Saturday, August 25, 2012

छुट्टी का दिन और बारिश

छुट्टी का दिन और बारिश 

यूं तो दिल्ली में बारिश कम ही होती है और अगर आधा एक घंटा बारिश हो जाये तो शहर भर में इस कदर ट्राफिक जाम होता है मानों कई दिन लगातार बारिश हुई है. 

बहरहाल, आज छुट्टी का दिन है और सुबह से अभी तक अच्छी बारिश हुई है. रिमझिम तो अभी भी जारी है. मौसम है पकोड़ों का और भुट्टों का.

दिल्ली तो यूं भी हरी भरी है और इस बारिश ने सब्ज़ में भरपूर इजाफ़ा किया है. अपने घर की  बालकनी से यह खूबसूरत नज़ारा दिखता है.........

 देखिये कितनी हरियाली है अपनी दिल्ली में 

 यह है चैतन्य का खेल मैदान 

लगता है अभी और बरसेंगे बादल....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

नीनी मेरा दोस्त


एक प्यारा सा एहसास है नीनी
जीवन की  हर एक आस है नीनी

पान में गुलकंद की सी मिठास  है नीनी
तपती  धूप में छाँव का एहसास है नीनी

जीवन की आपाधापी  में खो से गए लम्हों की
एक नन्ही सी पड़ताल है नीनी

हमेशा जो सच है वो ख्वाब है नीनी
जीवन के रंगों  का  सतरंगी  इन्द्रधनुष  है  नीनी

पापा  के पिट्टू पर कभी सो जाता था जो
मम्मा के कन्धों  तक  की  अब वो शाख है नीनी

चाँद  से भी  रोशन  तारों  से  भी  झिलमिल
सूरज  से  भी  आलोकित  प्रकाश  है नीनी

बौर  भरी अमराई  में  कोयल  की  मीठी  कूक  है  नीनी
मीठी  बातों  का  जादूगर  नन्हा  सा  मेरा  दोस्त  है  नीनी

ताजे  गुड़ की  सी  नरम  मिठास
जैसे  पारिजात  की  खुशबू  है आस पास
कल कल नदिया  का  मद्धम  सा  राग
जीवन  के  पूर्णत्व  का  एहसास  है  नीनी 

(नीनी  की  नौंवी  सालगिरह पर २२ अक्टूबर २०११) 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lansdowne Travelogue

Lansdowne is a small cantonment town in the Garhwal Himalayas. It is 40 kms from Kotdwara on Pauri road. This was our third visit to Lansdowne. But this journey (9-10 June 2012) was special in many ways. 

It was our first venture of overnight driving. I love to drive but strictly follow the ‘sun-rise to sun-set’ rule while driving on highways and in the hills. However, there is always a first time. I came around 7.40 pm from office on Friday. I asked Divya and Chaitanya about their programme for week-end. Prompt came reply that ‘chalo kahin chalte hain’. Where? Lansdowne was the unanimous call. At 8.40 pm I rang up Colonel Rawat at Oak Groove Inn where we had stayed during last visit in December 2011. Fortunately, accommodation was available due to walk out of some snobbish and cribbing guests who could not perhaps get out of their zone of synthetic urban comfort. Anyway, some one’s loss is some one’s gain. We got accommodation. I said we will reach at 5 am in the morning and Col. Rawat gave mobile number of one of the attendants who would receive us.

We started from Sarita Vihar, Delhi at 10 pm and by the time we filled petrol tank and left Kalindi Kunj it was 10.30 pm. We took the following route – Sarita Vihar-Noida-NH24 Bypass Hapur Road-Modinagar-Meerut-Mawana Road-Bijnor-Najibabad-Kotdwar-Dugadda-Jaiharikhal-Oak Groove Inn. Upto Najibabd it was a routine highway drive except for that it really gets spooky at times while driving in the night. However, after Najibabd the road is nicely paved with fluorescent markers which make you feel that you are driving through a river of bright earthen lamps (Mitti Ke Diye) or you are on a run way. All my driving fatigue vanished. It was a beautiful experience which was possible only due to night drive.

We reached Kotdwar around 3.30 am. It was too early for petrol pumps to open but we woke the guards at 4-5 petrol pumps of Kotdwar albeit without success. Disappointed but we started uphill drive. This was the most beautiful part of this journey. At 4 am, the hills were looking wrapped in serenity basking in the bluish grey light of gibbous moon. As we drove further, shades of blue changed gradually and then quickly and finally merged into bright shades of dawn. Added to this, the songs of birds would make this a divine morning raga. This was an experience no words can describe. We reached Oak Groove Inn at 5 am and called Pradeep who received us with a smile (despite that we woke him from sweet early morning sleep), showed our room and obliged us with hot ginger tea, quintessential of Oak Groove Inn hospitality.

It was 5.30 am by the time we settled. Chaitanya and I went to the ‘Hang Out’ to listen to and watch birds. At this quite hour we could spot many beautiful birds which are difficult to spot at any other hour. We went for a leisure walk across the village and had soft and sweet buns with yummy omelette in a village café at 6.30 am. Though we drove the whole night, my mind was fresh and rejuvenated. We returned to our room and took a nap of 3 hours. I woke up at around 10 am and it was time for breakfast, extended one for me and Chaitanya after our early morning buns and eggs. 
Hang Out at Oak Groove Inn
After breakfast we met our hosts, Mrs and Colonel Rawat who welcomed us with the same warmth and joy with which your parents welcome you. It did not seem like visiting them after six months. It was like we resumed our conversation from where we had stopped last time. One more attraction at this place is that a visit to Pahari village could be organised if you request to the hosts in advance. On our previous visit, we had visited Holi Talli (village at foothill) and had first-hand experience of village life, hospitality and delicious local food. It is an innovative way of the hosts to engage local people in tourism initiative whereby the locals may earn extra income as well. A piece of advice - do visit a Pahari village, if ever you get an opportunity, you would return richer in experience and humble in attitude towards life.

By 1 pm we were ready to leave to Tarakeshwara, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, 40 kms from Lansdowne. Road to Tarakeshwara is very scenic and even during this peak of summer the amount of greenery on the hills was amazing. A lot of credit for this should go to the Garhawal Rifiles which have a centre here and their presence has contained rapacious exploitation of nature for tourism purpose. The charm of Lansdowne, in fact, is its being laidback. It is a calm, serene and clean place. A heaven for nature lovers.

We reached Tarakeshwara around 2.30 pm. This is a place which is probably the best place for any Sadhana, a place where meditation is effortless. Apart from the spiritual experience at Tarakeshwara, there are two more unique features. One, there are pine and oak trees abound everywhere in Lansdowne but this is the only place in this area which is endowed with Devdars. Secondly, it is only here I have seen Devdars’ stems splitting like a Trishul as we can see in the picture. How one does interpret this is individual choice but for the believers like me this is an indication of presence of Lord Shiva at Tarakeshwara

At 3.30 we started from Tarakeshwara to Lansdowne. Mid-way we had lunch at Sisaldi at Khantwal Bhojnalaya. It was simple Dal, Chawal and Subzi in Pahari style but very tasty and light. We also picked some bakery products which are supplied by bakery at Dugadda and found these products (biscotti and rusks) very fresh and delicious. They were very reasonably priced too.

Around 5 pm we reached Gandhi Chowk, the central market of Lansdowne. It is a small bazar with many eateries and also a Cineplex. We had local soft ice-cream and it was yummy. Having spent some time at Chowk we proceeded to Jaiharikhal and reached Oak Groove Inn before sunset.

 We went to ‘Hang Out’ and watched sunset. It was a beautiful sight and with hot and tasty pakoras with Chai it was a wonderful evening. After sunset, we set there and had a long chat with our hosts over snacks and drinks. We met a senior couple who had hired a cottage for one month. It was their third month long stay at Lansdowne. It was wonderful meeting with them and their exuberance and positive attitude to life is inspiring.

Dinner was simple home style tasty food. Non-vegetarian food is also cooked on prior notice. We called it a day at 10.30 after dinner and having biscotti, bought at Sisaldi, for desert.

Next morning we woke up late and hurried up packing as we had to leave after breakfast. We bid farewell to our hosts and left to Delhi at 10 am. On the way we met the senior couple whom we had met last evening and had tea with them at their beautiful cottage, which is an extended property of Oak Groove Inn. We discussed an array of topics over tea but more importantly for us it was their resolute passion for hills, travel and life, which we would want to imbibe.

On the way we saw a river stream and went down. It was motorable upto last 100 meters of river bank. We, especially Divya and Chaitanya, enjoyed the natural jacuzzi in local river and spent almost an hour. Water was cool, clear and fresh. Schools of fish shining in bright sun light added to the charm. A long standing wish of Chaitanya was fulfilled. After lots of masti at river we proceeded around 1 pm and after negotiating traffic jam at a temple on a hair pin band, which was caused by irresponsible parking of touris vehicles, we reached Kotdwar. At Kotdwar we tanked up petrol and had refreshing ice-tea and proceeded to Delhi. 

We had lunch at Kwality Restaurant at Bijnor and we would definitely recommend this place for its Butter Nan and Shahi Paneer as well as excellent service. This place is towards the end of Bijnor on left hand on Delhi road. After negotiating legendary  traffice jam at Modinagar which consumed 45 minutes this time we reached home by 9 pm. One more wonderful visit to the hills which leaves you physically tired but emotionally rejuvenated. We have been to Lansdowne in winter and summer and now we will go to Lansdowne in Monsoon. Amen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

“That which you cannot express is Love.

That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.

That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”~

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Son

Happy Birthday my little Angel

You make this world beautiful and life worth living
It is a wonderful feeling to see you grow – physically and spiritually
Your consciousness sometimes surprises me, for your age you are at a very high pedestal
Every step with you on this journey to the eternity is wonderful, bliss
I wish you a wonderful life
May you succeed in finding the reason of your existence and realize the divinity of your soul
I thank the “Paramatma” for sending this Angel to be my ‘sakha’ and redeemer
In you, my son, I have seen hope, faith, joy, compassion and unconditional love personified
In you I seek my salvation
You are the light until I become mine, for, ‘Become Your Own Light’ thus spoke Gautam, the Buddha

Let us celebrate your existence

Happy Birthday....Sakha

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last day of the Visit to Lansdowne

Last day of the Visit to Lansdowne
Having accomplished mission petrol, we called it a day and reached hotel by 7 PM. We had to leave for Delhi next morning. We decided for 9 AM start-off.

Next morning I woke up at 6.30 AM. I had to fulfill the promise made to Chaitanya – take him for trekking. Leaving other members to recuperate from yesterday’s journey, I and Chaitanya hit the trek to Lansdowne which passes through the hills above Blue Pine Resort.

The morning mist and fog welcomed us. We felt transported to a different world. Chaitanya aptly described as if surfing on clouds. Slowly but steadily we kept moving enjoying wonderful scenic beauty. This trek is not so easy to negotiate for a six years old boy. But my little brave-heart moved on with little but firm steps. Chaitanya’s company is always a learning opportunity for me. Seeing the world from his perspective is an eye opener many times. I had some lessons in the art of observation as he pointed out some beautiful wild flowers which might be peculiar to this region. Chaitanya has a sharp memory. He recalled that we had never seen such flowers in the plains and not even in the Himachal at the places we have visited so far. I reminisced how we had lost the way during a trekking in Himachal last year and it was only due to clues left by Chaitanya we could find the way back. Keep it up buddy.

On the way up-hill we came across some local people who must be daily commuters. It is the vantage point that makes the world look different. We were trekking for fun and joy; these people were trekking to negotiate day-to-day life!

On reaching the top we stopped short of Lansdowne town as we had to start-off to Delhi. There amidst the dense forest, looking down serpentine roads and breathing fresh air we felt rejuvenated instantly. In that serenity and silence I and Chaitanya paused to offer a prayer to Mother Nature. That blissful moment can not be relived through words.

We reached hotel around 9 AM. We had enough time for a quick round of the town before starting-off to Delhi. We passed through the town and headed for ‘Tip-n-top’ which provides a good vantage point for Garhwall Hills. On a clear day you may have a glimpse of Garhwall Himalayas as well. There is a cafe and tourist bungalow run by GMVN. We, however, had no time to check that.

We bid adieu to Lansdowne with a promise to come back and started for Delhi at around 10 AM. Road to Kotdwar was familiar now. We stopped at a place and descended for our first ever rendezvous with a hill river. This beautiful shallow river was flowing at the bed of the valley, sustaining life in small houses on both its banks. After spending some time with the river and collecting an array of pebbles we resumed our journey.

This being Dussehra day, traffic volume was low and the journey uneventful. Midway we stopped at Monty Millions, which is a good place for both food and to freshen up. After a sumptuous lunch, we took Mawana road and passing through Meerut and Modinagar we were home by 6.30 PM.

We had both hands full – overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of Garhwall Hills and richer in experience. Indeed, Lansdowne will now be one of our favourite holiday destinations.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009