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Showing posts from March, 2009

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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

A Long Weekend at Alibag - Part 1- Getting There, Settling In...........

Trains, buses, planes and cars – we have traveled by all of them often enough for Samhith to be comfortable with all these modes of transport. Water transport so far had been restricted to short boat rides in rivers and lakes, and we have been yearning to travel by a boat or ship for a long time. The best option for sea travel is of course a cruise, but unfortunately, that is one mode of travel that is currently out of my budget, and I had better not think about that. Our choice therefore was narrowed down to one – a catamaran ride to Alibag from the Gateway of India. We had been planning this trip for more than a year, and finally, the dream came true last weekend, which was long one on account of the Gudi Padwa or Ugadi holiday on Friday. From Alibag All Set for the ride..... Alibag is a 45 minute ride by catamaran from the Gateway, and there are 3 operators to choose from – PNP, Maldar and Ajanta. PNP is the most expensive, offering the AC lower deck and the Non-AC Upper Deck

My Book Review is on the Penguin Blog!!!!!!

A hard-core book lover, I have been following the Penguin Blog for some time, and was thrilled when they launched   Blog a Penguin India Classic . All I had to do was sign up on their site and send them a mail with my postal address. They would send me one of their Indian Classics (a random choice) and all they wanted in return was a review of the book! The opportunity was too good to resist, and I immediately sent them a mail. I expected the book after perhaps a week or so, but imagine my surprise when it landed on my doorstep the very next day!! The book I received was ' Divya ' , by the talented Hindi author Yashpal. Now, my knowledge of Hindi classics is sketchy, thanks to the useless state board Hindi syllabus in my school. I have always wanted to read translations, but have put off buying these books because I have never been able to decide which books are really good translations, and worth buying. As to the library that I belong to, they have none of these books.

A Visit to the Gateway of India

After a long time, we visited the Gateway of India . The days I spent in the same area, walking around peacefully, sitting down to have my packed lunch by the sea, seems aeons ago.. The difference between then and now is mainly in the security. I have never seen so many security guards anywhere - no, not even at the airport!!! The crowds are just the same , except that most of them are now gaping at the Taj - and looking for any left-over vestiges of the terror attack. Most cameras too are focussed, not on the monument which gives the place its name, but on the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Taj Intercontinental! When I was reading the inscription on the gateway aloud to Samhith, at least a few people turned round to look at the spectator who seemed more interested in ancient rather than recent history!! Half of the area around the gateway has been cordoned off, and the half that is free is full of those going aboard the boats, and those who have managed to snare places to sit on the parapet

Some Views from my Window

Samhith has been fascinated by animals ever since we bought him his first plastic animals. He loved them so much, we bought him more, and now, he has an amazing collection of animals. They are his favourite toys, and he can spend hours (when he really gets into the mood, of course!) making all kinds of things with his blocks and placing animals around them….. The first time we went on a safari, he was looking forward to seeing lions and tigers, but was happy with deer. From the second time onwards, he realised that deer were practically the only animals we saw in the wild, and started getting a bit upset, but thankfully, we were lucky to spot a few elephants and bison… Now he knows that wild animals are really rare, and he needs to have much more patience to see them. At our recent trip to the Hermitage, he seemed surprised that we only saw birds, but it awakened him to the fact that there are so many kinds of birds around us!!!! After our flamingo watching trip, he looks forward to s

A Date with Flamingoes

Sunday – 15th of March – BNHS had organised a flamingo-watch at Sewri Jetty. The mud flats at Sewri attract throngs of these beautiful pink birds every year, and huge crowds of birdwatchers gather to see the spectacular sight. I had always hoped to be one of this crowd, but somehow or the other, this pleasure eluded me for so many years. This year, I decided that I just HAD to go, and looked around for company. No one I knew seemed to be interested, or free, and finally, it was down to just Samhith and me…… The two of us decided to go ahead anyway, in spite of the fact that we did not have any binoculars (The BNHS guys, when we called up, told us to bring a pair of binocs along, for better viewing)… The Mud Flats - a closer view Samhith was so excited, he woke up early without any prodding on my behalf, and we were ready at 9AM after a good breakfast. The first excitement of the day for Samhith was the local train ride to Sewri by the harbour line. He memorised the names of ten s