold on to it more sip by sip.

- What if you had to make a flavor of tea, what would you have in it, other than Tea leaves?
Grated juicy ginger bits, crushed Cardamom/Elaichi, cloves, a couple of crushed black peppercorns, a nice ghazal and some sufi songs in a husky female voice!

- What would you do if you were given two days in a tea estate?
I would try not to get lost!! Wait, let me explain where that came from: Way back, sometime in the 70s, my parents were visiting the Makaibari tea estate and my mom and sis could not find their way back from the ladies room for a little while. That made a rather scary picture of a tea estate in my mind, of being this endless 3D maze that you never find your way out of if you get lost.

That image was crushed (phew!) on our visit to the Munnar tea estate. It’s unreal; you are surrounded by beauty and serenity. I’d like to just listen to good music, help myself to a serious tea drinking indulgence and, of course, let all that inspiration find expression in a little bit of artwork may be?

- Tea in a cup? or Tea in a steel glass? or Tea in a kulhad (earthen cups) or tea in a paper cup? or tea in a glass? and why?
Kulhad on the road, whenever possible, am a Bengali who loves her ‘cha’ in the ‘bhaand’ (Bengali name for the delightful terracotta cup). At home, I like collecting handmade ceramic cups and mugs by various artists all over the world. I also enjoy observing the various ways in which tea is served in different countries, e.g. Moroccan tea in coloured decorative glasses, Chinese tea in white or blue porcelain cups, etc., that sort makes the tea drinking experience that much more exciting and authentic.

- What is your earliest memory of Tea?
Earliest and strongest 2 memories:
1. Dad having several cups of very strong tea all through the day, he still does. He is the unparalleled tea King in the family!
2. We were not encouraged (read: not allowed) to have tea as kids.

- Do you remember when you had tea for the first time? Is it related to why you like tea so much?
Because it was such a big deal for me to have tea as a kid, I remember, one of the joys of the newly found freedom when I moved out of home for the first time to stay as a paying guest in Kolkata (while in college) was being served tea for breakfast everyday! When I went back home after that, the tea-rule changed. That was such a ‘grown-up-&-can-have-tea’ moment!

- Your favorite T-shop? and why?
Many. Dolly’s tea boutique in Kolkata, love the Fab India Organic Tulsi tea, in Geneva I love buying caddies from Terre D’oc and Teakoe.

- Your favorite brand of tea and why?
I like Tata teas for the desi masala cup, Tetley Early Grey for a flavourful cup of black and Terre d’Oc blends for an occasional designer organic tea (their spicy black from India and Earl Grey from China are super!)

- Your favorite website related to Tea and why?
Many, you’ll know why when you hop over:

- If Tea was a person, what would that mean to you? What would that person be like?
Would be a ‘he’; dynamic and strong, yet, a much grounded person whose company would be nothing less than therapy for my often-jittery nerves.

- Your favorite T-picture please...

- Your favorite T-quote
Well, I came across this Japanese proverb recently and loved it: ‘If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.’ So true!

- Your website/blog

This concludes the Tea Talks series for now, except that I am to answer these questions and post them here :)

Have you checked AndPictures yet? Here is the link : www.andpictures.net


Chaibaaz Ioannis

I knew I had to post the following photograph in Chaibaaz Series as soon as I saw it on Flickr! Wrote to the artist, and he was kind enough to let me post!

the first glass is as bitter as life...
The photograph has been taken in Morocco (Jan 2011). I really liked the proverb along with this photograph Ioannis posted...

the first glass is as bitter as life...
...the second glass is as strong as love,
the third glass is as gentle as death

Used with permission from www.lelakis.com
Copyright © Ioannis Lelakis

Please do visit his flickr page here to see the stunning photography, and get inspired!


Enough is enough or maybe not :)

There will never be enough of

1. Good music
2. Good headphones/earphones to hear all this good music
3. Places to visit
4. Moments when you did not talk but communicate
5. Good movies
6. Early morning I-am-sleepy-but-walking-with-you walks
7. I-wish-I-was-out-on-the-mountain moments
8. Gulab Jamun after dinner evenings
9. Discounts and deals available all around
10. Picture memories

11. Tea on a trip to anywhere, somewhere and everywhere!


What you see in the photograph above are some of the thousands of written applications to God in a temple dedicated to Golu Devta, in Chetai near Almora (Uttarakhand, India) Its a custom to write/type applications/requests on paper even stamp papers and put them in this temple.


CARS and the ART of Ads

Saw this advert during a Program Management workshop recently! Had to search for it for a few minutes on youtube!

Some of the other absolutely phenomenal Car Ads that I remember watching are


And the super HOTT Mercedes SLS AMG advert...


India - World Cricket Champions 2011

Recording India's absolutely amazing win over Sri Lanka on the 2nd of April 2011.

This one goes out for Sachin who has waited for 20 years for this! He deserved to pick this one up!

Here is a clip from 1983 to celebrate today!


चायबाज़ ज्योति (Chaibaaz Jyoti)

Jyoti is a fellow FACEBOOKist and is a member of the "Ek cup Garam Chai ho jaye" Group on FB. When I posted a request for interviews, she was one of the firsts to respond and here we are with her lovely responses. In her own words, Jyoti is a "never-say-no-to-chai-addict full-time stay-at-home mom, a once upon a million years ago voracious n addicted blogger, part time poet and a full-time "perpetually on a learning curve" amateur photographer". Her sense of humor coupled with the love of Tea makes this chaitalk very interesting to read!


Why Tea??
Why not??
Jokes apart... I guess it's all about the initiation. Once a person is introduced to such an energising beverage at an impressionable age... it's hard to resist it. Tea just happens to be the one for me.

"Chai peenein ke liye, bahaanein kise chaahiye yaaron??
Chai toh khud peenein pilaanein ka bahaana hai. "

- What if you had to make a flavor of tea, what would you have in it, other than Tea leaves?
Ginger... any time. I have tried and tasted many flavors... but nothing beats the plain old "adrakwaali chai". And that's my elixir.

- What would you do if you were given two days in a tea estate?
Drink tea and take pictures... :D:D:D:D That sounds silly... but that kind of sums up what I'll do. Although... if I were to give a more politically correct answer... I would say... try to make most of every moment and get to know more about tea... from horse's mouth.

Wait... do horses drink tea?? :D:D:D:D

- Tea in a cup? or Tea in a steel glass? or Tea in a kulhad (earthen cups) or tea in a paper cup? or tea in a glass? and why?
Steel glass -> C cup -> glass glass -> Paper cups ... in that order.
-> Steel glass : Anytime. A part of the experience while having tea is the feeling of the warm steel glass in your hand. I would exchange that for nothing.
-> C cups: They look artistic, alluring... and are easily available everywhere. So I use it cause it's there... not out of choice.
-> Glass gilaas: Kaanch ke gilaas mein chai peenein ka majja hi kuch aur hai... especially on a rainy day at a roadside tapri. But please don't serve me chai in a gilaas if I am at your house. :D:D:D:D:D
-> Kulhad chai... seems exotic... meant to be savored on special occasions.

Your earliest Tea-Memories...
I have two very distinct memories. Both are very dear to me... so I guess I'll share both rather than just one earliest memory.

My ammamma( maternal grandmother) was the one who introduced chai [ no not chai... tea... she had studied in a convent... so it was always tea for her... never chai. :D:D:D] to me. I was in... 1st standard, when I had gone to stay with her for summer. I used to watch her studiously mix Brook bond Red Label(granules) and Lipton Green label ( tea leaves) and fill it up in her tea can. No on ever made tea like her... so said everybody when they'd visit ammamma.
And she took pride in being meticulous and precise about her tea.

I guess... that was when I was all fascinated and got initiated to the world of chai lovers. :D:D:D:D

But reading another Chaibaaz's answeres... I remembered another a very distinct and a dear memory.
When I was around two, our neighbours were a bengali family. Kaaku( uncle and Kaamimaa( aunty) loved me to lore. Every evening, when Kaaku would return from work, kaaki would serve him cha with either plain muri or jhaalmuri. I was the only one in the house who was allowed to pick muris from Kaaku's cha glass. We would both sit at the edge of his four-poster bed, switch on the radio( those huge old fashioned radio sets) and enjoy cha-muri. I loved these chaa-muri session so much, I would get dressed every evening and go wait at our favorite corner on that four-poster bed, for Kaaku to come back from office and share his treasure with me.

So technically... I must have gotton intitiated at the age of 2. Though, I didn't remember this earlier cause after a while... long before I turned 3, we left that house and moved away and my chaa-muri sessions with Kaaku ended. I grew up and forgot all about the memories till now when I was reading the afore-mentioned chaibaaz's post.

- Do you remember when you had tea for the first time? Is it related to why you like tea so much?
Yes... I guess. Read my answers above.

- If Tea was a person, what would that mean to you? What would that person be like?
It would be my confidante... my shoulder to cry on... my companion of good and bad times... my absolute best friend. And what would it be like... warm, strong, comforting and a joy to be with.

- Your favorite T-picture please...
I would have loved to post a chai in a kulhad picture taken near Manmad station or Kharagpur... but alas... I have none as of now. So please feel free to use any of Archana's pics. I love them all. Just make sure the pics are... steamy... :d Literally.

Please read Archana's Chaibaaz post here.

- Your favorite T-shop? and why?
Where - Vishal Chai ki tapri at Pune University. Why - Loads of memories. And the best chai I have had as an adult, that was not made by me. :D:D:D:D {Ok so now you also know that I think my chai is the best. :D:D:D:D but I know... every true blue chai-addict thinks so too. }

- Your favorite T-quote
I never really thought of looking at tea quotes... up untill now... Tea has always been my elxir. So I'd say... Chai... sabke gam bhulai... Wait... that sounds cheesy.
Let me see... guess this is a good quote... “A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” :D:D:D
What do you say??

- Your website/blog
I don't have one as of now.


चायबाज़ श्रीविद्या (Chaibaaz Srividya)

Srividya is a fellow photographer based out of Mumbai, and I know her through the online world of Flickr, and Facebook for a while now! Its great to have Sri pouring her heart out to the Chaitalk questions!



Why Tea?
- The aroma of the tea and and that refreshing taste of tea .
- The fact the you can have tea without milk also
- and a lame one : I always do spelling mistakes while spelling Coffee ,Tea is simple ..even if i dont use 'e' and 'a' it still would mean T

- What if you had to make a flavor of tea, what would you have in it, other than Tea leaves?
A tinge of the heavenly smell of cocoa ( i was staying close to the cadbury factory and that smell of cocoa was sheer madness )

- What would you do if you were given two days in a tea estate?
Okay,Now this a tricky question. a confession here :I love photography more than i love .So the first thing i would do is click photos and then i would try picking up Tea leaves the way they do it in the estate!

- Tea in a cup? or Tea in a steel glass? or Tea in a kulhad (earthen cups) or tea in a paper cup? or tea in a glass? and why?
Never a paper cup or plastic cup .The below in the following order of preference
Tea in a Kulhad : the rustic feel of Kulhad..i jusst love it and the taste is different in Kulhad
Tea in a steel glass: reminds me of home
Tea in a cup:Now this would be just for the love of drinking tea in different kind of cups and its comfortable to hold
Tea in a glass: Tapri Chai...with friends

- What is your earliest memory of Tea?
My earliest memory of Tea is Mom Dad drinking Tea in the hall and we getting to drink Bournvita or Complan or plain Milk and being told that "Chai peeyoge to kaale ho jaoge!"

- Do you remember when you had tea for the first time? Is it related to why you like tea so much?
I dont remember exactly but yes i do remember drinking tea was an achievement because only adults used to drink as stated above .He he he.

- What would you tell someone who does not drink tea, about what they are missing?
I will not tell them but i will prepare an garam ginger tea and make them drink and then they will tell ...

- Your favorite brand of tea and why?
Red Label ,because this is what i have been seeing from childhood and have been addicted to this although in a recent home function when the chefs made the tea,it was just awesome and i had 4 cups of it in a steel glass. When i enquired ,it was Kanandevan Tea . I havent tried it yet ..will surely do soon .

- Your favorite website related to Tea and why?
Jab se pata chal hai ki chai ki bhi websites hothi hain tabse Archana Srinivas's Blog and Chai Ki Dukaan and sometime Kshitz's Chai photos with the desciptions he writes.

- If Tea was a person, what would that mean to you? What would that person be like?
I would not be able to drink it . He would be a mixture of water and milk.. water indicating the mildness and milk indicating the correct amount of boldness to take decisions . Sugar would obviously mean sweetness in the nature of the person . A small peice of smashed Ginger would indicate the adventurous nature. Cardamom would indicate the love.

- Your favorite T-picture please...

- Your favorite T-quote
"ek masala chai" "Ek garma garam chai de do bhaiya"


चायबाज़ अर्चना (Chaibaaz Archana)

Archana Srinivas is my favorite Tea-Photographer. Her images of Tea are as refreshing as having Tea on a rainy day itself! Archana is a design consultant and Photographer based out of Banagalore, India. And I was only very very happy to have her participate in the series of ChaiTalks on Chai ki Dukaan!

I have totally enjoyed reading her responses, and I am sure everyone here would love the following offline interview!


- Why Tea?
Drinking tea is for me, an experience where I hold the hot cup in my hands, watch the steam disappear into the atmosphere, the aroma of tea with hints of ginger, cardamom or cinnamon soothe my senses and my mind. I take a sip of the heavenly concoction and float away into a world where words combust to form images and coffee just jolts me back to reality. (No offense to coffee drinkers;-)

- What if you had to make a flavor of tea, what would you have in it, other than Tea leaves?
Regular tea leaves with freshly smashed ginger is an all time favorite. Cardamom, Lemongrass and freshly-plucked Tulsi leaves come a close second.
Lately, while traveling across India, we have learnt that as much as the ingredient enhances the flavor of tea, it is also at what stage you add the ingredient and it just amazes me the hundred-odd ways of making the humble 'chai'...

- Tea in a cup? or Tea in a steel glass? or Tea in a kulhad (earthen cups) or tea in a paper cup? or tea in a glass? and why?
The early morning ritual of tea made by my dear husband is always in a giant ceramic mug, the late-morning tea, when you just need a mouthful is usually in a small steel tumbler, the kulhads come out when there are hot samosas to go with it, I am a sucker for ceramic mugs, so I just wait for opportunities to make chai so I could savor the experience of drinking out of lovely mugs.

Chai in gilaas is so 'desi' just love the feel of dunking Parle-G in chai. Chai in paper cups with delicious, unhygienic vadas in quaint railway stations.

As much as I love looking at tea in dainty porcelain cups and saucers, I just can't have tea the English way;-)

- What is your earliest memory of Tea?
I recall walking into the kitchen as a toddler unable to reach the counter, seeing this huge stainless steel flask being filled with scalding chai every few hours and then being devoured along with homemade savories and bakery butter biscuits.

- Do you remember when you had tea for the first time? Is it related to why you like tea so much?
I don't recall if it was the first time I had tea, but the experience was so much fun.
My mother was having chai and she poured some for me in a shallow steel glass and put a handful of 'Muri' puffed rice in it. I sat watching the gentle crackling sound of the puffed-rice in the chai with utter delight and then slowly scooping out the soggy delicious 'muri' and then glugging down the tea!

- Your favorite brand of tea and why?
At home I always mix two brands of tea, Brooke Bond Red Label & Taj Mahal. One for the strength and the other for the flavor. This concoction works very well for us.

- Your favorite website related to Tea and why?
My blog 'A Cup of Chai…' where I post my daily cups of chai, an interesting personal project where I capture the mood associated with drinking a cup of chai. The simplicity, the mundane-ness appeals to me.

Flickr~ I have some really hard-core chai loving photographer friends. Their photographs of chai are very inspiring.

- If Tea was a person, what would that mean to you? What would that person be like?
Mr.Tea would be strong in character with various surprising flavors to his personality.

- Your favorite T-picture please...
I am pretty partial to all the photographs of tea that I shoot, but here is one in which the 'Tea fairy' seems to be blessing this gilaas of celestial beverage!
one steamy cup...

- Your favorite T-quote
"Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage."~Catherine Douzel

Please do visit Archana Srinivas Photography page here on FACEBOOK and enjoy the beautiful images!


Delhi - Jim Corbett - Nainital - Delhi

Warning : Its a long post with a lot of detail! Have some 15-20 minutes spare to read it please...

They say matches are made in heaven, I say Travel Plans are also made in heaven and executed on earth by the lesser mortals!

There is no other explanation of how I have landed up in Nainital 3 times without the name being a part of my plan when I start from home? That statement kind of gave away a bit of the information that ideally would have made sense when I finish the first 10% of this travelogue! but whatever!

Let's Travel!

The first cup of tea being made for us at BailParao

Back into time first!

Early 2010, I had taken this club membership which entitled me to be a guest for some 15 odd parties in and around delhi throughout the year, not a single of which I attended! AND, it gave me a couple of nights free stay by Country Club Resorts! Honestly what I was interested in the free stay, which was not really so free, as I realised later!

Back to the future now...

So we had to send a Rs. 500 draft along with three preferences with different dates to Country Club Resorts before they could pick one (read the cheapest) and book us there! What we got was the Tiger Den Resort! For some reason I thought it was on the NH121 (banks of River Kosi), however we realised that it was about 13 kms away towards Kaladhungi only when we reached Ramnagar and called the resort for directions.

The drive from NOIDA was very comfortable except the "work in progress" flyovers on NH24! I can't believe that the status seems to be exactly what it was a couple of years ago at 3 places... And the road near Garh Mukteshwar is still a buffet of potholes with pieces of road on top! Don't understand it!

The 99 kms stretch between Moradabad bypass and Kashipur (via Thakhurdwara) is still bad! The last I had driven on it was when I was coming back to Ranikhet via Ramnagar, and it did not feel as bad because I was driving a Safari... It did not feel too bad in the Palio either, but it was bad! A lot of strain the arms and eyes! The road quality miraculously changes as soon as you reach Kashipur.. While I could barely touch 60 kmph at times in the last 90 minutes or so, I was driving at around 100kmph as soon as I crossed Kashipur...

The question is WHY? And the answer is that I was now driving in Uttarakhand! Drive to Ramnagar was a breeze and it was just 15 more minutes to drive the 14 odds kms after Ramnagar to BailPadao (Resting place for Bulls - if translated in English)

The wooden stove for making Tea... TASTY TEA

Radha made for a good backdrop for this cycle in the rain!

We reached the resort only around mid-night it was funny to see the guard room boys struggle with opening the gate!! the lock had jammed, and it took them about 5 minutes before I could drive in! We checked into a room towards the back-side of the resort and figured out a few things we could do the next day.. Safari was not on the plan for Saturday, however we wanted to go to Corbett Falls and plan for a Safari on Sunday... The additional information we got from the resort guy did not really lift our spirits as it included mood-dampners like the grasslands were still under water, most paths inside the jungle were still broken, and there were extremely low sightings so far! Except that he could arrange for a jeep for us to drive around the reserve area (outside the main forest) where there were chances of tiger-sighting! Now personally, I am not a fan of animal sighting! I love the jungle, and I hated the fact that I am not going to be able to enjoy the ride like I would have liked it!

We also had to change the room almost immediately after we checked it, as the bed was a spring-bed, and a broken one at that! The shift was prompt, and we called it a day (or night or midnight) after a quick cup of tea!

On our way to Nainital via Kaladhungi


Saturday Morning!

We woke up to an thick overcast sky, and did not realise that it was raining too till we opened our room door! It did not make much of a difference at that time as Pooja and myself both were not too keen on staying in that resort or waste our day driving around for nothing! We did not really know what we wanted to do, but we knew that we were checking out of the resort! We did, and decided our next milestone with a cup of tea outside the resort!

"There is something about tea made on burning wood.. something different... something that energises me differently"

Its very pleasing to click Radha and see that she stills good great... MUAH!

Did not know something like Choti Haldwani existed... nice find!

We decided to drive towards Nainital, which was just about 50 kms (75 minutes) away and started our drive in light rain, with slow speeds enjoying the weather! The rain had stopped, and we drove via Kaladhungi, Choti Haldwani, to reach the foothills, and by the time were reach Tallital, it was raining heavily again! This time it was not rain, but a hailstorm... and both of us were wondering as to why the Rain Gods seem to be too pleased or angry with us.. It had rained like crazy in almost all of our trips together!

1. Indonesia... We did not see the Kintamani Volcano and had a rainy walk to Monkey Forest
2. Ranikhet... It was a trip with falling rocks, landslides, and overflowing rivers
3. Goa... Wasted about half a day waiting for the rain to stop... made us move to hiring a car from a bike too (but that turned out to be good)
4. Singapore... Well, there are just two types of days there as Aseem puts it... with rain, and with heavy rain!
5. Jim Corbett.. Rains again!

But we were commited to having a good time, with rain or without :) So we found a nice cozy room with a lovely view at the Lake Side Inn and spent an hour waiting for the rain to stop! It converted into a light drizzle giving us enough time to walk around without an umbrella! And the waiting time did give us an opportunity to enjoy Maggi while looking out of huge glass windows! Bliss!

What is interesting in this photograph is that OM is opposite in all of them due to air-flow

We just walked around the Mall eating snacks and had a few glasses of tea again while it rained and almost snowed, and we had a lovely view of the hailstorm from under a canopy next to the Naini Lake! The number of people was low in Nainital that evening, and the roads were empty, and it stopped raining too after a bit, giving us a few more hours to walk around on the mall road and the local markets!

Chaat, Shopping, Chai, Talking, Walking, Shooting were what we did that evening!

Finally called it a day after having some delicious Vegetable Biryani

Langurs enjoying the rainy evening

Wire cycle-rickshaws at a roadside shop.. They are made from a single piece of wire(just the frame)

Sunday Morning

Looked like the Rain Gods had finally made peace with the fact that Pooja and me would travel, come whatever may, and we were welcomed with a lovely bright sunny morning! It was a long drive back home, and we dediced to start driving back by 1100 hrs to reach NOIDA by 2000 hrs. With the kind of roads and distance, it would take about 8 hours for sure, specially the Sunday traffic back to Delhi!

Shikaras in the Naini Lake

Empty Tea Glasses at a road-side Tea-Shop

The drive back via Kathgodam - Haldwani - Udham Singh Nagar (Rudrapur) - Rampur - Moradabad Bypass - Hapur was mostly uneventful except a deroute forced because of Behenji as she likes to be called, or for others, Ms. Mayawati, Chief Minister of UP. Rampur was sealed because of her visit, and we were forced to look around for options which involved driving through the town, trusting our direction instincts, and drive through a village with mud roads, and lanes just wide enough for the Palio to move through!

Rest is mostly history! with Future looking very bright with a few good trips on the cards! Enjoy some more photographs below....

Steamy Tea...

People at the T-Shop

Like I said... it was a hail-storm

One of the two Tea-Shops we had Tea at... this guy was selling everything from Tea t0 Bread-Omlette, Bun-Omlette, Boiled Eggs, Pakodas, Cream Rolls...
Corn-cobs (Bhutte)... They taste different on a rainy evening...

Nothing warms cold fingers better than a wood fire...

Eggs were plenty around the Mall Road...

Another view from the same Chai ki Dukaan...

This guy was really happy to have his photograph clicked...I think this is one of the biggest satisfactions of being a photographer... an opportunity to make people smile!

Loved the steam coming out of the pressure cooker... the 10 min wait was worth it...

Nainital Post Office

Ripe Red tomatoes for the Omlettes

Now for some objective information

1a. Distance from NOIDA to RamNagar : Approximately 250 kms
1b. Driving time : about 6 hours in the night with low traffic... Add another hour if driving in the day because of local traffic

2a. Distance from Ramnagar to Nainital : Approx. 65 kms
2b. Driving time : About 2 hours (Do take a break to enjoy the view somewhere)

3a. Distance from Nainital to NOIDA : Approx. 310 kms
3b. Driving time in the day : Approx. 8 hours with local traffic and bad roads and work in progress flyovers

Recommended eating joints on the way :
1. McDonalds just after Gajraula on the road towards Moradabad
2. Meriton just before Gajraula towards Delhi... Its almost opposite McDonalds and serves decent food
3. There are many dhabas near the Garhmukteshwar and Gajraula, however I am not sure if I would stop there to have food... snacks and tea would be my choice there

I drove a total of about 660 kilometers over that weekend, and loved every second of it! Pooja is an amazing addition to my co-traveler list, and there is not much other than that a man can ask for! isn't it?