Chaos!!!!

Have you ever tried to observe people, may be in a railway station, bus station or any such places. You are alone and you have nothing else to do or the only thing that you can do is observe people. How is it like? I would like to share one of my experiences here and trust me we don’t get to watch people so closely.

Once I went to an electricity department to pay my bills. Though I always do it online, but because of some reasons, I had to go the electricity department. When I went there, I saw a big line for men and didn’t see any for women. I first looked here and there thinking that may be I might find one, but with no success and I stood behind a man of 40-42 years of age. I asked him too, if there is a separate line for women, he gave me a blank look, Either he didn’t like my face or my question,so he didn’t answer. More people started coming and stood behind me and I was feeling little uncomfortable standing in between all men. After some time I found that I am still standing where I was. I got little impatient and thought “GOD do I have to stand here for 3-4 hours and if yes, how will I do that” then suddenly I saw a women but to my surprise she didn’t stand in the queue. When I tried to approach her, she disappeared and I was wondering where did she go? I wanted to find it out, so I thought of going inside too. Earlier because of the line I couldn’t make out that there was some space to go inside and when I got close to it, what did I see -species of my kind. I had a big smile on my face and I thought, God finally I found them :D. Inside the room I saw few chairs to sit (I felt so relieved that now I don’t have to stand like other people), old women chit chatting with each other and young women taking care of their children and MEN (Men, but they were standing outside).Yes, these men inside the room were senior citizens.

While sitting on the chair, waiting for my turn. I had nothing else to do, so this strange question came in my mind, “Are women and Senior citizens (men) alike”. Can’t they have three separate counters for MEN, WOMEN and SENIOR CITIZENS? Engrossed in my own thoughts, suddenly I heard someone shouting. An old man of 62-64 years of age was shouting on a woman. I couldn’t believe the way he was shouting and using profanity. Though it was that woman’s mistake but how can a man yell on a woman and that too in public. That was so unkind and cruel. Suddenly two -three women came and asked the man to be calm down, but the old man still had the energy to shout and yell, but the woman couldn’t stand it, so she left the place. I could easily make out from the man’s face that he was so happy. As if he has won a battle and I was thinking, nowadays people fight by yelling and the one who can yell the loudest wins the battle. For another half an hour everything was same, people were coming and going some were having small arguments with the person sitting on the counter for change and nothing new.

Finally my turn was about to come, when an old guy who had just entered the room with a woman asked me, if I can pay the lady’s bill. He told me that she is coming directly from her daughter’s marriage and missing her and I was thinking what kind of logic is this. I could see that the lady was faking and I was thinking we all are sitting in the room for 40-45 minutes and you people have just entered the room and you want us to pay your bills. Either we are too dumb that we didn’t think of this option or you are trying to be too smart and finally I said NO to that guy. At last I paid my bills and came out and thought that tomorrow I’ll share my experience with my friends in the office and I knew that they will have a good laugh 😀

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Can we make a Difference!!!!

We hear in news channels and read in newspapers that India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and sooner we will be ahead of many big economies of the world.

But the question is –

Are we really growing and developing?

Are the fruits of liberalization reaching all sections of the society?

Are all our children going to schools?

Are they getting quality education?

Are our schools taking care of overall development of the children?

And in most cases the answer will be a big NO. It’s been said that children are the future of any country and their overall development is important for the overall development of the Nation.

Actually I read a book recently named “Three Cups of Tea” and these were the questions bombarding my mind after reading this book. The book has nothing to do with India, but while reading it I felt that it’s a story about one of the many villages of India, where people are working hard to meet their end needs and children are going to schools, even though they have no classrooms to sit, no books and notebooks to read and write, no teachers to teach.

Three Cups of Tea is book about an American mountaineer, who wants to climb K2; however he becomes lost and reach a village called Korphe and is moved by the kindness, he receives from the common villagers of Korphe. One day while moving around the village he finds that there is no school for children and they have no books or notebooks to read and write and the teacher comes to the school only thrice a week. He was SHOCKED to know this and thought, he can never think of American children going to ay such schools. He really wanted to do something. He wanted to build a SCHOOL for the children of Korphe. The story is all about determination; how it changes one’s life and love & respect, something we humans can give to each other and can make this world a better place to live.

This book gives a lot of emphasis on education and specially girl’s education. There is one instance in this book which I liked the most and it is about the grand-daughter of the village chief, who not only becomes the first educated women of Korphe, but who also learns a big lesson of life -to stand up for oneself.

While reading the book, one question that was popping up in my mind was – why it is called three cups of tea or what does three cups of tea signifies and the answer is:

 With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger.

With the second……a friend.

With the third cup of tea, you are family.

Great book to read and introspect…Can we make a difference in our own ways!!!!!

FISH PHILOSOPHY !!!!

What kind of environment do we have in our workplace? Are we really energetic, enthusiastic with positive attitude towards our work or is it just opposite -Apathetic, negative, with no energy. Do we really enjoy coming to the office or is it just a necessity, a source of livelihood and we have no other choice, and most likely the answer would be that we have no other CHOICE. The work has become monotonous and we don’t find anything new in it, which excites us…motivates us and thus we don’t love our work and do it just for the heck of it.

Now the question is can we change anything? Can we love our work which seems monotonous, Can we bring energy, excitement, positivity to our workplace and the answer is YES, we can, and we have to continuously work towards it.

I recently read a book named FISH and after reading it, I felt that most of the time we have choices in life and we have to decide how we want our life to be. For example, I am not finding my work exciting any more and I am not getting any new role. Can I still be zealous about my work OR another example can be, suppose I am passionate about acting and want to be an actor, however for some reasons had to take up a career which has nothing to do with acting. Can I still love the work that I am doing or I can just complain about it?

Fish is a story about a Manager, who has to make a choice, either she has to change the unenthusiastic and unhelpful department into an effective team OR she may have to face the consequences. She is a single mom and is in a difficult financial situation. She cannot leave her present job, however has to do something to change her team which is a Toxic Energy Dump (as everybody loves to call it). One day while returning to her office, after lunch, she finds herself in a nearby Fish Market (which is actually Pike Place Fish Market -the world’s famous fish market) and is stunned by what she sees there.  She can’t believe that workers in a fish market can be so energetic, helpful and joyful about their work. The place was wild and she could feel herself relaxed as she enjoyed the craziness over there. She wanted to come back so that she can know the mystery behind the energy that she observed and she came back-again and again and learnt few important lessons, which she wanted to apply to her work place.

Strange, right…a manager learns something from a fish market and wants to apply it to her work place. But yes, she learns some valuable lessons which are as follows:

1) Choose your Attitude

2) Play

3) Be Present

4) Make their (customers) day

I think the first three applies everywhere -it may be your personal life, professional life. I don’t want to define them, because we all must have heard or learnt about them somewhere or the other and I think that we all should not only understand these lessons but should also try to inculcate them in our life and if we can, we will make a difference to how we live our life.

An inspiring book to read, which will not only make us understand the valuable lessons that it has to teach, but it will also talk about how small changes can make a big difference to our life. Bottom line is we all want to be happy, energetic, and enthusiastic about whatever we do, but how and the answer is simple-by following FISH PHILOSOPHY 🙂

Marvellous Manali !!!!

Situated in Beas River valley, Manali is a magnificent tourist destination. Surrounded by stunning snow- capped mountains, it is famous for its picturesque beauty and tranquility. The best time to visit this place is from April to late June and mid September to early November, however one should avoid winters as weather is harsh during this period.

Apart from its beauty and serenity, Manali is also famous for its Adventure Tourism and it offers a wide range of adventurous activities like Trekking, paragliding, Rafting, Mountaineering etc and the opportunities are endless for adventurous lovers. I visited this splendid place in May last year with my friends and it was a trip that we will remember for years to come. We reached Manali by road and truly speaking the journey was really exhausting, however after reaching the place, the tiredness vanished and we were all fresh to explore this place.

Places we explored in/near Manali:

1) Van Vihar:   Situated in the middle of Manali, Van Vihar is an amazing place to hang out with friends and tall Deodar trees makes it more astonishing. We took pictures of each other and had lot of fun and moved ahead to discover more. To our surprise we were at the bank of River Beas. The view was spectacular; we had never seen such a mighty river before and standing beside it was a wonderful feeling. But this was not enough, we wanted something more and before leaving this place we made it memorable. We did river crossing on Beas River and OMG we never thought that we could. For the first time we were over a gigantic river and at one point I felt as if this world comprises of only two things- River Beas and Me, I couldn’t see anything else around. WOW what an experience it was.

2) Rohtang Pass: Rohtang Pass is 51Kms from Manali on highway to Leh and one can have a panoramic view of snow-capped mountains from here. We hired a cab from Manali and reached Rohtang in around 2 hours and the journey was beautiful with greenery, waterfalls, and mountains all round. When we reached Rohtang we couldn’t believe our eyes…Snow…Snow…Snow all round. We couldn’t stop ourselves and started walking, we had never seen snow before and walking over it was unbelievable. We enjoyed the moment to the fullest, clicked pictures, slided on the snow, became little nostalgic (We all were talking about our childhood days), made snow man, had Maggie. We actually had unforgettable time there.

3) River Rafting near Kullu: River Rafting near Kullu was simply superb. Nothing was near its comparison. I was already in love with this river and now was floating on it and the experience was exhilarating. Water was splashing on us and we were totally wet. We were screaming, shouting and this experience was purely thrilling.

Other places of interest in Manali are Tibetan Monastery, Hadimba Temple, The Club House, Mountaineering Institute (if you are interested in joining Mountaineering courses). Manali was an enjoyable trip with friends and I would surely come back to explore more adventure here.

 

Mesmerizing Binsar !!!

 It was my college trip when I first got a chance to travel Kumaon in length and breadth and with friends it was an unforgettable experience. Since then I have been traveling this region and with every visit my bond with this splendid place is getting stronger.

Today I would like to share my traveling experience about one of the most beautiful places of Kumaon which I recently visited, and the place is Binsar.

Binsar is a scenic spot near Almora and is well-known for its Wildlife Sanctuary. Full of dense forest and natural surrounding, this is altogether a different place for people who are lost in mundane life of metropolitan cities.

We were five people in total for this trip- My two sisters, brother, brother in-law and I. To reach Binsar, we started our journey early in the morning and after reaching Almora it took us around 45 minutes to reach the entrance of the Wildlife Sanctuary and from there we took the narrow road through the jungle to the Tourist Rest House of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) and this 45 minutes journey was like a “long drive” in the jungle and we fully enjoyed it with some Kumaoni songs (regional songs of Kumaon).

We reached the Rest House at 11:50 AM and after relaxing for some time we started a small trek in the jungle with a guide. The trek was of 5 KMs till “Zero Point” (chief attraction of Binsar) from where we could see the 300 km panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Panchchuli etc. While walking through the jungle we could feel the serenity of this place and I think our presence was disturbing the calmness. It was for the first time that we were walking through a dense jungle and its beauty was so captivating that we could not stop ourselves from taking the pictures of this marvelous place, after all photographs help us in nurturing the memories for our lifetime.

In the midst of the serenity we could also hear the chirping of different species of birds and sometime jumping Langurs from one tree to another and it looked as if they are no less than “KRISH”.  Surrounded by rich floralike hanging moss, ferns, different species of wild flowers,the place looked “beautiful” and we might have seen something like this only in National Geographic Channel.

Walking up and down finally we were at “Zero Point” from where, we could view the snow-capped peaks of the magnificent Himalayas, however it was not very clear at day time and our guide advised us to come early in the morning to see the spectacularview. After spending some time there, we thought of returning to the Rest House; however our guide was smart and he wanted us to enjoy the place to the fullest, so while going back, he took a different route altogether. We started walking down and there were leaves all around which had covered the path and we were supposed to walk over those leaves and find our ways. Initially we were extra cautious while walking however gradually we started enjoying. Finding our ways, some times slipping and then laughing and teasing each other, we were having our fun. Suddenly we started drawing similarities between the jungle and the jungle of “Ravaan” movie and in our imagination we felt as if we have been locked up in the jungle and we were trying to come out of it.

At last we discovered that we are out of the jungle and after ten minutes we were back at Rest House, exhausted & hungry and wanted to have something badly and we ordered for snacks. After having snacks we went out, took our chairs and relaxed under the mild sunlight and I know we will never forget the kind of peace we all felt at that moment of time. In the evening after having our dinner we all went to sleep.

Next morning we got up early to see the beautiful sunrise and the Himalayan peaks. Watching sunrise over the mountains was exceptionally beautiful. Slowly and steadily an orange-colored ball rises from the mountains and then gradually it spreads its light all over, making the peaks look like they have been coated with golden color. I was completely mesmerized in the beauty of the moment and could only say WOW !!!.

Finally the time came when we had to say goodbye to this amazing place, which gave us memories to be cherished for our life time and a feeling that we would love to come back to this place.

 

 

Memorable Experience !!!

Traveling has been an integral part of my life. Coming from an Army background, I was destined to move from one place to another and this chain hasn’t stopped yet. The only difference is earlier I had no choice but today I enjoy traveling places of my choices 🙂

 I was in fourth grade, when my father was transferred to Kerala (Cochin to be more precise) from Udaipur. Cochin is a beautiful place near Arabian Sea; however I was able to appreciate its beauty only when I grew up a little older. For the first time I asked our father, “Why did we come here? I want to go back”. Though we had traveled quite a few places before, but Cochin was altogether a different place for a north Indian who was coming to south India (with his family) for the first time. The language, the food, and people everything was new for us and we had to familiarize ourselves to this new surrounding.

 Making ourselves accustomed was not easy. We had to face our own obstacles. It’s been said that children should feel comfortable in their surrounding and language was our biggest barrier for the first year in Cochin. We couldn’t mingle with other children as we were not great in speaking English and we had no idea what Malayalam (the regional language of Keralites) was and this made our school life tough. But slowly and steadily things started changing. Children have an upper hand when it comes to grasping any language and we were no exceptions. With in a year our classmates (who earlier used to make fun of us) were talking and listening to us and we were playing, dancing and singing together.

After spending three years in Cochin, when the time came to bid adieu I had treasured memories of this place in my heart and one of those was celebrating “Onam” in school.

Onam is one of the most auspicious festivals of Kerala (celebrated for ten days) and it commemorates the homecoming of their renowned king Mahabali. Mahabali was a legendary king and Kerala witnessed its golden era during his reign. People were happy and prosperous under his rule and this made Indra (the king of gods) jealous of him. He was scared that one day with his righteous qualities Mahabali will become the king of Gods and two Indras can create imbalance. So with other gods he approached Lord Vishnu who promised to help them. In order to help gods, Vishnu assumed the form of a dwarf: Vamana and requested Mahabali to give him three steps of land to live in and Mahabali didn’t disappoint Vamana and promised him the same. Hearing this Vamana enlarged himself and became so huge that he could step from heaven to earth, and earth to the lower worlds in two simple steps.  King Mahabali unable to fulfill the promise of three steps of land to the Lord offered his head for the third step and Vamana placed his foot on King’s head and sent him down to the Patala. Being worshiped however by Mahabali and his ancestor Prahlada, he approved to them the kingdom of Patala. However, as Mahabali was equivalent to Indra, he had to wait until the next Yuga where he would be the Indra. Meanwhile, with the grace of Vishnu, Mahabali visited his people on an annual basis. Thus, it is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year and people celebrate it in a grand way to tell their king that they are happy.

A day before Onam we had to clean our classes and make a design for flower Rangoli known as Pookalam and on the first day of Onam, we were asked to bring  lots of flowers from home and decorate the design and our teacher’s used to help us in this task.  Another popular feature of Onam was the Boat Race where hundreds of Boatmen used to row the decorative boats and we too never stopped ourselves from cheering them with full enthusiasm. The kind of fun we had and the energy and zeal with which we celebrated this festival will be remembered for my whole life.